New Educational Resource for Dog Breeders

by Joyce Johanson

At the 2004 AKC Parent Club meeting in Cincinnati, Dr. Claudia Waller Orlandi spoke to attendees about her book, ABC's of Breeding: What Every Dog Breeder Should Know! The 363-page manual was designed as a home study program for dog breeders, complete with flash cards and true/false, multiple choice, and fill-in-the-blank workbook questions. For those breeders "into" certificates and such, AKC offers a Certificate of Completion to breeders who finish the home study course and mail AKC their answers to the written exercises.

Among the chapters in the book are ones on genetics, breeding systems (i.e., inbreeding, linebreeding, outcrossing, like-to-like mating, and unlike-to-unlike mating), the importance of pedigrees, selecting which dogs to breed, kennel blindness, and genetic defects. The book also contains an annotated bibliography as well as a list of recommended reading.

Test yourself by answering the following questions taken from the flash card section of the book:

    1) True or False: A puppy may inherit a concentration of chromosomes from one of its grandparents.
    2) What do we call anything carried on the sex chromosomes?
    3) What is one of the best mating systems to use to duplicate the genes of a favored ancestor?
    4) What do we call the type of breeding where various individuals come from related lines within a strain but are not technically considered to be inbred in relation to one another?
    5) How many common ancestors are there in an open pedigree?
    6) True or False: One of the best ways to start a breeding program is to base it on pedigrees.
    7) Should the selection process of a breeder be based on breed type or style?
    8) Give three risk factors for kennel blindness.
    9) What two modes of inheritance involve both parents passing on the defective genes?
    10) True or False: All offspring of a dog affected with an autosomal recessive defect are automatically carriers.

(The answers are at the end of the article.)

Most breeders who have done any reading and study at all will know much of what the book contains; nevertheless, the ABCs of Breeding is not a book that you will sit down with and speed read in one sitting. For the experienced breeder as well as for the newcomer, there is much in the book that will be helpful. Best of all, the book is user-friendly and easy to read. It is intended for the average person; readers do not have to have an education in genetics to understand what is being taught!

Claudia Orlandi, author of ABCs of Dog Breeding, is featured in a September 2008 AKC and AKC Canine Health Foundation Genome podcast.

To order a copy of the ABCs of Breeding, send $29.95 plus $3.00 for shipping and handling to Canine Research & Education, P.O. Box 37941, Raleigh, NC 27627-7941. Call 888-682-9696 to check on pricing and/or to order by phone.

Answers to the Flash Card questions:

    1) True
    2) A sex-linked trait
    3) Inbreeding or linebreeding
    4) Family breeding
    5) none
    6) False
    7) It should be based on breed type since breed type is based on breed standard,
    8) (a) breeders who don't have an eye for a dog; (b) novice breeders who are strongly influenced by their dog's personality; (c) breeders who have produced quality dogs in the past and are struggling in their programs; (d) breeders working with small numbers of dogs; (e) breeders whose every waking moment revolves around dogs.
    9) Autosomal recessive and polygeneic inheritance
    10) True

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