WHY DO WE IMPORT by Dr. Ania Rynarzewska, edited 1/4/2014
IMPORTING: Some of you have asked: why do you import your dogs? I would like to address it VERY BRIEFLY (as I know human attention span is very short). I am happy to elaborate if asked. 1. Dogs imported from the Old Continent have been bred for conformation both in structure and temperament. Breeders need to satisfy many requirements before they are permitted to breed (these include excellent conformation as judged by international experts, excellent health scores as animals with bad scores cannot be bred, and passing temperament tests). 2. Most of my dogs have generations of not only tested dogs but dogs with EXCELLENT health scores from those tests. 3. Genetic variability is hugely important in breeding as it allows access to a greater gene pool. This allows for choosing the best breeding stock thus choosing the best traits from different dogs of the same breed. 4. This breed is so rare that many dogs are bred to sisters/brothers and close cousins which can help strengthening the good traits but also increases the risk of serious issues (speaking from a whole world perspective, not just USA).
When we speak of "risk" we speak of a scientific term not an emotional term. Risk, here, is the probability of negative outcome. High risk= high probability of a negative outcome, low risk=low probability of a negative outcome.
5. One of the biggest advantages of importing unrelated dogs is the reduction of risk associated with negative traits and health problems.
The expanded genetic pool is necessary. Dogs who are bred to related stock are very likely to produce offspring with health issues and general lower vitality. Suddenly, the recessive traits that were unlikely to show up in offspring have much greater probability of occurrence. This means that suddenly you are likely to encountered problems that otherwise would have not appeared. Even if the parents are healthy, their offspring are not.
Interesting and a very valid quote that supports the above statement: "The consequences of inbreeding (in all animals) are insidious but obvious if you look - decreased fertility, difficulty whelping, smaller litters, higher puppy mortality, puppies that don't thrive, shorter lifespan, etc. Genetically healthy dogs should get pregnant if mated. They should have large litters of robust puppies, with low pup mortality. Animals that cannot produce viable offspring are removed by natural selection. (...)
If you create a bunch of puppies from your favorite sire, you are making dozens of copies of all of the bad alleles in that dog (which were never a problem before because they were recessive; and spewing them out into the population. Now, a (previously) rare mutation will become common, its frequency in the population increases, and the chances go up that some puppy will be produced that is homozygous (has two copies of that bad allele) and homozygous recessive alleles are no longer silent (Carol Beuchat, PhD)."
So what is the moral of this post? Genetic pool cannot get bigger (taking it from the world perspective) because it is based on a finite number of dogs. HOWEVER, the gene pool can get smaller because if you keep breeding the same dogs over and over, while not breeding others because 1. you are limited to dogs on hand. 2. you are unable to import, 3 you have a favorite sire, you will decrease your gene pool. "What if breeders didn't like black ears, so all the puppies with black ears were spayed or neutered and sent to pet homes? Those alleles will become less frequent in the population, and they might be eliminated completely because of artificial selection courtesy of the breeder.The gene pool gets smaller when genes are completely eliminated from the population. It is unlikely that a gene will be restored by chance mutation, and the only other way it can be restored is if an animal is introduced into the breeding population that carries that gene and who reproduces successfully (Carol Beuchat)." AND THIS IS WHY WE IMPORT. It is not personal, it is scientific.
Please enjoy photos of CAS dogs some of which are some of our dogs ancestors (to the best of our knowledge).
Please note: this statement is a reflection of our philosophy and has nothing to do with the US breeders and their practices. We have a great respect for other breeders. Also, I would like to state that we realize that relationship breeding (such as line breeding) has its benefits and that importing also carries risks. This is why this post is to be read as a simplified view and a philosophy rather than criticism of any sort.
Why You Need Population Genetics: the "Elevator Pitch" by Carol Beuchat, PhD
Some of our dogs' ancestors