The Effects of Inbreeding Dogs

Written by lee morgan
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The Effects of Inbreeding Dogs
Boxers sometimes develop epilepsy because of excessive inbreeding. (dog - boxer image by Vasiliy Koval from Fotolia.com)

Inbreeding of dogs is a common practice. Breeders of high-quality and show dogs often employ inbreeding of mother to son or father to daughter or sibling to sibling in order to reap certain beneficial effects from it. Although this approach is effective in some ways, there are also possible negative effects that make the inbreeding of dogs questionable.

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Promotes Desirable Traits

Dog breeders try to produce the best quality offspring they can in order to get the highest price for particular breeds of dogs or to create a show dog with a chance to win competitions, giving the owner the ability to demand expensive stud fees.

Breeders realised long ago that inbreeding dogs with the desired traits would lead to a better chance of reproducing those traits in their offspring. This method for producing top-quality show dogs has been practised over and over again to develop champions. Many champion show dogs are closely related to one another and to the past generations of champions in certain breeds because inbreeding, according to DogBreedInfo.com, has developed the desired traits.

Increased Genetic Mutations

Along with the sole benefit of producing specific traits in dogs comes one of the most obvious negative effects of inbreeding. When the gene pool is limited in such a way, the tendency for common recessive traits to emerge is increased, according to WolfWeb.com.au.

An attempt to make a particular breed have the desired characteristics risks the chance for polygenic birth defects. This is sometimes seen in specific breeds, such as the turning in of eyelids in golden retrievers, blood vessel defects in German shepherds, and heart valve defects in Newfoundlands. Pugs commonly have breathing problems because of the desire to inbreed and make their faces appear flat. Some pedigree dogs, such as boxers, have been known to have an increased likelihood of developing the genetic disease epilepsy, according to the BBC website.

Decreased Fertility

Excessive inbreeding of dogs can lead to reduced fertility, according to the Vet Connect website. Results of excessive inbreeding in dogs may manifest themselves as an inability for bitches to become impregnated or a stud's inability to impregnate. If impregnated, sometimes the female will require assistance when giving birth to a litter, according to the BBC website.

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