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Recent breeding history of dog breeds in Sweden: modest ratesof inbreeding, extensive loss of genetic diversity and lack ofcorrelation between inbreeding and health
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology, Population Genetics.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology, Population Genetics.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9286-3361
2014 (English)In: Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics, ISSN 0931-2668, E-ISSN 1439-0388, Vol. 131, no 2, 153-162 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

One problem in modern dogs is a high occurrence of physical diseases,defects and disorders. Many breeds exhibit physical problems that affectindividual dogs throughout life. A potential cause of these problems isinbreeding that is known to reduce the viability of individuals. We investigatedthe possible correlation between recent inbreeding and health problemsin dogs and used studbook data from 26 breeds provided by theSwedish Kennel Club for this purpose. The pedigrees date back to themid-20th century and comprise 5–10 generations and 1 000–50 000 individualsper pedigree over our study period of 1980–2010. We comparedlevels of inbreeding and loss of genetic variation measured in relation tothe number of founding animals during this period in the investigated dogbreeds that we classified as ‘healthy’ (11 breeds) or ‘unhealthy’ (15) basedon statistics on the extent of veterinary care obtained from Sweden’sfour largest insurance companies for pets. We found extensive loss ofgenetic variation and moderate levels of recent inbreeding in all breedsexamined, but no strong indication of a difference in these parametersbetween healthy versus unhealthy breeds over this period. Thus, recentbreeding history with respect to rate of inbreeding does not appear to be amain cause of poor health in the investigated dog breeds in Sweden. Weidentified both strengths and weaknesses of the dog pedigree data importantto consider in future work of monitoring and conserving geneticdiversity of dog breeds.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 131, no 2, 153-162 p.
Keyword [en]
animal genetic resources, conservation genetics, domestic gene pools, pedigree analysis
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-100600DOI: 10.1111/jbg.12060ISI: 000332780900009OAI: diva2:694827
Available from: 2014-02-07 Created: 2014-02-07 Last updated: 2014-10-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Assessing inbreeding and loss of genetic variation in canids, domestic dog (Canis familiaris) and wolf (Canis lupus), using pedigree data
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Assessing inbreeding and loss of genetic variation in canids, domestic dog (Canis familiaris) and wolf (Canis lupus), using pedigree data
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Genetic variation is necessary to maintain the ability of wild and domestic populations to genetically adapt to changed selective pressures. When relationships among individuals are known, conservation genetic management can be based on statistical pedigree analysis. Such approaches have traditionally focused on wild animal conservation breeding in captivity. In this thesis, I apply pedigree-based techniques to domestic and wild animal populations, focusing on two canids – the domestic dog and the wild wolf.

Main objectives include to 1) develop a means for making any pedigree fit the input requirements of the software Population Management x (PMx) and to use this program to 2) investigate rate of inbreeding and loss of genetic variation in dog breeds, including possible correlations between recent inbreeding and health problems, 3) estimate effects on inbreeding of the 2010 hunt of the endangered Swedish wolf population, and to 4) evaluate the potential to genetically support this wolf population through cross-fostering releases of zoo bred pups from a conservation breeding program.

Results include successfully developing the converter program mPed (Paper I) and applying both mPed and PMx to dog and wolf pedigrees. I found extensive loss of genetic variation and moderate rates of recent inbreeding in 26 dog breeds, but no major difference in these parameters between breeds classified as “healthy” vs. “unhealthy“ (Paper II). I found average inbreeding coefficients to more than double (from F=0.03 to 0.07) and founder genetic variation to decrease by c. 30 percent over the past few decades in traditional Swedish dog breeds identified as being of conservation concern (Paper IV). Hunting will make it less likely to reach genetically based Favourable Conservation Status criteria for the Swedish wild wolf population (Paper III), but release of zoo bred wolves through cross-fostering may potentially almost double founder genetic variation of this population (Paper V).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, 2014. 72 p.
National Category
Research subject
Population Genetics
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-100371 (URN)978-91-7447-858-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-03-07, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Epub ahead of print. Paper 4: Manuscript. Paper 5: Manuscript.

Available from: 2014-02-13 Created: 2014-02-03 Last updated: 2014-10-13Bibliographically approved

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