The comparison between American and European Dobermanns it’s a old controversy that is repeated time to time in all Dobermann forums, here and in the US, with the same result: a reaffirmation of the initial ideas or prejudices what implement the apartheid politics. Maybe it's time to talk less with the heart and more with the head.
The elucidation of the Canine genome demonstrates that all canine breeds are affected by a high level of homozygosis and linkage disequilibrium, associated with some common practices in the dogs breeding: founder effect, bottleneck in the population, popular sires and dams syndrome, inbreeding abuse and genetic drift. High level of homozygosis determines low effective population. In some cases, like the UK Boxer, the numbers are very worrying: a population of 45.000 dogs is equivalent to only 45 dogs!! (Calboli et al., 2008) Table 3 http://www.genetics.org/cgi/content/full/179/1/593
. The level of linkage disequilibrium in the Dobermann is similar to the Portuguese water dog (Gray et al., 2009) -Table 3- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2666515/
, a breed with a very little population….
Among the main actual causes of this imbalance should be noted the conformation shows and the great influence of the show stars system. Popular sires are a major problem. In the best case all dogs have recessive deleterious genes that inbreeding can put in homozygosis soon or later. In other cases, included world famous studs in the two Atlantic sides, we know with certainty that some bloodlines carries genetic diseases, particularly dilated cardiomyopathy, and not as a diffuse risk but even with a strong Wright relationship coefficient of the studs with the affected dogs. Are we willing to accept restrictive rules which reduce the number of litters of a stud to only, for example, 6 in its life?
Genetic diseases are a big problem in the future survival of the Dobermann breed. While in the past there was a difference in the health status of both families trees, pro European Dobermanns, it is no longer true, except for von Willebrand disease and perhaps for hip dysplasia. Cancer, dilated cardiomyopathie, Volvulus or Wobbler syndrome affected more or less both families equally.
We like what we are accustomed to seeing and enjoying what the acquiescence of the affinity group. This is an issue of social empathy and of the imitative behavior. In this sense I agree with Dug Matson (Kansa Dobes). Objectively on average the Am. Dobermann has advantage in many conformation traits, except for the head construction, or can we accept also the illogical argument that a dog can be a well built dog but with a bad movement? With regards to the heads, not all European Dobermanns have good heads and we are seeing more dogs with brachycephalic tendency.
In temperament, I think there isn’t discussion, but no generic and categorical disqualifications are true. Not it’s true than all American Dobermanns have a weak temperament. For instance, Nello’s Lex Luthor was not exactly a friendly dog - something that earned him much criticism in the community of American breeders-, neither are some of their descendants, including the well-known Trotyl & Navajo de Black Shadow. Do not forget that the father is only half the inheritance of their offspring and the behavior isn’t a mendelian categoric trait, it is a quantitative trait with intermediate heritage between sire and dam. Just Dug Matson has progeny of Lex Luthor & Trotyl bloodline and he had beautiful and working dogs but cross with european bloodlines bitches, not with Am. bloodlines show bitches.
Lex Luthor die with 8.5 years old, not before or after the average longevity for the breed. His death is not mysterious (neumonic illness), just the business of selling his frozen semen (not cheap) could not continue if the dog was dead. FCI rules are. It was best to silence his death and continue the business.
There are market and power interests on both sides of the Atlantic, but, really is it ethical to admit that the average life of a Dobermann can be 8.5 years? Can we postpone the fight against genetic diseases for the benefit of the selection for the conformation or character? For the temperament we have more possibilities for improvement by selection, but much less for the conformation traits.
To improve a quantitative trait is necessary genetic additive variance, because otherwise we will have reached a limit in the selection response. Homozygous level in the breed is so high that the genetic variance within families is very low; there is not much genetic additive variance available to progress in the selection. Otherwise, the linkage disequilibrium (genes with limited recombination in the meiosis) is so high that for some genes we have also a pleiotropic effect in the heritage and it’s difficult to segregate some good and bad genes in the crossing.
The conformation shows are a big part of the problem but the market is the boss. The study of Calboli et al., 2008; http://www.genetics.org/cgi/content/full/179/1/593
demonstrates also that the Greyhound, a breed selected for the functionality –race score-, preserve more heterozygosis than all the nine other breeds of its analysis, despite their very small population (the breed with the lowest population among the ten studied).
In the absence of mixed models (non linear models to Estimate Breeding Values- EBV for the whole traits) more than the phenotypic value, the main challenge now is to breed healthy dogs. The genomic differences within the two breed subpopulations (Wahlund effect) are a source of genetic variability that we can not miss. As Valencia indicated in this forum some time ago, we have lost an interesting genetic variability source when the old lines of the countries of Eastern Europe were mixed indiscriminately with the bloodlines of Western Europe. Do you think we can afford to lose the few opportunities we have left for improve the breed? Are you sure that is the apartheid the best politics now? As said Baskal before in this topic: NO![/url]