Merging pedigree databases can reduce inbreeding in dogs
Merging pedigree databases across countries may improve the ability of kennel organizations to monitor genetic variability and health-related issues of pedigree dogs.
We used data provided by the Société Centrale Canine (France), Svenska Kennelklubben (Sweden) and the Kennel Club (UK) to study the feasibility of merging pedigree databases across countries and describe breeding practices and international gene flow within the following four breeds: Bullmastiff (BMA), English setter (ESE), Bernese mountain dog (BMD) and Labrador retriever (LBR). After merging the databases, genealogical parameters and founder contributions were calculated according to the birth period, breed and registration country of the dogs.
Throughout the investigated period, mating between close relatives, measured as the proportion of inbred individuals (considering only two generations of pedigree), decreased or remained stable, with the exception of LBR in France. Gene flow between countries became more frequent, and the origins of populations within countries became more diverse over time.
In conclusion, the potential to reduce inbreeding within purebred dog populations through exchanging breeding animals across countries was confirmed by an improved effective population size when merging populations from different countries.
Link to the publication
Wang, S., G. Leroy, S. Malm, T. Lewis, E. Strandberg, and W. F. Fikse. 2016. Merging pedigree databases to describe and compare mating practices and gene flow between pedigree dogs in France, Sweden and the UK. Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics: 134(2):152-161.