International breeding program to improve health in pedigree dogs

Last changed: 29 January 2018

Dog health is a major concern for breeders, owners, as well as the general public, in many countries, not only Sweden. The breeding context and breeding rules, however, differ across countries. There is an increasing exchange of breeding animals between countries, especially within EU. However, it is not easy to know the genetic quality of an imported animal. It has been showed that efficiency of genetic evaluation for a trait such a hip dysplasia could be improved by joint evaluation across countries. The aim of this project is to provide operational tools to improve breed health in an international context, concerning both genetic evaluation and implementation of breeding policies.

This project contains several issues. When carrying out a genetic evaluation across countries, it is necessary to combine the data from all countries participating, and this is especially challenging for pedigree information, e.g., because the same dog can appear under several aliases. Therefore, we will use three example countries, France, UK and Sweden, to elucidate the problems associated with merging databases but also to use the information to study the already existing gene flow between countries for some breeds. The genetic links between countries will also affect the accuracy with which a genetic evaluation can be done across countries and this is the focus of one part.

The possibilities and ambitions among those organizations responsible may differ between countries. We will conduct a survey, an online questionnaire, to elucidate similarities and differences in breeding policies and management of pedigree dogs among national kennel clubs and discuss how this can affect the possibilities for international genetic evaluations.

Finally, we will conduct a simulation study of national and international breeding programs to describe the potential changes in genetic change in an example trait, hip dysplasia, when moving from a national breeding program to an international one.


The project is funded by: EU (European Graduate School in Animal Breeding and Genetics, EGS-ABG)

Duration of the project: 2014-2018

Project Leader: Erling Strandberg

Other contributors: Shizhi Wang (PhD student), Gregoire Leroy, Etienne Verrier (AgroParisTech), Denis Laloe (INRA), Åsa Viklund (Hgen)