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Old 06-01-2012, 12:22 PM   #61
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PennHIPs are not painful. The dog is sedated because PennHIP requires a precise, exact positioning and it's just easier to get it right if the dog is out of it (if it's not perfect, they have to do it again). It's good to consider PennHIP if you ever breed because it compares the hip tightness in a registry with other German Shepherds and lets you know where you stand. However, if I could do it again, I'd just have done an OFA. PennHIP is not only significantly more expensive, it's also not really necessary for the average dog owner who has no intentions of breeding.

I agree about the testing thing. I'd rather have an unhealthy dog with a really great temperament than a perfectly healthy dog with the highest hip rating that had an unstable one. To me titling is a lot more important. I'm more apt to trust a breeder that has titled their dogs in several sports but only has a few minimum health tests, than a breeder with tons of health tests and no titles at all (or basic titles). I didn't think that way when I first started learning about this, but my feelings have evolved over time. The thing is that health tests only show a dog's overall health. They do not show how a dog functions or performs in the real world (or in competitions) the way titles do. A dog can be an A+ in terms of health but can be impossible to work with (no drive or focus) or aggressive.

I still like health tests, but they're not the only thing someone should consider when looking at a breeder. When choosing between a breeder that titles every single one of their dogs and a breeder that does tons of health tests, I'll choose the breeder with the titles every time.
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:06 PM   #62
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The thing is that health tests only show a dog's overall health.
And many only show you THAT dog's health. Most of the genetic disorders that plague modern breeds are polygenic in nature, and people don't seem to understand this when they buy a dog just based on the sire and dam. It's not that simple. That is why I think excessive health testing is misleading for buyers, because they don't look any further and disregard the overall health and longevity of the lines.
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Old 06-02-2012, 01:22 AM   #63
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Pelvic x-rays don't have to be painful. The PennHIP procedure sounds like it is but I prefer OFA or a-stamp for my dogs and a lot of people have it done without any sedative and the dog is just fine. None of my dogs had any problems getting pelvic x-rays. I do it at least twice because I prelim at 6 months and read the films myself. Then I repeat when the dog is more mature to get an OFA or a-stamp certificate which is required for the German Shepherd breed survey (elbows too).
Of course they don't have to be painful - IF you've got a dog that isn't fractious and resisting. Most vets will do OFA X-rays, and I know some that will sedate, or at the least give some form of pain management after, whether it be something like rimadyl or tell you to give them aspirin, tramadol or the like. All depends on the vet, and the individual animal.

As for OFA DNA testing - that link shows you where to get them. OFA is just providing information for other genetic disorders (such as clotting issues) - they are focused on orthopedics, not hematology, ophthalmology, etc for that reason.

Here's an interesting article regarding the merits of PennHIP vs OFA. Vet Article: Penn Hip vs OFA by Gordon Theilen, DVM

I'm not saying do one or the other, but it seems OFA in general seems to be more popular as there are some breed groups that have a DNA bank of different animals that may carry the gene that predisposes to dysplasia.

It is always a good thing as an informed buyer to research the lines, make sure there is little to no inbreeding as possible, because having a greater genetic diversity is much better than not. I'm not saying rely on genetic testing only, but look at everything. If you can contact previous buyers, their veterinarian, check DNA databases if the breed group has them, look at everything, don't just believe what the breeder is saying, and certainly don't rely solely on test results. Yeah, there can be false positives as well as false negatives. Get vet checks. I know at least around here and some breeders that I've spoken to, they'll at least give a health guarantee. Any reputable breeder should (note I say SHOULD) provide all information you ask to see.

Unfortunately I've heard stories where someone buys a puppy, puppy then gets ill because they didn't have at least the initial vaccination, even though they were told, and had 'papers' to show they had the vaccinations, or the animal starts showing signs of hip dysplasia, when they were told that they were clean? OFA will give a record and number and you can contact them to see if the animals have a clean record, or the sire/bitch have a clean record. But, if you don't ask for proof and follow up on statements made by the seller, and then something happens, the buyer then is partly at fault also, because they didn't do the proper homework to find out if the animal is genetically clear, or is a carrier.
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Old 06-02-2012, 01:28 AM   #64
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I agree about the testing thing. I'd rather have an unhealthy dog with a really great temperament than a perfectly healthy dog with the highest hip rating that had an unstable one. To me titling is a lot more important. I'm more apt to trust a breeder that has titled their dogs in several sports but only has a few minimum health tests, than a breeder with tons of health tests and no titles at all (or basic titles). I didn't think that way when I first started learning about this, but my feelings have evolved over time. The thing is that health tests only show a dog's overall health. They do not show how a dog functions or performs in the real world (or in competitions) the way titles do. A dog can be an A+ in terms of health but can be impossible to work with (no drive or focus) or aggressive.
I've seen some dogs when I've been photographing different events that are titled, but have a rotten personality. It's not the norm most certainly, but it's not to say it doesn't happen. If you're talking obedience titling, then sure, I'd take that over a titled dog that has titles in say agility, because they aren't necessarily (once again, I'm NOT generalizing, but it happens) looking at the temperament of the dog.

Then again, I've seen it in horses too. Horses that are used for say jumping tend to be a little more pushy than a horse that is in halter classes for example.

But, once again, doesn't personality, obedience and such also depend on the owner? Pits for example? I know a lot of purebred pits that are the sweetest dogs, and then you get the other purebred Pits that have to be muzzled to even give a vaccination, because the owner trained them to be aggressive.
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Old 06-02-2012, 01:30 AM   #65
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And many only show you THAT dog's health. Most of the genetic disorders that plague modern breeds are polygenic in nature, and people don't seem to understand this when they buy a dog just based on the sire and dam. It's not that simple. That is why I think excessive health testing is misleading for buyers, because they don't look any further and disregard the overall health and longevity of the lines.
Then more fault for the buyer to only look at one generation of breeding. I'd look at least three or four generations back before determining the quality of stock, and I'd certainly be wary if I start seeing the same animal show up through the lines.
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:03 AM   #66
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Yes and no. I definitely agree that the buyer needs to understand the pedigree and how that translates to health and temperament if they want to make a truly informed decision. I personally look a lot farther back than 4 generations.

However I'm a firm believer (and my dogs are proof) that careful linebreeding is very valuable. Some breeds do not have the diversity to be completely free of linebreeding. In GSDs if you breed with no linebreeding in, say, 8 generations as a goal then you are setting yourself up for failure because either 1) it's not possible or 2) the outcross necessary to make it possible is so random you have absolutely no way to accurately predict the health and temperament and are basically breeding blind.

I have one dog that is linebred 5-5 on one of the toughest (in a good way) bitches in the breed and the dam of one of the most successful litters in the modern history of the breed. She herself has no linebreeding in 5 generations. For me this type of linebreeding is marginal but I have to look back 10 generations to make that conclusion. I've seen other dogs that carry no linebreeding quotient (no linebreeding within 5 generations) but say you get to the sixth generation and there it is and not only is it there but now the linebreeding is on a dog that himself was linebred something like 3,4-4 and those dogs are also tightly linebred. So, you have one dog that *does* have a linebreeding quotient however if you actually look at the pedigree it basically washes out, and then you have a dog with no linebreeding quotient but is actually the product of a genetic bottleneck. For example there are many west German show line German Shepherd dogs that have no linebreeding quotient yet 99% of this "type" of German shepherd is the result of a genetic bottleneck through *three* individual dogs. So, anyway the point is that examining only four generations deep can give an incomplete and sometimes entirely false picture of the actual linebreeding that has taken place.
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Old 06-02-2012, 11:56 AM   #67
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I'm not saying having one dog repetitively showing up is bad, but if you've got multiples, obviously the chances of genetic issues are higher.

And I said at least. If it were me, I'd go back as far as I possibly could. I guess that's the reason I'm hesitant about getting a pedigree dog. I've seen too many bad breeders, and working at a shelter doesn't help that when you see purebreds come through with obvious issues, which usually are a result of breeding.


I'm actually on the lookout for a privately bred ferret. I've got three currently, and they're NOTORIOUS for getting some form of cancer. Insulinoma, Hyperadrenalcorticism caused by an Adrenal tumor and lymphoma. I've got one with Adrenal AND Insulinoma. His first cancer started showing clinical signs at 18 months, his adrenal showed up 6 months later. He's still alive, but recently I've just spent $500 on an ultrasound to see if he had lymphoma.

Why is that - well, 95% of the ferrets you see in stores are from one place - Marshall Farms - which, by the way breed both ferrets as well as Beagles for research labs. They're a mass breeder, and obviously couldn't give a shit when it comes to breeding. It's all about money. I've got one that is from a breeder in Canada, is 5 years old and the most severe thing she's had is an upper respiratory infection.

When I look for ferrets? I'm immediately going to go look at lineage to see how much of a genetic diversity they have.
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Old 06-02-2012, 11:59 AM   #68
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PennHIPs are not painful. The dog is sedated because PennHIP requires a precise, exact positioning and it's just easier to get it right if the dog is out of it (if it's not perfect, they have to do it again).
Typically sedation medications such as the commonly used Acepromazine or Ketamine (street name is Special K if ya didn't know) don't not have analgesic properties. Now, if they combine Ace with a pain medication, then I'd say that they have less pain. Sure, they'd likely be stiff, but not in as much pain.

Shit, I've been studying way too long on Pharmacology.
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Old 06-02-2012, 01:18 PM   #69
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I'm not saying having one dog repetitively showing up is bad, but if you've got multiples, obviously the chances of genetic issues are higher.
But that assumes there are genetic issues present. Linebreeding allows allows the desirable traits to be expressed while outcrossing can diminish that chance. Good breeding is not just about genetic health issues but also ensuring that the desirable health and temperament continue to be expressed. Most of the best breeders will spend generations intentionally setting up careful linebreeding to outcross or vice versa. They are both necessary for health and temperament.

At a shelter you're going to often see the worst of the worst. Fanciers like myself are not going to take a carefully bred, perfectly healthy, well-tempered dog and leave it at a shelter.
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Old 06-02-2012, 01:49 PM   #70
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I've seen some dogs when I've been photographing different events that are titled, but have a rotten personality. It's not the norm most certainly, but it's not to say it doesn't happen. If you're talking obedience titling, then sure, I'd take that over a titled dog that has titles in say agility, because they aren't necessarily (once again, I'm NOT generalizing, but it happens) looking at the temperament of the dog.

Then again, I've seen it in horses too. Horses that are used for say jumping tend to be a little more pushy than a horse that is in halter classes for example.

But, once again, doesn't personality, obedience and such also depend on the owner? Pits for example? I know a lot of purebred pits that are the sweetest dogs, and then you get the other purebred Pits that have to be muzzled to even give a vaccination, because the owner trained them to be aggressive.
Race horses can be nuts. I've found western pleasure horses to be calmer overall than the show jumping and eventing horses I spent my childhood riding. But yes, I meant titles in things like Obedience, Schutzhund, Tracking, herding, temperament/drive, etc. Mostly things that require a dog sound in mind with a good drive in order to even achieve titles.

It's a little of both. Nature vs nurture here. In the GSD world, many dogs do Schutzhund (I believe it is a requirement in Germany for any breeding program). They are working dogs. Lies understands this a lot better than I do, but there are often problems in show lines where the dog won't have enough drive to really compete/work. They'll do well as pups, but then they will peak out and hit a wall where they will no longer be able to improve or get further titles. Drive is something you can build, but only up to a certain point and that point is decided by the breeding.

Likewise, if a person never bothers to attempt to build that drive in a show line German Shepherd, the dog will definitely never reach it. You won't find it unless you really push your dogs. In terms of personality, even the most sound dogs cannot stand up to years of abuse. This however also falls in line with breeding because a sound dog will not be ruined or have a sour temperament because of first-time owner mistakes. In this case, the breeding is important.

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At a shelter you're going to often see the worst of the worst. Fanciers like myself are not going to take a carefully bred, perfectly healthy, well-tempered dog and leave it at a shelter.
Exactly. I'm not opposed to adopting from shelters and have been involved in animal rescues for a good portion of my life, but it irks me when people make judgments on an entire breed based on what they've seen in shelters. It also bothers me when someone says "why would you ever pay top dollar for a breeder when you can get the dog in a rescue?" While it certainly is possible to find a quality dog through a rescue or a humane society (I have seen a local breeder rehome dogs by advertising through the rescue, but the dogs were never actually in the shelter, they were with the breeder), most of the dogs you find that have been dumped in shelters were not bred by quality breeders. They usually end up in shelters because of foul temperaments or health issues, and because a breeder isn't backing the dog, the breeder has refused to take the dog back. A red flag.
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Old 06-02-2012, 03:41 PM   #71
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But, once again, doesn't personality, obedience and such also depend on the owner?
No, temperament is genetic. The dog's genetic makeup sets the points on the spectrum of any temperament trait. Training and socialization ("nurture") can and will influence where within those two points the dog actually falls, but you cannot train or socialize a dog outside of those points set by their genetics.

As for titles I can't really comment there, I don't buy based on titles I buy based on the genetic health and temperament of the dog. While all my dogs' parents and grandparents and back tens of generations are in fact titled I don't need those titles to tell me anything about the dog, I just know that from experience and research and actually training the dogs and observing them work. My deciding factor when I bought Pan was the fact that he was from a repeat litter and I liked what I was seeing from the first litter. At the time his sire was quite young and some won't take that gamble but I liked what I saw in the progeny so far and liked the pedigree. So far nothing about him has surprised me and he's been a perfectly healthy, successful dog.

Obedience and conformation titles don't really tell me anything because those just aren't thorough enough for me. A Schutzhund, SDA, or PSA title means more to me as far as the titles go because those are three-phase tests designed for working breeds whereas something like an AKC obedience title is something that any dog from any breed can get with some training. That type of title doesn't push the dog and doesn't expose to me any strengths and weaknesses in the dog that I'd need to know about if looking for a high level dog or future breeding prospect.

I tend to buy my dogs based on what I know from the pedigree (both health and temperament) and what I observe from the breeding dogs in training/work and just how they interact with people and such when not working. Most dogs that are trained to the level I'm looking for will have a title because why would you put years of work into a dog and not title it, but it's not necessarily a deal-breaker for me.
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Old 06-02-2012, 11:08 PM   #72
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Race horses can be nuts. I've found western pleasure horses to be calmer overall than the show jumping and eventing horses I spent my childhood riding.
Were they all TB's though, or did you have warmbloods, QH or others?

I know a TB that is so laid back that if anymore he'd be horizontal, another that is psycho. Funnily enough both proven on the track.

One, it's breeding, Hot-blooded horses (Arabians and TB's for example) tend to be more crazy, QH are generally laid back, WB are a mix depending on the particular animal.

Please realize I'm not slamming responsible people such as yourself, but more the misinformed, lazy people that either buy a dog because: 1. It's currently the flavor or the month/year/decade; or, 2. the dog is 'cute'; or 3. the breed is 'badass'
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Old 06-03-2012, 09:55 AM   #73
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Warmbloods and others. I find TBs and Arabians to be a little more high strung naturally, but not naturally crazy. Horses that are from the racetrack can typically be pretty nuts though--I think it ha something to do with their training.
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Old 06-03-2012, 09:38 PM   #74
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Warmbloods and others. I find TBs and Arabians to be a little more high strung naturally, but not naturally crazy. Horses that are from the racetrack can typically be pretty nuts though--I think it ha something to do with their training.
It is. I know an off the track TB that goes crazy when he hears the tune they play before a race.

And usually TBs and Arabs are naturally high strung because they're hot bloods. Usually. There's always an exception to the norm.
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:53 PM   #75
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As for titles I can't really comment there, I don't buy based on titles I buy based on the genetic health and temperament of the dog. While all my dogs' parents and grandparents and back tens of generations are in fact titled I don't need those titles to tell me anything about the dog, I just know that from experience and research and actually training the dogs and observing them work. My deciding factor when I bought Pan was the fact that he was from a repeat litter and I liked what I was seeing from the first litter. At the time his sire was quite young and some won't take that gamble but I liked what I saw in the progeny so far and liked the pedigree. So far nothing about him has surprised me and he's been a perfectly healthy, successful dog.

Obedience and conformation titles don't really tell me anything because those just aren't thorough enough for me. A Schutzhund, SDA, or PSA title means more to me as far as the titles go because those are three-phase tests designed for working breeds whereas something like an AKC obedience title is something that any dog from any breed can get with some training. That type of title doesn't push the dog and doesn't expose to me any strengths and weaknesses in the dog that I'd need to know about if looking for a high level dog or future breeding prospect.
I can agree with this. With Viking, his parents were not titled at all outside of CGC and he has a fantastic temperament. However I have seen a lot of problems related to breeders that don't title their dogs and I've begun to wonder why they don't bother to. I feel that on some level titling shows a commitment and the ability of the breeder and their dogs to "walk the walk". Several breeders won't title their dogs, but then without ever actively pursuing schutzhund will tell people that the dogs can handle the sport. To me, it is a folly to insist your dog can do something when you've never actually tried to get them to do it.

However what you said still applies: if the first breeding between the two dogs turned out well, then the 2nd is likely to turn out well as well. A dog can be titled up the wazoo and still produce pups that have awful temperaments.

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It is. I know an off the track TB that goes crazy when he hears the tune they play before a race.

And usually TBs and Arabs are naturally high strung because they're hot bloods. Usually. There's always an exception to the norm.
A thoroughbred at my old barn was very temperamental and we used to joke that he tried to kill us. He would randomly go nuts and try to push you around when working with him, and god forbid he got loose in the barn aisle. That's where the kind of training you don't usually see in the horse world comes in. Yeah, it looks abusive and scary when you see a trainer whipping the crap out of a horse on a lunge line, but most people don't realize that the horse is actually trying to harm the trainer and if the trainer doesn't put the horse in its place he or she could get SERIOUSLY injured. When you have two options--get trampled and possibly die or whip the horse so it stays away from you--I guarantee you're going to whip the horse. The TB we dealt with would often charge at the person in the center. Eventually he did get better (he was from a racetrack and we rescued him), but we had to kick his butt in order to get him to listen.
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