Breeding Landrace Dogs

Almost all dogs are purebred, designer mixes, or mutts, and the kennel clubs only deal with the purebred ones. These dogs all have a high CoI, that is, a high amount of inbreeding. The results of 100 years of this inbreeding has resulted in more and more sickly breeds, just as what happened when European royalty engaged in inbreeding for generations. Spain ended up with a king who was retarded, an emotional mess, dwarfed, with the huge Hapsburg jaw that prevented him from comfortable eating. And that was the end of that line in Spain.

I am not a dog breeder. I am not encouraging anyone to breed dogs and I encourage people to adopt dogs from pounds, but I do feel this is an important issue for any intelligent dog owner to consider. If it has no other result than increasing pressure on the kennel clubs to open up their registries to out- crosses, I will be happy.

About the time royalty started bringing in fresh blood to their lines, the kennel club in England was developing the closed registry, which resulted in all the dogs in a breed being related to most of the same founding fathers. The royalty changed their breeding practices when the results of inbreeding became plain when the recessives for genetic diseases started showing up in their children. The kennel clubs have reached the same point, but do not want to recognize how terrible a closed registry is, so they go on breeding unhealthy dogs.

Since the kennel clubs engage in terrible breeding practices, there is no well-known model of healthy breeding practices among dogs. However, every other domestic animal has developed and uses good to excellent breeding practices, based on genetics and the principle of out-crossing. The are distinct breeds in every other kind of domestic animal from chicken to goat, including sheep, horses, and cattle. How do they keep each breed distinct, yet healthy? They out-cross within lines of the breed as much as possible and when they do get into some genetic problems in certain lines, out-crossing to another breed is used because type can be restored in just 3-4 generations. The kennel clubs, with a very few exceptions, do not register out-crossed dogs or previously unregistered dogs of the same breed. They may on the point of change, however.

There is a dog world outside AKC dogs. Working dogs are not usually registered, border collies and  non-kennel club Russell  terriers, are available and a couple of other ‘breeds’, but more and more ‘breeds’ are falling into the ‘kennel club’ trap only it’s the UKC, which the AKC snubs for registering ‘mutt’s.

Landrace dogs.

Well, let’s take working Border Collies as a prime example of how to breed an non-AKC dog. What do working border collies do? They herd, usually  sheep. The farmer knows how to breed sheep to keep them healthy strong and working, and they bred dogs the same way. The result is that working collies are not as fancy looking as purebred Border Collies; they vary more in shape ear and tail sets, because those traits don’t matter. What matters is breeding good worker to good workers, smart dogs to smart dogs. Line breeding or inbreeding are only used in extremely particular circumstances, because it is better to avoid it, yet the collies are easy recognizable as Border Collies by anyone who knows the breed. Border Collies are  indisputably a prime example of a landrace dog.

We must look back in history before there were any kennel clubs to remember how “breeds” of dogs were maintained. Dogs had to be useful to be kept, so many  regions tended to have a type of useful dog. A very early type was the coursing hound typified by the modern varieties of Saluki,  Afghan, and the greyhound. These guys share a similar body structure with long legs. The amount of hair, the size and shape of the ears might vary, but they could all run and catch game, and loved to do so. they were indeed useful dogs, so each region of the Middle East had its own  variety of courser. Local dogs shared a gene pool, but new members were allowed, so it was an open gene pool, much like the Border Collies.

Each landrace type of dog was a local dog, suited to the environment in which they lived and bred. In the New World, it was the same way. The northern dogs tended to retain their wolfie look, though they were thoroughly domesticated. They were pullers and beasts of burden, though it is probable there were good hunters among them too.  Although it is probable inbreeding happened and more distant line breeding, there are so often culls in the first generation, let alone the second generation, that soon, there were fewer puppies from those inbred dogs, and more culls, so that usually, the more heterogeneous dogs survived and were healthy.

Landrace breeding today, would be easy. Let many members of each generation of a landrace dog breed to an unrelated dog of the same type, rather than just a few breeders breeding to other inbred dogs – and making a profession of it, Today, that could be limited to one litter before neutering.  This kind of breeding every generation keeps the dogs healthy,  typey, yet heterogeneous. It could encourage the right kind of backyard breeding of landrace dogs for many dog lovers, rather than an small group of elite AKC breeders. It is the AKC dogs that are the targets of puppy farms and the large breeders-for-profit.

Perhaps you have already jumped ahead and wondered about breeding the Techichi to continue its landrace character? The Techichi is a desert dog, and a house dog, often they are good at catching moving things and noticing anything minutely different in its territory. Being intensively loyal, to boot, they have a lot of fans. Well, there is already Techichi breeding going on in Tucson, right now. These deer type Chihuahuas were never part of a registry, yet everyone recognizes the type immediately. Various people have Techichi type dogs they want to breed and they agree to a mating for it and have puppies.

James Watson, a primary founder/breeder of the earliest Chihuahuas, came out west  in 1877 to get the small dogs in Tucson and El Paso, and Ida Garrett and many other people followed suit. They were then called Arizona dogs, It was Watson’s fancy that he called them Chihuahuas; he admitted he never found one in Chihuahua, only the US!

That original stock is still being bred in Tucson today, but never by kennels or puppy farms. Big Chihuahua are just not appealing to those types. Only a small percent of these dogs end up in the pound or a shelter, but there is usually at least one. Over the last 6 months I have collected pictures of 25 or so of these dogs and display them on the Gallery page.

You must admit, they have a very strong type and size, in common, yet have never been inbred.

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