The podcast is going on a short hiatus, and then will resume broadcasting biweekly. Meantime, catch up on what is happening with the Functional Dog Collaborative, including breeding cooperatives, news on the long awaited database, and more.
Sarah Stremming is an internationally known dog behavior consultant with a special niche working with sports dogs. She consults at The Cognitive Canine, teaches online courses on dog behavior, and hosts the Cog Dog Radio Podcast. I sat down with Sarah to talk about agility dogs, particularly the ubiquitous border collie, and what is going on with them in terms of health and behavioral issues. Looking for your next agility prospect? This interview is a must listen.
Elinor Karlsson, Ph.D., is the director of the Vetebrate Genomics Group at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and (incidentally) my boss. She has a deep knowledge about both population genetics and what we call "complex trait genomics," or the genetics of hard to pin down things like risk of developing cancer or a behavior problem. Elinor talked with me about a recent paper that looked for genetic variants associated with diseases in a large number of dogs from many breeds and mixes. She discusses what this paper found and some ways to intepret those findings. The paper is Donner, Jonas, et al. "Frequency and distribution of 152 genetic disease variants in over 100,000 mixed breed and purebred dogs." PLoS genetics 14.4 (2018): e1007361. https://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article?rev=2&id=10.1371/journal.pgen.1007361.
Elinor also discusses a paper about genetic testing that she published recently, and that paper is Moses, Lisa, Steve Niemi, and Elinor Karlsson. "Pet genomics medicine runs wild." (2018): 470-472 https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05771-0.
Oluademi James-Daniel is a force for change in the dog world. Her Facebook group, Inclusivity in Dog Training, has become a major player in the conversation about whether the dog world is inclusive (spoiler: there's lots to work on) and what we can all do to make things better for minorities. In this episode, Oluademi talks about bias in the dog world generally and especially in breeding and in how breeders pick their puppy owners.
Eldin Leighton has a PhD in animal breeding, and after a long career at The Seeing Eye, has founded the International Working Dog Registry, or IWDR. If you didn't listen to last week's episode where Eldin talked about his career before the IWDR, definitely check that out first. In this episode, he tells us all about the IWDR, how it helps gather large populations of dogs together to provide more data - and analyze that data! - to help breeders improve their breeding decisions, and whether it's useful for more than just working dogs. (Spoiler: yes it is.)
Eldin Leighton has a PhD in animal breeding and has wound up a long career managing the breeding program at The Seeing Eye, which is the largest guide dog organization in the US. In this episode, Eldin talks to us about how he got where he is now and gets super nerdy about the ins and outs of selecting breeding animals for the traits you want, from cattle to seeing eye dogs. (We love nerdy.) Eldin had so much good information that this ended up being two episodes, so stay tuned for part two next week.
The papers Eldin mentions in this episode are:
- Leighton, Eldin A., et al. "Genetic improvement of hip-extended scores in 3 breeds of guide dogs using estimated breeding values: Notable progress but more improvement is needed." PloS one 14.2 (2019): e0212544. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0212544
- Kealy, Richard D., et al. "Evaluation of the effect of limited food consumption on radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis in dogs." Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 217.11 (2000): 1678-1680. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.204.1848&rep=rep1&type=pdf
Marina Phillips is the breeding director for the ADI (Assistance Dogs International) Breeding Cooperative. A breeding cooperative is a group of breeders with similar goals who exchange animals to form a larger breeding population than they could on their own. In this episode, Marina gets down and dirty with the details of how to put together and run a breeding cooperative, and wraps up with some insights on how she makes guardian homes (placing dogs in pet homes but keeping breeding rights) work for her. If you're a breeder who has ever struggled with how to keep enough potential breeding dogs in a house with limited space, this episode may be for you.
You can learn more about Marina's breeding program at http://www.eirlysgoldenretrievers.com/.
The podcast is going on a hiatus of a few weeks. I'm leaving you with this update on what's been happening with the Functional Dog Collaborative over its first months and where we're going next - guidelines of purpose, outlining our educational curriculum, T-shirts, and laying the groundwork for some big things in the future.
Kim Palermo owns BlueDog, a multicentric dog walking and training company, with her husband. There she runs manners and puppy classes for pet dog owners, and has her hands on quite a few doodles. In this episode, I talk with Kim about her changing perceptions of doodles, what she sees in doodles and doodle owners, and what she wishes first time dog owners knew before bringing their new puppy home. You can learn more about BlueDog at https://www.bluedogpetcare.com/ and you can follow Kim on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/kimanddogs/.
Alicia Hobson, of Bear Lake Bearded Retrievers, is the founder of the Bearded Retriever Project. The Bearded Retriever is a breed in development, based on poodles, Labrador Retrievers, and Golden Retrievers; the dogs have a classic doodle look and F1 poodle/retriever crosses can be Bearded Retrievers. In this episode, Alicia and I talk breeder education, client education, coat genetics, and the social challenges of breeding doodles. You can learn more about Bearded Retrievers at https://beardedretrieverclubofamerica.org, and about Alicia's breeding program at https://www.bearlakebeardedretrievers.com/.