Dog trains man

Monday, March 10, 2014

About Hovawarts, inbreeding, and Crufts 2014

It started with a moment that made me feel proud. The Hovawart winner of Crufts 2014 wasn't inbred. The "mate select" from the Kennel Club showed an "inbreeding coefficient" of 0.0%.

It just took 5 minutes before a friend with access to the Swedish Kennel Club database could prove, this wasn't true at all. The winner was inbred. His coefficient was 5.1%.

Although the number of 5.1% is not shocking compared to other breeds, I wonder if my fears for the Hovawart to be on the same slippery slope for dog showing as other breeds are coming true. Fears in which inbreeding is allowed - even promoted - to win dog shows.

If we accept 5.1%, what is next?

I could wait to make a shout-out when it is out of control - that would be 12.5%, and even 25%, like in father-daughter mating - but why wait until things have spinned out of control.

What is wrong with a line drawn in the sand at 0.0% ?

It is possible. Hovawarts with such a low number won dog shows, also beyond Crufts, before.

Do we really want to follow the example set out by other breeds? And inbreed them into extinction? Or do we continue on the Hovawart way. Where variety and versatility equals diversity, and zero inbreeding is something to be proud of?

We have a very small gene pool, only based on a very few individuals, highly inbred from the days of König. That should give us more than enough to worry about, than to start inbreeding once more.

We don't have to be an expert on genealogy to see what is right and what is wrong. Inbreeding is a no go. It's incest.

And as a final remark. I knew the Kennel Club's "mate select" was flawed when it concerned imports and not keeping sufficient data through generations - see also this pedigree dogs exposed blog - but their initiative to do something with the info at hand, seemed indeed a good thing and I applauded it.

But now I wonder, why the KC even couldn't add the plain pedigree of the winning Hovawart to their database. At least you should have a pedigree on the dog that won. The 0.0% inbreed coefficient  listed now is downright misleading. There is no data in the KC database - like in zero data - to sustain any claim of the winner's coefficient whatsoever when it concerns Hovawarts.


  1. Haha, you are a funny man :-) ...... wishful thinking I am afraid! The UK KC is not a full member of the FCI, Hovawart are still in the Rare Breeds register (not fully recognised as a breed in it's own right). They are not granted (cannot win) CC's (equivalent to CAC from FCI). A pedigree is only printed out if you apply and pay for it, after you have provided it to them yourself. Breeders still write pedigrees for their litter of pups by hand to give to owners and you think the KC should provide a pedigree of a winning show dog? Pigs might fly!

    1. The pigs did fly that 0.0% in their database :) A "no data" would have been more appropriate.

  2. That's disappointing. You'd think with all the modern data capabilities that such figures would be accurate.

  3. We applaud your post for adding your voice to this matter We've been following the obesity epidemic that seems to be taking over Labradors in the US after seeing the winners at Westminster and wrote several posts about it. I was glad the Crufts winners were a bit more fit, but there really is a problem going on with pure-bred/pedigree breeding programs. These beauty pageants (and the governing bodies - UK KC and US AKC) need to be more proactive in defining health & breeding standards along with the appearance. I'm not holding my breath.

  4. And now this dog is fathering a litter where the inbreeding koeficcient is 7,2%..


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