Keep watching the papers because when we announce our engagement it will be big and splashy. I'll change my last name to Kennelklubben. We will have many genetically correct babies and grow old together.
I finally got off my ass and watched Pedigree Dogs Exposed, which I thought, personally, made a lot of good points. And it was fun because before now I've been piecing together my information in, well, not narrated and illustrated form, plus my version definitely lacked British accents. Being a generally lazy person, I enjoy being fed information, and foreign accents are always a bonus. They make me pay attention.
And then - woe - they mentioned the Swedish Kennel Club and a little lightbulb clicked and afterward I had to trawl the Internet until I found what I was looking for, and then dug even deeper.
This is what I've found out about the Swedish Kennel Club's policies:
- Inbreeding is frowned upon. In fact, they go so far as to AVOID breeding close relatives. How great is that. Kennel Clubs are usually all talk and no action, but the studies say that, so far, Sweden is actually cutting back on inbred dogs (from a 3.7% inbreeding coefficient in 2002 to 2.7% as of April 2008).
- Open registries! Yes! And it gets better! Since introducing open registries, they have halved the occurrence of hip dysplasia in dogs. This is a Scandinavian revolution, people! The information on any one individual dog, plus his siblings, parents and offspring, are all available for anybody to peruse on the SKC website. It includes stats for each breed on health traits, mental status, breeding animals (age at breeding, litter size, etc), number of registered dogs, and average levels of inbreeding. The GDC, America's open registry, was modeled after Sweden's.
- They've placed limits on the number of offspring any one dog can sire.
- They've started outcrossing programs in order to increase the population of certain breeds and improve health.
- Mental health is valued alongside physical health. In order to breed, working dogs must pass a behavioural assessment. Border collies have to be assessed at herding before their offspring can be SKC-registered. I think I might cry.
Now what is so hard about doing the same thing in North America??
Pass the smorgas. I'm moving to Sweden.