Carol Beuchat » Carol Beuchat

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Locating the genes for hip dysplasia in dogs (Psssst! Look in the kibble bag.)

There is probably no other non-lethal health problem except perhaps allergies that afflicts so many breeds of dogs as hip dysplasia.  It cripples dogs with pain, sometimes in the prime of their lives, and there is very little modern veterinary care can do about it.  It seems clear that it has some genetic component (it […]

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Joanna Ilska - 8 July 2012 - 5:55 AM

The article is quite interesting, but, I’d like to notice the body condition score of the dogs in the study. The mean for “restricted-fed” dogs was 4.7, which according to tables is the desired, normal range. The mean for dogs fed ad lib was 6.7 which is obese. The restrictions to avoid obesity were introduced at 3 years of age. I’m not sure how these were introduced and when the body condition score was measured, but my understanding is that it was at 8 years? So how is it possible that the dogs were still so fat? Was that after effect of gross over feeding during puppyhood? Now, I think that no one in teh right mind would allow a pup to get so fat. This would have all sorts of health risks, not only related to joints.
Now, moving onto the genetics. We don’t know much about the genetic constitution of these dogs. We know that their parents were screened healthy. Obviously, we know that the results of the oparents only are not very informative. So I would assume that these puppies were already carrying genes for HD, which given the right condition expressed itself. For me the study would be more valid, if the pups were taken from a population free of HD, as proved by several generations of clean results (Guide Dogs have very stringent screening procedures and their population is probably the best in this respect) and then the effect of overfeeding was measured on those pups. My feeling is that if they were genetically free of HD carrying genes, even overfeeding wouldn’t affect them.


CONSULTANTS & SCIENTIFIC PARTICIPANTS Carol Beuchat, PhD (USA) – Founder & Scientific Director, Canine Genetic Resources Robert Lacy, PhD (USA) – Senior Scientific Adviser; Population Geneticist; Chicago Zoological Society Grégoire Leroy, PhD (France) – Geneticist, AgroParisTech, Génétique et Diversité Animales Heather Huson, PhD (USA) – Geneticist, USDA Jennifer Mickelberg, PhD (USA) – Smithsonian Institute, Center for […]

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Brenna - 4 July 2012 - 12:58 PM

count me in! field spaniels and dobermans!

Kate Williams - 4 July 2012 - 5:16 PM

I am amazed! It is so gratifying to see someone working so hard for the ultimate good of the dog genome and its various breeds. I have been in favor of such a registry for a long time and I am delighted to read about your efforts.

I would enjoy volunteering in some way.

Do we really need new Basenjis?

It doesn’t happen often, but the AKC has opened the Basenji stud book to allow the introduction of new African imports.  One of the compelling reasons to do this is that the small number of founders of the breed and subsequent inbreeding (which, of course, is inevitable in a closed gene pool) has reduced genetic […]

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Kate Williams - 25 May 2012 - 2:20 PM

Thank you for writing this article and for making it available to us.

I started out in Basenjis in 1963 and there were already rumblings of the genetic tragedies to come. When my last Basenji died, I never looked at another pedigreed dog, as I understood, even back then, that the closed registry system was going to destroy all breeds if not by the 20th generation, by the 50th or 100th with no new blood. Everyone’s relationship to each other increases. I am delighted that the Basenji books are open again, but I think they need more than a couple of new dogs as happened the last time they were opened. In fact they ought to leave them open, considering, there is a large unregistered population available. This is an unparallelled chance to prove what can be done with new blood coming in.

In addition, Basenji breeders need to breed for the common Basenji, not the highly refined ones, such as I had. They need to look at dog breeding less as a way to express themselves artistically, and more as breeding for the natural, old fashioned, tough little guys like their ancestors.

The one thing that annoyed me (ever so slightly)in your article was the deference to breeder’s personal takes on breeds and breeder’s stamps on the breeds. I look at this slightly askance, because dog breeding should not be for the purpose of artistic expression of one’s personal ideal dog. Instead they need to breed for the perfect average of their breed. Among humans, it is the most average, the least extreme, faces and bodies that are considered the prettiest.

Basenjis, and other old breeds that have not been recreated by the kennel clubs- ie, the afghans, provide examples of breeds with a large native unregistered pool of dogs. These unregistered dogs have not changed over the eons they have existed. Some have more or less hair, but the basic type seems as fixed as in a breed. Kennel club breeders need to look at ancestor dogs and not breed away from them, as for longer noses (collies), more copious coats (Afghans) more wrinkles, looser skin, shorter legs, more pendulous ears, flatter faces than were around when the breed was founded. Just because genetic material can be manipulated by show breeders for looks only, does not mean that it is good for the dog- or good for the breed.

I live to read articles like this and to see people coming to understand what the closed registry has done, so thanks again!

Carol - 25 May 2012 - 9:10 PM

Kate, the issues you raise about what types of dogs breeders should be producing (e.g., “highly refined”) or for what reasons (e.g., “artistic” expression) are not the focus of this discussion and a quagmire I’m not going to wade into. I don’t breed dogs, I don’t show dogs, and it’s not for me to say how and why others should do it. Humans have been molding the form and behavior of dogs to serve various purposes for thousands of years before the kennel club was invented, and I think that human history and evolution would be much different had there not been dogs to herd, guard, haul, hunt,and and soothe the soul, all of which are a consequence of selective breeding. I do agree that the closed stud book mandated by kennel clubs is a major problem, and it’s the reason we need to worry about population genetics and use it as a tool to breed healthier dogs.

The purpose of these posts is to introduce dog breeders to the importance of considering population genetics as a way to understand and address the increasing health problems of dogs. The goal of every dedicated breeder is to produce happy, healthy dogs that live a long, full life in the company of the people that love them. The tools to do this are available, breeders just need to learn about them. This is my little contribution to that effort.

Carol - 29 May 2012 - 11:48 AM

One thing I would note about the COI graph above is that although most of the population at the end of the 1980’s had COI’s greater than 25%, I don’t for a minute suspect that breeders were actually doing sib-sib matings. In fact, based on a 5 or 10 generation pedigree, dogs might look relatively unrelated when in fact the genes they share come from farther back in the pedigree. In general, calculated values of COI will increase as you include more ancestors in the calculation. For example, sire and dam might share no ancestors in a 5 generation pedigree (so calculated COI would be zero). But in the case of Basenjis and most other breeds, there were fairly few founders, so there was necessarily some inbreeding in the early generations. Unless the pedigree data go back to founders, the calculations are blind to this information. In fact, computation of Wright’s coefficient assumes that the animals in the first generation of data are all UNRELATED. If the data go back to founders, this is true. But if you don’t include founders, the first generation of animals used in the analysis will likely be related to some degree, violating this assumption, and the calculated COI will be incorrect and an underestimate of the actual value.

Carol - 29 May 2012 - 12:10 PM

The data used in the graph were compiled by Bryan Gregory, and I did the calculations of Wright’s Coefficient of Inbreeding using Breed Mate Pedigree Explorer for 20 generations. There may well be lineages that have more than 20 generations in this dataset. For these, if an animal occurs in the most recent 20 generations and also in ancestors before that, all the data for that animal are included. Because of the way this software is written, not all lines were necessarily traced to founders. For these, calculated COI’s will likely underestimate the actual values. I consider this analysis to be preliminary. When we have a complete and error-checked data set, I will be using software that will do these computations accurately back to founders, and it will also provide information on a number of other critical statistics like effective population size, effective number of founders, etc, as was done in the papers I talked about in earlier blog posts about Icelandic Sheepdogs, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers, and Lancashire Heelers. Working with me on this are a couple of experts, Bob Lacy (my coauthor on the paper discussed above) and Dr Jennifer Mickelberg in the Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics at the Smithsonian Institution.

Kate Williams - 4 July 2012 - 5:10 PM

Hi Carol.
I did not realize you responded to me when I first commented on your article. I did not mean to engage you in any philosophy of dog; that is clearly not your job. What you are doing is more than enough. I was commenting on what I think was part of the process that led to so much loss of genetic material and the increasing COI. I did not pay attention it being an editorial remark. I have a blog and that is where that part of my comment belongs.

This is an article, worth several rereads. It stimulated my thinking in one direction and I imagine it sparks ideas about these things in others too. At least I hope so.

So thanks for your work with these ideas.

Population genetics suggests dire straits for Tollers and Heelers

Maki, K. 2010.  Population structure and genetic diversity of worldwide Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever and Lancashire Heeler dog populations.  J Anim Breed Genet 127: 318-326.  (pdf)  ———————————————————————- For those that asked about other examples of the application of population genetics analyses to dog breeds, here is another excellent paper that does this for two uncommon […]

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Kate Williams - 26 April 2012 - 3:25 PM

I got this link from Pai off of Facebook.
The breed club for Lhasa Apsos has been opened to new original ‘landrace’ stock from Tibet, as a part of a program to save the “gompa” dog of Tibet. So many monasteries have been destroyed that it is a worldwide effort to save this ancient dog which are rapidly going extinct in their native land.

Where are the genes hiding? Fancy math reveals in Labradors, Wolfhounds, and Bedlingtons

If you’ve worked your way through the paper on Icelandic Sheepdogs (ISD) from previous posts (part 1 and part 2), you ran into a mathematical technique called cluster analysis.  It’s a little complicated, but basically it’s a way of grouping things by similarities in various traits.  In the ISD paper, cluster analysis was used to […]

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Carol - 22 April 2012 - 4:20 PM

There’s a really cool thing I meant to point out about this analysis. If you have the pedigree data to produce these genetic subgroups for a population or breed of dogs, you can use it to identify the source (or at least the genetic distribution) of a particular trait or disease. You don’t need to know anything about the condition of the trait in ancestors (although those data would certainly be informative). Say for example a new health problem has been noted a few times in a breed. Is it inherited? Environmental? Just a fluke occurrence? By keeping track of which population groups the affected animals belong to, you can start being suspicious if all the cases fall into the same or in closely related subgroups. In fact, with a central registry for health information, genetic problems could be detected on the basis of scattered reports, even before they come to the attention of breeders who might not know about the other cases. Instead of producing generations of affected dogs before the nature of the disorder becomes apparent and linked to particular lines, potentially affected genetic subgroups would be revealed in real time as cases are reported. Breeders could be alerted early and take appropriate steps to avoid producing affected dogs.

The only thing that prevents us from doing this now is the availability of complete pedigree databases and somebody with the expertise to do the analysis.

Kate Williams - 26 April 2012 - 2:22 PM

Thanks for this series Carol. I hope a lot more people find it. You present the information in a non-threatening way, and once a breed genome is known, it is possible to increase heterogeneity by proper planning. I think you are fairly cutting edge as far as peoples’ interests go now, but I look forward to your series mainstreaming, if not going viral!

I find the dendrogram for the labs and the wolfhounds to be especially heartening. They indicate that it will be possible to breed away from the problems manifested in the cluster analysis, by sharing data and using lines that do not show it.

The Bedlingtons’ case seems more dismal. I will be interested in the suggestions to correct for it. If this copper toxicosis is a recessive that was once buried before inbreeding brought it to the surface, as in the Basenjis’ fanconi syndrome, it may be better to just bury it again by outcrossing. I don’t state this categorically, I am just thinking that could be the way to go. We all, dogs and people, have bad recessives, but statistically, they don’t come into play often in heterozygous populations.

I do love many breeds of dogs and I look forward to changes in kennel club registries that will overcome the issues of a closed registry, while keeping breed types sound. I also think there are a number of breeds with landrace members who show less consistency of type, perhaps, but have not lost the skill set for which they were bred in the first place. I also look forward to people understanding landraces better, because they represent much more heterozygous populations, thus greater freedom from immune system weaknesses. Border Collies are the classic , but not the only, example of a landrace with a branch that went into the closed registry system of the KC’s of the world.

I look forward to the day when a facebook-like database is available for all breeds, and outcrosses, etc., to join, where this kind of data will be made available from individual dogs and correlated into the d-base to plan best breeding scenarios.

What population genetics can tell you about your breed

> I’ve moved my summary and some comments on the previous post to a new blog post here.  If you haven’t already, you might want to read my introduction to the reading group, and also my introduction to this paper and why it’s relevant to ALL breeds of dogs.  If you don’t have a copy […]

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Jeanine - 7 April 2012 - 4:21 AM

I don’t know enough about Icelandic Sheepdogs — did breeders in Iceland select for looks, working ability, or some combination of the two?
You now have set me to researching the breeding protocols of the German Club for Belgian Shepherds, which, if I remember correctly, requires that every breeding be approved by a commission, that each stud can be used a maximum of three times (in his lifetime, exemptions are possible I think) and each dog approved for breeding (show results and temp/working ability test required)is assigned an inbreeding coefficient. No breedings are approved where the inbreeding coefficient would rise above a certain percentage. And all club members are required to publish an obit on their dog in the newsletter stating cause of death.

Carol - 7 April 2012 - 11:19 AM

Jeanine, I would image some breeders were focused on conformation, others on working ability, and probably some worried about both. Maybe we can get some input from the folks who know more about the history of the breed – anybody?

Yes, some breed clubs and some kennel clubs have begun to pay more attention to breeding practices. The UK Kennel Club now provides information about coefficient of inbreeding for specific dogs and averaged over entire breeds online, and I believe they are also working on providing additional information (e.g. effective population sizes) from their website. You can see how it works here ( The limitation of this information is that it is based only on information in their pedigree database. So for breeds that originated in other countries, the pedigrees don’t go back to founders, which of course if essential to calculate true inbreeding coefficients. Even for breeds that originated there, the old pedigrees are not digitized, so again this is a huge limitation. But it’s a start, and certainly better than nothing.

Kate Williams - 16 April 2012 - 5:58 PM

I read this article. While I did not do the assignment per se, I did allow the implications of population genetics to percolate into a post in one of my blogs. I would post it here, but it is not about Icelandic Collies, except in passing. I put the url in the space for website, so maybe you can see it, if interested

[…] worked your way through the paper on Icelandic Sheepdogs (ISD) from previous posts (part 1 and part 2), you ran into a mathematical technique called cluster analysis.  It’s a little complicated, […]

Genetics of Icelandic Sheepdogs

Oliehoek, PA, P Bijma, & A van der Meijden.  2009.  History and structure of the closed pedigreed population of Icelandic Sheepdogs.  (PDF download)   ————————————————— I picked this paper to start with for a few reasons. 1)  The topic – genetics of purebred dogs – should seem immediately relevant and interesting. 2)  It will introduce […]

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Leita Estes - 18 March 2012 - 2:38 PM

Interesting article Carol. The lack of genetic diversity is what purebred dogs are all about really. Since we as breeders really have two main areas (the standard and health) that are what guides us in selection we have done very well over the years. Humans which are basically out crosses have as many if not more health problems as dogs and what a diverse look we all have. In my breed German Shorthaired Pointers we have really had only two bottlenecks in the showlines (I am not up on the fieldlines but I know of at least 1) over the past 20 years. With the ease of shipping semen around I think in the future we might be seeing more bottlenecks which could cause a problem. To me the health consequences are the scary part of bottlenecks as you don’t know until later what negative problem you have selected for. At least with the increase in genetic testing we might be able to dodge some of those bullets.

Carol - 18 March 2012 - 3:05 PM

Leita, the breeders want homogeneity in the genes that determine breed type, but they need heterogeneity in the genes that keep the dog alive. But selecting for breed type also reduces variability in the “dog genes” if it’s not done in a way that’s designed to prevent loss of those genes from the population. Conservation genetics is the discipline that has developed to do just this. It’s how zoos keep their captive populations of animals healthy, how livestock breeders keep inbreeding depression from reducing the value of their herd, and how endangered species are brought back from the brink. Conservation genetics is a different discipline than Mendelian or classical genetics. The techniques will not be familiar to you, but they will give you tools you need to make the best possible breeding decisions. This is where you can start learning about them. Get through this paper with me and if you don’t find it really, REALLY useful I’ll give you a free photoshoot. :-) (PS humans have lots of health problems because the doctors can keep us alive. Without medicine, the human population would be the picture of health. Ironic, eh?) (PPS – Genetic testing will NEVER solve these problems. Come along and you’ll learn why.)

Carol - 18 March 2012 - 3:24 PM

Let me put it another way.

If you can view the collected pedigrees of ALL THE DOGS IN YOUR BREED BACK TO FOUNDERS simultaneously, and determine the degree of genetic similarity of ANY individual to any other, then you don’t need to worry about this. If not, then give this a try. There are lots of species still on earth that would be gone by now without it. I have some of the best experts in the world to help us out.

Christopher@BorderWars - 18 March 2012 - 5:27 PM

Excellent idea Carol. I can already see that we have many minds to open up to the fundamentals of population genetics and why such things matter.

Leita – Sorry, but we actually haven’t done a very good job and your analysis of humans vs. dogs is suspect. The disease rates we see as “rare” in dogs would be called epidemic in humans. There is really no comparison at all. Human longevity rates are steadily rising, dogs are steadily falling.

Dogs are so riddled with inbred disease that they are actually of great use to scientists who are looking at the genetic causes of diseases that are comparable to human disease. Conditions that are fleetingly rare in humans are hard to study, but if you find an analogous disease in dogs, chances are good that you’ll find a lot of dogs with it.

I hope you stick around and realize the true scale of these issues.

Jess - 18 March 2012 - 8:13 PM

Yay! Great idea, Carol!

Joanna Ilska - 20 March 2012 - 4:18 AM

Christopher, agreed with most of what you are saying, but let’s not forget that pedigree dogs are so useful for disease studies mainly because of their pedigrees. Until recently where the SNP chips and individual gene studies (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, the smallest possible mutations that occur in the genome) became available ALL genetic studies were based on pedigrees. It was simply impossible to test it on other species than people, dogs and few other, much smaller populations (like Arabian horses).

Maybe some time later you could find a paper on optimal selection, where the choice of animals for breeding is based on typical traits of interest, such as health and conformation, but then familial relationships are also taken into account, so as to minimize inbreeding.

And I would also like to congratulate Carol on this idea. I have shared the link to this Club with my friends, it would be amazing if more breeders would hop on board!! :)

Carol - 20 March 2012 - 9:43 AM

Welcome, everyone! It looks like there will be plenty of interest in this.

Let me suggest that we keep the comments on the thread for a particular paper limited to that, otherwise this will get impossibly long and unfocused.

To that end, as soon as I get a chance, I’ll move the comments thus far about other things to another page where people can talk about whatever they want. I can see perhaps the need for an open forum site where people can discuss whatever genetics-related topics they want. If somebody wants to set one up…

Carol - 20 March 2012 - 10:05 AM

Okay, I think we have some folks that have started on the paper.

Here is why I think this paper is so important –

The paper uses pedigree data for Icelandic Sheepdogs, but the same approach can be applied to any breed, and some extremely useful information can be obtained using nothing but pedigrees and some software. Inbreeding is at the root of many health problems in dogs, and the key to restoring breeds to health is to restore the underlying genetic diversity. This study shows how you can identify pockets of genetic diversity hiding within subpopulations of a breed that can be reincorporated into the general gene pool. We’ll talk more about this as we go along, but let’s start at the top.

The first thing we should do is make sure everyone understands the premise and goals of the study, and the essence of what the study showed. Let’s hold off questions about Methods and Results for now and make sure everybody is comfortable before we dive in.

So, let’s make sure we understand the terminology. Terms you need to understand are: genetic or allelic diversity, kinship, founder, equally contributing founders, maximum attainable diversity, population structure, inbreeding depression, closed population, bottleneck, and probably others.

My suggestion: make a list of all the specialized terms (jargon), and look them up in Wikipedia, where the general definitions are usually pretty good. Don’t wade into the math. Just the concept the term refers to. If you’re still a little fuzzy, google the word and try a few other sites that might have definitions that are clearer to you. If you’re still not clear, pop back in here and we’ll work on it.

Don’t be shy. I expect that few of you will have encountered many of these terms before, and if you’re not clear on what they mean, the rest of the discussion is going to go right by you.

So, start working on your jargon definitions (remember, just stick to intro and conclusions) and we’ll meet back here.

Gail - 20 March 2012 - 12:38 PM

Just went through my first read through. I am very interested. and once I read again, and again, look up definitions et al, I will be beack to post questions.

Carol - 20 March 2012 - 4:19 PM

I wore out my first copy!

Carol - 21 March 2012 - 10:04 AM

How is everybody doing? Any questions? Anything you need help with? Let me know where you are so I know when we’re ready to move ahead.

Sheila Atter - 21 March 2012 - 2:54 PM

Just done my first read through. Will be back again tomorrow when I’ve had another go and am more awake!

Carol - 21 March 2012 - 4:05 PM

Here’s a paper worth adding to your library to help with jargon –

Clarification of genetic terms and their use in management of captive populations.

Carol - 23 March 2012 - 10:43 AM

Okay everybody, let’s see if we can make some progress on this. You should all have the beginnings of a list of jargon definitions and/or a copy of the paper I posted above, and you’ll be adding to it as we go. I think most of you will have at least a sense about what Pieter Oliehoek and his colleagues set out to do from your reading of the introduction and conclusions of the paper.

Let’s start with that. The Icelandic Sheepdog is like many other uncommon breeds –

1) It was founded with a relatively small number of dogs (36);

2) It became a registered breed fairly recently (~1955);

3) For much of its history as a registered breed the total population was small (< ~500 dogs until about 1990);

4) There has been a rapid increase in registrations in recent years as the breed has gained a following and been introduced to new countries (see Figure 1);

5) At the time of the study, the current population numbered about 2500 dogs, many times the size of the founding population.

Oliehoek knew that a small, closed population will inevitably suffer from inbreeding, resulting in inbreeding depression which is reflected in reduced resistence to disease, reproductive problems (reduced fertility, smaller offspring, smaller litter sizes, higher mortality, etc). Also, with loss of genetic diversity in breeding populations, there will likely be an increase in the incidence of inherited disorders, because it becomes more likely that an individual will just by chance be homozygous for a deleterious allele.

Knowing that breeding of Icelandic Sheepdogs had not been managed in any way as it grew in popularity, Oliehoek suspected that an analysis of the breed might reveal some evidence of significant inbreeding.

They gathered together the pedigrees for all the registered dogs in the world back to founders (a total of 4680 current and ancestor dogs) and subjected them to special analyses that were able to reveal things about the breed that would have been difficult or impossible to learn any other day.

They found that not only were the dogs were extremely inbred, but the situation of the breed was dire.

1) In just the first 10 years after registration, the breed lost more than 50% (!!!!) of its initial genetic diversity (Figure 2);

2) The astonishing decline in genetic diversity was a consequence of breeding practices that resulted in increasing levels of inbreeding over time;

3) At the time of the study, the entire worldwide population of 2554 dogs had the genetic diversity expected from only 2.2 founders;

4) The average coefficient of inbreeding of the existing dogs was about 25%; that is, the entire population was as closely related as siblings (Figure 3);

This is grim news. Starting with 36 unrelated dogs, inbreeding has reduced the breed to the genetic equivalent of about 2 individuals as closely related as siblings. To save the breed from potential extinction as a consequence of inbreeding, the genetic diversity in the population(s) of breeding dogs needs to increase.

Using a very clever analytical technique called "cluster analysis", Oliehoek was able to sort the existing dogs into groups of individuals that were similar genetically. He was able to identify 8 groups, two large ones, four of modest size, and two that were very small. You can see these in Figure 6. Note that the longest bar is really 10 times longer than depicted so the graph would fit on the page. So it's a VERY big group – in fact, 85% of the entire population. These groups also reflected the fact that dogs in different countries (so were geographically isolated) tended also to be genetically distinct (Figure 9).

What this means is that the breed population is not genetically homogeneous. That is, there are little subpopulations of animals in different countries that carry alleles not found in the other groups. In a carefully managed breeding program, these little puddles of diversity could be used to bring the genetic diversity in the breeding population from the equivalent of 2.2 founders up to as much as 4.7. But while it is possible to improve the situation of the breed somewhat, it was unlikely to happen without extraordinary cooperation among breeders, and at best the improvement would still leave the breed in dire straits.

So, this is my take on the general gist of this paper. As we go into the details, you'll see that he identifies some specific things that happened right at the beginning to set the breed on a bad course, and why some things breeders did in the hopes of improving things had no positive effect at all.

Make no mistake – this paper is about Icelandic Sheepdogs, but there are no doubt dozens (maybe hundreds) of breeds in a similar situation, but without these types of analyses there is no way for breeders to know this.

Let's hear your thoughts on this study, focusing on the general stuff and saving digging into the details of methods and results until we're ready.

Also, please **** let's not discuss other breeds yet – we have a lot to learn from this paper first, and we can expand the discussion at the end when we have this one under control.

Gay Robertson - 30 March 2012 - 12:57 AM

I have just seen this site for the first time – it’s a great idea and I hope it’s not too late to join in. Busy day today but hope to read the paper this evening. I was shocked to learn from Catherine Blott at Crufts that my breed which has 3000+ registrations per year has an effective breeding population of 43 and I know because I keep a database of registrations from 1890 that these are divided into 3 almost discrete populations.

Gay Robertson - 30 March 2012 - 12:31 PM

Well, I have read it and also some of the breed websites and they certainly seem to be trying to control breeding activities by limiting a stud dog to 35 puppies and a bitch to 25. They say that there are pockets of genetic difference round the world but if Iceland does not allow the import of animals, that is not going to help them. What I don’t really understand is that if they are already down to an effective population of 2.2, how are they going to increase that without imports?

I think you are right, Carol, that many breeds with many more actual dogs are in a similar situation but certainly in the UK at least, there would be a riot if the Kennel Club started telling breeders which dog they had to use on their bitch 😉 Interesting, that although they are required to do HD and eye tests, there is no reference to diseases within the breed.

Kate Williams - 30 March 2012 - 2:55 PM

This paper is great. I am familiar with this concept in the Chinese Crested and the Xoloitzquintles. The CC breeders keep eliminating dogs from the gene pool if they are too hairy. I don’t know what the number of distinct founder is for the breed, but I know it was not 100 dogs to begin with.

The Xolos started with 10 founders, but are still adding to the AKC if the animal is certified in Mexico. I still don’t think they have 100 founders in play.

JoAnn Secondino - 9 April 2012 - 10:57 PM

Hi ya’ Folks,
This is fabulous that you all are discussing Peter Oliehoek’s paper! I am an Icelandic Sheepdog owner and breeder, who does follow his recommendations for creating diversity in our breed.

First, the paper does not inlude the North American Icelandic Sheepdogs, as we at the time of the study were not part of the Icelandic Sheepdog International Cooperative (ISIC) and not as yet fully accepted by the AKC.

In the years following the study, many European clubs have adopted the Lathund program, which checks the viability and COI of a proposed match. You will find today – a COI of 5% at 5 generations is considered high. Although many are still part of the larger family.

This does not mean that we as Icelandic Sheepdog owners and breeders can relax. We are still in danger continuing to lose genetic diversity as many of the clubs are stating we need to be selecting for preferred “type”. As Mr. Oliehoek states, dogs of unique genetic make-up will also be a of a different type. Breeders of the “unique” dogs have a difficult time placing them in breeding/show homes and they are often forced to sell them as pets.

The larger family group still dominates the population, and is sought after for show, while the minor families are struggling to find people to invest time in them … and as a breed we need to support those breeders who are.

I have a household full of the “other 15%” of the population. These dogs are being linebred to maintain purity of the line, outcrossed when needed to other minor family groups so as not to reinforce the genetic dominance of the larger, and resulting offspring are being used to open up the gene pool. And … I have made them conformation champions – but it wasn’t easy.

Sadly, my view point on breeding is not as popular with those folks who are in possession of the 85% majority. I mean who wants to be told their top dog should only sire a litter or two – if at all.

At this point, the Icelandic Sheepdog remains a healthy breed, we endeavor to keep it that way. We do have litter limits for both studs and dams. Unfortunately, many who are new to the breed do not know how to manage them and will allow a dog to stand stud more than 4 times a year, siring a 1/5th of the puppies produced in a country that year, using half of it’s lifetime litter limit. The club’s have not as yet issued a recommendation as to how we should manage stud dogs – I have asked them why. These “top dogs” are siring litters where the majority are going on to breeding homes. These puppies will all come of age at the same time. In The USA the same Matador Grandsire/great grandsire is behind 5 of the litters produced in the past 6 months with another at least 3 or 4 planned. A top dog in Iceland sired 4 litters and 5 of the puppies were imported to the USA.

So there is still much we as a breed must learn to observe when planning litters, and importing dogs. We are however blessed that we have ISDs here in the USA whose ancestors came here more than 20 some years ago and have remained a separate population. these dogs are now sought after by the Europeans.

I will say that in the early years breeding Icelandic Sheepdogs was not a popular idea,they do bark quite a bit, dogs were not allowed in the cities/towns so had to be kept on the farms and many farmers preferred theBorder Collie. Selection was probably more a source of availability than of show preference, since the first show wasn’t until the early 80’s in Iceland I think.

There was a major loss in population when Mark Watson lost his kennel to a fire in the early years,so this is one of the reasons for the reduction in founding dogs. There was the addition of 0- generation dogs in the 90’s in both Iceland and Holland. This accounts for Mr. Oliehoek’s referal to the Dutch and German dogs which the Icelanders don’t regard as pure-bred. Quite a controversial subject, these dogs can still come into certain FCI countries that have an open studbook. While everyone says we need the dogs to create diversity, they do everything they can to keep them out and discourage people from getting them judged in. These dogs are registerd with non-FCI clubs.

Anyway – that is the state of the Icelandic Sheepdog in a nut shell

Happy Spring

Gay Robertson - 13 April 2012 - 12:47 AM

Jo Ann – how do you reconcile genetic diversity with breed type? What is it about ISDs that makes people want them?


Jo-Ann Secondino - 13 April 2012 - 3:57 PM

Hi Gay,
The Icelandic Sheepdog is just a fabulously fun animal, they are very expressive both vocally and with their facial features. They LOVE people, are instinctively good with children and are very stable in character. These qualities can also be a challenge for the casual dog owner. They require a lot of personal attention from their owner. And if they don’t get it – they’ll make sure you hear about it. The require a lot of mental stimulation, not just physical excercise…. ie they are not a dog that you can crate all day, let out for a potty break and have just hang out with you.

In many cases it is visably obvious what family a dog belongs to and hard to demonstrate without the ability to use photos. They all meet the standard as written for the most part. The Dutch lines which Peter Oliehoek refers to as not being originally “recognized” by Iceland have a very distinct look. You can see a photo of a dog from the fra Thytur Stadir line and know that it is one. These dogs originated in a non-FCI club in Germany, who were exported with the Icelandic horses before the Icelandic club was formed. A women by the name of Ans Beer Schell went thru the process of getting them accepted in her late ’60’s she continued to breed them into her 90’s. Last year she turned 100 years old and attended the 25 year anniversary of the Dutch ISD club. This line has a very low incidence of HD and no recorded cases of inherited Cataracts. In short they are a very healthy line and have been used throughout Europe to improve the pedigrees from Iceland.

The Danish lines which were heavily influenced by he Dutch are also quite distinct, both they and the Dutch lines have a different head from the Icelandic, have moderate bone/substance, appear more “gracefully formed” for lack of a better description, are larger ( closer to the ideal) and a slightly different body type – their leg proportions are equal as described in the standard, due to some popular sires in Iceland, many originating in Iceland have a shorter inequal leg and are at a height below the ideal height

Many ISD breeders agree that the many of the pedigrees originating in Iceland are so muddled that they cannot be identified as one family or the other. There are lines that came to the USA prior to any club forming and have for the 20 plus years had been self sustaining, some of these dogs are progeny of the dogs that Lord Mark Watson brought to California to begin his breeding program -these dogs were part of the 36 founding dogs, many were lost in a kennel fire.

The “Old Style” ISDs from Iceland are in a rapid decline, they are not the preferred show type, breeders are afraid to breed them because they are afraid no one will buy them – and they do tend to go to more pet homes and take some time to place. These dogs from Iceland have a stronger head than the show lines,are generally taller and closewr to the ideal and have more working drive. Many seem to come from the O and M lines.

The bggest problem as ISD owners/breeders is that the various clubs aren’t giving breeders the information we need to identify the family groups or lack there of in our pedigrees. It seems that Peter Oliehoek presented at last years ISIC conference and it was never even mentioned by the USA delegation that attended it.

The message that we are getting is that we must concentrate on type. The ISIC, which is an International cooperative of the various countries Breed Clubs is governed by conformation judges and are determining type. Sigridur Petersdottir – the Icelandic woman creditted with assisting Watson is saving the breed is the only judge that will put up an old style ISD in show. The preferred type is of the most common family – with the inequal legs and are small. Many of the recent imports to the USA are grandchildren of one of Iceland’s top dogs, many of the recent litters in the US are also descended from this one dog. Ironically those Old type ISD are identical to the dogs from the early 1900’s, todays show lines do not resemble them at all.

I find this distressing snd recently started a discussion group among ISD breeders to see how we can apply Peter Oliehoek’s principles to our population – if at all, the current trend among the newer owners is to produce the very best possible conformation “show” dog, to do so you have to concetrate on the larger families and matador lines. That is how I found this group, I was googling the paper for more information.

JoAnn Secondino - 13 April 2012 - 4:03 PM

OOps – forgot to share, that there is simplified version of Oliehoek’s paper this is what was presebted at the ISIC conference in 2011 that we didn’t hear about. Maybe because it contradicts what our breed clubs Board members are doing in regards to their breeding and import decisions?

Gay Robertson - 17 April 2012 - 11:11 AM

This discussion seems to be limited to you and me, Jo-Ann. I agree that if you are establishing a new breed, you have to concentrate on type but I am a bit mystified that you (as a dog community) seem to have invented a type that does not resemble the one from the country of origin. I read the “simplified” paper and just wish I could do the math to follow it but I was interested to see screen shots of The Whippet Archive (my breed) which is a randomly produced db on the principles of Wikipedia. My whippet db does not include so many American whippets but is complete for the registrations of the breed here, in the COO. The gold standard of breed dbs is without doubt the Standfast golden retriever one They have many more registrations than whippets do but they also have much more inherited disease. Our >3000k registrations a year boil down to an effective population of 43 whippets but we have no recognised inherited disease as a breed (UK stud book was open until the 1970s) so I am beginning to think that the health of a breed depends primarily on the health of the founders because if you are going to have recognizable breed type, you are inevitably going to get bottlenecks. The goldens go back to four dogs in the 1920s. Gundogs are a prime example of type diverging according to function and it is usually the pet population that predominates – i.e. the not good enough show dogs. Not many puppy mills start with working stock of any breed.
I am beginning to question some of the received wisdom re in-breeding and other doom laden scenarios but OTOH, I am trying to establish a show quality line unrelated to the current show population (impossible to be entirely unrelated because of the bottleneck following WWII).

Carol - 17 April 2012 - 1:25 PM

Gay made two interesting comments I want to address –

“…I am beginning to think that the health of a breed depends primarily on the health of the founders…”

Indeed, you can only work with the genes you have. If you start with animals afflicted with health issues, you’re going to have problems.

But starting with healthy founders doesn’t guarantee healthy dogs down the line. All dogs – all animals, in fact – carry deleterious recessive alleles from inheritance or mutation that are not a problem for that animal because there is only one copy (a “carrier” animal).

The problem arises when that bad allele pairs up with another copy in offspring, allowing the genetic disorder to be expressed (an “affected” animal). When there are only a few founders (healthy or not), or if some are overrepresented in subsequent generations, any deleterious alleles will occur more frequently in the population, so the probability of producing offspring that are homozygous is greater. These are the so-called “founder effect” and the “popular sire effect”. Most dog breeds started with few founders so inbreeding is inevitable (and the closed stud book prevents addition of new ones except in special cases). And breeders apply strong selection by heavily favoring some dogs for breeding. These are perfect conditions for accumulation of deleterious alleles in a population that can ultimately be expressed as diseases, deformities, and many other unfortunate conditions.

As you can see from the study of Icelandic Sheepdogs, the genetic diversity present in the founder dogs can be eroded in just a few generations, and the incidence of animals homozygous for deleterious alleles will necessarily go up.

This goes to Gay’s other comment, that “I am beginning to question some of the received wisdom re in-breeding and other doom laden scenarios…”

I assume she says this because the incidence of genetic disorders in whippets is relatively low despite an effective population size of 43 (the number apparently produced by the quantitative genetics people at the UK Animal Health Trust). In fact, conservation geneticists recommend a minimum effective population size of about 50 in order to maintain decent genetic diversity and control the increase in the inbreeding coefficient to no more than about 1% per generation. It might be the case that the UK whippet population is just reaching the degree of inbreeding that will start to result in greater prevalence of genetic disease. This is the sort of question that can be addressed using analysis of population genetics, and it would be both useful and interesting to do this.

Gay Robertson - 19 April 2012 - 1:51 PM

The UK stud book was only closed in the 1970s (at least, for whippets but I assume for all breeds recognized at the time) and before that time, we had many more separate lines as more breeders were able to maintain big kennels. since then, show populations have become homogenized, so to speak while working populations of breeds have become more separated out. I would be interested to know if disease incidence was the same in both types (allowing for the fact that there are many more pet labradors for instance than there are labradors who are shot over). I was also fascinated to learn that greyhounds are classed as pastoral so where did the speed gene come from, given that there is no faster dog? Just random thoughts but I also think one can go round in circles discussing whether we want recognizable breeds or genetic diversity. Given the way we live now, I think compromises have to be made.

Carol - 20 April 2012 - 10:28 AM

Gay, I believe the stud book for all breeds is closed shortly after they are admitted to the registry (as is done in the US). Were whippets admitted by the KC only in the 70’s??

I have also wondered if disease incidence is different in show and working lines, or populations in different countries. I’m sure the data are out there for at least a preliminary study if someone is willing to dig around. The ideal thing to do would be to superimpose health information on the population genetics, which would provide a huge amount of information. I’ll post a paper that did this a while back looking at incidence of several health problems in dog breeds – elbow dysplasia in labrador retrievers, portosystemic shunts in Irish Wolfhounds, and hepatic copper toxicosis in Bedlington Terriers.

Yes, it IS possible to have both, and the landrace “breeds” are perfect examples. But nature breeds dogs differently than people do, and learning about this is ultimately what this reading group is for. :-)

[…] Heelers.  Like Oliehoek did in his study of Icelandic Sheepdogs (see the previous posts beginning here), Maki gathered up the pedigree data for essentially the entire worldwide registered populations of […]

[…] If you’ve worked your way through the paper on Icelandic Sheepdogs (ISD) from previous posts (part 1 and part 2), you ran into a mathematical technique called cluster analysis.  It’s a little […]

[…] you haven’t already, you might want to read my introduction to the reading group, and also my introduction to this paper and why it’s relevant to ALL breeds of dogs.  If you don’t have a copy of the paper, […]

Alistair Hunter - 29 April 2012 - 7:59 AM

Hi Carol ect
just found this blog a couple of days ago. Have read paper re ISDs just making some notes and hunting down a couple of relivant papers . Please bear wit hme as I am a dislexic one fingered typist.

alistair hunter - 30 April 2012 - 9:20 AM

The first thing to spring to mind was how fortunate the ISD population is not to sufferer major genetic disease problem given its low foundation number and current Mean Kinship.
As mentioned elsewhere in this blog the Founders must have been fairly healthy. The genetic line stretches back beyond the founders of a closed pedigree breed and how diverse and healthy they were will have an influence on what defective genes are locked into the pedigree. If the ISD founders came from Icelandic farms there is a good chance that they were hardy dogs. Given the harsh environment I cannot imagine the farmers breeding from or continue feeding animals who were not robust. The breed seems to have little in the way of exaggerations or unusual futures in its confirmation that might be linked to defective genes like those found in the Thai and Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Saying this lack of exaggeration is no grantee of genetic health the Belgian Sheppard and its problem with epilepsy a case in point. It was interesting to compare this study with one published in Genetics (,A Population Structure and Inbreeding From Pedigree Analysis of Purebred Dogs). They used the (UK) Kennel Club registration electronic database. The study examined 10 representative breeds and analyzed their pedigrees since electronic records were established around 1970, corresponding to about eight generations. Some of these breeds have been closed pedigrees for many generations before this. They found a >90% drop in singleton variants in just six generations and I wonder how this would compare the a study going back to foundation given the differing results of the ISD all generation and 7 generation analysis results. They suggest that remedial action is necessary to maintain or increase the genetic diversity.
This however takes us to the crux of the problem. Dog genetics does not exist in a vacuum. Modern dog’s confirmation and genetics is a product of mans tinkering. (How to Build a Dog, National Geographic).Human psychology has played a major part in this and will continue to do so. We have created hundreds of distinct breeds but at the cost of a massive loss in genetic variation( The Village Dog Project Boyko et al ) The ISD paper talks about supervised and unsupervised populations and the political problems of the breed club has with out crossing or imposing a centrally planed /supervised optimal breading program. JJ.Bragg discusses similar problems of club and registry politics having a negative effect on attempts improve the genetic diversity of Siberian Huskies and Chinooks in his paper Registry Without breeds a Thought Experiment. A change in the mindset of the Registry’s, Breed clubs and breeders is required and I am not confident that this can be achieved. The resistance to the minor health inspections by the Canine Alliance to the UK KCs attempts to impose basic health inspections suggests progress will be resisted by many.

Hi every one ,are you aware of the work of the Boyko brothers work “Tracking ancient dog populations in Africa.There was an article about the project in recent National Geographic available on line This is important work doing research on these ancient dogs who are the link between the grey wolf and modern breeds. This is a race against time as interbreeding with modern dogs diluting the important genetic information these dogs carry. This work has spinoffs for both dog and human health research. There is another expedition planned and they are looking for donations/sponsorship can you spread the word they need to reach their target in the next couple of weeks.
Thanks Alistair

JoAnn Secondino - 9 May 2012 - 10:52 PM

Hi Gay,
The Icelandic Sheepdog is actually one of the oldest breeds around not a new breed. Uhm, no one has invented a type that doesn’t resemble that of the country of origin’s, I’m sorry if i gave that impression. All types meet the standard,all dogs originated in Iceland, there is however a preferred type which is being selected over all others in show. This is leading to the dogs with unique genetics being passed over because they do not have same look for the show ring. There are many breeds with different types, and a preferred one – all again meet the standard such as the Labrador Retreiver, Setters, Border Collies etc, but each has something whether it be more substance, slightly squarer head, shorter back etc. that the Conformation judges prefer. This in 5 years can change again, for instance in Europe with the Docking and cropping of ears and tail.

The country of origin actually is dictating type and it has shifted from one type to another over the years in preferrence. I have a dog here from Iceland that is descended from one of the very first Icelandic Champions, Islands Garda Tinni here is a link to a photo of him My Dreki is the spitting image of that dog. He is 8 years old, was used once in the 6 years he lived in Iceland, he is from the rarest family line in Iceland, but he is “old style” and not the new show type, which are smaller, have longer coats, shorter muzzles and look more feminine to be honest. Compare them to the new show type as featured on the AKC website – this dog is an Icelandic Import as well whose littermate is one of Icelands top dogs Do you see how they’ve changed.

You must remember that when they rebuilt the breed they gathered dogs from remote farms in Iceland which met their vision of the ideal type. They didn’t even know that there were long coated dogs until the began the second generation crosses. Sigridur Petersdottir who was the other major player involved in this is still judging the Icelandic Sheepdog and one of the few judges who will put up and old style Icelandic Sheepdog and is very pleased when she sees them enter the ring, gets misty and thanks the exhibitor for bringing them. Recently, success in the show ring has become very important to many breeders and three pedigrees of matador studs are beginning to dominate the new litters in Iceland and the US and those dogs that are imported into the USA.

The Clubs are telling us we must concentrate on type – this is being done at the expense of creating diversity in the breed. Peter Olihoek indicates that those that are a bit different are so because they are genetically different, this is true in he IcelandicSSheepdog. Each family group has it’s own look. Nothing to be mystified about, the author of the paper acknowledges it, and advocates for having them retain that uniqueness, so that we can maintain diversity within the breed, by crossing some unique members into the major families. If as a breed we continue down the path that some of the breeders are following we will be in a situation that we can’t get out of as we are losing too much genetics thru he way they are selecting

Anonymous - 9 May 2012 - 10:53 PM

Hi Gay,
The Icelandic Sheepdog is actually one of the oldest breeds around not a new breed. Uhm, no one has invented a type that doesn’t resemble that of the country of origin’s, I’m sorry if i gave that impression. All types meet the standard,all dogs originated in Iceland, there is however a preferred type which is being selected over all others in show. This is leading to the dogs with unique genetics being passed over because they do not have same look for the show ring. There are many breeds with different types, and a preferred one – all again meet the standard such as the Labrador Retreiver, Setters, Border Collies etc, but each has something whether it be more substance, slightly squarer head, shorter back etc. that the Conformation judges prefer. This in 5 years can change again, for instance in Europe with the Docking and cropping of ears and tail.

The country of origin actually is dictating type and it has shifted from one type to another over the years in preferrence. I have a dog here from Iceland that is descended from one of the very first Icelandic Champions, Islands Garda Tinni here is a link to a photo of him My Dreki is the spitting image of that dog. He is 8 years old, was used once in the 6 years he lived in Iceland, he is from the rarest family line in Iceland, but he is “old style” and not the new show type, which are smaller, have longer coats, shorter muzzles and look more feminine to be honest. Compare them to the new show type as featured on the AKC website – this dog is an Icelandic Import as well whose littermate is one of Icelands top dogs Do you see how they’ve changed.

You must remember that when they rebuilt the breed they gathered dogs from remote farms in Iceland which met their vision of the ideal type. They didn’t even know that there were long coated dogs until the began the second generation crosses. Sigridur Petersdottir who was the other major player involved in this is still judging the Icelandic Sheepdog and one of the few judges who will put up and old style Icelandic Sheepdog and is very pleased when she sees them enter the ring, gets misty and thanks the exhibitor for bringing them. Recently, success in the show ring has become very important to many breeders and three pedigrees of matador studs are beginning to dominate the new litters in Iceland and the US and those dogs that are imported into the USA.

The Clubs are telling us we must concentrate on type – this is being done at the expense of creating diversity in the breed. Peter Olihoek indicates that those that are a bit different are so because they are genetically different, this is true in he IcelandicSheepdog. If we continue on this path we are headed for trouble

JoAnn Secondino - 10 May 2012 - 4:54 AM

Hi Gay,

You Stated
“I agree that if you are establishing a new breed, you have to concentrate on type but I am a bit mystified that you (as a dog community) seem to have invented a type that does not resemble the one from the country of origin”

I don’t believe I said that we invented types other than that of the country of origin, but that the families that Peter Oliehoek outlines have their own type. That he advocates that these unique families remain unique to help create diversity in our closed population by selectively reintroducing them into the major population.

The types are there – we haven’t created them. Iceland is setting type and over the years through selection the “preferred type” has changed. In conformation ring this is a very common occurrence.

At the top of the page is the very first Icelandic Sheepdog Champion This is a great grandson of his that I have This is considered the “Old Style” Icelandic Sheepdog. One people are chosing to not use, because they are currently less successful at show, Dreki is from one of the rarest family lines in Iceland and was used once in the 6 years he lived there.

Here is the “Preferred Type” at the top of this page This dog is also an Icelandic Import to the USA, and littermate to the one of the top dogs in Iceland. I think you can see how selection for Conformation shows has change the “Preferred Type”

What I was trying to convey and Peter Oliehoek outlines in his paper is that selection for the “preferred type” is excluding unique genetics from being used and preserved. In a small closed population to prevent loss of genetic diversity we have to think beyond the show ring. That is not happening. You asked if Iceland can’t import ( they can but hey have to go into quarrantine) how can they create diversity. Peter
oliehoek explains how. Thru maintaining separate family lines, and making intelligent crosses with them.

Here is a little quote from Karen Trenda Thayne which is relevant to what we are seeing in the ISD:

“The largest crisis that can face any breed is the over use of Popular sires *AND* popular kennels. When we STOP breeding to dogs “because they won at a big show”, “have a big show record” or “because they have ‘x’ number of champions”, then we may see an improvement of health in dogs. Breeders need to actually start learning about applying knowledge of canine structure, genetics and health in order for “we as breeders” can start to improve the health of a breed. Too many new breeders look for shortcuts to success. Too many breeders run to a popular kennel to grab at their chance of their name in lights.”

A two from Jerold Bell, DVM:

“”Some breed clubs advocate codes of ethics that discourage linebreeding or inbreeding, as an attempt to increase breed genetic diversity. This position is based on a false premise. Inbreeding or linebreeding does not cause the loss of genes from a breed gene pool. It occurs through selection; the use and non-use of offspring. If some breeders linebreed to certain dogs that they favor, and others linebreed to other dogs that they favor, then breed-wide genetic diversity is maintained.”

“The perceived problem of a limited gene pool has caused some breeds to advocate outbreeding of all dogs. Studies in genetic conservation and rare breeds have shown that this practice actually contributes to the loss of genetic diversity. By uniformly crossing all “lines” in a breed, you eliminate the differences between them, and therefore the diversity between individuals. The process of maintaining healthy “lines” or families of dogs, with many breeders crossing between lines and breeding back as they see fit maintains diversity in the gene pool. ” The key to his statement: “Maintaining healthy bloodlines that are unique (i.e. families of dogs).”

I hope this clarifies what I said previously

Carol - 15 May 2012 - 6:43 PM

Hi folks,
I just realized that your posts were not showing because a default setting on the blog was holding for moderation any posts with more than 2 links (spam tends to have lots of links). I’ve fixed that (you can have up to 10 links now).

Carol - 15 May 2012 - 7:04 PM

A really important issue raised here is that “types” seem to go in and out of style, and every time selection pressure by breeders sends a breed off in a new direction, genetic diversity is reduced. Without some sort of oversight, individual breeders are unlikely to to recognize what is happening to a breed overall.

I think the key to solving this problem is to gather up all the bits of pedigree history scattered over the globe, and compile them to create the history of the entire breed. (You would be surprised to see how hard this can actually be, judging with my experience so far.) With everything in hand, a thorough analysis of the population genetics like that done by Oliehoek would provide an up to date report of the status of the breed. Thereafter on a regular basis (I would say yearly at the very least, and more often would be better), the data for the breed is updated by all new registrations. An analysis page on the breed club’s website with graphs of how effective population size, average COI, etc are changing over time would be extremely useful, because they would allow breeders to detect changes that affect the health of the breed. This will take some collective responsibility from breeders to both stay informed, and to ensure that particular genetic groups don’t become isolated then go extinct.

Like I said, the hard part would be getting the pedigree database together. Once everything is up to date, a few people can be charged updating the analyses and information on the web page, and for making summary information available to all breeders.

The expertise is available to help with the data analysis if the breeders can get the data together. Several basenji breeders are hard at work getting the pedigree data for their breed ready for analysis, and I’ll let you know how that progresses.

Gay Robertson - 23 May 2012 - 12:36 AM

Thanks for fixing the link issue, Carol – I haven’t looked for some time because I thought no one was contributing. Just to clarify a point way back – whippets were recognized by the UK Kennel Club in 1890 but dogs of breeding, age and breeder unknown were registered until the 1970s (and I believe this was the same for all breeds in the UK) and that situation still exists in countries like France whose stud books are still open. Apologies for thinking ISDs were newly recognized as a breed – must have misread something.
In my experience, no amount of data will change anything. There are two kinds of breeders – those that are breeding for money and those producing dogs for some type of competitive activity. Neither kind sees any reason to change what they are doing while they are successful. There has been a major row over the introduction of vet inspections at Crufts and in every breed there are influential people who dismiss any suggestion of less inbreeding because they themselves have had no health problems (or are in denial about the ones they have had). Because I maintain a database of UK registrations since 1890, from time to time people ask me for a COI to compare with the KC mate select programme or an on-line whippet database which is primarily of US dogs but whether they take any notice of the % of blood which I also send them is debatable. IMO any change is going to be the result of a handful of people taking the issues seriously and are prepared to forgo competitive success for some generations.

[…] based learning tool that I posted about; this one is for learning about genetics. Here is the link: Genetics of Icelandic Sheepdogs Carol Beuchat It is a good starting place. Join your local dog club. If you have a Yorkshire Terrier club […]

Introducing: The Dog Genetics Reading Club

The purpose of this reading club is to read and discuss recent research into dog genetics that might be of interest to dog breeders and anyone else interested in the biology of dogs.  We can modify the format as necessary as we go along to suit the needs of the participants, but to begin we […]

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Beverly Loland - 21 March 2012 - 9:01 AM

Thank you for starting this reading club. I am looking forward to learning about dog genetics and sharing with others.


[…] the previous post to a new blog post here.  If you haven’t already, you might want to read my introduction to the reading group, and also my introduction to this paper and why it’s relevant to ALL breeds of dogs.  If you […]

The Queen meets a King

  This handsome and elegant Smooth Fox Terrier is Dodger (CH J’Cobe Vigilante Justice), who swept the dog world off its feet in 2010 and retired from his American show career as the top dog in the country as well as the top-winning Smooth Fox Terrier of all time.  Still very much in his prime, […]

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Diana - 16 January 2012 - 6:09 AM

I love this picture. You got so much detail in the black face. Amazing!

Fun or Fight? Quiz 2 Redeaux

In the photo for Quiz 2, most people thought it looked like the dogs were having a less-than-friendly encounter, more like fight than fun. The nature of the interaction becomes very clear when you can see the rest of the encounter.  Below are about 50 photos shot over about 4 minutes, in sequence with the […]

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Food Fan Frank - 15 February 2012 - 1:31 PM

These pictures are hilarious. I absolutely love watching that Jack Russell sneak attack the dogs 5 times his size. These photos all capture so much emotion in the body language of the dogs. Thank you for posting!

A Chessie for the bay

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is the quintessential water dog among the sporting breeds.  It’s a sturdy dog with an even sturdier coat, and a non-nonsense approach to the task at hand.  This is an American breed, developed to be masterful in the hunt of waterfowl. This is Coupe (GCh Quailridge’s Coupe De Ville), photographed at […]

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Debra - 4 June 2012 - 11:38 AM

Beautiful shot of Coupe!

Debra (Coupe’s Breeder)

Fun or Fight? Quiz 3

  These dogs are having a conversation.  What do you think they’re saying?  What do you think happens after this –  a game or a fight? Please leave your thoughts below.

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[…] If you haven’t already, have a look at Quiz 3. […]

Darin - 16 January 2012 - 11:26 AM

Love your pics, got referred here by PDN shot of the day.

Quiz answer below after the jump.

Quiz: The white dog is asking the husky to chase him.

The white dog has tail halfway up, ears back, mouth closed, leaning back on front legs standing square in front of the other dog. The white dog is declaring submission by body queues. The squaring up is a request for attention. The husky may not actually do anything, give chase, bark or respond in kind asking to be chased. The hackles on the husky plus the tail curl and standing straight up are declaring the dominance in the interaction. The mouth, ears, and head at a normal relaxed state suggest he’s not overally excited or aggressive about the whole thing. I’m guessing the Husky barks and moves around a little, while the white dog runs in circles around like a rabbit.

Fun or Fight? Quiz 1 Redeaux

There were some great comments to the photo in Quiz 1 (you can read them here). Most people thought the dogs were playing based on body position and balance, tail carriage, the lack of tension in the face of the brown dog (no wrinkling on the muzzle), and the non-aggressive face of the dane and […]

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Stella - 9 January 2012 - 3:34 PM

Thank you so much for sharing more of these two cuties playing! :)

Tony Sale - 26 January 2012 - 10:06 AM

Hi Carol have just come to your site via PDN photo of the day. You have some wonderful images here, very impressed!

Fun or Fight? Quiz 2

What about this one?  Fun or Fight?  Leave your thoughts below… —————— See the rest of the photos at Fun or Fight?  Quiz 2 Redeaux!

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Grace - 6 January 2012 - 6:32 AM

if the boston didnt mean to pick a fight i think he did. the jack has a stiff body, piloerection and is launching himself, the pit seems to be picking up on the “fight vibes” and is preparing to retalliate. this will probably BE a fight if it wasnt already! the jack doesnt seem to amused!

louise - 6 January 2012 - 6:33 AM

Fight. It might have started as fun, but the jack Russell’s heckles are up, his body is stiff and aggressive and his tail is pointing bolt upright. It is hard to judge from a single shot….play can easily turn into fight if one of the dogs oversteps the mark. If it is play, I would be looking to calm it down at this point!

louise - 6 January 2012 - 6:37 AM

This quiz is great, looking forward to the feedback. Hope there will be more soon. If so, can you alert me by email. Thanks

Sherry - 8 January 2012 - 8:59 AM

Warning…you got to close to my owner… or ‘your mom wears army boots’type interaction between the Boston and the Jack
a fight is when two dogs engage violently… the picture shows other dogs standing by wanting to join in.
This isn’t even an attack… it looks like the observers are wanting a piece of the play… I bet the next frame shows others poking and chomping on the Boston. Looks like a game of let’s chase the rabbit dog… how fast can it run away?

Policarpo - 26 January 2012 - 4:39 AM

definitely fun. the pit and the boxer behind seem to want to get a piece of it too. the jack is playing

Fun or Fight? Quiz 1

Welcome to the first “FUN OR FIGHT?” Quiz!  (If you missed the Introduction to these quizzes, you can read it here.) These quizzes are going to test your understanding of dog behavior and communication.  Below is a photo taken at a dog park.  Decide whether the dogs are playing or fighting (or thinking about playing […]

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Catherine - 5 January 2012 - 1:11 PM


Carol - 5 January 2012 - 1:14 PM

Thanks, Catherine. Okay, there’s one vote for FIGHT! What do the rest of you think?

Stella - 5 January 2012 - 4:41 PM

I´d say these dogs are playing. The reason I think this is how their bodies bodies are positioned, sort of off balance. If they were in a fight mode they would put more weight to the front part of their bodies. Also the big open mouth of the smaller dog while its throat is completely unprotected is a sign that this is not serious. The bigger dog shows no sign of being worried either – its face has no aggression.

I love this quiz by the way, it is so fun to be challenged like this! :)

Carol - 5 January 2012 - 6:27 PM

One vote for fight, one vote for play. What about all those teeth??!!!

Sandi Weldon - 5 January 2012 - 7:44 PM

I think they are playing. Their body postures, particularly that of the larger dog, look like play to me and their tails do not look frightened or aggressive.

Jenne - 5 January 2012 - 8:10 PM

Play, their bodies don’t appear to be aggressive.

Sharon Knight - 5 January 2012 - 9:23 PM

I have to agree with play. The smaller brown dog (maybe pit mix) isn’t snarling. Though the teeth are bared, the face is relaxed and it’s tail looks to be wagging. Also the Dane doesn’t have it’s teeth bared and has left itself wide open for a vicious bite. It’s not in a defensive or take flight stance. They’re bouncing and bounding at play.

joan paredes - 5 January 2012 - 10:19 PM

fun. neither looks aggressive or defensive

louise - 6 January 2012 - 6:24 AM

I think they are playing, but only cos I have been watching my 8 month old English springer spaniel dog play with an 18 month old ESS bitch in a very similar way those morning. A lot of ‘mouthing’ going on. When my older ESS dog (the dad / pack leader) has had enough of the play he growls at the two younger dogs, they immedately drop to the floor and go very still. The older dog is actually smaller than the other two and is still wagging his tail even when he tells the younger ones to pipe down with the noise. It does all look like rough child’s play sometimes and just like children, as soon as the boss dog’s back is turned, the play starts up again.

Gracie - 6 January 2012 - 6:29 AM

definitely fun if it was truly a fight the other dog would have teeth bared too, also bodies postured side to front mean they are ok feeling vulnerable in a fight they wouldnt do that!

Heather - 6 January 2012 - 7:31 AM

I’d have to agree with the majority – it’s play, but if I did not know that brown dog, and the Dane was mine, I’d watch closely, as it looks like the brown dog could be indicating he’s had enough by baring his teeth, possibly snapping at the Dane, which is why it could be the Dane is suddenly pulling away, at least in one scenario. I’d also be thinking of stepping in if the Brown dog was mine, since I’ve learned from experience, you can’t rely on other dog owners to be on top of their dogs. And a big, goofy, “he’s only playing” dog can just as easily start a dog fight as the next dog.

Great idea this quiz! We all can use help in developing skills to read dog behavior better — especially if you live in a big city and deal with all kinds of dogs all day long! OH – and the photos are stunning!

[…] Redeaux 6 January 2012 There were some great comments to the photo in Quiz 1 (you can read them here).   Most people thought the dogs were playing based on body position and balance, tail carriage, […]

Rachel - 7 January 2012 - 12:45 AM

Definitely playing. Their bodies are actually relaxed and almost in some form of dancing. The muscles don’t carry any tension of a real fight

Sherry - 8 January 2012 - 8:46 AM

Most definitely Fun – final answer! That Great Dane is a playful pup! The Dane is showing some taunting and respect at the same time. In a fight – both dogs go head to head – teeth to teeth with violence and ears back
plus…I think you rarely capture fight on your lens as it happens so quickly and draws the camera away from your face…as humans we are quick to interrupt the fight… not preserve the moment

Brenda Aloff - 11 January 2012 - 9:12 AM

It’s play – at least for the Dane. I absolutely love the ridiculous look on the face of the Dane – he actually looks a bit surprised at the ferocity or perhaps the speed or angle or body contact of the smaller dog.

The Danes flews are loose, which means his lips and his jaw are relatively relaxed during this interaction.

While it is definitely not a fight and is occurring in the context of playing, My guess is that the smaller dog is also bringing a bit of frustration into the game…maybe because the smaller dog cannot control that large Dane to the extent he/she would like to.

Often play takes on a little bit deeper meaning for canines and sometimes they are also using play to define who gets to be in charge of other things – like the first drinker at the water bowl today.

The rather relaxed shape of the smaller dogs commissure is also a hint that this is not a serious altercation. You can see the lips are not brought forward into a tight “C” shape, which is more what you would expect if this dog were serious.

But, even if you didn’t know the intent of the smaller dog exactly, it is okay. You can read the intention from the reaction of the Dane, who is not too worried!


How well do your understand dog behavior?   Understanding what your dog is thinking, feeling, and trying to communicate can be harder than you think. If you don’t know what to look for in your dog’s behavior and body language, you might not be able to tell the difference between fun and a fight, or whether […]

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louise - 6 January 2012 - 7:24 AM

Hi, there is a really good article in this months national geographic about a military dog sled team in north eastern Greenland. Great photos and story about man’s relationship with dogs, dog and pack behaviour.

Carol - 6 January 2012 - 1:59 PM

Thanks for the tip, Louise. You can read that article here –

Be sure not to miss the great photos –

The kindly Cardigan Corgi

The Herding Group is a hodgepodge of flashy breeds with charisma and coat (e.g., Bearded Collie, Rough Collie, Old English  Sheepdog, Sheltie, German Shepherd), and “the rest” – understated, workmanlike, low-profile (in both senses of the term) breeds like the Australian Cattle Dog, Corgis, and Vallhunds.  Among the latter, I’ve always had a soft spot […]

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Hot Gothic Dogs From Russia

Dog – Black Russian Terrier – MOSKVORECHIE YASON – World Winner, Crufts Winner, Interchampion, Champion of 34 Countries, 5x BIS, 40xCACIB, IPO-1 Russian Handlers 2012 Calendar – “Gothic and Lolita”.  Photographs by Oleg Bochkov I first met the Russian dog photographer Oleg Bochkov at the AKC/Eukanuba show several years ago, and since then he’s been […]

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SHOOT THE DOG: 10 keys to becoming a better dog photographer

Becoming good at anything requires time and effort.  You might be born with natural talent, and that might allow you to get better faster and achieve a higher level of competence, but the path will still be uphill.  Musicians and singers, painters and poets, all that achieve success got there by making a significant investment […]

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[…] 10 keys to becoming a better dog photographer […]

The elegant whippet

I was digging through old photos looking for a particular image and I came across this one, shot almost exactly a year ago.  This is Tawny (GCh Sporting Fields Bahama Sands) bred by Debbie Butt, and who was on the west coast for a show with her handler (and Debbie’s daughter) Amanda Giles.  I love […]

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Being Thankful

I’ve been away from my blog for awhile.  Blogging takes creative energy, focus, and steady commitment, and I’ve been lacking all three.  In my last post, I was so excited to announce what I thought would be the appearance of my first book of photographs, in the form of an eBook.  Then my computer died, […]

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I’m so excited to announce my first eBook of photography, DOGPLAY: The Amazing Ways Dogs Play, which will become available on 1 November on Amazon for (only!) $0.99. These are astonishing images – of teeth, tugs, nips, and bulging eyeballs (but especially TEETH!) – of dogs in their own world playing as dogs do, in the […]

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Ann Hoffman - 21 October 2011 - 7:41 AM

Congratulations To The Most Talented Photographer!

HOW DOGS PLAY: Watch your rear

  Beware the heel nippers.

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liene - 6 October 2011 - 11:23 AM

Skaistas bildes no suniem

Tatjana - 6 October 2011 - 6:44 PM

Nevis “no suņiem”, bet “no fotogrāfa” :)

Great shot of great fun.

[…] ever seen.   If you’re a regular follower of my blog, you’ve seen a few of these in my HOW DOGS PLAY […]


Know when to say Uncle.  

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Scary Sherry - 24 September 2011 - 9:43 AM

Eric in a wild moment…caught exposing himself to the woman of his dreams… but quickly defending himself from incoming danger. simultaneous, schizophrenic and heavenly agility rarely seen… another Beu-shot! two thumbs up! – four legs up!

HOW DOGS PLAY: What ears are for

Take advantage of your opponent’s weaknesses.

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Scary Sherry - 24 September 2011 - 9:31 AM

perhaps an opponent not…? rather a curious tug or friendly manipulation of a new friend’s most pronounced attribute… to be taken as nothing more than playful gesture. Presumably, it (pulling one’s ear) must not be hurtful or disrespectful play..? as would be biting one’s nose or pulling one’s tail (practices rarely seem among the playful ranks).

Note the eyes of the tugger trained on the eyes of the tuggee. looking for a metered response???? pushing the limit switch? or rather pulling.

Great snag – a real Beu-shot, of a moment in dog play that the normal human eye misses. Sadly we can only project, not fully understanding the meaning, yet we see the dogs come back for more in a manner of switching roles, like tormentor to tormentee and back… all in a playful game… practice for battles not yet fought.. like children playing war (or house – involves manipulating ears in a different manner)… socialization 101. surely that’s not Sally’s ear?

Carol - 26 September 2011 - 4:56 PM

Dear Scary, I think it’s not that deep. They’re just playing, really. It’s Finn’s ear. No dog would dare pull on Sally’s (!) but Finn loves it.

Tatjana - 6 October 2011 - 6:41 PM


This Basset Hound can really fly

I love photographing dogs outdoors in beautiful settings, but there are some great shots to be had indoors as well. I got this terrific shot of a Basset Hound at an indoor dog show last year.  There were lots of spectators and I couldn’t find an open spot next to the ring where I could […]

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Laura Weber - 16 September 2011 - 2:50 PM


This is an awesome picture. Would I be able to purchase a print?

Carol - 16 September 2011 - 3:56 PM

Sure, Laura, I’m glad you like it! Send me an email and I’ll forward my price info.

Joe Rooney - 14 January 2012 - 9:19 AM

I have a Bassett Hound, Cheeca, who was the inspiration behind the title “The Flying Hound” my newly published novel. Glad to see other “Flying Hounds”. Love the pic!

The lapdog Bully

Meet my friend Wooly Bully (GCh Lebull’s New Hope Wooly Bully). Bully (to his friends) is a French Bulldog, a breed that probably originated in England, where the English Bulldog was bred down to a size more suitable as a lap dog.  Some of these smaller dogs were taken to France, and apparently it was […]

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Sylvia L Campbell - 21 August 2012 - 7:27 AM

Hello, so glad you like Wooly, he was my favorite on my lap, that is how he got his name, my bouncing him and singing wooly bully to him, he was quiet a dog, loved his baby look. He his a handsome boy. I bred this dog some time ago, and will never forget it. He loved to be held.

SHOOT THE DOG™: Visualizing speed

I was going to go forward from the last SHOOT THE DOG post on shutter speed to discuss aperture and how it can affect the look of your photos. But I took some photos at the dog park the other day that are great for illustrating the effects of shutter speed on action photography.

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mike garza - 15 September 2011 - 10:33 PM


Love your lesson on speed control. Hope you are well. See you at the park.

Mike Garza

Carol - 16 September 2011 - 3:57 PM

Thanks, Mike. I love questions, so if you have any please ask! Have you seen my photos from the dog park? Some REALLY funny stuff there!

SHOOT THE DOG™: Speed control

In my last post to SHOOT THE DOG, you learned how the exposure meter of your camera works and why it sometimes does a good job of creating a properly exposed photo, while other times it doesn’t.  I hope you’ve invested in a gray card to keep in your camera bag – I can’t think […]

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[…] was going to go forward from the last SHOOT THE DOG post on shutter speed to discuss aperture and how it can affect the look of your photos. But I took some photos at the […]

The Big picture

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is a breed you don’t hear much about. It was devloped in Holland in the 1870’s by Eduard Karel Korthals, who wanted a hunting dog that would stay close to the hunter on foot, could hunt any game in any terrain in any weather, and would come home at the end […]

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The magic moment

The Manchester Terrier might be the best kept secret in the Terrier Group.  Handsome in an understated way, with a slick black coat and stylish mahogany tan accents on the head, chest, and legs, he is civilized – cuddly even – at home, but all terrier when he’s on duty keeping the grounds free of […]

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Jan - 2 September 2011 - 1:46 PM

Very Zen. And perfectly applies to children photography.
My Saluki’s give you a paws up!

Zoe Bolin - 19 September 2011 - 1:27 PM

I love this picture Carol! It is a beautiful shot of an outstanding young dog. The thing I like best about it is that it is also an optical illusion. Is he facing away from us and looking to his left? or is he facing toward us and looking to his right??

SHOOT THE DOG™: Black, white, or gray

If you’re working on improving your photography, you’ve been shooting 1,000 pics a week as I suggested in the first blog in this series (SHOOT THE DOG: Oh Romeo, Romeo), and hopefully you can now hit that shutter release with speed and precision even if the rest of the buttons and dials on your camera […]

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Jan - 30 August 2011 - 7:32 PM

Are you using your exposure button or letting it happen with shutter button?

admin - 31 August 2011 - 2:05 PM

Jan, I’m not sure what “exposure button” you’re referring to. For now, we’re just exploring the camera in full program mode, which might also be referred to as auto exposure. In this mode, the camera chooses the exposure settings automatically at the instant you depress the shutter release. There are usually several modes of auto exposure on most cameras – for instance, portrait, landscape, sports, night, etc, as well as a full auto exposure mode. These various modes have pre-programmed settings designed to provide adequate results in those particular types of situations. For example, the sports mode will set the camera to a high shutter speed to freeze action. Once we understand how the exposure meter works, we can learn how to adjust the exposure manually using the three relevant controls on the camera – the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO (sensor sensitivity).

jim boyd - 8 September 2011 - 3:50 PM

Very interesting. I always thought the gray card was mainly used for adjusting white balance.

Carol - 8 September 2011 - 4:15 PM

Jim – Yes, the gray card can also be used for adjusting white balance to eliminate color casts. I used to sometimes include a gray card in a photograph off to the side because it made adjusting exposure and white balance much easier in Photoshop. Now I use an X-Rite Color Checker Passport (~ $100), which is a board with a bunch of specific color patches as well as white, black, and a gradient of grays. A Photoshop plugin recognizes the Color Checker in an image and uses it to adjust color and exposure very precisely. For a lot of things I do it’s not worth the trouble because getting the color right isn’t a problem, but there are several breeds of dogs that I find very difficult to get the coat color correct – the Irish Setter (not really red, not really magenta, but …?), Norwich and Norfolk Terriers (not brown, not orange, but …?), some darker Golden Retrievers (not red, not orange, not brown, but …?). And it’s even worse if the dog is standing on grass, which reflects a green color cast on the dog that is almost impossible to remove and get back to the original color of the dog.

SHOOT THE DOG™: Total exposure

When you shoot a photo, you have to get the exposure right or you won’t get the shot you were hoping for.  If you shoot in an automatic or program mode, most cameras now can do a pretty good job most of the time.  But there are lots of situations where the camera makes the […]

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[…] my last post (SHOOT THE DOG: Total exposure), I asked you to go outside and do a little experiment that would help you understand how your […]

The catch

If you’re a student of photography, you will probably have heard of Henri Cartier-Bresson.  He studied painting in his youth, but in mid-life he became interested in photography and went on to become famous for his candid images of ordinary life, the earliest form of street photography.  He was especially fascinated in the camera’s ability […]

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Lisa Bergman - 9 September 2011 - 5:58 AM

How to you get the shot of the dog in action like that? I always miss the shot, My camera NEVER clicks when its suppose to, like a delayed action? Would love to know how to fix that, & THANK YOU!

Carol - 9 September 2011 - 10:17 AM

You didn’t say what kind of camera you are using, but I’m guessing it’s a compact camera rather than a D-SLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera. The notable feature of SLR cameras is that they use interchangeable lenses. Compact cameras are small, lightweight, inexpensive, and easy to use. You view the scene you are shooting on the LCD screen on the back of the camera in real time. They’re great for the average person who wants to take casual pictures of friends, family, events, etc. On most of these, when you push the shutter release, there is a slight delay before the camera captures the image, which can be very frustrating. SLR’s on the other hand, have a larger, heavier bodies, and they are more expensive. Most brands have many lenses available – wide-angle, zoom, telephoto, etc that can be used for specific kinds of photography. They have more sophisticated exposure metering, higher quality sensors, and now many can also shoot HD video. They have automatic program modes as well as full manual control. There is essentially no lag time between when you push the shutter release and image capture. I own both kinds of cameras – I can slip my compact camera in my pocket to have handy if I’m traveling or visiting with friends and family, but when I want to capture a high quality image I always use one of my SLR’s. I own professional quality equipment, but you can pick up a nice entry-level SLR body and lens for less than $1000. The top manufacturers are Nikon and Canon – both produce excellent gear and which brand a photographer uses is a matter of personal preference.

[…] freeze the action of the black dog catching a ball above, the shutter speed I set on my camera was relatively fast, 1/400 […]

Tunnel vision

Maverick (Am/Can Int’l CH Sterling Blunote Gambler, CGC) is a sturdy hunk of a Great Dane, 9 years old and still looks and acts like a teenager except for a light dusting of white on his muzzle.  Proud owner Jeff Ball wanted some photos taken in NYC that would make the dog look great and […]

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Annie the Dog Nanny - 20 August 2011 - 10:42 AM

That is an awesome picture of Strength and Grace and the car is fine because he looks 5 times bigger than it!
“The Atlas of Dogs”

Jan - 20 August 2011 - 3:24 PM

I love tonal contrast. So good for so many things. Did you also apply it to dog besides area? Love this portrait. The pinkish tones cast through out ties it all together.