Why add any genes if we are not health testing them?
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  • Reading the following thread, while certainly interesting, brings to mind an important area (for me at least) that does not seem to illicit as much discussion, namely health screening of african imports. IMO, health issues can impact the breed much more negatively long term than adding one or two possibly impure, but potentially healthy african dogs.

    Most responsible domestic breeders test for - at the very least - fanconi, eyes and hips prior to breeding. For those breeders who want the OFA CHIC distinction, they will throw thyroid into the mix. Those breeders who go above and beyond the norm will usually add HA, patella, elbows and/or heart, though not necessarily each one, as well. [Note: Once upon a time HA was required for CHIC but through diligent testing/breeding, the gene is almost non-existent in domestic populations (not including PM's or BYB dogs) so HA was replaced by fanconi at the request of the BCOA.]

    The four most common health screenings issues importers have historically done (when available) prior to application and/or acceptance are: Fanconi, Eyes, Hips, and HA. Like some domestic breeders, some importers might feel it is important and will test for thyroid, patellas, elbows and hearts - all of which have been known to cause some trouble within the breed. [Note: The current application process requires only Fanconi and HA testing prolly due to the mean age of most applicants being less than 2 years of age - the time hips, elbows and patellas are given a final grading via OFA.]

    Here is a breakdown of what the following 2009-2011 accepted imports have done with regard to health screenings:

    Year accepted/registered - 2009

    Avongara Angali (imported to EU)
    2008 applied - age at application: ~1 yr
    testing PRIOR to acceptance:
    Eyes - Clear (Sweden) Fanc: OFA P. Clear/Normal HA: VetGen-Clear
    testing AFTER acceptance: Hips: Grade A (Sweden) (said to be OFA equivalent to Excellent)
    No record of testing: Patellas Thyroid
    Bred: 2009

    Avongara Asuma (imported to EU)
    2008 applied - age at application: ~1 yr
    2009 accepted
    testing PRIOR to acceptance: Eyes - minor PPM (Sweden) Fanc: OFA P. Clear/Normal HA: VetGen-Clear Thyroid: Normal (Sweden)
    testing AFTER acceptance: Hips: Grade A/B (Sweden)
    No record of testing: Patellas
    Bred: 2010

    Avongara Bernadette
    2008 applied - age at application: 2.5 years
    2009 accepted
    testing PRIOR to acceptance: Eyes: CERF-normal Fanc: P. Clear/Normal Hips: OFA-Fair Patellas: Normal HA: VetGen-Clear
    testing AFTER acceptance: No record
    No record of testing: Thyroid
    Bred: No record

    Avongara Kitoko
    2008 applied - age at application: ~1 yr
    2009 accepted
    testing PRIOR to acceptance: Eyes: CERFable per owner Fanc: OFA- Indeterminate HA: VetGen-Clear
    testing AFTER acceptance: No record
    No record of testing: Hips Thyroid Patellas
    Bred: 2008

    Avongara Luka
    2008 applied - age at application: 4.5 yrs
    2009 accepted
    testing PRIOR to acceptance: Eyes: CERF-normal Fanc: OFA-P. Clear/Normal Hips: OFA-Good Thyroid: OFA-Normal HA: VetGen-Clear
    testing AFTER acceptance: No record
    No record of testing: Patellas
    Bred: 2006 (imported pregnant), 2008
    Offspring tested: Three(3): Fanc: P. Clear/Normal -all Hips: OFA-Excellent , OFA-Good Prelim, Patellas: OFA- Normal HA: VetGen-Clear

    Avongara Ojo
    2008 applied - age at application: ~2.5yrs
    2009 accepted
    testing PRIOR to acceptance: Eyes: CERF-PPM Fanc: OFA-P. Clear/Normal Hips: OFA-Good Patellas: OFA-Normal HA: VetGen-Clear
    testing AFTER acceptance: Eyes: CERF-PPM
    No record of testing: Thyroid
    Bred: 2011

    Avongara Rikita
    2008 applied - age at application: ~2.5 yrs
    2009 accepted
    testing PRIOR to acceptance: Eyes: CERF-Normal Fanc: OFA-P. Clear/Normal Hips: OFA-Excellent HA: VetGen-Clear
    testing AFTER acceptance: Eyes: CERF-Normal
    No record of testing: Thyroid Patellas
    Bred: 2008, 2010
    Offspring tested: One(1): Fanc: OFA-P. Clear/Normal

    Avongara Tambura
    2008 applied - age at application: ~1 yr
    2009 accepted
    testing PRIOR to acceptance: Eyes: CERF-Normal Fanc: OFA-P. Clear/Normal Hips: OFA-Excellent Prelim, Patellas: OFA-Normal HA: VetGen-Clear
    testing AFTER acceptance: No record
    No record of testing:Thyroid
    Bred: 2009

    Avongara Zibili
    2008 applied - age at application: ~2.5 yr
    2009 accepted
    testing PRIOR to acceptance: Eyes: CERFable per owner Fanc: OFA-P. Clear/Normal Hips: OFA-Fair HA: VetGen-Clear
    testing AFTER acceptance: No record
    No record of testing: Patellas Thyroid
    Bred: No record

    Lukuru Amisi
    2008 applied - age at application: ~1.5 yr
    2009 accepted
    testing PRIOR to acceptance: Fanc: OFA-Indeterminate HA: VetGen-Clear
    testing AFTER acceptance: Thyroid: Normal
    No record of testing: Eyes Hips Patellas
    Bred: 2010
    Offspring tested: Six (6): Fanc: OFA-Indeterminate - all

    Year accepted/registered - 2010

    Avongara Ziki
    2009 applied - age at application: ~2 yr
    2010 accepted
    testing PRIOR to acceptance: Eyes: CERF-normal per owner Fanc: OFA-P. Clear/Normal, HA: VetGen-Clear
    testing AFTER acceptance: Hips: OFA-Good
    No record of testing: Patellas Thyroid
    Bred: 2010

    Lukuru Lema
    2009 applied - age at application: ~2.5 yr
    2010 accepted
    testing PRIOR to acceptance: Fanc: OFA-P.Clear/Normal HA: VetGen-Clear
    testing AFTER acceptance: No record
    No record of testing: Eyes Hips Patellas Thyroid
    Bred: No record

    Lukuru na Lioboso Mopaya
    2009 applied - age at application: ~2.5 yr
    2010 accepted
    testing PRIOR to acceptance: Fanc: OFA-P.Clear/Normal HA: VetGen-Clear
    testing AFTER acceptance: No record
    No record of testing: Eyes Hips Patellas Thyroid
    Bred: 2010
    Offspring tested: Six (6): Fanc: OFA-Indeterminate - all

    Year accepted/registered - 2011

    Ntomba Lokoso
    2010 applied - age at application: ~1 yr
    2011 accepted
    testing PRIOR to acceptance: Eyes: CERF-Normal Fanc: OFA-P.Clear/Normal HA: VetGen-Clear Thyroid: OFA-Normal Hips: OFA-Excellent Prelim Patellas: OFA-Normal Prelim Elbows: OFA-Normal Prelim
    testing AFTER acceptance: All standard tests were done
    No record of testing: see above
    Bred: No record

    Ntomba Mosiko
    2010 applied - age at application: ~1 yr
    2011 accepted
    testing PRIOR to acceptance: Eyes: CERF- PPM Fanc: OFA-P.Clear/Normal HA: VetGen-Clear Hips: OFA-Excellent Prelim Patellas: Normal Thyroid: Normal (MSU) Heart: Normal-Board Certified Cardiologist
    testing AFTER acceptance: All standard tests were done
    No record of testing: see above
    Bred: No record

    If one of the goals for re-opening the AKC Studbook is to increase the founding population with healthy genetic variations, I personally would be more concerned about the lack of recorded health testing in some of these recent imports, than I would be about speculations surrounding a group of imports that have not even applied for registration.

    Lest we forget - we do not have a genetic test to prove or disprove breed purity; ALL original founders were selected for by their phenotype - towards the desired look of a few dog aficionados in the late 1930's/early 1940's, and European dogs have historically traveled with their masters throughout Africa for hundreds of years.

    The only real improvement we have in 2011 vs. that period of time is our ability to test/screen for particular health issues to be sure we are not hurting the breed far more detrimentally (IMO) long term, than adding one or two imports who may, or may not be pure enough but who obviously carry enough basenji-like genes to a) at least look like a basenji and b) to test as carrier for a condition which is relatively rare outside of the breed (fanconi.)

    As I have said before and will prolly say time and again - there is nothing in any of the imports I have not also seen, either in person or historically, in domestic basenjis from ground zero: lack of white, too much white, odd colors, sickle tails, longer coats, shorter legs, longer backs, larger ears, barking, etc.

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  • Am not sure why you didn't just include this in the other thread as it is surely part of the topic. That said, it is obvious the Lukuru where the 2 with the least testing prior and even after acceptance. Why not just ask the owners? I frankly feel it is a legit question. Even more critical, why don't folks petition BCOA to make all testing required BEFORE admission? Since even hips are considered over 95 percent accurate in dogs as young as 4 to 6 mos, a prelim from OFA would suffice.
    I went to look at the CHIC requirements (which leave out HA, but obviously the African should have that!) and am surprised to see heart not included. Incidence low but truly I think ALL breeds should require it. Sadly, they seem to wait til the problem is so bad it is so spread you can't get hold.

    Basenji
    Hip Dysplasia OFA Evaluation
    Autoimmune thyroiditis OFA evaluation from an approved laboratory
    Eye Clearance CERF evaluation each year until 6, thereafter every 2 years
    Fanconi syndrome OFA/U of Missouri test results registered with the OFA.

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  • @sinbaje:

    As I have said before and will prolly say time and again - there is nothing in any of the imports I have not also seen, either in person or historically, in domestic basenjis from ground zero: lack of white, too much white, odd colors, sickle tails, longer coats, shorter legs, longer backs, larger ears, barking, etc.

    And so are you saying that they should be bred? I have seen that also in domestic Basenjis, but that doesn't mean they should ever be bred… and to me that means we should not be accepting dogs into the stud books that are clearly not to the standard (and not talking about color) and particularly without clear knowledge of were they come from and how remote the area. And yes, I believe there should be test breedings before these dogs are accepted into the stud books. The offspring of these test breedings should be part of the evaluation process.

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    @tanza:

    And so are you saying that they should be bred? I have seen that also in domestic Basenjis, but that doesn't mean they should ever be bred… and to me that means we should not be accepting dogs into the stud books that are clearly not to the standard (and not talking about color) and particularly without clear knowledge of were they come from and how remote the area. And yes, I believe there should be test breedings before these dogs are accepted into the stud books. The offspring of these test breedings should be part of the evaluation process.

    I personally do not think that land race dogs can be expected to be of show type, although you may in rare cases get individuals that are potentially finishable. Land race individuals are expected to be more variable in type than a show-bred population. That's why advice on evaluating inclusion indicates that you look at the population, not just one individual.

    Show faults known to have been present in the parent populations of the original founders (pre WWII) are not a reason to exclude dogs. Producing faults known to have been produced by the original founders (pre WWII) are not reasons to exclude dogs. Faults, to me, are not the same thing as being clearly "off type."

    To me, in addition to evaluating known history and location, what you should be looking for is overall type of the group - the "center of gravity", as it were. Not "is this a show quality Basenji", but "is this population consistent with the type of dogs that we consider to be Basenjis?"

    A dog can be authentically primitive, verified by DNA, and not be of Basenji type. Not all primitive dogs are Basenjis.

    But even our earliest Basenji founders included dogs that produced too big, too long, too much white, creams, capped, saddles, etc - so we need to be extremely careful about distinguishing between "not having had 45 generations of selection for the ring" and "not really part of our target population."

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  • I agree, NOT ALL PRIMITIVE DOGS ARE BASENJIS! And I agree that you look at the population, however that population should be all the dogs from that area, not just the couple that are being submitted. So if you bring back 6 dogs, submit two, the other 4 should be looked at/reviewed as part of the dogs from that particular population

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    @tanza:

    I agree, NOT ALL PRIMITIVE DOGS ARE BASENJIS! And I agree that you look at the population, however that population should be all the dogs from that area, not just the couple that are being submitted. So if you bring back 6 dogs, submit two, the other 4 should be looked at/reviewed as part of the dogs from that particular population

    It's not really black and white, though.

    If you bring back 6 dogs from three different areas, and submit two from one of the three areas, I'm not sure the other 4 from different areas are particularly relevant, either as an argument for or against, even if you picked them up on the same rather long trip.

    And the population in that area does not consist solely of the dogs you bring back, even if all 6 you brought back were from the same small area - the dogs you brought back are not the source population.

    I think we need to carefully think through adding layers of bureaucracy - from personal observation, that does not necessarily help when what you're dealing with is not cookie cutter.

    Informal or unstructured does not necessarily equate with ineffective - in complex or varying situations, responding to the particulars can help you gather better data and make better decisions.

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  • Why would you go to the trouble of bringing back dogs you don't intend to submit? Just asking….

    It might be good to document everything you see with photographs, if that is possible, to give an idea of what phenotypes populate the area. I still think test breedings are the best way to prove a dog.

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  • @DebraDownSouth:

    That said, it is obvious the Lukuru where the 2 with the least testing prior and even after acceptance.

    Hi Debra,

    My point was not about who has the least or the most, my point(s) were:

    1. why are importers not testing more

    2. why are we (the fancy) not asking more of our imports/importers by way of health testing - this has been an issues since the first Avongara's were imported in the late 1980's. They were publicly raked over the coals ad nauseam by the purists for not having enough formal testing done and yet when more recent imports reflect similar screenings, nothing has been said. Has health testing truly lost its importance? Thankfully - due to the diligence of the likes of Bev Bland - the 100% descendents of the earlier Avongara's have had tremendous amounts of health testing, with very favorable results. If I am not mistaken, as a distinct "line" the earlier Avongara's have more public health testing than any domestic line past, or present.

    3. why does supposed lack of impurity - impurity which can not be tested for and can only be speculated about since 99.9% of us have never set foot in Africa - seem to take more precedence in our conversations about imports and importation when the potential for harm of impure genes is negligible* when compared to health issues

    • here are two interesting websites about back crossed dalmatians and back crossed boxers - both breeds who had another purebred dog bred into the line and how quickly they were able to return to their standardized breed type. You will need to delve into the articles to find the meat of information but it is well worth it and I still have a lot to read and digest.

    Dalamatians
    Bobtails

    If the worst thing any imports have is a little European blood mixed in but are fanconi clear/car, HA clear, have no evidence of: hip dysplasia, PRA, autoimmune thyroiditis, elbow dysplasia, luxating patellas and have strong sounding hearts - I, for one, could live with any possible tincture of impurity - assuming of course a) they are ever put forward for inclusion and b) they are what I want to incorporate into my line.

    This in some ways reminds me of the abortion debate. Whether I agree with abortion or disagree, whether I would personally have one or not have one, does not mean I have the right to take away the choice for anyone else; therefore I will always be in support of a person's right to choose for themselves their own path or their own breeding line.

    Since as I have stated, domestics have produced and will continue to produce, the very things we see as negative influences in the imports, who am I (figuratively) as a breeder of domestics to tell someone else what they can or can not breed? It is far better for the breed, IMO, long term to have breeders, breeding for variation, then to breed cookie cut outs.

    @DebraDownSouth:

    Why not just ask the owners?

    The question for me is why must anyone have to ask? All of these dogs have the potential to be founders for where our breed goes into the future. To me importers have an even greater responsibility than the average breeder to be transparent (and yes - I think ALL breeders should be open and honest). Isn't this similar to what LisaV was asking for when she talks about the dogs that are not being put up for consideration, not being accessible to the membership to look at in order to evaluate the whole population? She does not want the fancy to have to ask, she wants it to be readily accessible for everyone. The same should be for the heath screenings, IMO.

    @eeeefarm:

    Why would you go to the trouble of bringing back dogs you don't intend to submit? Just asking….

    There could be a variety of reasons. Most imports are brought back as puppies, a lot of things could change from puppy to maturity (bad bites, undescended testicles, not passing their health clearances, et al) which is why the BCOA process requires them to be at least a year of age prior to acceptance.

    Sometimes too - the owners of the dogs who are not the importers and/or breeders themselves - are no longer cooperative and/or willing to jump through the hoops necessary to get them put up for acceptance. Sometimes the importers themselves are just pet people (there have been a few that have gone to Africa that are not breeders) and they brought back puppies they fell in love with who were not picked on their phenotypic qualities.

    The same as not all puppies bred by responsible, domestic breeders need to be bred from and are therefore sold as pets on limited registration (or so we hope), not all imports brought over need to be put up for consideration if the importers decide, for whatever reason, the dog did not mature as they would have liked or the faults were believed to be greater than the virtues or the virtues of a related dog is superior and they want to focus on that one dog. It does not mean they are hiding something or that the dog is impure as some would imply.

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  • I agree, if there are dogs who have cosmetic faults but are health tested, that is more important than some unreal expectation for the imports to be "show quality." You can fix some things, you can't remove genetic health issues.

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  • @DebraDownSouth:

    I agree, if there are dogs who have cosmetic faults but are health tested, that is more important than some unreal expectation for the imports to be "show quality." You can fix some things, you can't remove genetic health issues.

    Cosmetic faults are one thing and not what I am speaking about, nor am I speaking about show quality animals. I believe as Dr. Jo noted on the other thread about "what it means to add genes" that the geographic region is important when looking at adding dogs to the stud books. And yes, they should be health tested.

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    Health testing is important for the imports agreed. It would be nice to see the show breeders hold themselfs to this higher standard as well.

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  • @sharronhurlbut:

    Health testing is important for the imports agreed. It would be nice to see the show breeders hold themselfs to this higher standard as well.

    I don't think you will find any disagreement from responsible breeders. But more important, I think, is that the results, good, bad, whatever are public knowledge.

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    One of the folks who went over to p/u this last group of b's has rejoined the forum. He is Bryan Gregory and you can see his post under Jumoke. Ask him the questions you have re the area's and dogs that he saw first hand.

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