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Re: [PyrNet-L] Breeding - American vs French

In a message dated 4/29/99 1:05:09 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
carol@NaturalDogFood.com writes:

<< You bring up some very interesting (and somewhat sore) points about
 size in our "giant" breed.  >>

Ahhh, Carol, now you have done it <G>.  You have really opened the Pandora's 
box of size Vs soundness.  

<< This distance
corresponds to the front angulation of the dog, and the larger
angle will make the dog "taller." Unfortunately it will also make
the "taller" dog less sound than the "smaller" dog of the same
actual size.>>

This would only be true at the extremes of the angulation. Balance i.e. front 
to rear is more important.  The proof in the Siberian Husky's who have 
moderate to small angulation, but can run all day without breaking down.  
They are balanced front and rear.  When the angles get too straight they 
actually get straight and the physics of the angles weaken the drive and pull 
of the gait, but this has to be almost straight.  Almost no dogs would 
qualify here.

<<Anyway, some people who do not understand this concept have
equated all "large dogs" with the word unsound.>>

That would be very ignorant and should be dismissed as such.

<< Even seemingly
intelligent people have told me that a large Pyr cannot be

It does seem to be more difficult with the larger dogs.  Even the French 
acknowledge this.  Not sure why, but seems to be true in fact.  The challenge 
is to breed larger dogs who can reproduce themselves with sound stock.  
<<But then how can you explain that a Thoroughbred race
horse can be sound? Or a Clydesdale. Do they have to be Shetland
pony size to be sound?>>

Don't think these things have anything to do with our dogs and you cannot 
equate structure of other animals with each other.  There are too many 
dissimilarities to point to only one thing as examples.  Probably the physics 
of work and motion would not correlate enough as well.  

<<But I think that this is a rationalization. In my ever jaded way
of looking at things, I think the people who bred the smaller
Pyrs were better at politics and had better staying power than
the people who bred the larger Pyrs. >>

You may be jaded, but there may be another more logical explanation.  One you 
might detest, but plausible nonetheless.  The "smaller" dogs you describe 
were more correct in structure and movement and reproduced themselves more 
reliably and with less problems in genetics.  Why else would you now see this 
"smaller" dogs genetics dominate the breed even in kennels who started with 
the larger dogs.  On the reverse if the larger dogs genetics were so good, 
why would it have almost vanished?  We all want large dogs?  Why would we 
have not all used it?  Certainly you do not imply in this vast country that 
everyone was politicked and brainwashed to use the smaller dogs for no other 
reason than politics and influence.  I believe the gene pool was more 
reliable and gave many what they required. I know there are many around the 
country who hate the idea that the kennel with the small dogs now dominate 
even their own breeding.  They would like to call the facts of the genetics 
as such things as "genetic scraps" or some other condescending term.  They do 
not and cannot offer any rebuttal that is based in fact.  With our computer 
programs we can clearly now see what ancestors genes have come through to our 
contemporary dogs.  Many don't like what "They" chose (i.e., that the small 
dogs genes are primary in their contemporary dogs), but they chose it because 
it was good and gave them what they needed.  Again, even with those very 
successful kennels who started off with the large dogs you speak.  This is 
really a form of natural selection i.e. good breeders breeding the best they 
can see.  I assure you the people breeding the large dogs did not make a 
choice to breed the descendants of the "small" dog breeders. 

Small Vs Large.  Much has to do with line breeding.  Linebreeding defective 
genetics results in disaster and cessation of this breeding generally.  So I 
firmly believe that the smaller dogs we see are the result of a quality line 
breed gene pool.  Probably the only truly reliable gene pool.  Which from as 
far as I can tell did not have any or almost any of the really serious 
genetic problems we see in the breed today.  It was only after this gene pool 
left the hands of those initial breeders that the problems began.  I speak in 
general, because nothing is as pure as my statement implies, but in general.

<< I feel very strongly about this, but don't
feel that, even though I am a member of the GPCofA, I have much 
say in this. I feel like I missed my opportunity by not being around
during the revision. So I just sit quietly and say nothing. Usually.>>

You can breed sound dogs and strive to increase their size.  You can 
encourage others to do the same.  Study who and what has gone before you and 
analyze what happened to their efforts.  The former large dogs gene pool has 
almost (essentially) vanished.  The former small dogs gene pool truly 
dominates all our contemporary breeding.  This is true, I should say 
especially true, in the large very successful kennels of the past 20 years.  
I suspect it will remain true unless the genetic health problems that have 
increased over the past 10-15 years does not infect the complete gene pool 
like a virus.