Inbreeding is a phenomenon in which two genetically close animals are bred together. Usually, dog breeders use this technique to maintain pure bloodlines in certain special breeds, and to produce exceptional breeds of the dogs.
To some extent, pairing specimens with their excellent traits can improve a dog’s breed. But if this single-line breeding continues for generations, it can limit the available gene pool and foster a generation of dogs with health problems.
Although it is impossible to predict the precise impact that mating has on a specific dog, all we know is that it increases the chances of a dog becoming unhealthy and weak.
Inbreeding in Dogs May Cause These Problems
1. Physical Problems
Dogs that inbred are more likely to suffer from minor infections and flu to various other serious problems. They often have a lower immune system than the dogs that are genetically diverse. And due to their lower immune system, they are less able to fight off with viruses and infections.
Purebred dogs are also seen with heart diseases, bone and joint disorders, blood clotting, a digestive disorder that causes diarrhea and vomiting, skin problems, and neurological disorder. Some are born with exotropia- a vision problem, in which the dog is unable to focus their eyes on anything.
Inbreds that are inclined to physical problems:
Breeds like: Dachshunds, Mastiffs, Newfoundlands, Lanrador Retrievers, Golden Retrivers, and much more.
2. Genetic Defects
Do you think your inbred dog will look and act the way you want? It might not. A purebred dog will grow up in another way and might look different than what you think and expect. They have different working behaviors. And can sometimes become the most adamant pet to deal with. Some of the behavioral traits in inbred dogs are:
- High energy level
- They have independent thinking and do what they want instead of what you want
- Sometimes they chase, nip or grab things that are moving (like other animals, cars, cats or any other moving object)
- They do have a trait of digging holes
- They are more aggressive and suspicious towards strangers
- Barking and even howling of things they are skeptical about
Many inbred dogs are inclined to injurious mutations and conditions. While on the other hand, many purebred dogs have fatal diseases like: hip dysplasia in German Shepherds, Addison’s in Portuguese water dogs, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, cardiac problems in boxers, and many others.
Most common breeds that feature genetic defects:
Breeds like German Shepherds, Rottweiler, Great Danes, Saint Bernard’s, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Otterhounds are more prone than the smaller breed dogs.
3. Personality Disorders
Research has shown that the dog that gets along with other dogs and is domesticated to live with humans is a good dog. But purebred dogs are temperamental and behave differently. They are aggressive and easily get irritated when being bothered. The characteristic of temperament of a dog depends on the genes it has, while other show this because of inbreeding. Inbred dogs usually are:
- Impulsive: Inbred dogs are very impulsive; they run-off chasing vehicles and often gets lost or run-over on roads.
- Fearful: These dogs are always wary of strangers and are very fearful. Some purebred dogs learn to trust their owner while aloof them.
- Anxiety separation: Dogs facing personality disorders always want themselves surrounded by their owners. They want constant attention and affection from their owners.
- Lack of affection: Dog owners always want that their dog loves them. But unfortunately, some inbred dogs never learn to trust and thus they keep themselves away from their owners. They don’t show any love and affection towards them.
4. Fertility Problems
Unhealthy, disfigured and small litters and infant mortality are due to improper breeding. When inbreeding has gone beyond its limits, the female dog starts delivering unhealthy puppies. Also, some inbred male dogs may have lower fertility, making breeding very difficult.
Hormonal influences are also one of the reasons for infertility. Low level of hormones can lead to infertility.
Symptoms of infertility:
- Abnormal frequent heat cycles
- Split heats
- Failure in allowing the male dog to breed
- Reabsorption or mummification of litters
5. Congenital Defects
Birth defects or congenital defects mostly occur due to hereditary or nutrition related disorders. All domestic animals have many hidden recessive genes like blue eyes, pink nose, hair color, skin color and more. When both female and male dog has that specific recessive gene, the results can either be unfavorable or favorable.
Most inbreds have structural and functional congenital defects. These defects are mostly classified by the body or the primary part which is being involved, but when multiple bodies get involved, these classification systems become complicated. Hence to avoid these defects
- Breeders can increase the number of breeding animals. Instead of having few female dogs giving birth to new ones, breeders can increase the number of dogs and limiting the number of breeding per dog.
- Eliminate common series. Common series of breeds are a double whammy on gene pool. They not only reduce the number of male dogs that are contributing in the new ones, but also distribute hundreds of copies of their mutations in the next generation they produce.
Pros and Cons of Inbreeding
- It produces predictable offspring
- Recessive genes shows up and can be eliminated
- Doubles the good genes
- Remove unwanted traits
- Multiplies faults and weaknesses
- Weak immune system and loss of vigor
- High reproductive failures
- Genetically poor individuals
Inbreeding is like a two-sided sword. On one hand, some extent of inbreeding can produce excellent quality pets while on the other hand, excessive inbreeding can also limit the gene pool.
Thus, a purebred dog can be a good choice only if you know exactly which characteristics you want in your dog, or you get your puppy from a breeder who is doing all the right things to generate healthy pets.