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Jim and Kim Dahlin
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California Havanese Breeder : Genetics


Selective Havanese Dog Breeding

Selective Havanese puppy breeding is used to improve the standard of the Havanese Breed.  As a Havanese Breeder in California, we consider the genetics of each dog prior to breeding.  In this way, we improve both the health and the standard of the Havanese breed (AKC standard).  Also, by being selective in our breeding, we are doing our best to avoid genetic diseases.

Genetics 101: Genetics of Havanese Dog Breeding

We will be basic here, but later on on this page we will become quite scientific. For those who are interested, there is a link at the bottom of the page. Genes come in pares.  They are the molecular make up a dog that determines how they will look, how healthy they will be and even to some degree their personality.  These genes are connected together forming what are called chromosomes and are paired forming chromosomal strands.  One half the strand comes from the dam and the other from the sire. The strands are formed upon fertilization.  That is, when an egg and a sperm unite to form an embryo. It is these genes that are paired along the chromosomal strand that give the specific traits to the Havanese Puppy, such as looks, health and even behaviors.


It is interesting to note that some genes that are inherited will not be seen in the puppy.  Sometimes the genes from dam and sire are identical resulting, obviously, in that gene being expressed in the puppy.  Otherwise, the genes are different and the dominant gene is then expressed in the puppy.  Those that are not seen in the traits of the puppy are called recessive, even though that puppy carries the gene and can therefore is able to pass it on to its’ own puppies when an adult.


Here is a basic example.  We will use a litter of three puppies: one black and silver and two salt and pepper.
In this example, gene “B” is code for salt and pepper coat color, the gene "b" codes for a black and silver coat, and “B” is dominant over “b”.  This way, a black and silver puppy will only result if it inherits two copies of the “b” gene, one copy from each of the parent's chromosomes, so that genetically it is “bb".


For recessive traits, like black and silver coloring, what you see in the dog is a true reflection of what you got in the genetics.
But if the pup inherits the "B" gene (for "salt and pepper") from one parent, and the "b" gene (for “black and silver”) from the other we will get a salt and pepper colored puppy because the "B" gene is the dominant gene over the recessive "b" gene.
With that said, it only makes sense that a havanese puppy that inherits the ”B” gene from both parents will result in a “salt and pepper” colored coat.


We call the “Bb” the heterozygous genotype and the “BB” the homozygous genotype.
Here is a simple illustration that might better explain how the genetics works.
havanese breeder in california genetics 101 havanese breeder in california
As you can see, about half the pups would be black and silver, and the other half would be salt and pepper colored.


How a Havanese Breeder uses Selective Genetic Breeding


Knowing which puppy feature is dominant or recessive, you can better plan for improving the breed by being selective in breeding.

One of the reasons that the Havanese Breed doesn’t have very many genetic health concerns is that Havanese Breeders take great care in their breeding and avoid mistakes that cause inherited diseases. I will to keep this part simple because it can get overwhelming.  The overwhelming majority of genetic conditions are recessively inherited.

One of the most common errors is inbreeding.  Even very moderate inbreeding or line breeding can result in half a litter developing a genetic disease, and the other half of the litter carrying the gene even if the disease has never appeared in that line before.  Breeders that show their dogs are very competitive and will do anything to win in the show ring.  They do this through line breeding.  That is by continually breeding back a dog that shows very good traits.  If you apply what we have just learned about recessive genes you can easily conclude that this type of breeding will produce some excellent standard breed puppies but it will produce just as many puppies with defects.  The resulting scenario is that half of the offspring will be carriers of the disease while the other half will express the disease.

The simple rules of genetics tell us that the puppies of a mating where both parents carry the undesirable gene, but are not expressing the disease (heterozygous), 25% of the puppies will suffer from the genetic disease.  Even more serious is where both parents are homozygous for the disease and produce a litter, then 100% of their puppies will be affected.
Puppies that are bred from fully unrelated lines, will have a higher reproductive rate, better performance and increased resistance to illness with an overall better health and vitality than line bred dogs.  Obviously, they also have a reduced chance of being homozygous for genetics defects and therefore have a greater tendancy to exhibit the genetic strengths of both their dam and sire.

Here are the rules we follow in our selective Havanese Breeder program:


1. Both dogs must be registered.
The mom and dad of your puppy are both registered with the American Kennel Club.  Theis mans they are purebred and also your puppy will be registerable.
2. Mate for good characteristics.
There is no such thing as the perfect dog, but selective breeding can get closer to being perfect that not.
Here are some very simple examples to help you understand.  If a dog has poorly shaped ears, we mate it with one that comes from a line of dogs that have great ears.  And remember it isn’t just about appearance.  Of course temperament is affected by the way a dog is raised and the experiences it has growing up, but there is also a genetic element to it.
3. Breed to minimize genetic flaws
As a Havanese Breeder in california, our goal is to produce puppies that do not inherit the major known hereditary diseases.  We don’t inbreed or even line breed.  We breed havanese dogs that are far from related as possible particularly since most of our puppies will end up as your pet we want healthy, happy and loving Havanese puppies.


If you read this entire article you are one of the few with understanding or interest in these facts. You will find more genetic information and how it relateds to havanese puppy breeders here:
http://bowlingsite.mcf.com/genetics/genetics.html

 

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