Protecting the genetic heritage of native dog breeds

Carol Beuchat, PhD

Most of the popular dog breeds are only a few hundreds years old. However, many native working breeds have been herding and guarding livestock for thousands of years. These breeds are adapted to the local conditions and have behaviors and physical features that suit them for their traditional roles. To maintain healthy populations of these breeds in modern times, their ancient gene pools must be protected as irreplaceable genetic resources. I will show you how to evaluate the genetic health of a breed as well as the breeding strategies you can use to preserve the breed's valuable genetic resources. Proper genetic management of today's dogs is key to ensuring the future of these breeds.