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BerichtOnderwerp: Interbreeding Coats   zo dec 22, 2013 1:26 am

 elephant Interbreeding Coats

By John E. Cipollina


THE INTERBREEDING OF coats in Chihuahuas comes up as a topic of discussion quite frequently. Some people come out in favor of it, others do not. I have been interbreeding the coats since I started breeding and have had no adverse effects in my breeding program because of it. I have read some of the concerns of those who are against it, and I would like to take this opportunity to address those issues.

As many of you may already know, I teach at a Middle School. Each year, the science department invites me to bring in my dogs and give a seminar on the practical application of genetics in the breeding program. With the Chihuahuas and Chinese Crested Dogs, I use coat inheritance as an example of dominant and recessive traits. I will explain it as I do to the 7th grade science classes.

All traits are inherited from the parents. The genes determine those traits. Each parent contributes half of the genetic material; therefore, genes come in pairs. A gene can be either dominant or recessive. When paired up, if one gene is dominant and the other recessive, the dominant trait is what we see. In Chihuahuas, the Smooth Coat is the dominant and the Long Coat is the recessive.

What we see is call phenotype. The genetic make up is referred to as genotype. In the Chihuahuas, phenotype is either Long Coat or Smooth Coat as is Hairless and Powder Puff in Chinese Crested. Genotype is what lies underneath.

In discussing genotype, it can go several ways. In the case of the genotype in the Smooth Coat Chihuahua, the genetic make up can go one of two ways. Should both sire and dam contribute the dominant gene, the phenotype will be Smooth Coat and the genotype will be referred to as be homozygous. Should one parent contribute a dominant gene and the other the recessive, the phenotype is still that of a Smooth Coat but the genotype will be referred to as heterozygous. Heterozygous can also be referred to as a hybrid. In the case of the Long Coat, the phenotype is Long Coat and the genotype is homozygous because the Long Coat is a recessive trait and must be paired with another recessive gene in order for that trait to be visible.

What that translates to in the case of the Chihuahua, a Long Coat bred to a Long Coat can only produce Long Coats because it is a recessive trait. In dealing with Smooth Coats, the genotype of the sire and dam determines the trait of the get. If a homozygous Smooth Coat is bred to a Long Coat, all of the get will be Smooth Coat in phenotype and heterozygous in genotype. The reason being, the Smooth in this case can only produce the dominate gene and the Long the recessive. When a homozygous Smooth Coat is bred to a heterozygous Smooth Coat, the get will be Smooth Coat in phenotype and can be either heterozygous or homozygous in genotype. In the case of two heterozygous Smooth Coats being bred together, the phenotype can be either Long Coat or Smooth Coat and in the case of the Smooth Coat get in that litter, they can be either homozygous or heterozygous in genotype. When a heterozygous Smooth Coat is bred to a Long Coat, the get can be either Long or Smooth but all of the Smooth Coats will be heterozygous because of the Long Coat parent. Lastly, two homozygous Smooth Coats mated can only produce Smooth Coat get in both phenotype and genotype.

Page Two

With this being said, the concerns about losing our Smooth Coats by interbreeding I find to be totally unfounded. Two heterozygous Smooth Coats can produce a homozygous Smooth no matter how many Longs are in the pedigree. In other words, mathematically, it is highly improbable for the Smooth Coat to become extinct due to interbreeding the coats. As far as the quality of the coat goes, it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that a Long was bred to a Smooth. I would challenge anyone to look at the coats of the dogs in my kennel and tell me the trait of the sire’s and dam’s coat by just looking at the dogs with no knowledge of the pedigree. Another concern I wish to challenge is that the quality of one variety is poor due to the interbreeding of coats. In my opinion, this is totally absurd. There is consistency in the quality of both my Long and Smooth Coats because when I choose breeding pairs, I look for the overall quality of the dogs and consider coat type and color last. To pass up the opportunity to make an improvement in my breeding program because of coat type would not be a sound decision.

Breeding dogs is like any endeavor in life. To be successful, one needs to look at the entire picture before making decisions. Those who select breeding stock based on the least amount of faults are breeding to the lowest common denominator and will breed only mediocrity. The most successful breeders, who have consistenly produced good representatives of the breed, have based their breed decision on the knowledge of virtues of their breeding stock. JMO
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