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Discussion Starter #1
I originally posted this in the other thread looking for a breeder in the same area, but someone suggested I start a new one.

I'm looking for a breeder preferably in IL within decent range of Chicago, but I had a question regarding health testing. I'm specifically looking for a pet dog because I don't have any specific training goals in mind like gaining titles, but I would prefer working line dogs because I feel their structure tends to be more what I personally envision the "correct" GSD structure to be, and I would definitely pursue obedience, tracking, and possibly Schutzhund if I wound up with a dog that had a desire to work. I really want to find a breeder who tests for things like DM as opposed to only testing for HD. I'm also curious if anyone has any suggestions of other problems GSDs are prone to that can be tested ahead of time. Chicagoland breeders would be best because it would be easy for us to visit, but breeders from south Wisconsin and northeast Indiana would also be ok. I suppose Michigan wouldn't be too big of a stretch, either.

Someone else in the other thread brought up the fact that the DM test is currently still being researched, but I would still prefer a breeder who tests their dogs since a clear dog is still a clear dog, and it's still possible to breed a clear dog to a carrier dog and get all puppies who don't have both the genes. I understand that an affected dog still may not develop DM, but I personally don't want to take that risk. This is the whole reason I'm considering going with a breeder as opposed to adoption, I feel the higher price I'm paying is an investment in the health of my future dog. If I have to go further for a breeder that tests, then I'm more than willing to do so. :)

Thanks so much for the help!
 

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DM testing is nowhere near the norm, and you will have a hard time to #1 find someone who tests their dogs at all, and #2 find someone who tests their dogs consistently.

On top of that, it is another thing that would unfortunately limit the gene pool even further :(
 

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So what, then, in the whole of the GSD community, it's impossible to find a breeder that takes DM into account? It's not about lowering the gene pool by only breeding clear dogs, it's about being smart when breeding known carriers. I have no problem with a breeder that would even consider using an affected dog, so long as the the other dog was clear. That way, even though all the puppies would be carriers, they would also be unaffected by the disease. I refuse to believe there's no one out there that's doing this. Obviously, it's only one of many things that needs to be considered when breeding, but it doesn't mean it should be ignored!
 

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So what, then, in the whole of the GSD community, it's impossible to find a breeder that takes DM into account?
I didn't say that. What I DID say was that DM testing is NOT the norm. It's also hard to breed the way you suggest when people don't test for it.

What makes it even more difficult is that a few tests that were formerly required for the "CHIC" designation of the GSDs health testing have recently been altered. DM testing is no longer required to receive a CHIC rating. It is an optional test.

A dog is now only required to be OFA Hips and Elbows, and to have passed the GSDCA Temperament Test

http://www.caninehealthinfo.org/brdreqs.html?breed=GS
 

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I would check out :: BILL KULLA DOG TRAINING ::
I know his male Kway has participated in 2 different scientific studies. One for DM and the other for EPI. Also hip and elbows checked.

Your best bet is going to be to contact the breeders you are interested in and ask what kind of health tests are done. Sometimes it's not always mentioned on their websites. If the dogs aren't tested for DM you might want to check different ways such as asking if any of the offspring have ever developed DM. Any siblings? Etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I know, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sound like I was "attacking" or anything, I know you didn't say that. It's just frustrating that it's not the norm for people to test. I'm having a hard time looking at breeders when the disease isn't even mentioned, I don't understand why it seems like some people would pretend it's a non issue. I didn't mean to lash out at YOU, just lashing out in general! I know it's going to be hard to find a breeder like I'd prefer, but I was hoping to at least get some leads by posting here. :)
 

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There are some breeders that do not believe or don't want to test for DM and I'm sure that they have their own reasons for this. However, I'm testing my dog's for the DM as I can. It is a horrible disease (not the only 1 for GSD's), and I for one want my dog's tested.
 

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Wolfenstein, in the CHIC Database, there are currently 485 dogs that are CHIC certified for the GSD. That is obviously NOT a lot, considering how many GSDs are whelped every year! In addition to that, many of them are NOT DM tested, due to the change in "rules" for the GSD testing.

Just trying to give you some perspective. I DO think more testing should be done. But more research also needs to be done :(

The best thing you can do is be forward (but polite) and ask about DM within the line of dogs you're looking at.
 

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Donna @ Eclipse Shepherds does. She is an ASL and WGSD breeder in Minneapolis MN. She will openly admit that her dogs are not typically suitable in the Schutzhund ring so not much help if you really want to pursue that-but her dogs excel in rally, agility, and UCK obedience rallies (she has had several therapy certified, service dogs, and SAR dogs from her past breedings) so it depnds on where you fall on the spectrum of ASL vs GSL vs WL.
Eclipse German Shepherds

If you lean WL Vinnie's suggestion http://www.kulladogs.com/ is a great kennel.
 

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So what, then, in the whole of the GSD community, it's impossible to find a breeder that takes DM into account? It's not about lowering the gene pool by only breeding clear dogs, it's about being smart when breeding known carriers. I have no problem with a breeder that would even consider using an affected dog, so long as the the other dog was clear. That way, even though all the puppies would be carriers, they would also be unaffected by the disease. I refuse to believe there's no one out there that's doing this. Obviously, it's only one of many things that needs to be considered when breeding, but it doesn't mean it should be ignored!
It's not impossible, but it is difficult. In my experience, there are also a huge number of serious GSD people who are unaware that the genetic marker test for DM exists. And those who are aware of it are also quite aware of the big debate on whether the test is even accurate for GSDs.

We've been testing our females, and have one who came back carrier (A/N). So in researching potential studs for her spring litter I inquired with the owner of every stud I was interested in about DM testing as I'd only want to breed her to a clear (N/N) dog to eliminate the chance of producing affected pups. Not one single stud owner I contacted had already tested their stud, and the majority didn't even know what I was talking about when I asked. Those who were aware of the test, as I said were also well aware that it was contested whether or not the test even had any value. When I asked if they'd be willing to test their stud for me, only a couple agreed to do so.

Beyond the ignorance that the test even exists, which is prevalent, the biggest part of the problem is that very few people have the rational, balanced view of the topic that you do, in that it is only part of the overall huge list of things that needs to be taken into consideration for breeding. There are many, many people, particular "armchair breeders" on internet forums like this one, who will loudly proclaim their opinion that no dog who comes back anything less than clear should be bred.. and OFA Fairs should never be bred, and any dog who's 2nd cousin twice removed might have possibly have had allergies shoud never be bred, and... well, you get the picture. If they all had their say, there would be no GSDs left to breed at all. This irrational, paranoid attitude on the part of many people is something that breeders are very well aware of, and unfortunately it means that many would rather not know the results of tests like this than risk being crucified in the court of public opinion by people who really don't have a clue about what breeding is all about.
 

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I test all of my breeding dogs not only for DM, but also Hips, Elbows, Cardiac, Thyroid, and Eyes. www.granvillegsd.com

Melinda Clark in Wisconsin tests for DM, Hips, Elbows, and Eyes on all of her breeding dogs. www.gildafk9.com

There are a few other breeders that I know of in this area that are getting at least their stud dogs tested for DM, Hips, and Elbows, possibly their other dogs too but you'd have to ask them.
Kelly in Michigan www.boeselagerkennel.com
Mike in Illinois www.delaneyworkingdogs.com
 

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Beyond the ignorance that the test even exists, which is prevalent, the biggest part of the problem is that very few people have the rational, balanced view of the topic that you do, in that it is only part of the overall huge list of things that needs to be taken into consideration for breeding. There are many, many people, particular "armchair breeders" on internet forums like this one, who will loudly proclaim their opinion that no dog who comes back anything less than clear should be bred.. and OFA Fairs should never be bred, and any dog who's 2nd cousin twice removed might have possibly have had allergies should never be bred, and... well, you get the picture. If they all had their say, there would be no GSDs left to breed at all. This irrational, paranoid attitude on the part of many people is something that breeders are very well aware of, and unfortunately it means that many would rather not know the results of tests like this than risk being crucified in the court of public opinion by people who really don't have a clue about what breeding is all about.
I somewhat of an "armchair" breeder but my initial reaction to this thread was similar to what Chris is saying. There are so many tests for this, that, and the other thing but people need to realize that not all of these tests are 100% or even close, not all of these disorders should automatically disqualify a dog from breeding, and nothing is a substitute for all the years of working with these dogs and amassing the hands-on knowledge of their bloodlines that breeders put into their breeding programs.

It also upsets me how our litigious culture that wants to blame everyone else and make them pay is now spilling over into dog ownership. EVERY puppy is a gamble. You simply cannot "guarantee" hips or DM or anything else.
 

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Chris said exactly what I was trying to say...she just said it better xD
 

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I know Kim of JustK9's DM tests her dogs, I believe wanda (kleinenhain) also tests her..Kim is in CA and wanda in KY, both are members here:)
 

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The breeder I'm getting my next puppy from also tests all of her dogs - Kerschberger in NM. So far she's been wonderful to work with!
 

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It's not impossible, but it is difficult. In my experience, there are also a huge number of serious GSD people who are unaware that the genetic marker test for DM exists. And those who are aware of it are also quite aware of the big debate on whether the test is even accurate for GSDs.
I often wonder how accurate the test is as it does come from OFA, and we all know how well they do on their ratings on hips
 

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Wouldn't the DM test be black/white? vs the "opinion" type rating on OFA's.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The way I understand it, the dog inherits two genes, and both need to be affected for the dog develop the disease. So if n=normal and a=affected,

nn = Dog is normal and not a carrier, dog can not develop symptoms.
na = Dog is a carrier, but still can not develop symptoms.
aa = Dog is affected. However, the dog still may never develop symptoms, but this is the only genetic combo that would result in the disease.

I think where people get that the test is inaccurate is because an aa dog still may never actually be affected. However, in my opinion, since it's a SURE thing the other combos WON'T show symptoms, it's only natural to breed where you won't have a dog that's affected.

So, you can breed an nn dog to any dog, and at the worst you'll get carriers, even if you breed to an aa dog. However, if you breed an na to an na or aa, you run the risk of having affected puppies.
 
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