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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Recessive coat color linked to skin issues & shorter lives...in Laborador Retrievers

This is interesting - a study involving another breed just correlated a specific, recessive coat color (that's commonly bred for) to a greater risk of health problems (and shorter lives):


https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/chocolate-labrador-retrievers-shorter-lifespans_us_5bcea040e4b055bc9483f2a5


The study is available here:
https://cgejournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40575-018-0064-x


The really interesting thing will be if this leads to studying more breeds, and whether they see coat color/health correlations in population studies of German Shepherds. It takes a lot of dogs to get that data. An enterprising vet student or PhD candidate could potentially get the necessary data set in the U.S. from Banfield/VCA/Blue Pearl -- as annoying as corporatization of vet care is, it opens up a new world of patient data for researchers, if they'll share it.
 

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Well that is interesting.... I've never heard of it in labs.

I've heard a lot of horrible conversations about double merle (aka merle to merle) breeding in Aussies. Even though it is old, old news, some people continue to make the crosses because they're willing to cull heavily and want certain coat characteristics....

It would definitely be interesting if the GSD pool was scrutinized to see what trends there might be.
 

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Well that is interesting.... I've never heard of it in labs.

I've heard a lot of horrible conversations about double merle (aka merle to merle) breeding in Aussies. Even though it is old, old news, some people continue to make the crosses because they're willing to cull heavily and want certain coat characteristics....

It would definitely be interesting if the GSD pool was scrutinized to see what trends there might be.
A homozygous lethal and similar genetic issues are completely different though than a limited gene pools resulting in genetic health issues. At least from what I read they aren't saying the chocolate color is necessairly causing the issues but that since it is recessive they're probably breeding too close. Kind of similar to the discussion of white GSDs and limiting the gene pool by breeding only whites together. At least that is what I got from it.

Don't jump ahead, remember correlation does not equal causation. They have to prove the issues are coming from the chocolate color but since the health issues are also seen in the other colors it sounds more like the breeding and not the coloration is the issues. Double Merle directly cause health issues, I believe harlequin and Merle in Great Danes are both homozygous lethal or something similar.

If there was a disease only chocolate colored labs get that would be different. Versus the common ancestors of chocolate labs had these disorders and so their descendants have a higher risk of inheriting them.
 

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Interesting study, though the study didn't prove that recessive color is the direct cause of the problems. Quote “Because chocolate color is recessive in dogs, the gene for this color must be present in both parents for their puppies to be chocolate. Breeders targeting this color may, therefore, be more likely to breed only Labradors carrying the chocolate coat gene. It may be that the resulting reduced gene pool includes a higher proportion of genes conducive to ear and skin conditions.”

It would be interesting however, if they can track recessive colored puppies and normal colored puppies from the same litters (i.e. control the parents of the puppies, select only puppies from parents that produce both colors for the study). That way, it will be like the study they did with twin babies to determine how much intelligence is environmental vs hereditary. However even this way, it would be hard to get fair data since there may be a difference in owner groups --- i.e. those that choose recessive colors vs normal colors may have a statistically significant difference in the ways they raise and care for dogs, and thus resulting in different chances of those dogs getting problems down the road that is not due to colors.
 
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