The following breeding selection criteria have been demonstrated to more rapidly and effectively reduce the frequency of undesirable traits:
Breed only normal dogs to normal dogs—In an examination of 490,966 progeny where both parents had hip conformation ratings, the percentage of dysplastic progeny increased as the sire’s and dam’s phenotypic hip ratings decreased from excellent through dysplastic. Reports suggest equal genetic contribution on progeny hip scores from the sire and dam.
Breed normal dogs that come from normal parents and grandparents—this employs the traditional horizontal pedigree with emphasis on the most immediate three generations (50% genetic contribution from each parent, 25% from each grandparent and 12.5% from each great grandparent)
Breed normal dogs that have more than 75% normal siblings— although many animals in a litter become pets and are not screened for undesirable traits, breeders can utilize the OFA vertical pedigree function to access information about the siblings of dogs being considered for breeding. Breeders can add incentives to purchase contracts in an attempt to gather this information, such as offering reimbursement for a preliminary hip radiograph taken when the pet dog is spayed/neutered.
Select a dog that has a record of producing a higher than breed average percentage of normal progeny—if known, the comparison of production performance between individuals is an important criterion. For example, a stud dog with a track record of producing 90% normal progeny is far superior to another dog producing only 50% normal progeny.
Choose replacement animals that exceed the breed average—exert constant, consistent pressure to ensure overall breed improvement.
In summary, achieving goals in a breeding program depends upon the ability to assess an animal’s predictive breeding value. Important information to assist breeders in achieving their goals is available on the OFA website through the database search option.