"Keeping a Breed Alive" may sound a bit dramatic, but its the bottom-line of what the Ameri-Can Stabyhoun Association (ASA) and clubs world-wide are doing.
Today, more than ever, we have a greater understanding of population genetics, and researchers possess the scientific tools to test DNA (at reasonable cost) to assess individual dogs and the breed population as a whole.
Recently, a sampling of what we can analyze and an explanation of the data from the DNA analysis of Stabyhouns in the ASA was presented by Lee Brewer at the September seminar on the Stabyhoun Diversity Project; we are complementing our current tools such as Zooeasy and pedigrees with genetic information that can help preserve unique genes and alleles, and inform future decisions about breeding and out-crossing.
I Love Stabyhouns, what can I do?
The Stabyhoun Diversity project overview is simple – Genetic Diversification, with the goal of protecting the long-term health of Stabyhouns through making informed choices in breeding.
Before I go any further, I need to say that......YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Keeping your dog as a breeding candidate, analyzing your breeding dog's DNA, your collaboration with the ASA, Nederlandse Vereniging voor Stabij en Wetterhounen (NVSW) or other organization dedicated to furthering the Stabyhoun breed, and your attention to your dog's genes and overall health will contribute to the future of this breed.
There are plenty of people and organizations, including the ASA and NVSW, that are willing to help educate, guide, organize testing, and give solid science-based breeding advice if you avail yourself to those opportunities.
What can you do specifically?
Join your country's Stabyhoun Association! Stay up-to-date and in touch with the latest information on your dog's health and the breed's health
Educate yourself on the breed, understand why it is imperative to keep a broad number of males and females intact and part of the breeding population; see the seminar information and the data analysis that ASA members can view in the members-only "Downloads and Forms" section; amazing information about our dogs!
DNA test your dog and litters; the more information we have, the more accurate a picture we have of the breed's genetic population.
Find out if YOUR DOG has rare founder genes - you might be surprised!
Understand that early spay/neuter may have long-term health effects on your dog and is a dead-end for the genes your Stabij carries
Attend a ASA Specialty or other event to have YOUR DOG evaluated for conformation, temperment and structure. The ASA Breeder Advisory Committee can point you in the right direction or arrange an evaluation
Connect with other Stabyhoun owners, stay in touch with your breeder, ask for help or advice when you need it! Need to board your intact dog? Need a vet that is attuned to breeding dogs? Want to know what its like to have a breeding bitch in heat or a stud dog? Find support at club events and online at the ASA Brag Page
Advise the ASA Breeder advisory Committee (BAC) of any health issues in your dog - even if you are not breeding: it provides important data that could help the breed, it could inform breeding decisions, or be a early indicator of an emerging genetic disease in the breed
Find great homes for puppies! Talk to people about the breed; we always want to have great puppy homes available!
The Momentum is Growing!
The ASA held a webinar on diversity and breeding for members in November 2018 to make everyone aware of the issues and the importance of doing DNA testing. Since then, the number of Stabys tested has doubled to date from 82 dogs to 193 purebreds and 13 Non-pedigree dogs
The ASA has also formed a partnership with EMBARK and lowered the cost of the test to $139 worldwide for Stabyhouns.
The latest analyses with genetic and pedigree data and includes data for the United Kingdom Stabyhouns and European Stabyhouns .
And just this past weekend, the NVSW, or Dutch Stabij and Wetterhoun Association, hosted an International Summit of Stabyhoun Breed clubs from numerous countries at their semi-annual Fokkersdag (Breeder's Day) on October 12 and 13 in Zutphen, NL. The Ameri-Can Stabyhoun Association was there to learn more, collaborate with other countries and discuss the data about our breed's genetics and breeding regulations.
This is a exciting time for the Stabyhoun! I'm thrilled to be part of the efforts to keep this beautiful, loving, intelligent breed alive.