Population geneticist Federico Calboli is a frequent and outspoken commenter at Q. I sent him the material below even before I blogged it. Here, with his permission, are his thoughts. As he is not affiliated with any breeding organization his freedom from bias is clear. If you believe that simply picking from two healthy parents will guard against the defects revealed by the ever- shrinking gene pool, you should read this.
Sadly, most people who follow this blog already know these things, and those committed to the 19th century fallacies of “pure breeding” are standing around with fingers in their ears hollering “LALALALALALAI CAN’T HEARYOU!!!” Still, you never know who you might reach. Take it away, Federico! (Emphasis mine)
“Assuming one is trying to produce pedigree dogs that are healthy (i.e. health is the phenotype we select for), the advice [in post below] is sound.
“The elephant in the room (which is touched in the intro when landraces are mentioned) is that, no matter what, closed registry breeding will kill a breed, sooner or later. Later if the advice in the document is followed, but that’s no silver bullet. Keeping dogs cost money (no matter how little, it’s always more than 0). Even in the ‘let’s just breed for health’ dreamscape, keeping the largest possible effective population would be quite costly. Who pays? This problem just by itself means that sooner or later genetic variability will be lost. In the best case scenario this is a slow whittling away, but there is never any putting back in a closed registry model.
“Hence why either you breed for function (dog X does job Y well enough, dog X is a breeder, end of), and ‘breed’ becomes a synonym with ‘function’, or you need something else. Hence why I recommend to reduce the number of breeds, merging similar one (say, all retrievers together, all sighthounds together) AND to have open registries. Merging breeds would increase genetic variability while keeping some guideline in terms of looks and function. Open registries (keeping note of all ‘half bred’ animals, and fully registering those with 3 out of 4 grandparent registered, or something like that) would guarantee gene flow after the first ‘enrichment’ through breed merging has happened.
“To cut it short, no matter how well managed, sooner or later closed registries will spell doom for a breed. Having said that, there is more to say about canine health, but that’s for another email.”