Another email contained no laughs at all - but a lot to ponder about. It took me to a fascinating Swedish Collie site with English translation.
You know how the KC complained that I'm always moaning about boring old inbreeding and glorifying the Swedes. But just compare how safe our Rough Collie is in Swedish hands...
When Imperial did their research on effective population size the poor old Rough Collie was looking badly in danger with an inbreeding effective population size of only 33 - despite there being 4,650 dogs in two generations.
I quote from the Swedish collie website:
I asked Dr Sundgren to go over the figures for the British Rough Collies for me once more. Using a slightly different method for calculating the inbreeding effective population, he came up with a slightly different figure.
That is the kind of figure one hears about, when an expiring variety of land race goat is discovered somewhere out in the distant woods. That's when genetic rescue action is started to save the goats.
We all know that Britain is the Collie´s country of origin. It is also the cradle of a tradition of breeding, which we had better bury in a hurry. Or it will bury both our breeds and the public´s remaining faith in them beneath a mountain of brightly coloured plastic show badges and a thick layer of disrepute for real, emerging or feared-for disease.
The figures from the table in the Genetics article are absurd. They are preposterous.
But they are not incorrect.
They merely reflect absurd breeding practices and preposterous priorities among breeders.
Could this sort of thing change? Yes indeed, it can! And here is the surprising news.
The comparatively few Swedish Rough Collies during the five years between 2003 and 2007 produced 2,615 puppies.
The inbreeding effective population was 500! How is that possible?
Swedish Collie breeders – not all of them, but many enough – have caught on to the threat of inbreeding and either import unrelated dogs for stud, or take their bitches abroad.
They don´t make the headlines, of course. So let me at least give them this:
A big, sincere THANK YOU for trying to secure the health and survival of our breed!!
Just imagine if we had the same system as the Swedes. Wouldn't that be good.
Okay, I admit it - I'm not going to stop being boring about inbreeding!