Chapter 4
How To Know What Type Dog Is Best For You
The Founder's Effect. The "Founder's Effect" occurs when a large and diverse gene pool is suddenly reduced to a relatively few sets of genes, which are reproduced over and over again. The "Founder's Effect" is what has happened with purebred dogs. When fanciers were creating dog breeds, they selected "founding stock" to form the basis for the breed they were working to create. They bred this founding stock together to create offspring with the characteristics that were desired. Unfortunately, the fanciers then closed the Stud Book (the group of dogs accepted as part of the breed) so that no new genes could come into the gene pool. In order for the breed to remain 'pure,' the founding stock had to breed to one another and to their puppies. This prevents what animal husbandry experts call an outcross (crossing a member outside the breed with a member of the breed) which contributes significantly to the genetic health of a group of related animals. Breed registries including the AKC continue this process today through its Foundation Stock Service (FSS) Program. The AKC requires a minimum of 300 to 400 dogs with a complete three-generation pedigree in order to consider moving an FSS dog into the Miscellaneous Group. From there, a dog breed must remain in the Miscellaneous Group from 1 to 3 years before moving into one of the seven formally-recognized groups, or present over 1,000 dogs registered with the FSS program. Each dog must be fully documented, including conforming to the breed standard, and owners must provide a written breed history for each dog registered. This encourages fanciers to engage in narrowing the gene pool which has caused well-documented health problems in many purebred dogs already. Although the "Founder's Effect" is a well-known phenomenon, the AKC still promotes registration programs that encourage this breeding problem. This process of creating a breed significantly reduces the gene pool. This situation is made worse by the requirement of breed registries that restrict registration of puppies to only those produced by two members of the same breed registered by that specific registry which prevents the beneficial reinvigorating genetic effects of outcrossing.