Last week I was in San Antonio, TX, attending to the 2013 International Working Dog Breeding Congress. This is not an area I am so familiar with. For sure, I have worked with working dogs in the past, whether they were military/police dogs, guide dogs, etc., but I never had the opportunity to attend to a congress ONLY dedicated to these specific canine individuals. And to make it short: it was awesome !
Why? First of all because I am always glad to meet passionate people. And this was something I could feel in that conference room where 111 attendees were packed. Veterinarians, trainers, geneticists, program directors, etc., all assembled together around the same goal: discuss ways to improve the performances of their working dogs and their day-to-day management. 3 days of lectures where topics like sport medicine, genetics, training and reproduction were discussed. Lots of great stuff, I took lots of notes and be sure there will be a blog series on it!
I must admit I was blown away by the genetic selection programs some of these guys presented (sure there will be a post on that). But to make these programs as effective as possible, the first step is to have an appropriate breeding management protocol. That’s why my talk was about how to set up a canine breeding center. I could write forever on this topic, so let’s make it short and share what I consider essential!
1/ My abstract’s intro
Genetics of valuable working dogs is undoubtfully priceless, and the best way to maintain/improve this genetic potential definitely requires adapted and well-thought selection programs. However, on the contrary to what can be found in other animal industries, these programs do not always benefit from the recent advances that have been made in canine reproduction. Indeed this very dynamic field of veterinary medicine is now in many aspects as technical as human gynaecology and obstetrics: in terms of genetic selection, the use of these biotechnologies can definitely open new horizons. Therefore, if you are currently thinking of starting a canine breeding center for your working dogs, you will find a quick overview of what is required to get you started during this presentation.
2/ My slides