Paying attention to inbreeding levels is important for breeders, breed bodies and buyers.
Kennel Clubs worldwide recommend low inbreeding levels. They want to combat genetic diseases and inbreeding depression in breeds. Recommendations vary a bit. We find the recommendations of The Kennel Club to be quite sensible with some adjustments.
[…]where possible, breeders should produce puppies with an inbreeding coefficient which is at, or below, the annual breed average and ideally as low as possible.
The point being made is that we need to breed below current levels in order to not increase inbreeding in general. We believe a one year perspective might be a little low as it’s vulnerable to fluctuations based on just a few litters, and have chosen to work on the last ten years instead. We also find the idea of just working with national averages a bit outdated, and have chosen to use the whole world for our baseline data.
We struggled a bit on how we could show inbreeding understandably. Could we use a diagram? Maybe a combination of line and bar graphs? Maybe use a table?
We chose to provide a “speedometer” type dial to show levels of inbreeding. If the arrow points to the green area, the inbreeding levels are below average. Yellow is around average values. The red is above average values. The max-value is the highest recorded coefficient of inbreeding in that period. It should thus be quite easy to see if a dog is more or less inbred than the average. We also provide a description, stating what average values are at.
We’ve previously created a handy table on inbreeding in the Irish wolfhound population.