Is Inbreeding Bad in Dogs

Updated on June 22, 2010
K.S. asks from Saint Paul, MN
10 answers

After the very recent loss of our dog, we have been offered a puppy from one of my family members. The parents are siblings from different litters. Are there health risks when dogs inbreed? I’ve heard that the first generation of inbred dogs isn’t really affected. Is that true?
I understand that there is no right or wrong answer, but is it reasonable for us to want to replace our dog so quickly? We learned last week Tuesday that she had a serious health condition and put her down on Friday morning once she started displaying symptoms of pain and discomfort. A part of me wants to get anther puppy to help fill this missing void we’ve experienced without her, but another part of me feels like its too early and we still need to grieve.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

When I had my 16 yo dog down I could barely stand to be in the house--it seemed so empty. A new puppy won't "replace" a beloved pet but it is a great distraction.

p.s. Yes, I think inbreeding is bad in dogs but it's even worse in people! lol

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answers from Tampa on

Inbreeding in people isn't even nearly the issue that everyone thinks it is, genetically speaking anyway. Yes it can certainly cause (health) problems but usually only after several generations OR if there are significant health issues all ready present in the gene pool.
Pure bred dogs are created using careful inbreeding to get the desirable traits. Most domestic animals are inbred at some point, to increase the likelihood that the offspring will carry the traits that the breeder desires, like good milk production or really fine wool. Unfortunately bad traits get in there too, careful breeders will try to isolate the undesirable traits and not breed those animals that are carriers as well as bring in new blood from time to time.
I wouldn't worry much about the dogs being siblings from different litters BUT I would question how many generations the inbreeding has been going on and whether the breeders are following guidelines of some sort (and what those guidelines are) or just breeding these dogs willy nilly in the interest of making money. I would hope they have at least a rudimentary grasp of genetics.
As for whether or not it's too soon to get another dog, that I can't answer for you.

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answers from Indianapolis on

Any pedigree animal is, by nature, inbred. There is really only one species of dogs (just like humans) and to create certain breeds, they've had to inbreed quite a bit to keep the blood line going.

The problem with a single blood line is that it opens the probability of recessive genetic traits to be expressed. So, for instance, dark hair is a dominant trait. The likelihood of a light-haired child being born to 2 dark-haired people is very slim, but it happens.

When you put siblings together who have almost identical DNA, the likelihood of recessive traits being expressed (which can be related to disease) goes up considerably.

Some dog breeds are known to have certain ailments. St. Bernards, for example, are highly prone to eye infections and serious complications related to that. There's really no way to tell - even with genetic testing whether or not a gene will be expressed. And, sometimes, mutations occur at the cellular level that make a defective gene turn on and cause certain genetically-related health issues.

Only you know what the right answer is regarding being ready for another dog. Losing any pet is difficult, so give yourself time to grieve, but don't be afraid to bring another animal into the home if you believe it will help you with the grieving process.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I would be worried about inbred dogs having health issues. If you really want one of the puppies, I would talk to your vet about it first. If your vet thinks it is ok, then ask the family member if you can take the puppy for a check to your vet before deciding.

I am sorry for the loss of your dog. It is tough.


answers from Norfolk on

Grief is different for everyone. Some can not bear thinking of owning another animal for quite awhile while others will get a new animal right away. Only you can say when you are ready. As for the puppy offer - are you afraid the inbred dog might suffer from health/temperament problems that might have you suffering the loss of another animal? It's possible and there's no telling how probable that might be. Maybe this particular puppy is not what you are looking for. When you are ready, the right dog will come along.



answers from Duluth on

So sorry about your dog! I fear the day when it will happen to us. My concern with inbreeding would be if the parents of the puppy and the parents of the parents had any health problems such as bad hips, eyes or anything else. Also I agree with talking to your vet about the situation and having the puppy checked over. If all dog parties are healthy there shouldn't be any problem. Good luck!


answers from Minneapolis on

Two of my three dogs are inbred. Honestly, even though they aren't the smartest dogs in town they are still great dogs! They don't have any health problems that I know of.



answers from Iowa City on

I can't comment on the inbreeding issue, but I think it's fine to move ahead with a new dog if you talk about it as a family and decide you're ready. We got our first dog right after we got married and had him for 9 years. Due to cancerous tumors we put him down right after Thanksgiving and we had a new dog before Christmas. The house was so empty and the whole family needed to fill the void. We still honor his memory and our love for him, 2 years later.



answers from Omaha on

In breeding is never a good idea healthy issues may not show up right away but it is very possible they are there. I would search the paper for free puppies or go to a shelter to replace the pup that you have lost. Make sure you let yourself grieve for your lost pet otherwise you might end up with something close to what you have and expect it to act like your deceased pup which isn't fair to either of you. I would wait awhile and then go get a new one when the time is right. Sometimes it is a matter of a few days and othertimes it is a few weeks/months. I had to replace my pet's mate after a few days because it was driving us nuts that he didn't have his play mate and would bring him toys to bed in the middle of night wanting to play. Although we weren't ready our pet was and the new member was a joy to have around the house with his antics.


answers from Hartford on

Yes there is such thing. You can have issues just like in humans. I am not sure on the different litters but I assume that they have the same parents? Just like human brothers and sister are not the same pregnancy. the genes can get messed up. Just be careful!

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