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  • Writer's pictureSkylar Copeland

FREEDOM Litter Embark DNA Results

Although all of the dogs we use for breeding have been DNA tested, we also test every puppy produced via Embark. We do this largely to monitor the COI (Coefficient of Inbreeding), but also to test for a broader spectrum of diseases since not every outside stud dog we use has had a complete panel done. Our most recent litter, the FREEDOM litter between Rudy & Furrari produced our best COI numbers yet!

Now, some of you may be wondering if all siblings have the same COI since they have the same parents, but just like how not every sibling looks identical, they do not all inherit the same genes from mom and dad. Thus, some may have a lower or higher COI depending on which genes they inherit. So, without further adieu, the results:

Freedom Elevated of Fireside Fernweh (red collar male) | COI 24%

Freedom Leader of Fireside Fernweh (orange collar male) | COI 21%

Freedom Inspired of Fireside Fernweh (yellow collar male) | COI 23%

Freedom Light of Fireside Fernweh (green collar female) | COI 29%

Freedom Vision of Fireside Fernweh (blue collar male) | COI 24%

Freedom Warrior of Fireside Fernweh (purple collar female) | COI 20%

Freedom Defender of Fireside Fernweh (pink collar male) | COI 22%

Freedom Reigns of Fireside Fernweh (light blue collar female) | COI 26%

Freedom & Whiskey of Fireside Fernweh (lavender collar male) | COI 23%

Freedom Sings of Fireside Fernweh (grey collar female) | COI 24%

Also of importance, the results of the parents:

Sire: Thornvalley's Against All Odds* | COI 20%

Dam: Royal's Furrari Freedom Ride | COI 31%

So what do these numbers mean? Well, the breed average is approximately 27% according to Embark, so 9/10 puppies were more diverse than average for the breed. The average COI for this litter was 23.6%, which is significantly lower than our previous litters, which were 29.1% (RIDE) and 29.8% (DRIVE). This number is on par with Embark's eCOI (expected Coefficient of Breeding) for the litter, which was 24%. It is important to note that the COI of the parents is not hugely important when considering pairings, since it is the pairing which matters. For instance, two dogs which each have an extremely high COI but whom are not genetically related will produce a lower COI. The opposite is also true - if both parents have low COI but are genetically closely related, they will produce high COI offspring.

We are more than satisfied with the results of this litter, but reducing COI is a longterm, multi-generational process. To aid in this process, we are expanding our program and intend to import semen from unique lines of various origins. Our hope is that more and more breeders will begin paying attention to the COI as well, so that we can bring it down before any major health concerns become widespread in the breed.

For some breeds, such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, inbreeding has already risen to such levels that even outcrossing can do little to improve the health of the breed as we know it. This happens because so much of the genepool shares the same genes, that even if an outcross is done, when crossed back into the purebred population, the COI will jump again and the health issues will return. However, with tools such as Embark, we have everything we need at our fingertips to manage the White Swiss Shepherd's genetic diversity moving forward.

Of course, we are more than aware that the COI is not the only thing one must focus on when considering a pairing, however it is not going to improve if hardly anyone gives it any attention at all. As stated before, lowering COI in the longterm requires multi-generational planning. It also requires that more dogs be tested so that we are able to request the eCOI from Embark prior to choosing pairings.

PS, if you are also a breeder and looking to try Embark (paid link), use code TRYEMBARK99 to get your first kit for just $99.

*Thornvalley's Against All Odds is owned by Melanie Fuellgraf // Thornvalley White Swiss Shepherds

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