Shiloh Shepherd Information
A massive German Shepherd type that is 97% dysplasia-free? Learn about the Litter Mate X-ray program or LMX, simple genetics that define this giant GSD type breed.
Hip Dysplasia, the LMX Formula
by Shiloh Shepherd Founder, Tina Barber
Many German Shepherd lovers have loved a dog that suffered great pain, even had to be put down at a young age due to Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD). The question begs to be asked “Is it worth the risk to purchase and fall in love with a dog only to watch it struggle to stand up when it should be in the prime of its life?”
Tina Barber has created a breed that holds all the traits of the German Shepherds of old, without one critical characteristic-bad hips. Too good to be true? No. Through her Litter Mate X-ray program or LMX, she has answered the prayers of every brokenhearted German Shepherd Dog owner by producing Shiloh Shepherds that are 97% dysplastic free.
Let’s start at the
beginning. First, what is Canine Hip Dysplasia? Canine
Hip Dysplasia (CHD) is a truly crippling disease. It causes weakness,
deterioration, and ultimately arthritic hips and is considered a
genetic trait. Understanding that this condition is primarily genetic is
the key Tina has used to produce Shilohs that are 97% dysplasia free.
It is simple genetics to understand that an inherited trait is a characteristic passed from parents to offspring, each parent offering fifty percent (50%) of the offspring’s total genetic makeup. We have all said something like “You have your mother’s blue eyes.” That’s simple genetics. So, the knowledge that CHD is genetic is understandable, but how do we avoid the passage of a particular trait?
The answer seems easy, know the parents. If mom and dad are clear of hip dysplasia, the puppies will be fine-right? Wrong! It is easy to spot a genetic trait that both parents display, back to the example of blue eyes. But what about that child that has those beautiful blue eyes when both parents have brown? Here lies the key Tina Barber has found to practically rid the Shiloh Shepherds of hip dysplasia.
information is important because though the parent dogs don’t, themselves, have
hip dysplasia it does not mean they don’t carry the gene. So, can this gene
show itself through puppies if it does not show in either parent? You bet.
For each dog you see, there is also what can be thought of as a “shadow dog.” The traits of a dog that is in each dog, but cannot be seen. Therefore, an offspring of a dog that does not have hip dysplasia can suffer from CHD. The first situation to illuminate this point-- each parent does not have the phenotype for hip dysplasia, yet carry the genotype. Therefore, both parents carry that recessive. As a result, a dysplastic puppy can be born from parents that do not themselves have hip dysplasia. Another scenario, a puppy may not display actual dysplasia, but is a carrier since it got the recessive gene from mom or dad. Now, this puppy is ultimately bred with a dog who also carries the recessive, again, you have a dysplastic puppy.
If a parent dog does not have CHD but is passing on the gene, that dog is no longer used for breeding. Without data on litter mates, it would be impossible to reveal the recessive gene.
There is a philosophical difference between puppy producers and breeders. The end result of a true breeder is to better the breed and produce puppies that are products of optimal specimens. You don’t have to be a huge puppy mill to behave in a manner that is harmful to dogs and future owners. It is also the small “breeders” that over breed, don’t monitor genetics, and allow substandard examples of a breed to reproduce and allow flawed genetics to continue pass to litters that should never be born. If a puppy is born with less than desirable traits, that puppy should never be bred.
We are not dealing with a minor
genetic flaw; we are dealing with hip dysplasia-a trait that can only cause
pain and suffering to the dog. The LMX program is NOT based on theory. The
LMX program has the backing of facts proving it is a successful method in
ridding dogs of this painful condition!
The dedication to the LMX
program extends back to 1962, decades of genetic data gathering. Although
it is impossible to see that “shadow dog” in Tina and her breeders’ dogs,
they have a valid blueprint due to the knowledge of a vast amount of
ancestors and puppies born to their dogs. Since the Shiloh has entered the
Rare Breed world, a computer system as been designed that provides
information on dominant and recessive faults and virtues. The LMI program,
or Litter Mate Information, is only an extension to the original LMX program
that has been the key to reducing hip dysplasia in the Shiloh Shepherd.
There are some key factors
that make this program effective, or ineffective if not completed
correctly. There can be no conclusions drawn from incomplete data. For
example, if a litter only has 3 puppies, all with good hips, the assumption
cannot be made that had the litter been larger there could have been pups
with bad hips. In such a case, it is vital to research the litter mates of
the parents of the three puppies. The progeny they produced will be helpful
to complete the data. Additionally, research into the siblings and
ancestors, preferably 7 generations, is the only way to complete the
genetic picture. Simply stated, the more genetic pieces one can collect,
the more the “shadow dog” can come to light.
Another key is quality x-rays. If poor x-rays are sent to the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals)a perfectly healthy and genetically strong dog could be classified “moderately” dysplastic. This misinformation can lead to excluding dogs that have the potential to produce outstanding litters. Shilohs tend to have a tendency toward mild subluxationat a young age. If this dog is x-rayed a year later by a more proficient clinic ,he could certainly receive a good OFA rating. Recent research with PennHip-developed at the University of Pennsylvania Vetenary School, has proven this. This method takes x-rays from a different position than OFA x-rays. Many dogs that have been rejected by OFA have receive good ratings through this new system.
both systems will allow a better understanding of the dog’s true hip
quality. Documentation is paramount. In order to eliminate CHD guessing
cannot be an option. The collection of valid data not only protects from
poor genetics, but will protect an excellent dog from “falling by the
wayside” and not passing on quality genetic traits due to poor data.
In conclusion, the LMX program helps remove the wondering of what genetics a dog may process but are not visible. It goes far beyond mom and dad’s traits. It tracks traits down through siblings and ancestors. It is thorough documentation in tracing key genetics and has allowed breeders to expose that “shadow dog.” The program can only be effective, however, if breeders and owners participate in the program. Those who love the breed and want the continued success of excellent hips must cooperate. Anyone wishing to purchase a Shiloh Shepherd must do their research. The I.S.S.R breeders are committed to this breed and do all they can to promote these amazing dogs. They follow the strict guidelines set fourth by Tina and work as productive team to maintain high standards for each and every dog. This cooperation in the LMX program allows the I.S.S.R Shilohs to live a long and healthy life, free from the crippling effects of hip dysplasia.
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