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New course highlights genetics for dog breeders

THE DEMANDS on responsible dog breeders to produce puppies of the correct breed type and temperament, that have the best chance of living a long, happy and healthy life, have never been greater, and there are increasing numbers of breed specific screening programmes to help them achieve these ends. ‘Genetics for Dog Breeders’ is a one day course organised by the Animal Health Trust that will help breeders make sense of health screening, particularly for conditions that are known to be inherited, and show them how it can be used to give them added confidence that their chosen mating pairs will not produce clinically affected offspring.

Drawing on the vast experience of the Trust’s canine geneticists (including Drs Vicki Adams, Sarah Blott, Cathryn Mellersh and Jeff Sampson), the course will cover basic genetics, genes (what they are, how they work and how they are inherited), and what goes wrong in an inherited disease. Particular emphasis will be placed on understanding the various types of health screening programmes that are available and how the results can be used to develop better selection of breeding pairs to limit the spread of disease to future generations.

Course numbers are to be intentionally kept low, 20 delegates per day, to create a friendly, informal format that will encourage interactive discussions. There will also be the opportunity to get hands-on experience in using screening data to develop a more informed breeding programme.

These Breeder Days will be held on Friday 11th April, Friday 9th May and Sunday 8th June 2008. The cost for attendance will be £50.00, which will cover the one-day course, all refreshments, lunch and a comprehensive set of lecture notes. In addition, delegates will get free membership of the AHT Breeders’ Club. Club membership will give breeders unique access to a dedicated email line where they will be able to interact with the Trust’s canine geneticists long after the course is over.

* Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis, so don’t delay in obtaining an application form, which you can by contacting Dr Jeff Sampson, either by email ( or in writing to The Animal Health Trust, Lanwades Hall, Kentford, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 7UU.