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Health testing is a good start, but won't spare a breeder the heartache of things like Addisons for which there are no tests to see who might be a carrier. Diligent pedigree researching to find a healthy compatible mate is a must. And breeding dogs with the aim of producing puppies with low COI's is one of my goals. I have said it before and will say it again, the Canine Diversity Project is adamant about low COI's and state that a puppy with a COI of less than 10% is likely to live up to four years longer than a pup with a higher than 10% COI. I think our last litter had a COI of 3.78% which is a pretty good indicator that there are not a lot of common ancestors in these pups. That is a good thing. All of the line breeding and inbreeding that has taken place over the years has shrunk the gene pool, especially in reds, and made it very difficult to find compatible mates for ones dogs that are not related to them. The further apart they are familially, the less risk of health issues, in my opinion. I do understand there are reasons for linebreeding and inbreeding, but I will not go there. I try to equate my breeding practices to what I would find acceptable in my family. There is a reason it is against the law for first cousins to marry and bear children, and the same risks and threats occur when you do it too often in dogs.
 
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