C.A. Sharp

Sleeping Dragons — Hereditary Disease and Breeder Ethics

SLEEPING DRAGONS: HERIDITARY DISEASE AND BREEDER ETHICS by C.A.Sharp The world of purebred dogs rests on the shoulders of two sleeping dragons. The stockman in his pasture, the exhibitor in the ring and the breeder beside the whelping box feel the earth shudder when either is aroused. One of these dragons — hereditary disease — seems to have taken a heavy dose of caffeine. Breeders find themselves faced with a growing list of ills. The situation has become so serious…

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The Price of Popularity; Popular Sires and Population Genetics

THE PRICE OF POPULARITY: POPULAR SIRES AND POPULATION GENETICS by C.A. Sharp Consider the hypothetical case of Old Blue, Malthound extraordinaire. Blue was perfect: Sound, healthy and smart. On week days he retrieved malt balls from dawn to dusk. On weekends he sparkled in malt field and obedience trials as well as conformation shows, where he baited to—you guessed it—malt balls. Everybody had a good reason to breed to Blue, so everybody did. His descendants trotted in his paw-prints on…

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Rising Storm: The Immune System

THE RISING STORM: What Breeders Need to Know about the Immune System Winner of 2002 AKC/CHF Golden Paw Award by C.A. Sharp A complex and threatening storm is gathering on horizon. Reports of immune-mediated disease are on the rise in Australian Shepherds, as well as other purebred dogs. In magazines, on Internet discussion lists and at gatherings devoted to dogs autoimmune disease and allergies are regular topics. Immune-mediated disease results from excessive or inadequate action by the immune system. But…

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Can You See? Inherited Eye Disease

CAN YOU SEE? Inherited Eye Disease in Aussies by C.A. Sharp (ed. note: C.A.Sharp is the president of the Australian Shepherd Genetics Institute, an organization ‘dedicated to the increase and diffusion of knowledge of genetics in the Australian Shepherd, and the inherited diseases from which it sometimes suffers.’ She is a science writer and an internationally recognized lay expert on canine genetics and hereditary diseases.) Eye defects are the most common inherited problem in Australian Shepherds. Even discounting the problems…

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Speaking Heresy; A Dispassionate View of Cross-breeding

SPEAKING HERESY: A DISPASSIONATE VIEW OF CROSS-BREEDING by C.A. Sharp Several years ago the working Australian Shepherd community was rocked by a scandal. One breeder was alleged to have produced cross-bred Aussies/Border Collies and registered them as purebred Australian Shepherds, in order to give the pups produced an advantage in Australian Shepherd Club of America working trials. An act of fraud may have been committed—on the registry and on the trial system, but ASCA could do nothing to prove the…

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BINGO! Understanding Polygenetic Inheritance

BINGO! Understanding Polygenetic Inheritance by C.A.Sharp Everyone knows this old game: You place beans or other markers on numbered squares arranged in a grid as someone announces numbers pulled at random from a box. The first person to form a line of markers across the grid in any direction yells, “Bingo!” Breeding dogs is likeplaying Bingo, but instead of arranging beans on a card you are shuffling genes. When the right combination lines up, one or more of the puppies…

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