There are around 400 inherited diseases recognised in dogs. These vary from simple recessive inherited conditions such as progressive retinal atrpphy to polygenic diseases which are much harder to erradicate. The whippet does not have a strong history of genetic disorders but like all breeds is founded on a limited gene pool which is becoming smaller as a result of popular sire syndrome and line breeding. The likelihood of genetic disease increases as the genetic diversity in the breed shrinks.
As Jeff Sampson the KCs former genetics consultant stated at a breeding symposium " the population structure of our puebred dogs is a little peculiar and with that comes increased risk"
The Kennel Club is now keen for breeders to understand genetics and want to help dog breeders combat inherited diseases through understanding genetics.
They have introduced a new tool to allow breeders to calculate the COI of all matings and have suggested a level below which a breed must maintain its COIs. This is likely to be below the current breed average. The Kennel Club consider this of huge importance to the long term health of pedigree dogs.
Breeders who make genetic health a priority may find the articles and sites in the links on the left useful as they plan matings and consider their breeding plans for the future.