In 2014, the Kennel Club launched Estimated Breeding Values, a cutting edge resource, as part of its existing online health service, Mate Select. Estimated Breeding Values, or EBVs, can be used by breeders to assess the degree to which an animal may have inherited, or may pass on, genes associated with a particular health condition. Currently, EBVs are available for hip and elbow dysplasia and are calculated by linking all available pedigree information with data from the BVA/KC hip and elbow dysplasia screening schemes.
EBVs are a more accurate way of measuring a dog’s genetic risk than by using the scores from the BVA/ KC schemes alone. EBVs take into consideration a dog’s hip or elbow score, as well as the scores of all of their relatives. By using this additional data, it allows breeders to build up a better picture of a dog’s genetics, using this knowledge to breed healthier dogs in future. The accuracy of an EBV depends on how many hip or elbow scored dogs appear in a pedigree. Therefore, the more breeders make use of this scheme, the more confident the estimation of the risk of passing on the genes for either condition. By continuing to hip and elbow score, breeders are securing the future for countless other dogs by providing the information needed to continue Estimated Breeding Values.
EBVs were developed with scientists at the Animal Health Trust, the Roslin Institute and the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Currently, EBVs are available for twenty eight breeds. As more breeders continue to hip and elbow score their dogs using the BVA/KC schemes, it is hoped that more breeds will be added in the near future. The Kennel Club hopes that anyone breeding pedigree dogs, with EBVs available, will utilise this new resource to continue to do their best to protect and maintain the health of pedigree dogs. To find out more, visit www.mateselect.org.uk.