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Fergal 17/06/11 Choc Lab & Rodney 28/05/21 Black Lab - Family pets
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Hi all, I understand that the COI score on the KC website is not 100% accurate but I wondered if this figure can change over time? I can’t seem to find anything about a score changing.

I ask because when we got our first Lab, I had never heard of this & did no checks. Pre Covid we looked into getting another Lab & I came across the COI score. I input Fergal’s details. I am sure it came back in the 12% range. I did it again recently & it is now 8.5%

Conversely, when we were interested in Rodney the COI for the mating pair was very low in the 2% range, the lowest I had seen by some way & thinking it was way below the breed average. This was a big talking point with the breeder as she liked that we had checked this.

When I put Rodney’s name in recently, it is now 7.4%. I double checked putting in the mating details I had done previously & got the same number.

I wish I had taken screenshots back then instead of just writing the scores down. I know the breed average can change annually but this change has confused me.
 

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CoI cannot change! But an implementation of CoI can. It all depends on the number of generations and number of dogs complete in those generations. If the KC suddenly find some more ancestors or manage to fill in some blanks, then the quoted CoI could change. As I have said on here many times, I dont like the KC's bottomless pit method of calculating CoI. A CoI based on 45 generations, 5 complete is to me useless. Where ever possible I calculate over 10 complete generations. Almost invariable I can find at least 10 complete generations and by doing so can directly and accurately compare several pedigrees. When you look at the KC CoI's always check the confidence level, the number of generations the figure is based on and the number of generations complete. (The more complete generations the higher the confidence level.)

But the KC's "Estimated Breed Value" can and does regularly change because this is based on the hip and elbow averages over a set period of time and is updated over (I believe) a 5 year period. For most dogs this will make very little difference, but for a dog very close to average it can. My Amy for instants had a hip EBV and just a shade better than average, (in the green) when a baby, but now has a hip EBV of just in the red.
 

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As John has said, and he's got so much information on pedigrees, the CoI doesn't change in itself, rather the information that it is calculated on can change, so that's most likely why the figure you're seeing is different.

To be honest, although it is a good thing you're checking CoIs, I really don't base any decision about matings around hte CoI. It is more that the dog I like has good proven ability, whether showing and/or working, I like a bit of both, and their health test results, and then looking at the pedigree and how it compliments my bitch. The resultant CoI, unless really high, wouldn't put me off using a dog.

The Estimated Breeding Value is starting to be used in place of the actual health tests by some, and even Champdogs allows breeders to quote the EBV which 'looks' like a health test rather than the actual hip scores and elbow grades.

By breed average do you mean the BMS? This used to be the breed mean standard, a calculation of the average hips basically, but had changed to the median. I think the mean is now about 11 and the median is 9 from memory, but when I got my first puppy the mean was 17, and the dam had a hip score of 19, so just two points above the mean then, but now this is way over what anyone would expect to breed on from. That was in 2005, in reality only two generations ago for Labradors, so things have improved greatly, but sadly not ever breeder is health testing, let alone researching properly to use a dog 'more likely' to produce good hips/elbows, and sadly the majority of puppy owners don't know and really don't care because they 'only want a pet', as if a pet is somehow an inferior product. It is nice to see that some people are actually doing more research, but it would be lovely to see more doing it, and choosing to support breeders who try to produce pups more likely to have good health.
 

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Why is CoI important? Or even is it important? What brought CoI into prominence?

CoI first gained prominence in the early days of testing on animals. To accurately test drugs, cosmetics or whatever on animals first you need a standard animal, an animal with a standard, known and repeatable genetic makeup. Otherwise it would be impossible to know whether a side effect was caused by the drug or a genetic problem in the animal the drug was tested on. White mice were an animal often used, and somebody hit on the idea of mating brother to sister for 100 generations. That way the resultant mice would end up being genetically identical! Problem was, they never got there! Continual mating brother to sister brought hereditary problems to the fore and inbreeding depression made smaller and smaller litters until the line finally died out! "Oh dear!" said the geneticists, "Close breeding is obviously a bad thing." Two people brought out a calculation of inbreeding, though these days only one is now used, the Wright Coefficient which was invented by Sewall Wright in 1922 and that is what is used by the KC.

A auto immune seminar took place at the Sky Blue Conference Centre in Coventry in 2002 which amongst others was addresses by Dr Jeff Sampson, the KC's geneticist. And that was where I came in. The point where I started taking note of CoI's when researching dogs. If you imagine for a moment that the genome is the blueprint of the animal, what it is in every detail, it's colour, size, shape, natural weight, length of tail, everything! Even down to what hereditary diseases it is going to carry. It's that important. So you can imagine why the scientists crack on about it. Dog breeders have produced the different breeds by breeding animals with the characteristics they are trying to reproduce. To produce a champion they will try to repeatedly breed close to that champion. This is a form of inbreeding or linebreeding. Linebreeding is only a milder form of inbreeding and most breeders considered the ideal was to double up on the third line of the pedigree for two generations then to outcross outside of the pedigree for the third generation, in order to bring fresh genes in. But Jeff Sampson's advice, rather than line breed, was to use what he called "Assortive Breeding." The using of unrelated dogs who's genes, when combines with the genes of your own dog, will improve it.

So much so for the theory. But at times it feels like the world is ganging up on the naughty dog breeders! Lets look at the real world for a minute. I live in Buckinghamshire. I really dont know how many pairs of Red Kite were used to re-establish them in this area, but there are now thousands flying over my garden every day. A group decided to re-establish Cranes on the Somerset Levels and it was reported at the time that they used 25 pairs. Now only a week or so ago it was reported in the papers that several thousand "Extinct" fish have been released, bred in captivity from just 5 specimens. You will note there was no talk of inbreeding depression there! Then look at the exotic animals living on the Galápagos Islands. These animals are a captive gene pool thousands of miles from the nearest mainland. By all rights inbreeding depression should have killed them off hundreds of years ago, but they live on and thrive! Why?

Well one reason is, we take care of our dogs. We do our best to keep them alive. There is no doubt that many breeds would soon die out in the wild because they are simply un-fit to live! Crippled GSD's Bull breeds with no nerrs, plenty of other health problems which we have bred into a breed, where natural selection in the wild would have seen them killed off or starved to death because they would be unable to catch or kill their food. Dogs with serious health problems like cancer, which we "Save" and allow them to pass the gene on. Are the so called Super Vet's really saving dogs? Or are they saving A dog, at the expense of others which the dog will breed later the pups from which also carry the gene which in the wild would have killed him before he could have bred.

There you are. Enough of my wittering on for today. Yes, CoI's are a useful tool, but no more than that. Take note of them, use them along with all the other tools, but to me, they are not the be all and end all of breeding. Are CoI's as important as we are led to believe? I'm not sure.
 

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This is exactly my thinking John, and yet I do know some breeders will discard a stud dog because the CoI is above the KC average. I always look at them, but they are just one of the tools we have to help make an overall decision, by no means the most important tool as some seem to think.
 

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It'll be interesting to see what happens to the COI average. In 2020 when fewer responsible breeders were having litters, there were a lot of the "Joe Blogs mating his bitch to some random dog owned by Fred Smith" type of litters produced. Litters that had nothing to do with the best match, but simply money-makers.
 

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yet I do know some breeders will discard a stud dog because the CoI is above the KC average.
Really it's a case of, "If breeders breed from rubbish long term then dont expect the breed to thrive, but if breeders breed from good sound stock then there is unlikely to be problems."

As You know, I did a lot of research into dogs pedigrees and CoI's for Jemima Harrison's TV program Pedigree Dog's Exposed." She was under the impression that modern breeders are breeding a lot closer than in days of old, and also that working Labradors are bred closer than show dogs. I was able to prove that this was just not so. But as far as the time thing, when you think logically about it, breeding more open is far easier today, simply because there are so many more Labradors around to start with!

It'll be interesting to see what happens to the COI average. In 2020 when fewer responsible breeders were having litters, there were a lot of the "Joe Blogs mating his bitch to some random dog owned by Fred Smith" type of litters produced. Litters that had nothing to do with the best match, but simply money-makers.
I suspect the CoI will actually improve, sadly not from any desire, more a matter of simply breeding to the nearest most convenient stud dog rather than with any intended aim at improving the breed.
 

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Really it's a case of, "If breeders breed from rubbish long term then dont expect the breed to thrive, but if breeders breed from good sound stock then there is unlikely to be problems."

As You know, I did a lot of research into dogs pedigrees and CoI's for Jemima Harrison's TV program Pedigree Dog's Exposed." She was under the impression that modern breeders are breeding a lot closer than in days of old, and also that working Labradors are bred closer than show dogs. I was able to prove that this was just not so. But as far as the time thing, when you think logically about it, breeding more open is far easier today, simply because there are so many more Labradors around to start with!
That bl**dy programme did so much damage, ok, some breeders do need a huge kick up the posterior but it painted all breeders as the same, ie willing to forgo the health of their pups for a win in the show ring, which simply isn't true. But the damage was done, and a lot of people still tell me that my pedigree dogs are less healthy than a cross breed which has 'hybrid vigour', something they obviously don't understand by that simple statement. There is just so much ignorance from so many puppy buyers it beggars belief, but they are sadly unreachable. I had this discussion last night funnily enough (it was a postponed Christmas party with friends and their family and the topic of dog breeding came up), when I asked them what sort of cards they would find with dog images on and pointed out it would be floppy, wrinkly bassets, bug eyed pugs, squashed faced bulldogs etc, and the reason is that's what people, in general, like to see as 'cute'. It's not just the show ring and breeders driving the fashion, but how on earth it can be changed I don't know.
 

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Fergal 17/06/11 Choc Lab & Rodney 28/05/21 Black Lab - Family pets
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks both for your answers. Based on COI alone, I really am annoyed at myself for not taking screen shots. The scores themselves don’t bother me, I just didn’t understand how they both could have changed in less than a year.


@JohnW Thank you for explaining, both of your answers. Rodney had 28 generations, 9 complete (not so bad) & Fergal has 24 generations, 6 complete (not very useful). 10 complete generations makes sense, but your accurate score doesn’t appear to the general public. When the breed average isn’t even accurate, you can’t put too much value in the score. You think you are being responsible looking at COI, then realise it’s a tiny fraction of what you should be looking for. Like you both say, one tool of many.

@Tarimoor By breed average, I meant breed COI average. It’s currently 6.6% & I understand that this can change, in 2018 I think it was 6.5%, 2012 it was 6.4%. But having read John’s answers, that average isn’t correct anyway or based on complete generations.

After reading your responses, I looked into EBV. It’s something I didn’t fully understand before & like @Tarimoor says I thought it was a health test as it was in the information I had. I found the KC ‘health test results finder’ page & my pup’s sire & dam have low EBV scores. I knew their hip & elbow scores but didn’t fully appreciate what EBV actually meant, so thank you.

We have no intention of showing/working or breeding from our dogs, both are pets. But we are very active out in the Shropshire hills & like to think we are responsible owners who do the best for our dogs. Hip/joint issues have always been in my mind as one Lab I had as a child had issues & it was heartbreaking to see her in pain doing what she loved. I’ve given joint supplements to Fergal since he was 3 (recommended to me) & I have recently got Rodney a batch as well.

Obviously I’m no expert but when looking for Rodney, at a minimum we wanted; clear health test results, Low hip scores for Sire & Dam, 0 elbow score, COI below 10% & KC reg (because so many people were breeding with the dog up the road & cashing in on the demand) before we physically saw any pups. Knowing what I do now, I would put EBV score level with health tests & take the COI in context to everything else 👍🏻
 

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Thanks both for your answers. Based on COI alone, I really am annoyed at myself for not taking screen shots. The scores themselves don’t bother me, I just didn’t understand how they both could have changed in less than a year.


@JohnW Thank you for explaining, both of your answers. Rodney had 28 generations, 9 complete (not so bad) & Fergal has 24 generations, 6 complete (not very useful). 10 complete generations makes sense, but your accurate score doesn’t appear to the general public. When the breed average isn’t even accurate, you can’t put too much value in the score. You think you are being responsible looking at COI, then realise it’s a tiny fraction of what you should be looking for. Like you both say, one tool of many.

@Tarimoor By breed average, I meant breed COI average. It’s currently 6.6% & I understand that this can change, in 2018 I think it was 6.5%, 2012 it was 6.4%. But having read John’s answers, that average isn’t correct anyway or based on complete generations.

After reading your responses, I looked into EBV. It’s something I didn’t fully understand before & like @Tarimoor says I thought it was a health test as it was in the information I had. I found the KC ‘health test results finder’ page & my pup’s sire & dam have low EBV scores. I knew their hip & elbow scores but didn’t fully appreciate what EBV actually meant, so thank you.

We have no intention of showing/working or breeding from our dogs, both are pets. But we are very active out in the Shropshire hills & like to think we are responsible owners who do the best for our dogs. Hip/joint issues have always been in my mind as one Lab I had as a child had issues & it was heartbreaking to see her in pain doing what she loved. I’ve given joint supplements to Fergal since he was 3 (recommended to me) & I have recently got Rodney a batch as well.

Obviously I’m no expert but when looking for Rodney, at a minimum we wanted; clear health test results, Low hip scores for Sire & Dam, 0 elbow score, COI below 10% & KC reg (because so many people were breeding with the dog up the road & cashing in on the demand) before we physically saw any pups. Knowing what I do now, I would put EBV score level with health tests & take the COI in context to everything else 👍🏻
I couldn't tell you what the CoI average was at the minute, I pay so little attention to it, but the health tests I would want are hip scores, elbow grades, current clear BVA eye score and known status for prcd-PRA, EIC, CNM, HNPK and SD2, and also probably would look at MRD and MCD. For hips I'd accept anything up to a combined total of 14 as long as it was nice and even, but for elbows I'd want a 0, but more than that, I'd be looking further back in the pedigree to see if there are any problems cropping up, and also looking at similar matings, pups produce from the stud dog, relatives etc that may show up any problems. The hip scores and elbow grades on their own do not guarantee good hips/elbows for pups, it's more of a combination of genetics, and even then there's no guarantee, which is why looking at other similar lines helps to see if there's any problems there. Hope that all makes sense.
 

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That bl**dy programme did so much damage, ok, some breeders do need a huge kick up the posterior but it painted all breeders as the same, ie willing to forgo the health of their pups for a win in the show ring,
Believe me, you never saw what WAS going to be in the program! There were a number of Labrador related items which dropped out onto the cutting room floor after I proved they were not as they seemed. The program started with a Labrador with serious HD on the operating table. I went through the pedigree and proved there was no way the breeder could have ever suspected that the pup might get HD. Labradors sank from one of the top breeds featured to virtually nothing. The only two breeds I was involved in was Labradors and Flatcoated Retrievers. I had no hand in the CKCS Syringomyelia problem, it's not my breed so was not qualified to discuss it, or the nerrs problem with the bull breeds. But the breeders of these breeds DID know as was proved on the program. We can all see the GSD movement problem, that does not need breed knowledge to see. And as to the then chairman of the KC, a more inept performance I have never seen. Sadly some people saw the program and tarred all breeders with the same brush, aided and abetted by designer mongrel breeders who used it as an advert for their wares. That was sad, and never envisaged at that time. (In fact designer dogs in the main did not really exist at that time.) As to the KC, I said a long while ago that a multi million pound business, (for that is what it is,) cannot be run by amateurs. But nothing has changed. Jemima Harrison and her husband Jon are professional producers running their own company, Passionate Productions, and have produced many TV documentaries, the latest being on dementia. The chairman of the KC attempted to laugh her interview off as "Some silly woman." and did not take it serious. That was foolish and incompetent.
 

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Believe me, you never saw what WAS going to be in the program! There were a number of Labrador related items which dropped out onto the cutting room floor after I proved they were not as they seemed. The program started with a Labrador with serious HD on the operating table. I went through the pedigree and proved there was no way the breeder could have ever suspected that the pup might get HD. Labradors sank from one of the top breeds featured to virtually nothing. The only two breeds I was involved in was Labradors and Flatcoated Retrievers. I had no hand in the CKCS Syringomyelia problem, it's not my breed so was not qualified to discuss it, or the nerrs problem with the bull breeds. But the breeders of these breeds DID know as was proved on the program. We can all see the GSD movement problem, that does not need breed knowledge to see. And as to the then chairman of the KC, a more inept performance I have never seen. Sadly some people saw the program and tarred all breeders with the same brush, aided and abetted by designer mongrel breeders who used it as an advert for their wares. That was sad, and never envisaged at that time. (In fact designer dogs in the main did not really exist at that time.) As to the KC, I said a long while ago that a multi million pound business, (for that is what it is,) cannot be run by amateurs. But nothing has changed. Jemima Harrison and her husband Jon are professional producers running their own company, Passionate Productions, and have produced many TV documentaries, the latest being on dementia. The chairman of the KC attempted to laugh her interview off a "Some silly woman." and did not take it serious. That was foolish and incompetent.
Sadly I'm starting to think the UK KC is no longer fit for function, and the recent website change and all the palaver that came with it has added to that thinking. During lockdown so many pups imported from Eastern European countries with falsified pedigrees have been successfully registered with the UK KC it's beyond a joke, they should have much more stringent rules in place but unfortunately they have been well and truly shown up during the last few years. Don't get me started on silver and dilute Labradors, so many have been registered as either chocolates or CNR. There was actually someone showed up at a working test training day with a silver, had absolutely no idea of the controversy behind them, and the mixed breeding to obtain the dilute coat colours.
 

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At the moment the infighting within the KC is destroying it. It was a year ago I was chatting to the chairman before last when he brought his dogs to the eye testing session I had organised. A nice fella, and a Labrador man.

Trouble is, everyone has an axe to grind. When PDE was first envisaged a title was needed and if you are going to want to sell the program to the BBC then it has to be a snappy title. Pedigree dogs Exposed was just that, a great selling title. She went to see all the right people, vets, breeders, owners and the KC. And from that you can probably see the problem.

Vets:- Only see sick dogs, and see a lot more sick dogs from numerically large breeds. That was why Labradors originally looked to be an unhealthy breed, simply there was far more of then than any other breed! But vets are not experts on the breed. All they see are breeders. They would not know who those breeders are, responsible or irresponsible, pet breeder or puppy farmer. In fact in most cases they would not even know the name of the breeder. All they see is a sick dog.

Breeders:- The minute a complete stranger starts talking to a breeder about health problems within that breed, and talking about making a TV program about it most breeders would do one of two things. 1/ clam up, or 2/ Tell the person where to go in words of one syllable!! Few would talk sensibly and rationally about it, and those who did would likely be ostracised as a couple were.

Owners:- Most owners are not breed experts. They only know the problems they have, but rarely know how prevalent it is in the breed, unless their vet told them.

The KC:- The less said about them the better!

But then she had people like me, who knew the breed and had no axe to grind. She ran what she found by us and we attempted to sort the wheat out from the chaff. I'm a nobody. Nobody can ostracise me because I dont do anything. But people that do matter do know me and ask my opinion on things. If I dont know then the chances are I know somebody who does know. (One of the advantages of being an old man who has been around a long time.)
 

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At the moment the infighting within the KC is destroying it. It was a year ago I was chatting to the chairman before last when he brought his dogs to the eye testing session I had organised. A nice fella, and a Labrador man.

Trouble is, everyone has an axe to grind. When PDE was first envisaged a title was needed and if you are going to want to sell the program to the BBC then it has to be a snappy title. Pedigree dogs Exposed was just that, a great selling title. She went to see all the right people, vets, breeders, owners and the KC. And from that you can probably see the problem.

Vets:- Only see sick dogs, and see a lot more sick dogs from numerically large breeds. That was why Labradors originally looked to be an unhealthy breed, simply there was far more of then than any other breed! But vets are not experts on the breed. All they see are breeders. They would not know who those breeders are, responsible or irresponsible, pet breeder or puppy farmer. In fact in most cases they would not even know the name of the breeder. All they see is a sick dog.

Breeders:- The minute a complete stranger starts talking to a breeder about health problems within that breed, and talking about making a TV program about it most breeders would do one of two things. 1/ clam up, or 2/ Tell the person where to go in words of one syllable!! Few would talk sensibly and rationally about it, and those who did would likely be ostracised as a couple were.

Owners:- Most owners are not breed experts. They only know the problems they have, but rarely know how prevalent it is in the breed, unless their vet told them.

The KC:- The less said about them the better!

But then she had people like me, who knew the breed and had no axe to grind. She ran what she found by us and we attempted to sort the wheat out from the chaff. I'm a nobody. Nobody can ostracise me because I dont do anything. But people that do matter do know me and ask my opinion on things. If I dont know then the chances are I know somebody who does know. (One of the advantages of being an old man who has been around a long time.)
The KC needs a massive shake up, it's in such bad shape.

I can see that about PDE, of course they need to 'sell' the programme, but I would have thought that as an animal lover, the person behind it would see the potential for disaster. It made things so much worse, and I have no doubt that the problems with some breeds such as the brachycephalic breeds with their stenotic nares and squat conformation along with awful, awful dentition, need to be bred for much better conformation and health, but a programme that overnight labels all breeders of pedigree breeds as breeding unhealthy dogs with terrible genetic disorders isn't going to push people towards supporting responsible and ethical breeders, it has done the opposite, and the brachycephalic breeds are still one of the most popular, despite PDE.

When Indie had her cruciate problems it was only then that I became aware of just how much of a problem there is with some colours of breeds. Chocolates have some of the worst health as they've just been bred for fashion above anything else, I rarely see a litter of pups where I'd want one, either b*gga all in the way of health tests, or just another litter for the sake of it with some health tests in place but very little apparent research on the pedigree.

You don't have to tell me about breeders, going back to Indie who had the 2/1 elbow grade, I was 'advised' by some breeders to have a litter from her, as I'd paid for the health tests so why not, just don't tell anyone. I am so glad Indie got to live out her life as a loveable couch potato, she was a one of a kind, whether the plates were a true reflection of her elbows I'll never know, as the vet mucked them up and had to redo them, but she had problems with her cruciate as you know, and having a litter would have taken even more out of her, so it was the right decision.
 
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