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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Thomas J. Burke, DVM, MS (University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine)
Description: This handbook consists of 280 pages divided into nine chapters with a separate reference section and index. This is an update to the author's 1982 first edition. There are several charts and tables, but no photographs.
Purpose: The purpose is to "apply the art and science of breeding" to improve the various dog breeds created by man. This book was also written to apprise veterinarians of various genetic defects of dogs.
Audience: Dog breeders and veterinary practitioners are the audience.
Features: After a speculative introduction concerning the early origins of our current canine companions, the author guides the reader through a perfunctory chapter on reproduction and then begins his objective of enlightening the dog breeder about canine genetics. The reading is tedious and, even for breeders and veterinarians with training in the biological sciences, is impractical. I sought the opinion of two established breeders with scientific training (an AHT with 16 years of university-employed clinical experience and a veterinary practitioner with 23 years of practice experience). Their comments were similar. Chapter 8 is of little use to the practicing veterinarian, as it is not arranged by breed, there are no photographs of the conditions described, and it contains speculative conclusions as to the genetic nature of some conditions. Stockard's paralysis, for example, has not been diagnosed in the U.S. for over 50 years, and a board-certified veterinary neurologist stated that it was not genetic. The chapter on color and coat variations is perhaps the best feature of this book. It is of particular interest to producers of certain breeds but not to veterinarians. Much of the information presented requires the reader to pay close attention while reading and to possess a more-than-perfunctory knowledge of genetics. It appears that the author is unfamiliar with veterinary practice and the problems faced by the practitioner, especially those outside the U.K.
Assessment: I do not recommend this book for veterinary practitioners. Other texts are available that list defects by breed and are thus far more useful. Some breeders may find portions of the book useful, especially Chapter 6.