Breeding Strategies in regards to Addison’s disease (AD). 
More than seven years ago, I met a lady who had beautiful Pharaohs from a line I greatly admired. In getting to know her, I had the up close opportunity to learn about Addison’s in the breed as one of her dog’s lives with it. 

I began my research to get another Pharaoh. (At the time I had one.) I ended up getting two wonderful dogs from this breeder as well. Going in I knew there was AD in their lines. The sire came from a litter that presented multiple cases of it. At the time little was known about AD in dogs. There were many conflicting theories. As a science minded person, I began collecting data to see if I could see a trend. I however am not a scientist, nor did I run any of the research projects. I also found it was difficult to collect information, because people thought there was a hidden agenda.

My breeder saw there were multiple cases and made it public information. Another lady informed us about an AD study being conducted and asked for participation. I entered my dogs in the study. I also sought resources outside the breed because it appeared there just wasn’t enough information to follow. I began following the Poodle Club of America, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club and the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America. These are all breeds that have significant cases of AD in their breeds. They tried different strategies to try to eradicate it in the breed. Some of those strategies nearly extincted the breeds. Now they have a strategy that appears to be very successful and there is no finger pointing in the breed. 

The fact is it is in the breed. There is no genetic marker or pre-test at the moment but the more dogs in the studies, they can and will find it. But until then these clubs employed a public database of affected and silent carriers. As AD is considered Autosomal Recessive (Both parents give some genes into it). Their practice of removing Affected and Silent Carriers from breeding programs, but keeping High Risk pedigrees and unaffected has been thus far successful. It used to be high risk would be removed as well, but then there were very few dogs left in a gene pool.

In our breed it is not publicaly discussed as much because people do not know as much about it as they should. It’s a fact; people didn’t worry about it until it showed up in their lines. This is all very natural behavior as we cannot worry about every little thing. I did ask some responsible breeders if they knew about AD, most did, how it can present and kill a dog quickly, most did not know that, and if they knew who the carriers were. Most did not know that as well.

This came to light recently when one of my puppy people informed me that her first pharaoh had died of AD. This was very interesting information to me and I asked more about it. I was able to find out the lines that her pup came from. I privately informed the kennel owners and they appeared they did not know it had presented in their lines. This was alarming to me because they were two lines that AD had not previously appeared in.

I felt it was super important now for the Pharaoh Hound Community to embrace this and get an open discussion about it in the breed and to identify carriers, so breeders could make informed breeding decisions, following the successful models of the other clubs. I thought it was a good time to put together this presentation and present a no blame breeding plan for the future of our breed. Addison’s does not equate to bad breeding.

Compiling my resources and final edits by Dr. Jean Dodds, lead AD research at Hemopet, here is the model broken down.

Having public open discussion is so much more crucial. When I embarked on this, I was going to use my dogs as examples as high risk pedigrees. Based on the model, High Risk Pedigrees stayed in in breeding programs, just not to be bred to other high risk pedigrees. However in the secrecy of this disease in the breed, I found out by my breeder 6months after I bred my girl; that her sire had indeed produced AD. Based on this information, my bitch is still considered High Risk and cannot be bred to other high risk pedigrees or Silent Carriers. This information needs to be made public, so I can make my own informed decision about breeding my bitch.

There was a lot of uproar about me listing names (from those I got permission from) and kennels, but it needs to be put out there. There is no shame it has shown up in the breed. It is highly probable in our already small gene pool. What we do now with this information is be responsible and make all breeding decision in regards to AD based on Carriers in lines. Carriers can only be identified by making Affected known as well.

All is not lost and I have faith, the breed will too step in the right direction as the other breed clubs have done. So please read this presentation from beginning to end as a lot of questions are answered in the first three pages of this presentation. Please do not skim it, or you will miss important information. And verify my statements by clicking the resource links and be proactive for the breed as well.

Genetic evaluation of the Portuguese Water Dog in Regards to Addison

Breeding Strategies in Regards to Addison

OFA information on JADD Markers in Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers    The Pharaoh Hound is a long way off of finding breed specific markers as there are not enough affected and non affected samples submitted to the various AD research groups.  I encourage all pharaoh hound owners to submit blood samples into the breed specific markers database.