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NALC Registered Breeder Since 1996

Specializing In Natural Bobtails and Natural Rearing


Because the the  Boxer breed of both Europe and America being faced with the imminent  prospect of a law against tail-docking in Germany and England, a study  was undertaken by Dr Bruce Cattanach.
Until his recent semi-retirement Dr. Cattanach was Director of the Medical Research Council Mammalian Genetics Unit in the UK. The principal objective of this study was to see if, through a series of backcrosses [to purebred  boxers], the Corgi bobtail gene could be transferred into the Boxer.  The Corgi bobtail is inherited as a single dominant gene.....this already having been determined by Corgi breeders through DNA testing.  It should be noted that while it is well-known that some short tail genes in cats and laboratory mice have associated undesirable consequences,  no indication of this has been reported with the bobtail of the Corg.  The transferring of the bobtail gene was achieved successfully and  the Kennel Club in England has just accepted the fourth generation of Dr. Cattanach's bobtail Boxers for registration, as purebred Boxers.
The following  are small parts from the final results acheived by the study, quoted  here with the permnission of Dr. Cattanach:
The study was conceived about 10 years ago. In part it was started  as an academic exercise to see how feasible it might be to transfer a gene from one breed to another. But, given the probability that docking would eventually be banned in the UK, as was already happening  in other countries, the bobtail gene was specifically selected because of its potential practical application. The "recipient"  breed was my own breed, the Boxer. The bobtail "donor"  was the Pembroke Welsh Corgi.
Health issues
From the beginning of this study there have been two health concerns.  The first relates to the single dose, heterozygous bobtail dogs;  do they have any risk of associated abnormality? The second concerns the fate of the double dose, homozygous animals; what happens to them?
While it is well-known that some short tail genes in dogs, cats, and laboratory mice etc have associated undesirable consequences, no indication of this has been reported with the bobtail condition of the Corgi.
Genetic Expectations
1. Records from breeders collated by Olav Hedne in Norway where bobtail  Corgi breeding is expanding rapidly have not identified any defects among the bobtail pup, despite full recording of details on live and dead pups, litter size, sex, etc in about 100 litters;
2. there was also no shortage of bobtail Corgi pups relative to the 50% expectation.
3. a joint Norwegian Kennel Club/veterinary study, using radiography, upon adult bobtail Corgis taken at random from the population has not found any spinal or other abnormalities.
To this I can add my own observations made on the 5 generations of  Boxer crosses,
1. I have produced  a total of 31 bobtail dogs over the 5 generations of crossing. None have had any abnormality that I could detect.

2. There were 58 pups in these crosses, so the frequency (53%), as with the Corgi, accords with the 50% expectation.

3. An as yet small but ongoing study using radiography has not shown any spinal or other defects in the bob-tail Boxers beyond the tail  effect itself.
In summary, therefore, it seems there is nothing to worry about with the bobtail in terms of undesirable "side effects" with  a single dose of the gene in either Corgi or Boxer.

But, what happens in the double dose, homozygous bob-tails?
The full report on the study can be read at - "Genetics  Can Be Fun"
(See Articles #1 - “Genetics Can Be Fun” - 7 Parts)
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