Q&A with Longevity Breeder Saskia Kuipers – The Netherland

Q&A with Longevity Breeder Saskia Kuipers – The Netherlands

Topic in focus: External Features of Health

Q1: In your opinion, what are the most problematic external features of Shar Pei, and how do you address these features in your breeding? 

In my opinion, the most problematic external problems are the too wrinkly heads, too much skin on the hocks and back, front and bad movement. In that case, it’s sad we don’t have an overall breed standard.

Personally, I tried to avoid the over-typical specimens in my breeding program, which is not huge as my goal was never to breed often/ much.

Q2: Over the past years, do you see improvements in the breed features overall? What has been done to address some of the problems, and which areas still need the most work?

Of course, there are improvements in our breed. There are more tested dogs (HD, ED, Patella, POAG/PLL and SPAID) and I would love to see that in every country dogs need to be DNA profiled.

I think we still need to focus on good movement (drive), the front, angulation, the typical little ears and good tail sets, a moderate type. But it all takes time.

Q3: In your experience, does external health correlate with longevity? 

Personally, I have no experience with external health problems in longevity, as I never liked the over-typical dogs, so as I wrote above, I tried to avoid that type of dog. But there are dogs in every type which reach a very nice age. I think stress is also an important factor on health issues. Rest and regularity are important, same as food.

Q4: How do you address longevity in your breeding program? 

First of all, my goal was not to breed much/often, as I see myself more a person with a hobby, which I take seriously.

Before I get interested in a breeding, the bitch needs to have a certain age, the pedigree (and specially the grandparents/ great grandparents); I try to find more info – the health results, DNA profile, etc.

And I was in the lucky position to have several mentors, who are very long in the breed and always willing to help, sharing their knowledge and advice.

I bought many years ago a computer program where I put in all the info, personal writings and more, which is a great help too.

Q5: How do you see the Shar Pei breed developing in the future? 

Hope we are on the good track for the upcoming years, but there’s still a lot to do to improve our breed, especially with what’s going on in some countries regarding pedigree dogs.

Maybe in the future they will develop a clear test for Amyloid with a clear yes or no answer (as I think it’s still a silent killer in the breed). An overall breed standard, educated judges (for those who are showing) who are knowing the breed. And that people realize it’s still a living creature, with all we do it can still surprise us.

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