January 14, 2024

Understanding the Estrela Mountain Dog Breed Studbook and Registration Papers

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Understanding the Estrela Mountain Dog Breed Studbook and Registration Papers

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Do You Understand the Estrela Mountain Dog Breed Studbook Registration Papers?

If you own an Estrela Mountain Dog that was registered in Portugal, your dog will either have FCI recognized RI papers or LOP papers. In this blog post we will explain what those terms means. This is a deep-dive rabbit hole 😄 where we will need to discuss Closed vs Open Studbooks/Registries and how they promote or limit genetics in a breed and how those factors affect the health of breeds and the Estrela Mountain Dog Breed in particular. This subject “is a mouthful” but it affects the foundation and future of the breed we all love today.

If you have any questions about the registration of your Estrela Mountain Dog feel free to message us anytime and we will be happy to go down the rabbit hole with you 😉

Here is a short summary of the topics we are covering in this post:

Closed vs. Open Studbooks and the Estrela Mountain Dog Breed. Closed studbooks aim to maintain strict purity within a breed, while open studbooks allow for greater genetic diversity by incorporating individuals from permitted or landrace sources.

The Estrela Mountain Dog breed is a landrace dog breed that has a history of a semi-open studbook managed by the Clube Português de Canicultura (CPC) in Portugal since 1936.

In this blog post, we aim to explain the significance of the semi-open studbook, and the dogs with RI papers which are the foundation of the Estrela Mountain Dog breed as we know it today.

What is a Dog Breed Stud Book?

A canine stud book is a registry or an official record of individual dogs. Often, the classification is based on the dog’s breed. Some stud books only register purebred dogs with a known lineage; these are closed stud books. Other stud books may accept dogs from certain areas or after passing an initial examination, provided they meet other criteria such as origin, conformation and ability. These are open dog stud books.

What is a Closed Stud Book?

A closed stud book refers to a registry that doesn’t permit the addition of any additional genetic contribution, ensuring that registered animals and their offspring trace exclusively back to the foundation stock. Occasionally, a closed stud-book might open for a specific time-frame or exception, but they eventually support the closing of a purebred gene pool.

This guarantees the purebred status of the animal within the breed. For instance, the Thoroughbred horse has a closed stud book dating back to 1791. The American Kennel Club is an example of a kennel club with a primarily closed books for dogs. It permits new breeds under its Foundation Stock Service. However, it limits their eligibility for AKC conformation shows. For a dog breed to move to the Miscellaneous class and then to fully recognized status, the breed’s stud book must be closed.

While maintaining breed purity, a closed stud book limits opportunities for genetic improvement, as success in performance may be more valued than genetic variation, and it may also lead to accentuated undesirable characteristics due to a restricted gene pool.

What is an Open Stud Book?

In an open stud book, animals can be registered even if their parents weren’t registered before. The stud book has a very strict criteria based on appearance or performance. In an open studbook, breeders can improve breeds by including animals that meet the standards, even if their parents were not recorded.

An open stud book allows for a breeds diversity and gene pool to be protected, maintained and expanded if it is in the best interest of a breed.

Closed vs Open Dog Breed Stud Book

Of course, advocates of closed studbooks are just as passionate about their dogs as those who cherish their open studbooks. The one common thread is a dedication to pure bloodlines. Most registries discourage deviations from breed bloodline purity — although here’s where it can become contentious.

A closed stud book mandates that registered dogs be from a registered set of ancestors which weakens genetic vitality over time and can result in genetic-based disease. Source In a closed studbook, the gene pool is closed. A closed gene pool can never be expanded but it will continue to shrink.

Conversely, the open stud book allows some outcrossing usually in service dogs like police or herding animals. Outcrosses with other breeds supposedly results in a healthier dog. Overuse of one particular stud dog due to the desirability of the dog’s working style or appearance can lead to a bottle neck of genetic diversity, whether the breed uses an open stud book or a closed stud book.

How Does a Studbook Impact the Genetic Diversity of a Dog Breed, in particular the Estrela Mountain Dog Breed?

A studbook has the ability to either close a breed to any new genetic material or it can allow a breed to add and retain genetic material in a controlled and approved process. The Estrela Mountain Dog breed is supported as a landrace dog breed by the Portuguese Canil Club with their semi-open studbook policies. If the studbook of the Estrela Mountain Dog breed completely closed the genetic diversity would be capped at the number of founding animals. This would discriminate against the dogs without full 3 Generation pedigrees, the dogs who have Incial Registeration Papers (RI dogs). RI dogs are the key to reducing inbreeding in the Estrela Mountain Dog Breed. They are the genetic building blocks of the Estrela Mountain Dog Breed.

What are the effects of inbreeding in a closed dog population?

Scientific studies have proved that body size and inbreeding along with deleterious morphologies contributed to a decreased lifespan and significant increases in necessary health care for dogs.

It is crucial to manage breeding populations carefully to prevent additional loss of genetic diversity. Breeder education and monitoring of inbreeding levels, facilitated by direct genotyping technologies, are essential for this purpose.

Some dog breeds are considering or have already implemented outcrosses as a strategy to increase genetic diversity, but careful consideration is needed to ensure their effectiveness in reducing overall inbreeding. Breeds with low inbreeding levels should make every effort to preserve existing genetic diversity, as history has shown its easy loss in closed breed populations.

Encouragingly, there are breeds demonstrating consistent and true-breeding types without high inbreeding levels.

What is the inbreed coefficient of the average dog breed?

In most dog breeds, inbreeding values are notably high, with a mean of 0.24, just below the coefficient observed in breeding full siblings. Breeds with low inbreeding included recent crossbreeds like the Tamaskan Dog, Barbet, and Australian Labradoodle, as well as landrace breeds such as the Danish-Swedish Farmdog, Mudi, and Koolie.

The COI/inbreeding level of most dog breeds is often 5 to 6 times higher then what is considered safe in wildlife or human populations 😬 And while some dog breeds were lucky to have healthier founders, many are headed towards some tough choices in the future due to the politics they uphold today.

Current studies suggests that high inbreeding results from closed stud books or a limited number of founders, or both.

Studies of landrace dog breeds also maintain that it is possible to maintain a consistent breed type without compromising health with high levels of inbreeding.

Are genetically diverse dogs better?

Individual dogs with genetic diversity aren’t automatically superior; some are, and some aren’t. Yet, well-managed breeds with genetic diversity are more appealing because they typically have a higher proportion of healthy dogs.

Harmful recessive traits, whether identified or not, stay at lower frequencies, decreasing the likelihood of occurring in individual affected dogs.

Additionally, complex genetic diseases are less likely to become highly prevalent or fixed in the breed. This leads to better immune function in more individuals, improved reproductive success, and reduced newborn mortality.

How Do We Increase Genetic Diversity in a Breed?

Boosting genetic diversity can be achieved significantly by transferring individuals between subpopulations. In a landrace dog breed this happens more naturally then in a closed book dog breed.

When a population loses variants, reintroducing individuals from another population restores variation. The addition of new individuals to a small population not only enhances genetic diversity but also promptly improves both the population’s fitness and its ability to adapt to changing conditions. This process is commonly referred to as gene pool mixing.

The size of a population’s gene pool affects its ability to adapt and evolve. A large and diverse gene pool helps a population better adapt to changing environments. Smaller gene pools may make populations less successful in quickly changing environments.

How Does The Portuguese Kennel Club Support the Estrela Mountain Dog Breed with an Open Stud Book?

The Clube Português de Canicultura is dedicated to supporting and promoting pure dog breeds with a special dedication to their landrace national dog breeds. The club accomplishes this goal by maintaining an open stud book. Dogs that pass an extensive judging panel’s evaluation are eligible for registration.

How Can an Estrela Mountain Dog obtain an Initial Registration in Portugal?

The Estrela Mountain Dog studbook is managed by the Clube Português de Canicultura (CPC) in Portugal. The landrace Estrela Mountain dogs can obtain an inicial registration from the CPC by passing an extensive examination by a panel of judges from the CPC.

What is the Clube Português de Canicultura (CPC)?

Since 1931, the Clube Português de Canicultura (CPC) has been the head of Cynology in Portugal and is recognized as a public utility body since 2001. The CPC actively promotes this activity nationwide, focusing on its recreational, associative, and cultural aspects, as well as the promotion and improvement of all pure dog breeds, with a special emphasis on national breeds. In 1936, the CPC founded and has been managing the Portuguese Studbook (LOP) ever since. The CPC became a federated member of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), the world’s largest canine organization, in 1936.

What is the process of obtaining an initial registration? Copied directly from the CPC website:

Open Studbook Access to Initial Registration

The breed confirmation sessions for access to the Initial Registration are intended for the proposed specimens to be examined by breed judges in order to determine whether they have the characteristics that allow them to be registered as animals of that breed.

Confirmation is only permitted for specimens that are at least 12 months old and identified electronically (microchip).

Males must have two testicles well descended into the scrotum.

If the copy is accepted for registration, the amount to be paid on the day of the session is:

  • Foreign breeds: €60.00 per copy
  • Portuguese breeds: free

Internal rules for Books of Origins – Breed Confirmation Exam

How do I know if my Estrela Mountain Dog has Initial Registeration (RI) papers or a complete 3 generation pedigree (LOP) Registration Papers?

This is an Example of a RI paper:

This is an Example of a LOP paper:

Both papers are accepted by the CPC and recognized by the FCI. Dogs with either RI or LOP certificates are welcome and able to compete in all breed exhibitions, including the International World Dog Show.

An RI dogs offspring will be updated with a full 3-generation LOP paper when 3 generations are fully recorded with the CPC.

If an RI dog is bred to an LOP dog the papers will remain RI until 3 generations are recorded.

How Can Ethical Estrela Mountain Dog Breeders Best Utilize the Current Registration Process?

As ethical Estrela Mountain Dog breeders, we bear a unique responsibility and freedom to navigate current breed policies with the aim of benefiting the entire breed.

It’s imperative that breeding decisions transcend individual benefits to owners or kennels and prioritize the overall well-being of the breed. We can never allow materialistic motivation to usurp our responsibility to nuture the foundation our ancestors have laid. Not in morphology or health. The semi-open studbook is neccessary for both. We focus on health, working aptitude, conformation and diversity. We attempt to achieve these goals by studying known LOP pedigrees and pairing them with complimentary breed specimens holding RI papers.

Linebreeding is not evil, many great traits are captured and cemented by its use. But breeding dogs with COI levels of 25% and higher without future outcross ability is not a future we are interested in working towards.

By strategically pairing a closely linebred dog with a compatible RI Dog, we substantially reduce the COI of the litter, and increase their odds for improved immunity, and an extended lifespan.

We consult veterinarians, biologists, and experienced breed mentors to make ethical litter decisions for the Estrela Mountain Dog Breed.

What Do Native Estrela Mountain Dog Breeders Say About the Potential Closing of the Studbook by Phasing out RI (Initial Registered) Dogs?

Only a breeder who does not know the original breed can suggest the limitation or removal of dogs with RI. Because if they end the acceptance of dogs with RI it is the same as saying that the only want the modern breed representatives of the Estrela Mountain Dog and that is the end of the True Estrela Mountain Dog. If the RI is discriminated against it will be an attack on the Short-haired Estrela Mountain Dog and it is a death sentence to the real working dogs in the Estrela Mountains. The true Estrela Mountain Dogs are protected through the provision of Initial Registeration. The breed is lost by removing this provision.

Canil de Penhas Douradas

If in Portugal, where the Estrela Mountain Dog Breed is our national heritage, we accept and celebrate our RI specimens in all FCI sanctioned exhibitions, I find it very bad and horrific if in the United States they dare to discriminate against a dog with Initial Registeration.

Estrela Mountain Dog Breeder

The dogs with Intital Registeration (RI) are incredibly important to a rare, landrace breed. If they are not treated as equal to dogs with complete 3 generation pedigrees (LOP) a genetic bottleneck might happen and threaten the breed’s future.

Breed Advocate

We really need to think about the race and not our ego. What we think is good for us, could be detrimental to future generations. We need to define good.

In summary, a conscientious Estrela Mountain Dog breeder, well-versed in the breed’s history and future, cannot, in good conscience, support the eventual restriction of a dog with RI papers.

Let’s Conclude Our Deep-Dive Down the Estrela Registration Rabbit Hole

Whewww… it’s alot isn’t it? But isn’t it beautiful? It’s helpful to always remember that the Estrela Breed has existed for centuries, because, without and inspite of humans and their ideas. The Breed doesn’t “NEED” us as modern day saviors to swoop in and save them. We need them. And we need all of them.

There will never be a time when it will be safe or prudent to pick which Estrela breed specimans we need or do not need based on their paper status. The Estrela has always proven its worth through its own morphology and character.

As scientific advancements unfold, offering new medical testing capabilities and insights into genetic markers, future generations of dogs may hold crucial information for improved cancer immunity, longevity, and more.

We need the dogs working in the mountains, we need the first generation registered RI dogs, and we need the one who is a retired rug at my feet. To start to discriminate between which dogs are important, in an effort to gain more recognition or ‘sit at certain tables’ would be the equivalent of biting the hands that fed us.

For it was the original dogs that got us all here today. And we are deeply grateful, to them, and the humans who loved them.

Please feel welcome to contact us if you would like any clarification about this article or pertaining to the Estrela Mountain Dog Breed. Or just say Hi! We would love to hear from You!

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