This article is from the Genetic Diseases in Dogs FAQ, by Gary Mason.
Any attempt to address the genetic disease problem in dogs must take
into account the human component. People breed dogs for many reasons.
While there are exceptions to every rule, most breeders of pedigreed
dogs do seem to have the animals' best interests at heart. In the
main, the production of dogs with genetic diseases today is not done
out of malice, but out of ignorance due to a of lack of historical
But there are other forces at work as well. Many dogs are shown at
events sanctioned by various registration groups. Breeders of winning
dogs earn the respect of their peers and others, and that respect can
lead to enhanced benefits to the breeders. Within this environment,
other benefits can also be accrued from breeding winning dogs. These
include improving the breed; gaining personal satisfaction; and
commanding higher prices for puppies bred from the winner's
For genetic diseases to be eliminated, they should be given at least
as much weight as the other factors considered when breeding a dog --
principally conformation and behavioral traits. For any plan to be
successful would probably require that these benefits remain
achievable at current rates or better. The incentives provided for the
breeding of dogs without genetic diseases should be at least as good
-- probably better -- than exist today.