New Guinea Singing Dog Conservation Society: The Official Website

New Guinea Singing Dog Conservation Society

The Official Website

All content copyright © 1998-2017 New Guinea Singing Dog Conservation Society, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material from any page of this website without written permission is strictly prohibited.
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The New Guinea Singing Dog Conservation Society Breeding Plan

When working with a very small captive population, the first priority is preserving what genetic diversity is available for as long as possible. In the past, zoos merely bred whatever two animals they happened to have. This led to some pairs having lots of offspring, and others none. In the 1970s the zoos established the International Species Inventory System (ISIS) to be a central repository of information about the animals in zoos. ISIS stores parentage/pedigree and ownership change data in an easily accessible form, giving zoos a better way to plan the reproduction of endangered species. The New Guinea Singing Dog Conservation Society (NGSDCS) lists NGSDs with known pedigrees on Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin's ISIS account.

The NGSDCS's breeding plan is based upon sound, proven principles of population genetics. These principles include maximizing genetic diversity by: (1) including at least two offspring of every pair in the program; (2) not letting any one pairs' offspring become over-represented in the breeding population; (3) choosing the least-related breeding pairs. Genetic diversity is important because it increases the chance that not all the members of the population would be affected by any one health problem or illness.

The hardest principle for many to understand is (2). It seems intuitively reasonable that if the NGSD is so rare, breeding as many as possible, even those that do not have traceable pedigrees, would be a step in their long-term conservation. However, if all the NGSDs produced descend entirely from, for instance, only Dinkum and Olga, sheer numbers is not the answer. Such over-representation of one pair's genes in a small population can result in loss of the rarer genes and actually work against the long-term good of the NGSD.

The North American NGSD captive population had two littermate original founders, which came from the Taronga Zoo to the San Diego Zoo in ~1957. Zoos only had offspring of this pair to breed until the 1980s, when a female, Olga, was imported from Germany by the Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas. The German NGSDs came from a different area of the island, and so were unrelated to the Taronga Zoo line. Adding Olga increased the captive North American NGSD genetic diversity by at least 33%. Dinkum, Olga's mate, and a male named Dingo were the last known original Taronga line breeding males. In the 1990s a male, Darkie, was imported from New Guinea (through the Taronga Zoo) first to Canada, where he did not reproduce, and then to the USA by Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin. Darkie had a Taronga Zoo sire and an unrelated wild-caught dam. At Dr. Brisbin's facility in North Carolina, Darkie sired several litters out of Scratchley, who was an offspring of Dinkum and Olga. These puppies had 25% of genes unrelated to other NGSDs in North America.

The NGSDCS program was started with the offspring of Darkie and Scratchley. These were bred to the least-related (for at least two generations) Dinkum/Olga descendents. Subsequent generations have been judiciously bred together. An unrelated male, one of the last of two breeding-capable males in Europe, was imported by the NGSDCS in 2005 from Germany to increase genetic diversity. This male, Benji, was from the same lineage as Olga, but there is only a small chance his great-grandparents were the same specimens as Olga's parents.

We believe this science-based plan is the best way to preserve what we have in the captive population until additional stock can be obtained from the wild population. The NGSDCS's intention is not to breed NGSDs just for the sake of making more of them. The breedings we approve or sponsor are intended to maintain the captive population in good health and provide specimens to be exhibited in quality zoos. Those not needed for the program, whether placed in zoos or private homes, are spayed and neutered to eliminate the chance of accidental litters and hybrids being produced. The NGSDCS hopes the public will fall in love with these amazing dogs, so we work with accredited zoos to put NGSDs on exhibit. Our goal is to have the NGSD once again recognized as a rare and interesting species by the zoo associations of both North America and Europe. The NGSDCS will assist them in establishing a Species Survival Plan for these amazing dogs. Part of the plan would be establishing preserves for the dogs still living free and wild in the New Guinea mountains.

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Home
Description
History
Research
Living With NGSD
Resources
Membership
Rescues
Zoos That Have NGSD

All content copyright © 1998-2017 New Guinea Singing Dog Conservation Society, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material from any page of this website without written permission is strictly prohibited.