The Functional Breeding Podcast
The Functional Breeding podcast was started in 2020 as a way to amplify the voices of breeders, scientists, behavior consultants, dog trainers, and others who are either directly involved in dog breeding or have insights into the consequences of different breeding practices. Episodes are interview-based, with occasional updates on the status of the Functional Dog Collaborative (FDC).
The Functional Breeding podcast serves as an essential part of the FDC’s educational offerings and we hope it’s enjoyable as well!
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We are transcribing all episodes in an effort to be accessible and inclusive in our communications. This is an ongoing project, so please check back if the episode you are looking for is not yet available below.
Claire Apple: Farmcollies and the American Working Farmcollie Association
Claire Apple is on the board of the American Working Farmcollie Association (AWFA). This week, Claire and I talk about what farmcollies are and what they do, how to think about populations of dogs who aren’t just one breed, and registering dogs on merit. Come learn about dogs who do a really complex and multifactored job! For more about Claire, you can find her on Facebook or check out her training page, ncdogtraining.com. To learn more about AWFA, check out farmcollie.com.
Kim Brophey: Ethology and Breeding Dogs
Kim Brophey is a behavior consultant who approaches dog behavior through an ethological lens. In this episode we talk about how we have selected different breeds for a variety of traits that make them more or less able to fit into our lives. To learn more about Kim, check out her book, Meet Your Dog, or her behavior consulting service at dogdoorcanineservices.com.
Karen Hinchy: The Chinook Outcross Project
Karen Hinchy has been breeding Chinooks for more than 13 years and is a guiding force in the Chinook Outcross Project. She’s an extremely knowledgeable and science-minded breeder. I know that there are a lot of questions about there about how outcross projects work and what we can expect from them, and I hope this episode helps answer some of your questions.
Emily Bray, PhD: Maternal Care in Dogs
Emily Bray is an Animal Behavior Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Arizona and Canine Companions for Independence. Her area of interest is canine cognition, and she specifically studies the effects of different styles of maternal care on the adult personalities of dogs – in other words, does how your mom treats you affect who you will grow up to be? In this episode, Emily and I talk about what’s known about maternal care generally in animals and people before diving into her studies in dogs and what she learned from them. Emily is excellent at communicating complex topics clearly, so come get your science on!
I didn’t intend to have another hiatus so soon. But in late January, I slipped on ice and hit my head. I have been recovering slowly but surely. Slooowwwwllly. I have some episodes planned that I’m really excited about, but I’m still on quite limited screen time, and audio is still very, very hard for me to listen to. So, I apologize to have to put the podcast into hiatus, but it’s going to have to wait for my head to recover. It will recover! But I am not sure quite when.
Thank you so much to all of you listeners for your support – it means a lot to me when I get feedback about how much you enjoy the podcast. It makes me feel sad to not be producing new episodes and I can’t wait to get back to it.
Joyce Briggs: What the State of Shelter Adoptions Today Means for Breeders
Joyce Briggs is the President of the Alliance for Contraception in Cats & Dogs (ACC&D). She’s dedicated her career to working in the world of animal sheltering, and has fascinating insights about how that world has changed over the past decades – backed up by some hard numbers. In this episode, we talk about the changing face of the animal shelter world in the United States, and speculate about what this could mean for people looking to get their next dog – and for dog breeders.
Jane Lindquist: Puppy Culture
Jane Lindquist is the founder and owner of Puppy Culture, a widely used educational resource for raising and socializing puppies. She herself breeds and competes with bull terriers. As it turns out, she is very thoughtful when it comes to how to apply science to the raising of puppies. We had a wide ranging conversation, at times nerdy, at times philosophical.
Sarah Stremming: Border Collies in Agility – We’re all Weird Here
Sarah Stremming is an internationally known dog behavior consultant with a special niche working with sports dogs. She consults at The Cognitive Canine, teaches online courses on dog behavior, and hosts the Cog Dog Radio Podcast. I sat down with Sarah to talk about agility dogs, particularly the ubiquitous border collie, and what is going on with them in terms of health and behavioral issues. Looking for your next agility prospect? This interview is a must listen.
Elinor Karlsson, PhD: Genetic Testing from a Scientist’s Perspective
Elinor Karlsson, Ph.D., is the director of the Vetebrate Genomics Group at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and (incidentally) my boss. She has a deep knowledge about both population genetics and what we call “complex trait genomics,” or the genetics of hard to pin down things like risk of developing cancer or a behavior problem. Elinor talked with me about a recent paper that looked for genetic variants associated with diseases in a large number of dogs from many breeds and mixes. She discusses what this paper found and some ways to interpret those findings.
Oluademi James-Daniel: Overcoming Systemic Racism in the Dog World
Oluademi James-Daniel is a force for change in the dog world. Her Facebook group, Inclusivity in Dog Training, has become a major player in the conversation about whether the dog world is inclusive (spoiler: there’s lots to work on) and what we can all do to make things better for minorities. In this episode, Oluademi talks about bias in the dog world generally and especially in breeding and in how breeders pick their puppy owners.
Eldin Leighton, PhD (pt. 2): The International Working Dog Registry
Eldin Leighton has a PhD in animal breeding, and after a long career at The Seeing Eye, has founded the International Working Dog Registry, or IWDR. If you didn’t listen to last week’s episode where Eldin talked about his career before the IWDR, definitely check that out first. In this episode, he tells us all about the IWDR, how it helps gather large populations of dogs together to provide more data – and analyze that data! – to help breeders improve their breeding decisions, and whether it’s useful for more than just working dogs. (Spoiler: yes it is.)
Eldin Leighton, PhD (pt 1): The Science of Animal Breeding
Eldin Leighton has a PhD in animal breeding and has wound up a long career managing the breeding program at The Seeing Eye, which is the largest guide dog organization in the US. In this episode, Eldin talks to us about how he got where he is now and gets super nerdy about the ins and outs of selecting breeding animals for the traits you want, from cattle to seeing eye dogs. (We love nerdy.) Eldin had so much good information that this ended up being two episodes, so stay tuned for part two next week.
Marina Phillips: Breeding Cooperatives
Marina Phillips is the breeding director for the ADI (Assistance Dogs International) Breeding Cooperative. A breeding cooperative is a group of breeders with similar goals who exchange animals to form a larger breeding population than they could on their own. In this episode, Marina gets down and dirty with the details of how to put together and run a breeding cooperative, and wraps up with some insights on how she makes guardian homes (placing dogs in pet homes but keeping breeding rights) work for her. If you’re a breeder who has ever struggled with how to keep enough potential breeding dogs in a house with limited space, this episode may be for you.
What’s new with the Functional Dog Collaborative
The podcast is going on a hiatus of a few weeks. I’m leaving you with this update on what’s been happening with the Functional Dog Collaborative over its first months and where we’re going next – guidelines of purpose, outlining our educational curriculum, T-shirts, and laying the groundwork for some big things in the future.
Doodles Part 3 – Kim Palermo: Boots on the Ground with Doodles
Kim Palermo owns BlueDog, a multicentric dog walking and training company, with her husband. There she runs manners and puppy classes for pet dog owners, and has her hands on quite a few doodles. In this episode, I talk with Kim about her changing perceptions of doodles, what she sees in doodles and doodle owners, and what she wishes first time dog owners knew before bringing their new puppy home.
Doodles Part 2 – Alicia Hobson: The Bearded Retriever Project
Alicia Hobson, of Bear Lake Bearded Retrievers, is the founder of the Bearded Retriever Project. The Bearded Retriever is a breed in development, based on poodles, Labrador Retrievers, and Golden Retrievers; the dogs have a classic doodle look and F1 poodle/retriever crosses can be Bearded Retrievers. In this episode, Alicia and I talk breeder education, client education, coat genetics, and the social challenges of breeding doodles.
Doodles Part 1 – Amy Lane: The Goldendoodle Association of America
Amy Lane is the founder of the Goldendoodle Association of North America and the creator of the mini goldendoodle. GANA acts as a breed club for goldendoodle breeders, providing a registry, health testing guidance, and education. In this episode, Amy tells us all about goldendoodles, covering the genetics of shedding, what it means to call a doodle “hypoallergenic,” and how GANA provides some really exceptional support to its members.
Sophie Liu, DVM: The Doberman Diversity Project
Sophie Liu, DVM, is the founder of the Doberman Diversity Project. The DDP seeks to collect information in a single place about Dobermans for use to researchers who want to better understand the genetics of Doberman health issues. Sophie has some very cool specific, actionable plans for helping improve the breed’s health, and in this episode, we talk about those plans, why Dobermans are great, what their health is like currently, and how hard it is to organize dog owners to get you the data you need.
Linda Seaver: Berner University
Linda Seaver is the founder of Berner University, a two-day educational conference which convenes once each year at the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America National Specialty. Berner U aims to educate Berner owners and breeders about their dogs, including information from veterinarians, behaviorists, and experienced breeders, among others.
Jenna Dockweiler, DVM, DACT: Theriogenology, the Study of Beast Making
Jenna Dockweiler, DVM, DACT, is a theriogenologist working at Ethos Veterinary Health in Wheat Ridge, CO. What is a theriogenologist, you ask? In this episode, Jenna tells us what a theriogenologist does, how she became one (hint: lots and lots of school), and what theriogenologists have to offer breeders.
Sara Reusche: Breeding Mixy-Mix Sports Dogs for the First Time
Sara Reusche, CPDT-KA, CVT, ANWI owns Paws Abilities Dog Training, LLC in Rochester, Minnesota. Sara writes, teaches – and is the happy owner of two intentionally-bred sport mixy-mix dogs, one of whom she bred herself. In this episode, Sara talks about getting a dog who was bred to be a fabulous pet first, a sport dog second, and her experiences with her first breeding.
Jane Russenberger: Managing a Population of Guide Dogs
Jane Russenberger is the Senior Director of Genetics and Breeding at Guiding Eyes for the Blind, one of the largest guide dog schools in the United States. Over her decades working at Guiding Eyes for the Blind, Jane has shepherded a population of hundreds of guide dogs (mainly Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds) in the direction of increasingly solid genetic foundations for doing their jobs. In this episode, Jane talks about her job and management strategies for selective breeding.
Trish McMillan, CPDT, CDBC, ACCBC: Where Do Good Dogs Come From?
Trish McMillan is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, and an Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant. She is also an internationally known speaker and behavior consultant who has been involved with animal sheltering for more than twenty years. Trish is one of the founding board members of the Functional Dog Collaborative.
Deb Jones, PhD: Good Traits for a Sports Dog (and Pet)
This week we talk with Deb Jones, Ph.D., about the behavioral traits that make a good sports dog, particularly a sports dog who you can live with. Deb has a Ph.D. in social & behavioral psychology, and worked as a professor for more than 20 years at Kent State University. She has been in dog sports for more than 25 years, competing in obedience, rally, and agility. Deb is the author of 12 books about dog training, and currently teaches both online and in person.
Julie Norman Jenkins: Breeding Dogs as Athletes and Pets
Julie Norman Jenkins runs Quicksilver Dogs, where she breeds border collies and border collie mixes. Her dogs have gone on to achieve top titles in flyball and agility, but are also fabulous pets. Julie talks about perceptions of breeding mixes and what she does with her own breeding program.
Introduction to the Functional Dog Collaborative with Jessica Hekman
What is the Functional Breeding Podcast about? In this episode, Jessica says hello, and introduces the podcast’s parent organization, the Functional Dog Collaborative.