Copper toxicosis is an inherited autosomal recessive trait of Bedlington terriers. A DNA marker test allowed Danish breeders of these dogs to establish a breeding program that requires genotyping of both parents. After January 1, 2000, only homozygous noncarrier Bedlington terriers have been used for breeding. This study evaluated the genetic variation in two groups of Bedlington terriers; one group represented the original population of dogs and the other a group of homozygous noncarriers. The genetic diversity in both groups of dogs was quite low. The group of homozygous noncarriers had already lost alleles and varied from the original source. Based on the findings of this study, it was recommended that to maintain some diversity, breeders of Danish Bedlington terriers should include the heterozygous carriers in their breeding program. Carriers should only be mated to homozygous noncarriers to avoid clinical disease.

COMMENTARY: It is admirable that the Danish breeders of Bedlington terriers were willing to enter into this program. By knowing the genetics of their dogs they will at least be able to avoid clinical disease even if they are not able to eliminate disease at this time.

Evaluation of the present breeding programme against copper toxicosis in Danish Bedlington terriers. Proschowsky HF, Olsen JB, Jepsen B, Fredholm M. ANIMAL GENETICS 34:142-145, 2003.