Most important - Health Issues

If you look at the large number of cats in the animal protection system who are looking for a home or who live feral on our streets or in allotments, it is difficult to understand at first glance what sense there is in deliberately bringing even more kittens into the world. There is hardly a breed of which you don't find similar-looking specimens in animal shelters or foster homes.

What is disregarded is the fact that our modern living conditions have led to cats being able to reproduce in large numbers if they are not neutered, and a large proportion of the offspring survive regardless of their fitness, so there is hardly any selection for health. The result: disease genes accumulate in the domestic cat population. A good example of this is the hereditary heart disease HCM. No breed is as affected by it as the normal domestic cat. Scientific studies found frightening figures of about 15% of diseased animals.

In order to keep our cats as free as possible from hereditary diseases and also to prevent the spread of deadly infectious diseases, it should be obvious to every cat lover that everything must be done to ensure that only demonstrably healthy cats reproduce and that uncontrolled reproduction is prevented by neutering.

For this reason, the breeding cats of the German Longhair breeders of IG DLH are routinely examined by specialists for heart and kidneys, the blood group is determined and modern molecular biological methods, such as genetic tests, are used to identify carriers of hereditary diseases or but also viral diseases and thus to prevent the spread in the breed in time.

The health programme initiated by the IG German Longhair in 2010 is a guarantee for the excellent health status of the breed. In the breeding cats of IG German Longhair, all animals are free of hereditary kidney and heart diseases in the ultrasound and are also not affected by hereditary diseases that can be identified with currently available genetic tests. Therefore, they cannot pass on these diseases to their offspring.


What's about Unethical Breeding?

Unfortunately, the issue of unethical breeding programmes is still topical in cat breeding. The issue of breeding causing pain and suffering is not only about breed characteristics, where the risk of suffering for animal and owner is accepted, but also, as already mentioned above, about avoidable hereditary diseases.

It is therefore important to the German Longhair breeders of the IG DLH today, as it was 100 years ago, that the German Longhair cat should be close to the original domestic cat in terms of conformation. All characteristics should be within a healthy average. As described in the breed portrait, this concerns head and body shape as well as coat length. Any exaggeration should be avoided and the long coat should be so easy to groom that the cat can manage it by itself most of the year.


Is there Breeding of Pedigree Cats without Inbreeding?

One must clearly say no! Inbreeding only means that some of the ancestors on the maternal and paternal side occur several times.  This can be a great-great-great-grandfather on the father's side who is also the grandfather of the mother - which is completely harmless - or also very "close matings" where the parents are closely related.

A certain relationship between the breeding animals cannot be avoided if one breeds with a limited number of breeding animals and additionally selects for desired characteristics (e.g. health, breed-typical appearance). This is also important in conservation breeding. However, narrow line breeding with high inbreeding and ancestral loss coefficients is not necessary in order to quickly achieve special breeding goals such as extreme characteristics or a particularly uniform appearance within breeding groups.

Despite the small number of breeding animals, the German Lognhair breeders make sure that the genetic diversity within the breed is as high as possible. At present, this is only possible by repeatedly using so-called outcross matings with related breeds to bring fresh blood (i.e. more genetic diversity) into the breed or by breeding suitable foundation animals.

The average inbreeding coefficient of the German Longhair is currently an excellent 2.4%.




Autor: IG DLH