Inbreeding in Dogs


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Our question this week was:

What happens when brother and sister accidentally mate? Does anything bad happen to the puppies? Do they come out ok or are they more likely to come out with abnormalities?

Christopher Aparicio


Hi – thanks for your email. Inbreeding is breeding between close relatives, such as brother and sister. Your question is what happens when they mate and will the puppies be okay or have abnormalities?

Inbreed animals often have reduced more health problems and physical defects. Genetic problems are more common; there is increased infant mortality, slower growth rate, smaller adult size, loss of immune function and other possible problems.

It is possible that the litter could be okay but also possible there could be multiple problems. It is a very bad idea to purposely breed littermates.

Dr. Debra

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debra-primovic Dr. Debra Primovic

Debra A. Primovic, BSN, DVM, Editor-in-Chief, is a graduate of the Ohio State University School of Nursing and the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. Following her veterinary medical training, Dr. Primovic practiced in general small animal practices as well as veterinary emergency practices. She was staff veterinarian at the Animal Emergency Clinic of St. Louis, Missouri, one of the busiest emergency/critical care practices in the United States as well as MedVet Columbus, winner of the AAHA Hospital of the year in 2014. She also spends time in general practice at the Granville Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Primovic divides her time among veterinary emergency and general practice, editing, writing, and updating articles for, and editing and indexing for veterinary publications. She loves both dogs and cats but has had extraordinary cats in her life, all of which have died over the past couple years. Special cats in her life were Kali, Sammy, Pepper and Beanie.