Health is a big issue among dogs within a closed pedigree. A closed pedigree means no fresh blood/ dna can be brought in and that means there is a need for a breeding program which is carefully managed. When not, certain autosomal recessive alleles (a allele is, one variant form of a gene, and a locus is made up of two of alles, one from the father and one from the mother) can be inherited and your puppy will show signs of a condition.

That is not what we want and that is why at Tshabalala we try to test for as much as possible. So for more which is mandatory, with the RRCN.

But because most conditions in dogs can not be tested for yet, at Tshabalala, we breed using probability calculation, as well.

That means we use the eCOI or Coefficient Of Inbreeding, this is how many of the genes of the father and the mother are the same in an offspring dog. eCOI is the modern version of a the old Coefficient Of Inbreeding and now on a genetic level, so tested all the way back to the first parents in a pedigree or founders the breed. That actually means the first couple of Ridgebacks from the day the breed was being established even before the official recognition of the breed in Bulawayo, in 1927, in South Africa.

The more of the same genes from the father and mother meet in a puppy, the higher is the risk of autosomal recessive alleles meeting and therefor the chance for conditions in that puppy, especially the ones not known to science yet.

So the goal here at Tshabalala is to set that eCOI as low as possible for the offspring. That is why our bitches are tested by Embark, but we also test the dog/ partner of a litter, if they are not tested a by Embark already. Than we ask Embark for a Matchmaker, that calculates the eCOI for the future offspring and when the outcome is lower than the medium for the Rhodesian Ridgeback in general (which is 21% of inbreeding, verified through Embark on 8-1-'24) or substantially lower than the bitch in question, we go ahead with the the mating. The selected partner is, before all the testing, compared with our bitch, so little flaws in the exterior can be corrected.

Then, when the litter is born we try to test all the new borns at Embark. This will give our puppy buyers certainty concerning the conditions in those puppies known to science today, as well for their COI's. A couple of percent less than the medium or that of the parents, can mean the world to a new born.