Genetics are anything and everything that make up your Australian Shepherd. They make up everything that is living, in fact! You, your dog, and even plants have genetic makeup. Selective breeding has been in practice for centuries. The ancient Romans used selective breeding to create better crops, better livestock, and they even selective bred dogs for better hunting, herding and protection. Charles Darwin studied and discussed how selective breeding was successful in producing change over time. It is how we domesticated dogs and other animals, and how we got the traits we desired in them.
Before we had the technology to observe the genetic makeup of things, breeding was done on a trail by error format. Two dogs would be chosen based on their traits, whether that be a physical trait or a personality trait, and the litter would be observed for those traits and if the trait that was desired was replicated, a dog or dogs would be chosen for the next generation of selective breeding. If the breeding wasn't successful in replicating the desired trait, those dogs would not breed the next generation. And so, this is how we began to understand the basics of genetics before we had the genetic labs or testing to rely on.
Flash forward to today, we have the end product of many generations of hard work that created our beloved Australian Shepherd breed. When a breed is purpose bred, a breed standard is created. This is like a rulebook of what the dog should appear like physically, as well as what their personality should be like. So every aspect of your dog that you have today, was carefully thought out and bred for.
I am hoping to shed some light on what those things are, from health, to personality and temperament, to structure, to coat colors and so much more. With each topic, I'll talk about what it is, what it means, the history and the function.