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I know the basics of creating a new breed: choose a breed standard and role for the new breed, then breed dogs until you arrive at those traits, culling all the ones exhibiting undesired traits. What I am interested in is a more detailed explanation of how the genetics and breeding work.

So here is the theoretical exercise. Starting with the Pharaoh Hound as your foundation how do you create a new breed of dog with the same physical features and dimensions as the Pharoah Hound changing only the color. Temperament wise you want to keep near the same sight hound temperament, but breed away some of the "primitive" qualities thereby arriving at a breed that is able to be trained to be off leash and is more obedient generally, not just when your desires happen to align with those of the dog.

The new color- Blue. How would you introduce the blue color to Pharoah Hounds and get that color to breed true? I know "blue" is not a true color in and of itself, but is a diluted (and recessive?) version of the black gene. Does this mean you would need to introduce a black dog first and then breed into the blue gene, or could you start with a blue dog? Along with coat color how much of the coat length and hair type comes across, and then how hard is it to breed back to the original PH coat while retaining the new color? Which dogs would you use to introduce the new color and why? I was thinking Weimaraners would be the ideal choice because you would get the color and (part of) the temperament you are after from a dog that has similar features to a PH. The similar features (coat length and lean body type) seem like those would be two less things you have to worry about breeding out when trying to achieve the original PH body type. Or am I mistaken in my assumptions?

Temperament. How do you introduce obedience as new trait? This seems easier and harder in turns. Obviously you only keep the most obedient of dogs as you continue the breeding program. But how do you introduce the desire to be obedient into the breed without changing the whole personality? Do you try and work within the breed itself or do you introduce new stock that is genetically programmed to be more obedient? Again I was thinking Weimaraner for the reasons stated above. Things I would worry about bring with the obedience would be the drive to work or be busy. I like that PHs can relax, unlike most gun dogs I've seen.

Things I am interested in knowing: how often to you reintroduce the original PH blood to the new bloodline to keep the physical features the same? How many different new breeds do you introduce to try and arrive at the new traits? How wide a breeding pool do you need to insure genetic diversity and to preclude breeding in catastrophic recessive traits?

Background information. I have a PH and I have been infatuated with PHs for years. I also love blue colored dogs like Weimaraners and Great Danes, and think that color would be striking on a PH. I love the personality of my PH too. She is just my speed. She is my running buddy when I want her to be, but can relax and hang out by me on the couch while I read or watch a movie. The only thing that I would like to change is to be able to go out to a wide open space and let her of leash and know that it wouldn't be a fight to get her to come back. Before someone brings up the matter of training she is pretty well trained, but I have yet to hear of a PH owner who is comfortable with their dog being off leash. The breeder I bought my dog from has had many champion PHs and says being able to be off leash is the one thing she would change about PHs. Lastly my PH is fixed and I have no intention of starting a breeding program. I have neither the money nor will to go through the many generations of breeding required to create a new breed. I am merely interested in the science behind it.
 

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I hope this doesn't get deleted as advertising because it is completely on topic, but I literally created a free game that lets you explore all these questions and more by letting you create new breeds from existing ones virtually.

I could write a novel in response to all your questions - but I'll start with a link to Dynasty: http://www.dynastydog.com. Feel free to message me/respond here if you want to chat about the topic. :D
 

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First color: you can just breed in a blue dog. Since dilute is recessive and your original breed doesn't carry it (at least I'm assuming it doesn't) you won't get any blue puppies out of the first litter, but you will blacks (which is dominant to the red color of pharaohs). Then you need to breed some dogs to find out which carry the gene for blue (half of them will). It wouldn't be that hard to get some blue dogs, then keep breeding back to pharaoh hounds until you had a dog who looked like pharaohs but carried for blue. Most weims are isabella, not blue, so you would either have to breed in an isabella dog and then separately a black dog, or find a blue weim. As far as I can tell pharaohs are liver under their red coat, so a standard weim plus a pharaoh would only produce liver dogs in the F1 cross, and then isabella and red dogs later - no blues.

This site should answer most of your coat color questions: http://www.doggenetics.co.uk/

I'm not sure about the exact genetics of coat type, but it shouldn't be hard to breed back to a short single coat.

Temperament is a very complex thing. You can't just add a gene for obedience, you need to change a lot of the dog's temperament. Dogs who are very prey driven are often not good off leash, so you will likely need to breed out a lot of that drive to create a more off leash reliable dog. It's a package deal, and you may need to change a lot about the temperament you love in order to get "obedience" (which is already a complicated topic). Personally I would work within the breed with what you have. People have been successful with breeding beagles for agility/obedience work. Sure, they aren't going to be border collies, but by selecting the beagles who do well in sports and are easy to work with you will eventually get a line more suited to performance sports than what you started with.

As far as generations, someone was able to breed naturally bobtailed boxers by crossing corgis with boxers. His dogs looked like purebred boxers by the 4th generation I think, so it doesn't take that much if you know what you're doing. That's for very obvious physical traits though, so like the blue color you like. Temperament is going to be a lot more complicated, and you will have to sometimes select dogs with less than ideal conformational traits in order to get the temperament benefit you want. If you only select dogs based on looks it would go more quickly but you lose the temperament traits you want.
http://bobtailboxers.com/the-cross-corgi-ex-boxer

I don't have a good answer for how big of a breeding pool you need. There is a lot of information out there on population genetics especially with small foundation populations.
 

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Do a search on "backcross dog" for the logistics of changing traits within a breed. Here's one I like: http://retrieverman.net/2011/02/05/how-backcrossing-works/


Be prepared to get a lot of sh#t from breed fanciers. Google silver Labrador if you want to get a sense of what you're in for. I'm still not clear whether silver Labs are all backcrossed to Weims or some silvers have been in the gene pool all along; I don't really care. But dabbling with color does not get a good reaction from conventional breeders.

If you had a lot of unrelated PH's available for backcrossing, you would not have to inbreed . . . the net result could be a small increase in genetic diversity.

The backcrossing approach is usually done for one trait at a time. As I understand it, projects like 'create the ultimate rat killer' (rat terrier) were much less systematic . . . put together a mish-mash and breed from the ones with the best performance.
 

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Thank you all for your responses and for the links, they are very interesting. Looking at the back-cross and corgi-boxer study it seems like to get a new color you just need to introduce the gene to the breed and then breed back to make sure the rest of the features look the same. So for this exercise with Weimaraners being out due to not actually being blue, which breed is the best to use as the color donor? I would want to stay away from Danes due to potential health problems and decreased life span. Thoughts?

In regards to potential hostilities from PH fanciers I have no intention of actually doing this, I was just curious how it would be done.
 
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