FAQ’s Mean Kinship

Why Mean Kinship values in this database?

If you haven’t viewed the video, we strongly urge you to do so, it explains the value of - and how mean kinship can help to maintain and even increase genetic diversity. Do keep in mind it was filmed before Mean Kinship calculation was applied for our leonbergers.

Why divided in to COLOR ZONES?

The borders of the colors zone are solely chosen to split the population into three meaningful groups. The MK percentage only tells you how related the dog is to the rest of the population, but tells you nothing about the quality of the individual dog.
The leonberger is one big family, with still some slight differences genetically : Population Structure of Leonberger Dogs.

Green:MK values till 31% = least related to the rest of the population and have the most to contribute to the genepool, the lower the value = more diversity.
Yellow:MK values between 31% and 32% = medium related to the rest of the population.
Orange:MK values from 32% onwards = the dogs the most related to the rest of the population and therefore contribute the least to the genepool.

Even these slight differences still give us room for manoeuvre. If we breed with as many low MK dogs as possible, their genes will be spread and be preserved. The genes of the High MK dogs are already so often represented in the population, they genetically offer little to nothing extra to our population, in other words: The more related a dog is to the population, the less it will contribute to the diversity.

Does this mean we instantly stop breeding with dogs in the Orange zone?

NO! we can’t , many breeders will have bitches in the Orange zone in their breeding stock.

What we can do is avoid breeding Orange to Orange or Orange to yellow.

Now this will not be an easy task nor is it simple, because this is only one aspect breeders have to consider. It is still important to aim for low inbreeding, do the acquired health tests and all other considerations that come with breeding.
Another important aspect is to avoid overuse of studs. Even if a stud is currently in the green zone, that can change if he produces offspring, the more he produces the higher his MK value will rise and also that of his offspring.

How does one know if a planned litter will be in the Green, Yellow or Orange zone?

Add up the MK value of the 2 intended parents and divide it by 2. Compare the outcome to the MK values mentioned in the color zones.

These MK values also can be a guide when one is looking to buy a puppy for their future breeding stock. Again here too applies the same scrutiny and particularly compare it’s personal relationship to one’s own breeding stock.

What is the difference between COI and MK?

Mean Kinship is not the same as the Coefficient of Inbreeding. Coefficient of Inbreeding tells you how likely it is that an individual will inherit 2 identical copies of the same gene from both their mother and their father.
Mean Kinship tells you whether an individual will contribute genes that are already commonly found within the population as a whole. Or instead, if they can give a more valuable contribution because the genes that they carry are less common

Am I only improving genetic diversity if my litter falls in the green zone?

Not necessarily, that’s not always possible, if you own a dog with high MK.
However by finding a mate that together with your dog produces puppies with a mean Kinship below the average (currently 31.4%) also helps to lower the average genetic diversity of the population.

Why can’t I see the Mean Kinship % of my dog?

There can be several reasons:

  • He/ she no longer is presumed to be in breeding (Males born before 2009, Females born before 2011).
  • dog is deceased.
  • Born after the calculation was done.
  • dogs that at moment of calculation were not yet in the database.
Is there a way to select on certain data in the MK_Total List excel file?

Click on button MK Total List and download it on your own PC. There you can work in it and make selections

This is up to the Leonberger community, the first calculation was done in February 2017 commissioned by 9 Leonberger clubs.

What if I have a question about MK?

Please send your question to info@leonberger-database.com (all answers are given or approved by Dr. Ir. P. Oliehoek)


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