Although we currently know of 12 of these dogs in the world, there is no doubt in my mind there are more.
A veterinarian once suggested I donate DNA from Cuda to help in human research of spinal disorders. I reached out to a couple of teaching universities but never received a response. Turns out, I'm not alone in my quest. Veterinarian Karen Dashfield, Polly's owner, has reached out to several geneticists, too.
Breeding closely related dogs (also known as inbreeding) is actually a strategy used to develop a purebred dog, Dashfield explained. Linebreeding is used to magnify desirable traits noted in a particular bloodline. Unfortunately, linebreeding also magnifies undesirable traits in a bloodline.
Mixed breed dogs tend to inherit fewer genetic conditions based purely on the fact that their genes are not restricted within a strict bloodline. When asked about the baboon dogs of De Boom, Dashfield felt the reason there was an abundance of dogs with short spine syndrome was likely due to the fact that these dogs were breeding with close relatives due to their living conditions being remote and concentrated. One dog carrying the short spine gene could lead to generations of short spine syndrome being seen in the same region.