“It is very nice to check out pedigrees”
“White Swiss Shepherds are real workers. They want to do everything with you: walking, cycling, agility. As long as it is together!” Mariëlla Feenstra says enthusiastically. She keeps four shepherds and also breeds them. “But only if it adds something to the gene pool, because it is small.” Responsible breeding is very important to her, and certainly for the Breed Club for White Swiss Shepherds (in Dutch: Rasclub voor Zwitserse Witte Herders or RZWH).
Healthy, stable and a beautiful breed
Mariëlla manages the database together with Jan Boer of the RZWH. She says: “The breed club originated from fanciers and breeders. We are a progressive club; the breeders want action. For example, we recently had approval for look-a-likes, because we want to expand the gene pool. This keeps the breed healthy, stable and beautiful. ”
The Breed Club believes it is important for breeders to rely on trustworthy information. Mariëlla explains: “We only use files from the Raad van Beheer (Dutch Kennel Club), supplemented by our own documents. Now we store it on Google Drive, but the data is not transparent to breeders. That is why we started ZooEasy. When the database is online, all members can log in with an account. Soon they will also be able to make trial pedigrees and calculate inbreeding percentages for all generations of White Swiss Shepherds.”
We are not there yet. Mariëlla and Jan are still working hard to put all dogs in the database. “ZooEasy has done the first import from the Dutch Kennel Club (Raad van Beheer). We will now add the old lines of German Shepherds. These are the forefathers of our dogs. The eldest is from 1890! It is very nice to check out pedigrees, but it is time-consuming and prone to error, but these are easily fixed.” And the breeders? “They are curious! We hope the database will be complete in 2019, so that the breeders can make use of this too.”