Despite the general reluctance of many Pembroke Welsh Corgi breeders to test for DM or to use the results if they do test, some are testing, and doing their best to defeat this disease. Right now I know of five litters either on the ground or well on their way in which not a single puppy will ever get DM. Some will produce carriers, others carriers and clears. And every one will be a quality pup with many generations of good breeding behind it.
So how are these breeders doing what others claim they cannot do, without "throwing the baby out with the bathwater?"
First, they tested. One lucky breeder found two clears in her own dogs, and has been able to breed them to produce more carriers and clears. The others found everything they owned to be At Risk.
But doesn't that mean they have to get rid of those dogs and start all over?
Not at all.
DM acts like a recessive gene, that is, a puppy must get it from both parents. An At Risk bitch bred to a Clear male (or vice versa) produces DM-free carriers. So with great effort- because very few other breeders are testing and identifying the precious clears that must be out there in our breed- the breeders with only At Risk bitches each waited to find a clear that they could use without giving up anything, and bred to him. They did not rush into breeding to just any male because he was clear, nor did they breed to a male who was NOT clear. One breeder waited three years to breed in order to find an appropriate clear male.
Not easy to wait, not easy to find the clear males, but they have shown us that it can be done. If only more breeders would test and make their results and pedigrees known so that these clears- and I'm convinced that at least 15% of the breed is clear- can be made available and the gene pool will not need to be narrowed.
Once carriers are produced, some breeders may opt for a carrier to carrier breeding. I hope they won't have to do that, but at this point it is an improvement over what happens if you do not test at all, which has a high chance of being At Risk to At Risk or At Risk to Carrier. If enough clears are produced or identified before that time, carrier to carrier breedings can also be avoided.
Puppy buyers need to demand testing! It's clear that many, many breeders are willing to ignore the availability of a DNA test and continue to produce dogs At Risk for DM. If you don't want your beloved corgi to die from DM, insist on testing, and only buy from a breeder who tests ALL her breeding stock, not just the puppy you want. There are a lot of health tests available for corgis. This is the ONLY test that will let you know if your dog is safe from a disease that is 100% fatal. So when the breeder argues that she tests hips and eyes and vWD, ask her what the fatality rates are for those diseases.