Here is an excerpt from the Study results. For the full report use the link above.
What we have learned from our studies based on 126 AKK tested
– Niels C. Pedersen, DVM PhD, Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Based on the initial dogs tested, it appears that the breed has evolved from relatively few founders. The number of alleles per genomic STR marker (Na) is 4.364 (SE 0.242), which is about one-half of that seen in breeds such as Standard Poodles or Italian Greyhounds and a fraction of known alleles. The number of these alleles per loci that contribute most to genetic diversity (Ne) is 2.531 (SE 0.140), again a low number. However, it appears that breeders are doing a good job of managing the available diversity. The observed heterozygosity (Ho) for the breed is 0.566 (SE 0.032), a value in line with the majority of pure breeds of dogs. The expected heterozygosity (He) is also 0.556 (SE 0.030). This means that breeders are doing better than expected at maintaining genetic diversity (i.e., heterozygosity). This is reflected in a FIS value (a measure of inbreeding) of -0.016 (SE 0.011). A FIS value of 0.00 indicates that a population is in genetic equilibrium, while positive values are associated with inbreeding and negative values with outbreeding. The slightly negative value seen in the current population suggests that breeders are making a deliberate attempt to increase heterozygosity. Genetic differences between individual AKK are obvious from a principal coordinate analysis (Fig. 2).
Figure 2. A principal coordinate analysis (PCA) of AKK in the current study. PCA is a method to determine the genetic distance between different individuals in a breed. Each of the diamonds represents a single dog. PCA places all AKK in the same coordinates, which is what is expected for a breed. However, there is no obvious clustering of dogs in one region, indicating that breeding is being done to maximize diversity in individual dogs (also seen in the IR plot).
There is a need to obtain accurate information about potentially heritable disease problems in AKK, but it appears that most health problems have been inherited by descent from founding breeds. AKK suffer inordinately from hepato-portal shunts, cryptorchidism, umbilical hernias and patellar luxation. Liver shunts and luxating patella tend to be problems of many small breeds. Heart problems include mitral valve stenosis (more in larger breeds) and patent ductus arteriosus (more in small breeds). All of these conditions involve complex genetics (several genes) and the causative mutations appear to be ancient, as they are found in many pure breeds and occur with increasing frequency as a breed becomes more inbred. Severe pancreatitis also appears to affect the breed, as it does with Yorkshire Terriers and Schnauzers, and can be related to genetic problems such as post-prandial hyperlipidemia, which may involve a single gene mutation. The genetic basis for pancreatitis in AKK may have been inherited by descent or involve mutation(s) unique to the breed. Two conditions linked to the immune system appear to be on the rise in the breed. Autoimmune thyroiditis leading to hypothyroidism is usually the first and most common autoimmune disorders associated with intensive pure-breeding. Allergies are related to autoimmunity and often increase in incidence with that of autoimmune disorders. Both conditions are related to a loss of genetic diversity, especially in the immune system, and affect the ability of an individual to differentiate what is self from non-self (i.e., reacting to the thyroid gland as if it were foreign). Skin, food, and respiratory allergies occur when the immune system has trouble differentiating common parasites from things like pollen grains, molds and common house mites, or more ancient constituents of a dog’s diet from modern ones.