Several wild animal populations have received individuals from closely related populations to increase the probability of survival of threatened populations. Genetic rescue contributes to the conservation of endangered populations both by increasing the number of individuals and the genetic variation for future selection.
Cross-bred litter (Icelandic sheepdog x Lundehund). Photo taken by Sorun Lilja Ragnarsdottir.
An article published in the Finnish Kennel Club’s magazine “Koiramme” (9/2016) describes the history, characteristics and challenges of the highly endangered lundehund population.
Several severe bottlenecks in the history of the Lundehund have resulted in a severe loss of genetic variability in the current lundehund population. Low fertility and high frequency predisposition to intestinal disorder IL (intestinal lymphangiectasia) imply inbreeding depression. The Norwegian Lundehund Club has initiated a cross-breeding project where three foreign breeds are introduced in the population.
The article describes the first experiences of the cross-breeding project and highlights the issues relevant for populations in similar situation:
Additional information about the cross-breeding program and updates of the cross-bred litters are available on the Lundehund Club website .
You can read the whole article (in Finnish) here.