Article banner region

Dog Breeding and Genetics

  • Photo: 
    Gisle Bjørneby

NOVA Master's course of 5 ECTS, organised by Prof. Odd Vangen, Norwegian University of Life Sciences.
Course dates and location: 4-8 Jun. 2018, in Hafjell/Øyer, Norway.

Course Description
The course will cover important topics within dog breeding and genetics, topics that are important for a future ethical and sustainable dog breeding in the Nordic countries. Hence, the objective of the course is to provide a platform for more sustainable and ethical dog breeding.

Within animal breeding in general, the Nordic countries have proved a high genetic level combined with high ethical standards in production. The criteria of “sustainable breeding” have been defined, quantified and put into practice, not at least through cooperation with the respective universities and their research programs. The importance of these aspects of dog breeding will be well integrated into the course through the following topics:


  • Ethical dog breeding
  • Breeding goals in dogs
  • Genetics of performance, conformation and behavioural traits
  • Genetics of health traits
  • Color genetics
  • Breeding for behaviour
  • The role of dog shows
  • Molecular developments and dog breeding
  • Breeding plans
  • Inbreeding and small populations
  • Crossbreeding and creation of new breeds
  • Status of dog breeding vs. farm animal breeding

Programme Outline
The course will be given one week in June as an intensive course with lectures 8.30-14.30 and seminars 15.00-18.00. Teachers from all Nordic countries will do the lecture part, while seminars will be teacher initiated but partly student driven. A representative from the Swedish Kennel Club will contribute on the course.

Pre-/Post-Campus Assignments and Evaluation Elements:
There will be a pre-campus assignment to be handed in by the start of the course and a written exam within 2 weeks after the course, evaluated with either/or (Pass/fail).

Learning Outcomes


  • more knowledge of what is meant by sustainable and ethical dog breeding through learning about relationships between breeding for show dogs and all the genetic defects present in many popular dog breeds, the genetics of performance, health and conformation traits as well as genetics of behaviour
  • increased knowledge of effects of inbreeding in small dog populations and the possibilities to crossbreed for making working and sledge dogs with specified traits


  • making breeding plans including all important traits in dog breeding
  • communicating with Kennel Clubs, breed clubs and individual breeders


  • setting up breeding plans
  • planning breed strategies
  • estimating breeding values
  • being advisors to the “dog breeding world"

Pedagogical Approach
All teachers have experience in teaching smaller elements of dog breeding, genetics or ethology. During all lectures, students are asked (in groups) to summarize the lecture topics, emphasizing the most important take-home messages. In the seminars, students will have to present specific topics, given them 1-2 days in advance. The presented topics for the seminars will be based on scientific articles, both international and specifically Nordic.

Estimated Workload

  • 40 hrs pre-course reading
  • 15 hrs seminars
  • 30 hrs lectures
  • 20 hrs independent reading during the course
  • 45 hrs post-course reading for exam
  • (all together 150 hrs)

Prerequisite Knowledge
Bachelor degree or comparable education within biological sciences or animal sciences. The students do not have to be specializing in animal breeding.

Admission for NOVA courses is handled by the course organiser/ the NOVA member institution organising the course. Please see the links in the margin for more information.

Apply here

Published 15. January 2018 - 13:45 - Updated 15. June 2018 - 9:10