"PRAPSOS", PERHAPS AN APSO?
© 1980 by Joan Beard, Australia
Although not all the puppies or the descendants of the first Apsos imported in Australia were "world beaters", we had no problems with major or minor abnormalities. In fact we had never heard of anything like the oddities which occur in so many other breeds.
After living in this "Fools Paradise" for eight years, I received a tremendous shock. I was asked to give my opinion of a puppy. I could hardly believe my eyes. There before me stood a beautiful Tibetan Spaniel. The parents were both outstanding Apsos and the rest of the litter undoubtedly Apsos.
It was fortunate that we had living here an English breeder who admitted that she had seen such an animal in England, but had been told it was nothing to worry about and if she got one to ignore it. However, she agreed that something should be done. Thus began a hunt for what we in Australia call a "Prapso".
The first step taken was an inspection of every Apso we could trace. Two more Prapsos were discovered. There were not so many breeders then as there are today and the majority were intelligent people prepared to help in any way they could.
The policy decided upon was to put Prapsos with people who only wanted a pet dog - on condition that they could be used for experimental matings. No registration papers were to be given.
As soon as we could, we mated Prapso to Prapso, Apso to Prapso and our own Apsos in various combinations which we thought might produce Prapsos, in order to find out how this thing was inherited.
Whilst waiting for the results of these tests, I started writing to everyone I could find, overseas, who might know anything about the problem. I asked for the results of various matings, whether they be Apsos or Prapsos, as much information about the dogs themselves (faults, etc.) and at what age certain developments took place.
Most people were only too happy to help. Some only after being assured that the information would be kept confidential. This was done.
Meantime I had been in touch with an organization in England called CHART which specializes exclusively in detecting the cause of abnormalities in animals. They are a non-profit organization. Each animal is given an ordinary number which goes on the chart of where the defect occurs or did not - as the case may be. Thus, anyone looking at the chart would not know the names of any of the animals concerned. When complete, there charts are sent to a number of leading genetics to work on.
Unlike white Boxers and other oddities, you cannot pick a Prapso before 6-8 weeks of age. We were, therefore, looking for something which might help us to pick them earlier. An interesting point arose from the piles of information sent by the various overseas breeders which confirmed our own observations. In every case, Prapsos cut their first teeth by 4-4,5 weeks, the Apsos were slower.
Our test matings soon ruled out straight dominant or recessive genes. CHART's report was therefor eagerly awaited.
Quantative inheritance involves characteristics which depend on the interaction of a very large number of genes, all able to affect each other in varying degrees. This type of inheritance is extremely complex. Despite the complexity, it is still within the power of the dog breeder with little knowledge of genetics to deal with the situation by strict adherance to the golden rules of good dog breeding.
One encouraging aspect is that good specimens of the breed that have produced Prapsos do not need to be written out of a breeding program, as would be the case if it were a straight dominant/recessive relationship, but may be used with discretion for their good qualities.
Another point which should be born in mind is the danger of not recognizing a semi Prapso. This is an Apso with some of the Prapso features or maybe only one. Experienced breeders should recognize these specimens as poor Apsos, but the new chum, or amateur may need to seek expert advice. Dogs whose coats "cut of" abruptly, lack feathering on the front of the legs, sparse fall, no hair between the pads, hare feet should all be regarded with suspicion.
As a guideline I suggest you find out as much as possible about the good and bad qualities of the dogs in your pedigrees. Cooperate as much as possible. Take special care when using dogs close to imports without pedigrees. Keep complete records of teething, development etc. Do not repeat matings which give disappointing results. Try and find those that "nick" and stick to the combination. Keep and breed from Those animals nearest the Official Standard, bearing in mind that they must be sound in both mind and body as well as typical.
Those who have followed these simple rules have found that Prapsos can occasionally turn up, often in unexpected places, but it is now under control and can hardly be called a "problem".
On no account ever breed from a Prapso or a semi. Sell them as pets without papers or give them away to friends.
Permission to reprint this copyrighted material has been granted to Monique van Boxtel
by The Lhasa Apso Reporter. This article was published in the Dec/Jan 1980 issue.