Most believe that the definition of inbreeding for dogs is mating two relatives. However, many specialist have come to agree that this is too general of a definition. This is because in any species, such as the German Shepherd, after each generation the ancestors double. By studying species, including dogs, it has been discovered that it is possible not to have anything in common between five generations of animals. Although, there is a chance for similarities to occur ten or even more generations back. So, the true definition of inbreeding is the mating of individuals more closely related than the average of the population from which they come. Also, this definition may vary from breed to breed.
Inbreeding has been known to have many pros and cons that come with it. For breeders a positive side of inbreeding is the fact that they can fix or create traits that occur in their breed. This can be done by mating together two animals that are related and share the desirable trait. For example, if a breeder has a German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, or Dutch Shepherd that has a very well-mannered temperament, then they will breed this dog to hopefully produce offspring with the same desirable temperament. Over a few generations the traits will become homozygous (genetically uniform) and the offspring of the inbred will inherit the genes for those traits. On the other hand there are some negative effects to inbreeding. The most common known con of inbreeding is the creation of genetic defects and diseases. The more inbreeding is continued, the more limited the gene-pool becomes. This causes the breed to potentially overtime become weaker and weaker. Also, inbreeding can also cause animals that are so identical, to the point where they are considered clones. In conclusion, there are certainly good and bad points to inbreeding. One of the most important things to note is that the breeder who is performing the inbreeding must be ethical and responsible. Even thought they may want to create the perfect specimen of say a German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, or Dutch Shepherd breed, they must also consider the risks as well.