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This study was carried out at the Department of Clinical Sciences / Animal Hygiene in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Helsinki during the years 1996-1999. The financial support of the Faculty of the Veterinary Medicine and the Finnish Kennel Club is gratefully acknowledged.

During the time of this study I had the opportunity and privilege to work together with many people. It is impossible to name everybody, but I wish to express my sincere gratitude to them all as well as those persons mentioned below:

Professor Hannu Saloniemi, Dean of the Faculty of the Veterinary Medicine, for being my supervisor. From the very beginning he had an open-minded and unprejudiced attitude to my subject. Despite his numerous duties he always had time for me and my problems.

Docent Jarmo Juga, my second supervisor, led me to the world of animal breeding with its fascinating techniques and possibilities. He gave this study a broader scope than my own.

Ph.D. Annukka Paloheimo introduced me to the world of surveys and consumer research. Thanks to her encouragement I worked harder than I believed I could. I owe her my very special thanks for supplying Fazer Blue, Gels and Nux Vomica: all these supportive remedies were needed especially during the very final phases of this project.

During this project I had the opportunity to learn to know and befriend Katariina Mäki, M.Agr.Sc. Her support and co-operation during our projects was invaluable.

Professor Matti Ojala offered me the possibility to use the computer programmes in the Department of Animal Breeding, University of Helsinki.

Together with Associate Professor Brenda Bonnett he also carefully reviewed this manuscript. Their constructive criticism and valuable advise surely improved the final product.

Without skillful technical assistance from Veijo Vilva I would never have never managed to get my material through computer programmes in the Department of Animal Breeding.

I would also like to thank Professor Henry Fullenwider for his valuable advise concerning the language revision of this manuscript.

All people working in Animal Hygiene during the last few years have offered a great companionship, but especially Ilkka Saastamoinen, Outi Mettälä and Susan Sundqvist have been irreplaceable help and support in my never-ending battle against hostile computers, printers and copiers.

The Finnish Kennel Club kindly offered me the possibilty to use the PEVISA-files. DVM Annie Liman, Claire Broberg, Evi Helin, Päivi Rantasalo and Ritva Tolvanen from the Breeding Department of the Finnish Kennel Club are acknowledged for their help with screening records and answering my numerous questions. Pekka Kohonen and Hannu Kurki from the Data Department did a great job in arranging all files for suitable formats.

M.Soc.Sc. Arto Ketola was an invaluable help with my statistical problems. He managed to find fancier methods than I could have imagined by myself.

The Library personel in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine was of great assistance in getting me all copies and references, some of which came out-of-the-way publications.

I am also grateful to all veterinarians, dog breeders and owners who offered their time to respond to my questionnaires.

Veterinary students Marianne Ikonen and Kati Moilanen are acknowledged for giving their time and efforts in copying, mailing and preparing the data of the surveys for the analysis.

This study was inspired by my dog hobby and those numerous people I have learned to know in the Finnish canine society. I am especially grateful to Marjo-Riitta Tervonen for her company, encouragement, motivation and all exciting gossips. Leena Harjapää and Pirjo Porenne have both been devoted friends and a great support during my years and ups and downs in kennel world.

Last but not least I owe my sincere gratitude to my family: the children Karri, especially for not always so voluntary dog-sitting, and Eve for keeping me aware of what is happening in the real world. Even without saying it my husband Jussi knows that his love and support has made all this possible.

Helsinki 1.3.2000

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