The International Working Dog Registry (IWDR) is an online registry where dog owners can manage electronically stored records on their dogs. Our goal is to provide quality tools so organizations and breeders can achieve data-driven results. Meet our team of passionate industry professionals with the collective knowledge of:
- 80+ years of managing large breeding colonies for working dogs
- 80+ years of computer programming and database building expertise for working dog programs
- 55+ years of Animal Breeding experience in selecting genetically superior replacement breeders
- 100+ years of education, research and resource development for working dog breeders & organizations worldwide
IWDR is founded by
Eldin Leighton, PhD - Founder of IWDR
Dr. Leighton, along with a small, but very dedicated team of developers began IWDR construction as a part-time project in 2012. Full-time development continued in 2015 when Dr. Leighton officially retired as Breeding Program Manager for The Seeing Eye.
During the last 10 years with The Seeing Eye, he held the Jane H. Booker Chair in Canine Genetics, where he was responsible for producing about 500 to 600 puppies each year. The International Working Dog Association, which owns IWDR, has been an important focus of Dr. Leighton’s professional life, since he attended the 2001 Conference in San Antonio, Texas. In 2005, Dr. Leighton was appointed to the IWDBA Board of Directors, then was subsequently elected as the Board’s first President.
Dr. Leighton’s experience in the dog breeding world was acquired first as the Research Geneticist working with the U.S. Army Bio-Sensor Research Division from 1973-1976, then as a consultant for The Seeing Eye from 1977 through 1994. After “retiring” in 2015, Dr. Leighton started a private company, Canine Genetic Services, LLC (CGS), and through this company, he and others now provide maintenance and development support of IWDR, and they provide breeding program management services under long-term contracts with organizations that breed and train working dogs.
Jane Russenberger, BS - Founder of IWDR
Since 1988, Jane has responsible for the canine breeding program producing 500 puppies annually at Guiding Eyes for the Blind in Yorktown Heights, New York.
In order to manage the young breeder selection process, Jane led the development of Reldog, the canine record keeping system and more recently, has been involved in developing IWDR, a cloud based record keeping system.
High quality data has been used in the calculation of estimated breeding values (EBVs) and a selection index resulting in genetic improvements in health and behavior in the Labrador Retrievers produced by Guiding Eyes for the Blind.
Over the past few years, Jane and Eldin have been curating a team of passionate working dog industry specialists within the fields of computer science, database and web development and design, strategic planning, education and research, to secure the IWDR’s mission well into the future.
Sam Leighton - Lead Developer
Dani Prebensen - Marketing & Projects
Dani’s achievements in the working dog world began at Guide Dogs Queensland, where she initially assisted in the administration of GDQ’s puppy raising and boarding programs before taking a role in special projects where she developed and implemented a variety of tech systems, including a customized Salesforce database, interactive volunteer website, and Guide Dog Mobility Instructor educational platform which was later utilized by the International Guide Dog Federation. Dani also contributed to the planning and development of IWDR’s Early Socialization Project. She has a Bachelor of Business specializing in Management & Marketing, and a Diploma of Website Development.
Although her background in special projects makes her quite the generalist, Dani’s particular focuses at the IWDR include marketing, business management/strategy, web/database development, and education. She is passionate about improvement of health and welfare of working dogs through appropriate data management strategies and supportive education practices for staff, volunteers and clients. She lives in Australia with her partner, GDQ brood Zelda, and Siamese cat Bug.
Rachel Goldammer- Program Planning & Education
Rachel is a private consultant specializing in reproduction, whelping, neonatal care, puppy socialization and development, behavior testing, and strategic planning. With over 15+ years within the industry, she started her career at Nestle Purina before working for Southeastern Guide Dogs and then with organizations like Guide Dogs of America and Freedom Service Dogs. She has a B.S in Agricultural Science with an emphasis in animal reproduction and biology from Truman State University. She has focused on building breeding programs from the ground up using industry best practices and electronic data storage. She is passionate about helping other assistance dog schools and working dog programs get their own purpose-bred colony off the ground.
At the IWDR, Rachel participates in conference presentations with particular emphasis on program development and early socialization protocols. She develops educational opportunities, including contributions to the IWDR knowledgebase and webinar programs, and utilizes her varied industry experience to contribute to strategic planning and improvement of IWDR services.
Madeline Zimmermann - Quantitative Geneticist, Data Analytics, Education & Research
Madeline Zimmermann earned her B.S. in Animal and Poultry Sciences at Virginia Tech, followed by an M.S. studying quantitative animal breeding and genetics at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Her interest in animal breeding and genetics began as a “horse-crazy” child but was solidified by her undergraduate animal breeding and genetics course – particularly a simulated sheep breeding project – and a subsequent summer internship calculating estimated breeding values at Guiding Eyes for the Blind.
Madeline then worked at Guiding Eyes for the Blind the Genetic Analyst for 2 years and 2 years as the geneticist overseeing production of 450 puppies a year. During this time, she developed and modified genetic models for various health and behavior traits, maintained routine estimated breeding value and genetic selection index calculations, oversaw breeding colony management to advance genetic progress, and assisted in data integrity management and research projects. For the past year, she has worked with the IWDR team to support other organizations’ breeding colony management and breeder selection.
IWDR embodies the practical knowledge from a collective 78 years of managing large breeding colonies for working dogs, 75 years of computer programming expertise and creation of four databases for working dog programs, and cutting-edge sales and marketing software. Data storage was engineered to provide users with consistently recorded data that provides meaningful summaries for making informed decisions. Over 55 years of Animal Breeding experience in selecting genetically superior replacement breeders enables IWDR users to use Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) that previously were restricted to only the larger canine breeding programs with this expertise.
Kevin grew up in Minneapolis and Hopkins MN
He graduated from Control Data Institute, and the University of Minnesota Institute of Technology where he earned a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering. Kevin had a lifelong career at Malco Products, starting in the Tool-and-Die Department and Manufacturing Engineering. In the mid-1970’s he wrote cutting-edge sales and marketing software, allowing the company to increase its leadership and dominance in its field. Kevin possessed a unique technical genius—there was virtually no mechanical, automotive, electrical, electronic, or digital device that he could not understand or troubleshoot. As a faithful Catholic, he combined his beliefs and his God-given talents in a life of generously and tirelessly helping others—often by repairing or building things. From 1993-2018, Kevin donated his time writing software, first Reldog for Guiding Eyes for the Blind in New York, then Reldog Lite for organizations globally followed by the International Working Dog Registry. This database for working dog organizations around the world enables breeding healthier and more confident dogs and is advancing the field of canine genetics, especially for working dogs. Sadly, Kevin died in August 2018, leaving behind a legacy of wonderfully crafted software.
Matthew Bottomley - Strategic planning
Bio coming soon
Caroline Moeser - Diagnoses management
Dr Caroline Moeser B.V.Sc. Caroline graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science in 1994. She enjoyed working in small animal practice in Sydney for 13 years, with interests in orthopaedic surgery and dermatology. Caroline commenced working in 2008 as the Veterinarian at Guide Dogs NSW/ACT. She became the Veterinary and Breeding Services Manager for Guide Dogs NSW/ACT in 2017. Her current role enables her to maintain her veterinary knowledge and apply this knowledge to the breeding program.
Caroline co-authored a paper on transitional lumbosacral vertebrae that was published in the Australian Veterinary Journal in 2017. She has also written a paper on faecal transplants and the potential impact on skin disease in the Labrador.
Caroline’s current focus is on reducing the incidence of atopic dermatitis in the Labrador through both a genetic and environmental focus. Caroline spends her free time with her husband, three children, and various Labradors.
Heather Hunt - IWDR user support & knowledgebase
Bio coming soon
People and Organizations who have our greatest gratitude for their contributions to IWDR
Use of Reldog file structure and concepts 2014
Japanese & French Translations 2015 – current
Funding support and coaching 1992 – current
Vision for IWDR and early design input 2007
IWDR Beta testing and early user design input 2015
GDBart Protocol Videos 2019
With special thanks to:
Kevin Keymer, BS