KC withdraws Dachshund statement: Collie’s stands
THE KENNEL Club announced on Monday that it was to register Dachshund puppies of different coat types to their parents in the breed register to which their coat most closely conforms.
But not long afterwards it appeared to undergo a volte face.
At first it said that such puppies could now be registered as the variety they most resembled, but the following morning withdrew the statement.
The move could have been prompted by the KC becoming aware of the breed council’s views– having apparently not consulted it on the matter. Chairman Ian Seath had spelt out that the KC seemed to have taken no account of the safeguards needed to avoid ‘inevitable adverse health consequences’.
Although the decision was ‘entirely logical’ from the perspective of coat genetics, he said, he feared the decision could lead to Lafora disease, a form of epilepsy, being introduced to two varieties.
On Monday afternoon the KC distributed the press release, which also said that Rough Collies from Smooth Collie parents could be registered as Rough for the same reason, and that annex D of regulation B2 was being altered accordingly. The same already applies to Longcoat Chihuahuas bred from two Smooths and Belgian Shepherd Dogs. The announcement included words from KC secretary Caroline Kisko who said the amendment ‘makes sense, especially as a precedent already exists’.
“However, we would point out that we reserve the right to DNA profile any litters where parentage may be in question,” she said. “Also, in the case of Dachshunds, we would emphasise that this latest amendment to the regulations is about coat type only and does not allow for the interchange of Dachshunds between the two sizes.”
DOG WORLD began seeking views and contacted Mr Seath who explained that, normally, Dachshunds in the UK had two copies of their own coat type gene because cross-coat matings do not take place.
“However, these were allowed until 1977 and there are still Wires and Smooths who ‘carry’ the genes for different coat types,” he said. “Imported dogs from countries where cross-coat, and cross-size, matings are more common may have combinations of the coat-type genes. Wires may carry the gene for Smooth or Long, and Smooths may carry the gene for Long.”
Recessive coats inevitably occur occasionally in UK litters of Wires and Smooths of both sizes, he went on.
“Until this latest KC announcement, these puppies could not be registered in the UK according to their coat. However, recessive coats born in litters outside the UK can be registered overseas according to their coat and then imported to the UK. The whole situation clearly presented a number of anomalies.
“The breed council’s health committee has written two papers on this matter which explain the pros and cons of allowing such registrations, covering issues such as genetic diversity and health considerations. Committee chairman Roger Sainsbury concluded that there was a strong case for allowing registrations of recessive coats, subject to proper health safeguards. It is therefore disappointing that the KC did not consult with us before making this decision.”
The breed now faces the mutation for Lafora disease being introduced to the Miniature Smooth and Miniature Long populations, Mr Seath said.
“We will be urging the KC to make it a requirement of registration of these recessive coats to be dependent on both Mini Wire parents having clear Lafora DNA test results.
“We also have concerns that it can be very difficult to tell the difference between a ‘Pin Wire’ puppy and a recessive Smooth puppy, so we may end up with some puppies being incorrectly registered. It should also be a requirement to have these puppies DNA tested to confirm they do indeed have two copies of the gene for a smooth coat.
“I am sure our health committee will be happy to explain their recommendations to the KC’s General Committee so that safeguards can be implemented before registrations of recessive coats are permitted.”
On Tuesday morning the above statement was seen by the KC, and within an hour it asked DW if it could respond. Subsequently it sent a statement saying: “We understand that the Dachshund breed council has concerns with regard to the potential for Lafora’s fisease to be passed on to the Miniature Smooth variety by the Miniature Wire variety. The breed council is more than welcome to submit its views on this matter to the General Committee where it will be given careful consideration.”
However, minutes after that the KC asked DW to ignore the original announcement relating to Dachshunds, as the amendment now applied only to Collies. It declined to explain the reason behind the apparent change of heart.
On hearing this Mr Seath said: “I’m pleased to hear that the General Committee has said they will welcome some input from the breed council, as this will allow it to express its views.”
Jeff Crawford also provided a statement to DW before the KC called a halt. He was in favour and said: “Purely personally, it was very gratifying to hear the news that the KC has decided to accept recessive-coated Dachshunds for registration. This argument has bubbled along for a couple of years within the breed and I have always been quietly confident that the KC would come to this conclusion.
“Because my feelings run deep on this question I have attended the last two breed council meetings where this was to be discussed. I must admit I have been appalled at the lack of understanding and misinformation expressed and the overwhelming vote of the clubs to reject the application. The complete lack of knowledge of basic Dachshund history was also evident and, after all, in dog breeding, history always finds a way to repeat itself.
“I had a lot of personal experience in at least three varieties in the past of the input ‘recessive’ breeding can offer a serious breeding programme and, as far as Standard Longs are concerned, I am probably the only one left with personal knowledge of the animals involved when the Smooth breeding did so much for Longs.”
And the Collie fraternity also seemed happy. Smooth Collie breed council secretary Sheila Beeney said: “We’re very happy with the KC’s decision, as we applied for this to happen; we made a presentation to the KC asking for it.
“Puppies born Rough from Smooths are genetically pure Rough, so it’s ridiculous that they should be registered as Smooths. They carry two Rough genes and are Rough. And if you put that Rough to another Rough you will get a Rough, because the Rough gene is so dominant.
“We felt it was wrong before – and goes completely against the Trade Description Act, saying these dogs are Smooths. The majority of the breed council agreed. I think if the club had said no, it probably wouldn’t have been allowed. And I think they realise there are some advantages, as a lot of Smooths are Collie eye anomaly clear, and if one of the Rough dogs produced is clear they could be used to improve the breed’s eye status.”
DW’s Smooth Collie breed note writer, Isobel Griffiths, said this was ‘a big turn-around’ on the part of the KC.
“It was adamant before that it would not register such litters,” she said. “I think it’s very good news; I don’t breed any longer but it makes a lot of sense.
“The gene is recessive and will come up for years to come; we all get them in Smooth to Smooth matings, and people think there’s something wrong with what we’re doing, they find it very difficult to understand. It will make life much easier.”
DW’s Rough Collie breed note writer, Carole Smedley, called it a step forward.
“Some Smooths do not have the correct coat as described in the breed Standard and quite a few are open coated but they are still a Smooth Collie,” she said. “A Rough can only be born if both Smooth parents carry the gene for Rough coat, or so I understand, and as some of the lines in the Smooth Collie still have Roughs in their parentage it is only to be expected.
“However, it is not a go-ahead for Rough to Smooth inter-breeding, and the KC has added a proviso that were parentage may be in doubt, a DNA test will be carried out. Many of our current owners/breeders already include this test as part of their standard practice. Well done to the Smooth Collie Club of GB.”