THE KENNEL Club is taking steps to specify which colours indicate a true example of the breed by amending the introductory clause of the breed Standards.
It has already included on its website the following advice, ‘Beware of claims that puppies are a rare or exclusive colour and often on sale at inflated prices. Often these colours are not correct, not recognised in the breed and should be considered highly undesirable’.
The introductory clause of all Standards now reads as follows – the amendment is underlined: ‘A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance including the correct colour of a breed, and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.
‘From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch section of the KC website at www.the-kennel-club.org.uk/services/public/breeds/watch for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as undesirable or highly undesirable it is strongly recommended that it should not be rewarded in the show ring.’
The KC is also changing its protocols on its ‘Find a Puppy’ service to allow people only to advertise puppies in colours permitted in registration. It is hoped the move will go some way to assuage the fears of those concerned about the number of ‘undesirable’ colours emerging in some breeds.
‘Rare and exclusive’
Three weeks ago the KC issued a warning to puppy buyers on its website telling them to beware of rare and exclusive colours and advising them to check breed club websites to get more information. The existence of non-Standard colours, it said, might indicate that the dog was ‘not a true example of the breed’.
The warning was in response to Weimaraner enthusiasts’ concerns about the number of blue puppies being born and selling at double the price of grey. At present a blue Weimaraner will have the phrase ‘not KC recognised’ with its registration details. The updated Standard says ‘Preferably silver grey, shades of mouse or roe grey permissible’.
Changing its puppy finder protocols has coincided with Sandy Vincent of the Khyzahra Standard Poodles voicing her disquiet on the subject of colours. She told DOG WORLD she had looked at the list of litters for Standard Poodles on the KC’s website and had been ‘dismayed’ to see advertisements for chocolate puppies who are phantom carriers and a litter containing black, cream brown, sable, phantom and brindle puppies.
Mrs Vincent, who is secretary of the Standard Poodle Club but who made it clear she was speaking personally and not on behalf of the club, wrote to the KC: "This is very worrying when you consider that there is no way of knowing what will appear in future generations because there is no way of keeping check where these mixed-up colours are because the KC does not include non-Standard colours on its database, but now they are appearing on your puppy sale list!
"Recent Breed Record Supplements shows a huge increase in these colours being registered to the detriment of solid colour breeders. Are we to become a section of the breed which is in a minority? Is the KC actually going to stand back and let our iconic breed be overrun with these obscure colours, leaving our lovely solids as a mishmash of muddy colours?”
Mrs Vincent said the breeders of solid colours were worried that due to the small gene pool ‘patterned’ Poodles were being bred to solids.
"We already have solid Poodles in the ring from litters with patterned Poodles in, and as this information is not marked on the KC database we have no way of knowing if the Poodles in the pedigree are two-coloured, ie parti, or phantom, tuxedo, brindle and, heaven forbid, now merles with all that this gene carries.
"It is a very difficult situation we now find ourselves in. It would have been far easier had the KC adopted the same stance as the Fédération Cynologique Internationale and not recognised any colour or patterned dog as a pedigree Poodle.”
KC secretary Caroline Kisko explained that the puppy finder protocols will preclude people advertising Standard Poodles in non-Standard colours.