A CLUB which prevented an exhibitor from becoming a member has been told it must rewrite one of its rules.
The Large Munsterlander Club committee refused to accept Annette Hewitt (Brockchime) because she had registered some brown and white puppies; the club's rule 9 precluded this.
Mrs Hewitt reported the matter to the Kennel Club which ordered the club to alter the rule’s wording because it went against the KC’s general principle that dogs of non-Standard colours should be registered.
Mrs Hewitt, a championship show judge who has been in the breed for 38 years and owned the first show champion, Salyan Gay Anja, registered the four puppies as ‘colour not recognised’. She had contacted the KC about it and had been advised to do so.
“They made it clear it was the responsible thing to do and I was stunned by the club’s decision to exclude me subsequently; I think it was unfair,” she said. “I'd put an endorsement on so they could not be bred from.
“I'm aware that brown and white puppies are often euthanised or remain unregistered, and that’s no help to the breed.
"I’ve been a breeder for many years and when I was chucked out of the club I said that while there was breath in my body I would get the rule overturned. My own deep and painful feelings are unimportant compared to the interest of the breed.”
Brown and white puppies can occur if their sire and dam carry a recessive gene from an outcross carried out in 1972 between a Munsterlander and a German Longhaired Pointer. There is a DNA test which shows if a dog carries it.
“I’m very pleased the KC has intervened and told the club to get rid of that part of the rule and I’m just happy that brown and white puppies – which go to working or pet homes – can be registered.
“This is the first time I’ve had any brown and whites – about 50 per cent of the litter was black and white – and I intend to breed more. They’re exactly the same except for the colour.”
Mrs Hewitt said she thought she had 'opened a can of worms’.
"But I don’t want this to get personal,” she said. "I’ve been in the breed so long and I bear no grudge about it. No one has treated me badly."
Mrs Hewitt can now reapply to become a member, but chairman Christine Ogle said that clubs have the right to refuse anyone’s membership application without giving a reason, and ‘next time we shan’t give a reason’.
“Mrs Hewitt was a lapsed member for two years and in 15 years she has been a member for about 50 per cent of the time,” she said.
"Our rule stated that members could not register brown and white puppies and at the annual meeting last year we voted to keep the rule, unanimously, although as chairman I did not have a vote.”
The outcross was made to increase the gene pool, she said.
“But the head shape and characteristics of brown and white dogs are very different, and the breed Standard clearly states that dogs should be black and white.
“There’s a simple DNA test which will tell you if a dog is a carrier.”
To her knowledge, brown and white puppies were not being culled, she said.
“I would make it clear that there’s no animosity towards Mrs Hewitt – she’s a long-standing Large Munsterlander owner and we all like her. I sat next to her at Crufts for most of the day and there is no problem at all between us.”
However, she said she could not pre-empt what would happen if Mrs Hewitt applied again to rejoin the club.
“That’s committee work,” she said. “With any club, you’re custodians of the breed.
"I don’t get a vote but the committee has a right to refuse membership without giving reason, that’s the rule – the law of the land that even the KC can’t override."