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BOB Collie at Westminster sired by a double merle


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#21 Lewis Moon

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 11:41 AM

Little dog fans please look away:

Did you see the abomination that won? I loved what Terrierman said about the winner (Ok, Ok, I'm sure that Terrierman is just incendiary enough to have some detractors here, but so far, I like his stuff)

The poofters at the Westminster Kennel Club have chosen and this is what they chose:


ĽAn ugly dog that looks like a cross between a dust bunny and a badly trimmed three-toned nylon wig from the 1960s.
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ĽA flea magnet. Yes this is the "function" that this dog was bred for.
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ĽA dog that has a smashed in face so severe it cannot breathe.
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ĽA dog so incapacitated by its smashed face that it had to be carried to ringside.
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ĽA dog visibly panting with its tongue hanging out from simply walking across the carpet.
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ĽA dog so overheated from walking across the carpet that it had to be placed straight away onto a bag of ice in order to cool it down so it did not pass out ringside.

Welcome to the Westminster freak show where the ignorant, the incompetent, and the pretenders show up to "celebrate" dogs by cooing over the deformed, the diseased, and the dysfunctional.



#22 Journey

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 11:46 AM

It shouldn't have to be illegal -- these immoral breeders wouldn't do it if it didn't produce dog show prizes and money from selling puppies. All the collie people who buy and show offspring from double merle studs are complicit. And because the merle gene is dominant, the problem would very quickly go away in its entirety if the breed club/AKC would simply declare that merle is a color that is not approved for their beauty contests. But wait, it looks pretty to them. So all the health risks, the blind and deaf dogs, it's worth it to them. "Let's keep that defective gene in our gene pool. It's so pretty!" Disgusting.


Wet blanket - are you saying that merles, because of their color should be banned? Or that the merle *gene* should be banned? The blind/deaf issue in this case is the *double* merle sire of this dog. I don't think the merle gene in itself is a defective gene.
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#23 PennyT

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 12:00 PM

Another sad note: I recognize the name Laura Rizzo. If this is the same person, then this is a case of going over to the dark side.

#24 JohnLloydJones

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 12:11 PM

Yes, the AKC needs to change or go away. I think "go away" is what needs to happen, because I don't think they can change.

I have no belief that the AKC is able to change, either, but with the current trend, they will fade into insignificance. I am not really very optimistic that whatever replaces them will be better, but one can always hope...

#25 ShoresDog

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 12:15 PM

I don't think the merle gene in itself a defective gene.



Depends on how you define "defective." It interferes with pigment production, so in that sense you might consider it defective. It confers no survival or performance advantage. The merle allele is dominant. In a wild population, most homozygous merles would not survive to reproduce, and thus that allele would become very rare.

As to heterozygotes, I'm not convinced that the merle trait is harmless. In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences article that reported the identification of the merle gene, it is stated that "Dogs heterozygous or homozygous for the merle locus exhibit a wide range of auditory and ophthalmologic abnormalities..."

The studies quoted were not on border collies.

Dogs having Mm and MM genotypes typically have blue eyes and often exhibit a wide range of auditory and ophthalmologic abnormalities (3). Reetz et al. (4) studied the auditory capacity of Dachshunds and found that 54.6% of MM and 36.8% of Mm dogs had auditory dysfunction, ranging from mild to severe deafness. All control dogs (mm) in the study had normal hearing. Klinckmann et al. (5, 6) conducted ophthalmologic studies with three groups of Dachshunds (MM, Mm, and mm) and found that merles and double merles had significantly greater frequencies of ocular abnormalities, including increased intraocular pressure and ametropic eyes. Microphthalmia and colobomas are well described in merle and double merle Dachshunds and Australian Shepherds (3, 7, 8).


However, the gene itself is the same in all dog breeds that have been examined.

So, since it's just a gene for a particular color, for goodness sake, and it has all these negatives associated with it, why keep it in the gene pool? I'm not advocating banning any individual dog, and goodness knows there are lots of merle dogs who are lovely and whose owners rightly love them. I do strongly believe it's a color that should be bred AWAY from, not for.

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#26 Mark Billadeau

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 12:30 PM

Let's play devils advocate for a moment.

Is there any difference between breeding a deaf MM Collie because it has superior breed attributes that you wish to increase in the breed vs. breeding a CEA "go normal" (i.e. CEA affected) working Border Collie because of its superior working ability?

The main difference here that I see are the breeding goals: structure vs. working ability.

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#27 Lewis Moon

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 01:12 PM

Let's play devils advocate for a moment.

Is there any difference between breeding a deaf MM Collie because it has superior breed attributes that you wish to increase in the breed vs. breeding a CEA "go normal" (i.e. CEA affected) working Border Collie because of its superior working ability?

The main difference here that I see are the breeding goals: structure vs. working ability.


Form follows function, I guess...or at least should. If that function is to be pretty and stoopid, then I guess that's what you breed for.
I, however, would question your priorities.

#28 PennyT

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 01:42 PM

"Is there any difference between breeding a deaf MM Collie because it has superior breed attributes that you wish to increase in the breed vs. breeding a CEA "go normal" (i.e. CEA affected) working Border Collie because of its superior working ability?"

I am under the impression that the goals are different in that breeding a CEA affected dog with normal vision to a clear dog allows the good qualities of the affected dog to remain in the gene pool with the ultimate goal of reducing the incidence of CEA by slowly breeding away from it without narrowing the gene pool. I don't see how that can be the aim of breeding Mm to either Mm or MM since the merle color which itself is directly linked to various health problems is the very quality valued. Unlike CEA, it is not possible to breed past merle related problems because merle is the desired outcome.

#29 Mark Billadeau

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 02:07 PM

Penny, are you claiming there are health issues with Mm?
According to Prevalence of Deafness in Dogs Heterozygous or Homozygous for the Merle Allele the rates of deafness in Mm are 2.7% uni and 0.9% bi. Are these really that different than the rates of deafness in Border Collies or other breeds?

Prevalence of Unilateral and Bilateral Deafness in Border Collies and Association with Phenotype

Hereditary Deafness in Dogs and Cats: Causes, Prevalence, and Current Research


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#30 PennyT

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 02:30 PM

Don't know yet. Gimme a few minutes.

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 02:32 PM

Let's play devils advocate for a moment.

Is there any difference between breeding a deaf MM Collie because it has superior breed attributes that you wish to increase in the breed vs. breeding a CEA "go normal" (i.e. CEA affected) working Border Collie because of its superior working ability?

The main difference here that I see are the breeding goals: structure vs. working ability.

I think that there is a difference, but I think both are poor choices.

A deaf double merle should not be bred because it is a double merle (and should not have been created in the first place.)

A Border Collie with "superior working ability" but CEA affected would not be my choice for breeding, even when mated with a normal-eyed dog/bitch. But a dog with "superior working ability" is a bit different than a deaf show dog. At least the Border Collie can do the job it was bred for. A deaf Collie cannot be shown. (Which is presumably what it was bred for.)

Both the CEA affected Border Collie and the deaf double merle Collie are themselves blameless, but their breeders are not. Especially the breeder of the Collie.

My understanding is that two normal-eyed dogs when mated can produce offspring affected with CEA. (Perhaps this can be avoided with DNA profiling, but I don't know much about that.) But the breeder who puts together two normal eyed dogs certainly would not be expecting to produce CEA affected pups.

But a deaf double merle Collie is a different story. What can you breed him to without running the risk of creating defective pups? If you breed him to a sable you will likely get sable-merles, which are a "disallowed color." If you breed him to a merle, you will get more double merles. If you breed him to a tri, you will get a bunch of merles. And while I don't think either merles or sable merles should be "disallowed," neither do I think you should breed for them intentionally.



 


#32 Mark Billadeau

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 02:36 PM

While you look into it I'm going home and will check back tomorrow.

Just to be clear, I have serious issues with breeding dogs that are affected with a genetic disease; however, there has been discussion of breeding CEA affected working Border Collies when they have very desirable working traits (I would set the bar VERY high for wanting to breed a CEA affected dog) . Ignoring the differences between breeding for form vs. function, I'm trying to ascertain if there really is a philosophical difference between breeding an MM Collie or a CEA Affected working Border Collie.

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#33 ShoresDog

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 03:01 PM

This paper (Prevalence of Unilateral and Bilateral Deafness in Border Collies and Association with Phenotype, J Vet Intern Med 2006;20:1355ľ136) describes a study of the prevalence of deafness in border collies. BAER testing was done on 2,597 border collies and border collie puppies in the U.K. The conclusion is that, yes, there is an association of deafness with merle coloration. They discuss the phenotypes of the tested dogs, but not the genotypes, so probably most of the merles were heterozygotes (Mm).

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#34 Diana A

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 05:07 PM

Let's play devils advocate for a moment.

Is there any difference between breeding a deaf MM Collie because it has superior breed attributes that you wish to increase in the breed vs. breeding a CEA "go normal" (i.e. CEA affected) working Border Collie because of its superior working ability?

The main difference here that I see are the breeding goals: structure vs. working ability.


The difference is that they intentionally created the double merle dog, knowing that there would be an extremely high likelihood of health problems and knowing that the dog produced would most likely not be functional for the stated breeding goal (in this case competing in the show ring).

Your example of the 'go normal' dog would only be a similar circumstance if he was produced by intentionally and knowingly breeding together two parents who would be expected to produce CEA affected pups who had a high liklihood of being nonfunctional for their intended purpose of working livestock. The fact that the dog became a 'go normal' and ended up functional would be just pure luck, as I don't believe current genetic testing can tell you to what a degree a genetically effected dog will actually express the disease.

The problem I see is not so much in using the affected dog for breeding (although I'm not saying that's okay either) but in intentionally creating such a dog in the first place.
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#35 Liz P

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 05:54 PM

The problem I see is not so much in using the affected dog for breeding (although I'm not saying that's okay either) but in intentionally creating such a dog in the first place.


This.

I am assuming the go normal was created by accident in the days prior to DNA testing.

Now, if the breeder of that dog produced it by mating two KNOWN carriers of CEA, I would call that breeding highly irresponsible. Unfortunately, I have heard of such litters even after the testing became available. :angry:

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#36 PennyT

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 06:11 PM

"Penny, are you claiming there are health issues with Mm?"

Don't know yet. Gimme a few minutes.


I don't need to make so extravagant a claim for the argument to hold. Let's take the case of CEA go-normals bred with carriers or clears or even affected to affected. The ultimate aim is to breed through CEA without losing other genetic components and narrowing the gene pool. Ethical breeders will do this; however, even from ethical hands dogs will slip through to the mills and people who can't help but breed everything and so on. The number of affected dogs this happens to will decrease gradually and eventually reduce numbers. With merle, that can never happen because merle is the valued quality. That dominant gene has to be there waiting to pounce.

Mark, I never for a moment thought were doing anything other than being devil's advocate. That's why I responded in the first place. My position is not based on which goal is preferable although I am comfortable with the value argument as the best. I didn't answer that way because I thought you wanted to avoid that line of reasoning.

Concerning merle to merle, I have never heard anyone with working border collies regarding CEA say anything as simultaneously specious and pompous as this: "Doing a merle-to-merle breeding should only be done by experienced and knowledgeable breeders, and only when a suitable non-merle with the desired quality is not available." Of course, I doubt anyone would dare.

#37 Journey

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 06:29 PM

A deaf double merle should not be bred because it is a double merle (and should not have been created in the first place.)



What does this mean? Bred to black tri there's no guarantee for defective pups. I agree the creation itself should not have occurred to begin with.

A Border Collie with "superior working ability" but CEA affected would not be my choice for breeding, even when mated with a normal-eyed dog/bitch. But a dog with "superior working ability" is a bit different than a deaf show dog. At least the Border Collie can do the job it was bred for. A deaf Collie cannot be shown. (Which is presumably what it was bred for.)



How can it *do the job* if it can't see?

My understanding is that two normal-eyed dogs when mated can produce offspring affected with CEA. (Perhaps this can be avoided with DNA profiling, but I don't know much about that.) But the breeder who puts together two normal eyed dogs certainly would not be expecting to produce CEA affected pups.


Impossible to get anything other than normals if sire and dam are normal (DNA Normal).

But a deaf double merle Collie is a different story. What can you breed him to without running the risk of creating defective pups? If you breed him to a sable you will likely get sable-merles, which are a "disallowed color." If you breed him to a merle, you will get more double merles. If you breed him to a tri, you will get a bunch of merles. And while I don't think either merles or sable merles should be "disallowed," neither do I think you should breed for them intentionally.


You can breed him to anything other than a merle. The only place the colors you speak of are *disallowed* is the conformation ring.
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#38 juliepoudrier

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 07:58 PM

Another sad note: I recognize the name Laura Rizzo. If this is the same person, then this is a case of going over to the dark side.

Penny,
I was wondering the same thing. She was active trialing when I was just starting out. I wonder if it really is her?

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#39 Pam Wolf

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 08:56 PM

What Liz P said:

I am assuming the go normal was created by accident in the days prior to DNA testing.

Now, if the breeder of that dog produced it by mating two KNOWN carriers of CEA, I would call that breeding highly irresponsible. Unfortunately, I have heard of such litters even after the testing became available

In either the case of the double merle or the known CEA dogs I'd have to wonder if there was not a breeding choice as good or better than the affected dogs and why would one choose an affected dog over a non affected if an equal or better is available?
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Posted 15 February 2012 - 08:59 PM

What does this mean? Bred to black tri there's no guarantee for defective pups. I agree the creation itself should not have occurred to begin with.

But there's no guarantee there won't be either, is there?

How can it *do the job* if it can't see?

The original comparison was between a dog with "superior working ability." I would presume that a dog with superior working ability could see. Do dogs with CEA always go blind? Are there "carriers"?

Impossible to get anything other than normals if sire and dam are normal (DNA Normal).

Perhaps my understanding of CEA is wrong. I am working with old information, but I understood that a dog was rated normal, or grade 1-4 on the strength of an eye exam. I also thought that there were carriers which could pass an eye-test as normal.

You can breed him to anything other than a merle. The only place the colors you speak of are *disallowed* is the conformation ring.


Again, the original comparison was between a show Collie and a working-bred Border Collie. It was a given that the Collie in the comparison was a show dog. But to avoid the possibility of producing dogs that could not be shown, (ie a sable-merle or a deaf or blind merle) it would be pretty useless for it to be put to anything but a tri. (And even breeding it to a tri would be a bad idea to me. If memory serves me, you could still get merles, and merles frequently have problems with skin and coat as well as the blindness & deafness that happens when you double them up. In my experience they are more prone to flea-bite allergy dermatitis and more susceptible to "Collie nose" and other sunburn issues.)

I don't think of a breed-ring dog's calling as work at all. But it was stated as a given in the original devil's advocate scenario that the Collie was a show dog. I think this was a purely academic comparison to begin with, and simply thrown out to stimulate discussion.

I've given up on "Lassie Collies" altogether at this point in my life. But the last one I owned was a completely healthy sable-merle male. (He had brown eyes and only a few tiny patches of blue on his ears - otherwise he looked like a normal shaded sable.) He never sired any pups, but I was interested in the color genetics of the breed. The knowledge of both color genetics and inherited disorders have come a long way since the '80s. But I haven't kept up with them, as I decided a long time ago that I would not be breeding dogs of any kind in the foreseeable future - if ever. But the subject came up here today and I was interested. If I am wrong, I'm happy to be corrected! :)



 



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