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BOB Collie at Westminster sired by a double merle

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I know this blogger isn't well thought of here, but I found this sad.

 

excerpt:

 

The son of blind and deaf double merle stud, Wyndlair Avalanche, has won Best of Breed at the 2012 Westminster Kennel Club dog show. You can see “Vinnie” tonight during the Herding Group Judging. GCH CH Wyndlair Cherokee Vindication is the son of Wyndlair Avlanche and Ch Twin City Cleopatra. He was bred by Anita & Matt Stetler and J Morris. He is also owned by Renee Beals and Laura Rizzo, handled by Beals.

 

“Vinnie” is not a double merle himself, but he was produced by one. Both of Avalanche’s parents are merle and he was intentionally bred by the Stetlers of Wyndlair Collies and “Mike” Cheatham of Southland Collies in hopes of creating a double-merle stud dog that would produce all merle offspring. His breeder’s succeeded by producing just one puppy in the litter (indicative of the severe harm to fertility breeding for double merle causes), and he was defective.

 

This is what his breeders had to say about why they produced Avalanche:

 

 

Our decision to do a merle-to-merle breeding was the result of a couple years of frustration in not being able to find a quality non-merle stud dog that had the temperament, health, soundness, pedigree and breed type that we work to maintain in our breeding program. It was not a decision made lightly, but after much thought and consideration. 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. Aiden’s sire and dam, both wonderful examples of correct Collie type, temperament and health as called for in the Collie standard, were the perfect complements to each other. Our hope in doing the breeding was not to produce a MM, but that is ultimately what we got. Aiden was a singleton puppy with no other littermates conceived. He has always been extremely healthy, happy and robust. He always has a smile on his face and his tail never stops wagging. Being a MM, you wouldn’t show him, as phenotypically he doesn’t appear as a recognized breed color. Genotypically, he is a blue merle with an additional merle gene.

 

We have never experienced or heard of any health issues in the Collie breed tied to the merle gene. Litter sizes, health and vigor are just as strong as with non-merles. Both Collies and Shelties have had notable MM producers of dogs without any illness or dysfunction. Each of the offspring of a MM inherit a single merle gene and are normal merles, phenotypically and genotypically.

 

Wyndlair Avalanche was never shown in conformation because he can’t see, he has been blinded by the entirely avoidable and easily preventable consequence of his breeding. It’s very unfortunate that his breeders won’t even admit to the public that they produced a blind and deaf dog so others can make the honest choice to not repeat their mistake. Avalanche has never won a single title or even attempted one, never been in the inside of a ring to be judged, never seen a dog show (or another dog), and yet he is now the #1 sire in Rough Collies and the #1 producer of Champions.

 

 

Westminster Rewards Cruelty

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Well as many of us have said here over and over, where money and prestige are involved, the dogs take a WAAAAY back seat to the human ego. The fact that they try to justify it by saying there were no correct collies available is just ludicrous. But not surprising.

 

J.

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In some European counties it would be considered cruelty and the breeders would not have been allowed to do it.

 

It's stupid, cruel and most of all, selfish.

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In some European counties it would be considered cruelty and the breeders would not have been allowed to do it.

 

It's stupid, cruel and most of all, selfish.

I talked to a vet one time that had tried to raise a deaf, blind aussie puppy. She gave up. She said all he did was stand in the puppy pen and shake.

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I talked to a vet one time that had tried to raise a deaf, blind aussie puppy. She gave up. She said all he did was stand in the puppy pen and shake.

One of the local rescue groups we co-operate with is Amazing Aussies, who specialise in rescuing double merle (aka "lethal white") aussies. Their mascot dog is both blind and deaf -- it's takes some special people to raise one, but that dog is happy and very friendly. I have also watched one of their dogs (deaf, but not blind) run agility. That having been said, I agree that there is a special place in hell reserved for people who deliberately breed merle to merle.

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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.

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The ASCA website addresses the merle-to-merle question. And cops out by saying it should only be done with careful consideration. Yeah, right, consideration of the potential financial returns, I'm sure, because if they were considering the poor pups that are produced with defects, they aren't considering them anything but collateral damage.

 

There is absolutely no reason why any registry can't refuse to register any pups from any double-merle breeding. The registries could nip this in the bud with regards to those breeding to produced registered pups. And they could back it up with DNA testing to check parentage, if needed. I think some registries already include DNA testing for registration, but I may be wrong.

 

And just remember, Westminster is all about "the best of the best".

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Once there was a dog called a collie, and he was beautiful and wise and stately. When I was a child, I loved him like no other. Someday, I vowed, I would have a dog like that.

 

Today I have (and love) his smaller working cousin. But I hold him forever precious in my mind. This is the collie I mourn. This is the collie that Westminster should be awarding:

 

pr07251.jpg

.

 

Farewell, Lassie. I'm sorry.

 

~ Gloria

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With a little investigation on the web one can find websites like L'elephant Collies on which you'll find articles which contain this:

 

Fanciers and breeders call homozygous merle collies, those that receive a merle allele from each parent, by a variety of names, all of which describe the same collie: double merle, double dilution and white merle. These collies may have varying degrees of vision and auditory abnormalities.

 

As Dr. Mike Vaughan (CCA Member) says, “Despite these defects, double merles may live normal lives. In fact, some are of superior conformation and when mated to non-merles have produced splendid Collies that are perfectly normal blue merles or sable merles, successful in the show ring and at performance events.”

 

Author: Kathy V. Moll – Deep River Collies

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Farewell, Lassie. I'm sorry.

 

~ Gloria

 

My 88 year old mother tells stories of the collie she grew up with during the depression on a farm in Ohio. The one that sticks in my mind was when one of their hens laid a clutch of eggs under the hen house. She was so secretive they thought a fox had gotten her and didn't notice anything until they heard the chicks peeping. Mom was tasked with crawling under and rounding up the chicks. When she went in, the collie went in with her and rounded up every chick, individually, and held it between his paws until mom could grab it and put it in a basket.

 

Since yesterday I've been trying to get folks from other websites to notice the BOB collie story and tragedy that the AKC is prepetuating in the name of "pretty". Everyone I've personally talked to has shaken their heads and said "how horrible", but not much more, and I have yet to see this story in any major publication. It's as if they all want to see the Westminster as a fun, quirkey, eccentric, feel good story, rather than dealing with the dark underbelly that is the AKC.

 

"Look! Something shiny!!"

 

The BOB collie story is the type of bombshell that could change things. There is NO up side to passing on a horrible and ENTIRELY PREVENTABLE trait in the name of beauty (and personal agrandizement). We need to really get this out there.

 

The AKC needs to change or go away.

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"Let's keep that defective gene in our gene pool. It's so pretty!" Disgusting.

 

Once again, I am reminded of one of my very favorite quotes: "Pretty is as pretty does."

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As Dr. Mike Vaughan (CCA Member) says, “Despite these defects, double merles may live normal lives. In fact, some are of superior conformation and when mated to non-merles have produced splendid Collies that are perfectly normal blue merles or sable merles, successful in the show ring and at performance events.”

 

Of course, because the ideal Collie "type" doesn't have any requirements for normal vision and hearing, right?

 

:rolleyes:

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But Gloria, Lassie is not "correct." OMG, one of her ears tips more than the other! Her coat is certainly insufficiently thick and fluffy. And most importantly, her head is not shaped like a long thin cucumber.

 

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.

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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:

 

 

•An 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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•A flea magnet. Yes this is the "function" that this dog was bred for.

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•A dog that has a smashed in face so severe it cannot breathe.

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•A dog so incapacitated by its smashed face that it had to be carried to ringside.

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•A dog visibly panting with its tongue hanging out from simply walking across the carpet.

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•A 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.

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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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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...

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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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