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BOB Collie at Westminster sired by a double merle

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I wonder if he's deaf and/or blind.

 

It seems there are a number of pseudonyms for Double Merle...aka White Merle and Double Dilute.

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I'm not sure if this is MM sheltie or not....the webpage calls it a "double dilute", but I found it via another page that referred to it as a double merle.

 

http://www.shadowhillshelties.com/shelties/boys/oreo.html

 

Looks like he's sired a lot of Champions.

It says there is absolutely "nothing wrong" with this dog. Does this mean he can see and hear? So MM doesn't always cause deafness and blindness?

 

Saw an MM Aussie with a dent for one eye, and the other about a third normal size, plus deaf, once. He just stood there and sniffed.

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The term "double dilute" comes from the notion that merle is a "dilution" of the tricolor. A merle to merle bred dog that presents as white is then called by some a "double dilute."

 

I have known two Collies of this kind of breeding - all white, one with blue eyes and one with one blue and one blue & brown. Both dogs were sighted and seemed to have unimpaired hearing. Both had to be kept out of the sun most of the time, as they were prone to sunburn.

 

Breeding merles together is a crapshoot. And one I don't feel is ever justified. There is simply too much risk.

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I wonder what happened to the other puppies produced by these Merle x Merle breedings.

It depends on the people who breed them. Some are destroyed at birth if they are without eyes. Some are given away. Some are sold to the gullible as "rare and valuable." Others are sold in the usual manner, with or without spay/neuter agreements.

 

The two dogs I knew were the result of an "accidental mating" and were both neutered. Their sire was a merle-headed white, and their mother was a white-factored blue merle. Their siblings were destroyed. The two were kept by the breeder until they were neutered and then placed in pet homes. Their purchase price was $100.00 each. To my knowledge the breeding was not repeated, nor were there any other merle to merle breedings at that kennel. This was in the early 1980's. Their sire was a merle-headed white, and their dam was a white-factored blue merle.

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Ralph's Tweed was white with heavy ticking...like very heavy ticking. I had one of his sons and he was a tri with lots of white. Taff was probably the toughest dog that I ever owned.

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My layman's understanding is that an example of a "double dilute" is a "lilac," (the color of a classic Weimeraner); the animal has both red and blue dilutions. Skin, coat and auto-immune problems seem to be commonly (but not invariably) associated with that color pattern.

 

No idea if there's such a thing as a "merle lilac."

 

Liz S in S Central PA

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Terrecar,

I am aware of cryptic merles, but in the working dog population merles are rare enough, which means cryptic merles are even rarer. The probability of a merle-to-merle breeding is pretty low. I don't think that equates to a situation where you breed B&W to B&W and get a red dog, or a blue. In other words, merles don't generally just pop up in a litter seemingly out of the blue (like reds or dilutes can), and if one did, then you'd figure out pretty fast that one of the parents was a cryptic merle.

 

=========================

 

The confusion between merle and heavily ticked is very common. I have owned both a blue merle and a very heavily ticked dog and there are clear differences in color pattern, but I have often heard heavily ticked dogs referred to as merles, erroneously. (The ticking genes affects the color that appears in the white areas of a dog, whereas the merle gene acts to dilute the color of the colored parts of a dog <--simplistic explanation.)

 

==========================

 

As for lilac merle and the like, if it's a special color you can bet someone will want it and someone else will be happy to supply the demand. Ick. If enough are produced, I imagine we will find out if merle + dilute also results in some sort of health problems (because merle acts as a dilution gene but affects only some of the coat vs. dilute, which dilutes uniformly; imagine the confusion about what it means to be a double dilute then!).

 

J.

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Disgusting. They should be ashamed of themselves for purposefully producing health conditions. The poor dog deserved better!

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Terrecar,

I am aware of cryptic merles, but in the working dog population merles are rare enough, which means cryptic merles are even rarer. The probability of a merle-to-merle breeding is pretty low. I don't think that equates to a situation where you breed B&W to B&W and get a red dog, or a blue. In other words, merles don't generally just pop up in a litter seemingly out of the blue (like reds or dilutes can), and if one did, then you'd figure out pretty fast that one of the parents was a cryptic merle.

 

Yes, that does make sense re: the small population of merles in working dogs. I wish I could say the same for Dachshunds, but "color"breeders for the Dachshund pet market seem to be popping up all over the place. That is just another reason to keep the Border Collie gene pool with the working folks and out of the hands of those who follow (or pioneer) fads.

 

 

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Don't forget that there is now a genetic test for Mm (cryptic Mm included) and MM; there are no longer any excuses for breeding Mm x cryptic Mm.

 

My opinion is coat color should not be part of the breeding decision, it's all about working ability. If there is a great working merle I see no reason to not breed it for work; IMO it should not be bred for color. Knowing you have a merle adds additional health criteria to the selection process; crossing to another merle is out. I see this like knowing you have a CEA carrier, you now have an additional health criteria in your selection process. I see no health reason to exclude a great working merle from the breeding gene pool.

 

 

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Don't forget that there is now a genetic test for Mm (cryptic Mm included) and MM; there are no longer any excuses for breeding Mm x cryptic Mm.

 

My opinion is coat color should not be part of the breeding decision, it's all about working ability. If there is a great working merle I see no reason to not breed it for work; IMO it should not be bred for color. Knowing you have a merle adds additional health criteria to the selection process; crossing to another merle is out.

Mark, you're talking like everyone who has a merle is intelligent and thoughtful, like you. Sadly this is not the case. The Aussie people have demonstrated that despite smart people knowing better, if there are a lot of merles, double merles will end up being bred. To me, it doesn't seem worth the heartache, when there is no one who will say that if no merles were bred, important working traits would be lost to working border collies. I say breed the solid-color littermates instead! Do you really think anything would be lost?

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Don't forget that there is now a genetic test for Mm (cryptic Mm included) and MM; there are no longer any excuses for breeding Mm x cryptic Mm.

 

My opinion is coat color should not be part of the breeding decision, it's all about working ability. If there is a great working merle I see no reason to not breed it for work; IMO it should not be bred for color. Knowing you have a merle adds additional health criteria to the selection process; crossing to another merle is out. I see this like knowing you have a CEA carrier, you now have an additional health criteria in your selection process. I see no health reason to exclude a great working merle from the breeding gene pool.

What about a great working monorchid?

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What about a great working monorchid?

You're still working from the view point the Mm is unhealthy or a genetic defect; otherwise you would not make the analogy of Mm and monorchid.

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Mark, you're talking like everyone who has a merle is intelligent and thoughtful, like you. Sadly this is not the case.

So you're saying I should stop trying to educate people on what science has learned about health effects and just support dictating one group's opinion on the entire breed.

 

Also, within a litter there is a range in working abilities; they are not all the same. Using your preferred selection method when there is a merle present in the litter you would select by color first and working ability second.

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re: the great working monorchid: Why breed to him unless he is the best dog out there and you can find no other dog his equal with two testicles.

I agree, though it seems someone is breeding them because they certainly keep popping up!

 

J.

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but monorchid (or cryporchid) can also be passed by the bitch.

 

If this is correct, then the owner of the bitch might not know that the bitch carries the trait unless the breeder of the bitch disclosed knowledge that it was in the line (or it was uncovered in all the research that the bitch owner is going to do in order to discover any possibility of epilepsy, CHD, EOD and any other emerging genetic disease).

 

At the end of the day, a monorchid puppy is a healthy puppy.....the fix is simple, albeit sometimes little more expensive than a standard fix.

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Yes, cryptorchidism can be carried by the male or female line, or both. And although I generally neuter my dogs, and it is a pretty simple fix, apparently some folks aren't opting for that fix and instead are continuing to produce it. Personally I would like the option or whether to neuter or not (even if I'm like to do so), not have the choice taken away from me because someone chose to breed a producer of cryptorchids and didn't bother to disclose that information. JMO.

 

J.

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I suggest you ask the questions that are important to you. Also be clear with the breeder that you want a guarantee that both testicles descend....and put it in the sale contract (or handshake, if you have a good relationship with the breeder). Or, tell the breeder that you won't take a male pup until the testicles have dropped (I know handlers that do this, if they have concerns).

 

Puppy sale contracts work both ways.....protection for the buyer and seller.

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As I understand it, true monorchidism, meaning that the dog only has one testicle, the other one does not exist anywhere in his body, is rare. What we see most of the time, is one or both that did not descend properly. This undescended state is a simple recessive--both parents must carry it to make an affected male puppy. The bitch carries the trait but it apparently does not affect her reproductive state.

 

I am not advocating breeding this trait. I am just curious about the severity of the issues it causes. I have heard that the one testicle descended condition was sort of common in the conformation breed ring earlier in the 20th century, until the AKC decided it was a disqualifiable fault. The main problem with this condition is that by breeding an affected male to a carrier female, the next generation's males might have no descended testicles at all, which I agree is a very distressing condition and a big mistake humans could make. This "bilaterally cryptorchid" state is the end of the line, reproductively speaking.

 

The reason I started thinking about missing testicles during the MM/Mm or even why have merles" discussion is this notion of harm. A dog with one testicle can still work, reproduce, have a happy life. A blind and deaf dog, though probably not knowing what he is missing, being born that way and all, is missing out on a lot we humans know make a complete life for a dog. He is also bound to have some difficulty navigating our very complex culture, into which he is born and within which we have very high demands of dogs. We also neuter and spay most of our sport and pet dogs, so a dog with two testicles can be a very rare sight at the average suburban vet clinic.

 

Just musing. I happen to have a "great working dog" with one testicle that is down and one which isn't. I am his breeder, he's everything I wanted the breeding to produce and more, he is very healthy and easy to live with, and out of the litter, all of whom I have worked, he is my very favorite worker. We have become a very good team, starting out as novice novices as we did. Would I want a puppy from him? You bet. Will I get one, no. I've come this far being concientious to stop now. I think my mulling over these possibilities is a much different discussion than whether to purposely breed an easily prevented deformity or defect for the sake of some "look".

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