Jump to content
BC Boards
Donald McCaig

An innovative approach to puppy mills

Recommended Posts

I personally don't think there would be much value in a listing of sires who produced the most pups. I don't think it's self-evident that the owner of the sire was "at fault" for agreeing to the breedings.

 

I don't think the people who are advocating that it would be a good idea to know what sires have been and are producing many pups are looking to assign blame.

 

As Julie said when she posed the question, "aside from the ethical question (what constitutes too much?) it would be nice to be able to track what dogs are being used over and over just from a "popular sire" genetics standpoint."

 

It would be a useful tool to help breeders keep the inbreeding coefficient low while still maintaining good working lines.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think the people who are advocating that it would be a good idea to know what sires have been and are producing many pups are looking to assign blame.

 

Then I must have misread Julie's post raising this issue, which said:

 

It occurred to me that focusing on litters registered places the spotlight on the owner of the bitch, but there's a male in there somewhere too, and wouldn't it also make sense to look at who's studding dogs out repeatedly? In other words, a single male dog could sire way more than 30 puppies a year, but the owner isn't held accountable for all those breedings/puppies, and yet they do contribute to the numbers registered. It's high volume from another perspective. [Emphasis added.]

 

And some of the posts in response, for example:

 

Terrific point, Julie! Some folks stud out a dog to anyone with the fee and a bitch.

 

I did take that to be the main point of her proposal.

 

As Julie said when she posed the question, "aside from the ethical question (what constitutes too much?) it would be nice to be able to track what dogs are being used over and over just from a "popular sire" genetics standpoint."

 

It would be a useful tool to help breeders keep the inbreeding coefficient low while still maintaining good working lines.

 

Yes, Julie did include that as an aside. If what she meant was that it would help breeders decide whether to breed to a particular potential sire or not, I think that would more easily and more appropriately be handled by discussion between the breeder and the potential sire's owner, as other matters bearing on the desirability of the breeding would be. I doubt there are many owners of popular sires who would try to conceal the extent to which their dog had been used. Most would be proud of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What about people looking to purchase a dog or pup that have a particular popular sire a generation or 2 back?

 

Wouldn't that information be potentially valuable to them as well, as perhaps not as readily discoverable?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, I just want to say that I don't think anyone here is slamming the volunteers of ABCA. I personally don't know how ABCA creates or keeps track of pedigrees. I do know there is just one paid person. I have no way of knowing what sort of database, if any, is in use, or what its functionality might be. I volunteer for various organizations and I know it can be frustrating when whatever you do never seems to be enough, but at least in this case I think people are asking simply because they don't know what can be provided/done. Asking questions about how it works and how it might be used to garner additional information shouldn't be seen as criticism of anyone or of the ABCA. People are hungry for information. If that information can't be provided, fine, but please don't be offended by people asking.

 

As for the stud dog thing, my comment was two-fold and it was okay to interpret it either way. After the fact of breeding a litter that produced epilepsy I was told a certain stud had been used "a lot" (whatever that actually means) in the northeast and had produced dogs with epilepsy. That sort of information could be useful, period. Heck, even if it was a dog that you really didn't like and who was prepotent enough that his/her appearance further back in a pedigree (or multiple times) could inform your choices now.

 

But as with anything, it does take two to tango and so, yes, I was also commenting on holding all breeders accountable, and to me that means the owners of both dogs and bitches. I understand that the dog can stop his work long enough to breed a bitch and then keep going and the same isn't true of the bitch, but I still think that if the intent is to put a spotlight on high volume breeders then both halves of that equation should be considered. Not to beat a dead horse (sorry!), but in the quarter horse world, knowing that Impressive is in a pedigree tells a buyer some very useful information or at least should say to a buyer, beware.

 

 

That sire may have a lot to contribute to the breed, and acting as a stud does not interfere with his livestock work the way frequent litters can prevent a bitch from developing and demonstrating her working ability.

 

The problem I have with this argument is that the bitch could also have a lot to contribute to the breed. Yes, doing so takes her away from her work, for sure, but it doesn't seem a fair to say it's okay for one and not the other, at least not in my mind. And leads to my comments below.

 

And if this is really about preserving the working border collie and the dog(s) having the time to prove their worth as working dogs then wouldn't it follow (i.e., next steps) that there be a working standard?

 

I'm not trying to be argumentative here, and I don't believe in breeding lots of litters, but I would guess that the overwhelming majority of registrations are not of working (working, not working bred) dogs, period. But as long as those breedings take place below the benchmark numbers they're okay? I think where I'm getting stuck is the argument that this is necessary to point people away from high-volume breeders because they couldn't possibly be producing so many pups and also maintain a work standard with the dogs being bred. And I absolutely agree with that. But it doesn't even come close to addressing the issue of all the litters being registered whose breeders have zero interest in stock work. I understand that any of those who are also high-volume breeders will appear on the list, but I suppose I'm not understanding how volume is a more important criterion than actually why a litter is being produced (though I can see how it's easy to quantify one and not the other, and maybe that's the answer).

 

J.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What about people looking to purchase a dog or pup that have a particular popular sire a generation or 2 back?

 

Wouldn't that information be potentially valuable to them as well, as perhaps not as readily discoverable?

 

Do you mean they would be happy with the pedigrees of sire and dam, unless they knew that one of the sires a generation or two back had been a popular sire, in which case they wouldn't be interested in the pup? That seems pretty farfetched to me. Most people would be attracted to the idea that one of the sires a generation or two behind their pup had been a famous and popular sire. Those few sophisticated enough to be worried about genetic diversity would be likely to already know that a sire had been bred a lot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

. . . .

 

I understand that the dog can stop his work long enough to breed a bitch and then keep going and the same isn't true of the bitch, but I still think that if the intent is to put a spotlight on high volume breeders then both halves of that equation should be considered. . . .

The problem I have with this argument is that the bitch could also have a lot to contribute to the breed. Yes, doing so takes her away from her work, for sure, but it doesn't seem a fair to say it's okay for one and not the other, at least not in my mind. And leads to my comments below.

 

If you think dogs/bitches should only be bred from if they have been fully trained and proven to be good workers, the knowledge that a bitch has been bred a LOT can be a tip-off that little time can have been put into training her to a high standard or using her for work. The knowledge that a sire has been bred a LOT does not provide the same tip-off, because a stud's involvement in the production of a litter requires much less time than a dam's. That is the only difference.

 

And if this is really about preserving the working border collie and the dog(s) having the time to prove their worth as working dogs then wouldn't it follow (i.e., next steps) that there be a working standard?

 

I'm not trying to be argumentative here, and I don't believe in breeding lots of litters, but I would guess that the overwhelming majority of registrations are not of working (working, not working bred) dogs, period. But as long as those breedings take place below the benchmark numbers they're okay? I think where I'm getting stuck is the argument that this is necessary to point people away from high-volume breeders because they couldn't possibly be producing so many pups and also maintain a work standard with the dogs being bred. And I absolutely agree with that. But it doesn't even come close to addressing the issue of all the litters being registered whose breeders have zero interest in stock work. I understand that any of those who are also high-volume breeders will appear on the list, but I suppose I'm not understanding how volume is a more important criterion than actually why a litter is being produced (though I can see how it's easy to quantify one and not the other, and maybe that's the answer).[Emphasis added.]

 

J.

 

Yes, that's the answer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Be proud that a small group of volunteers (your peers who are freely offering their time and effort for the benefit of our breed) are doing what the large registries will not do. Don't immediately piss on their efforts as not being good enough for you. Especially considering it's the same few volunteers who are doing the work while you get the benefits."

 

I think that is a pretty rude thing to say to people who honestly did not realize the data was not easy to access or generate. I am not trying to insult the effort of volunteers or hard working people. If members don't know how the pedigree database used by the ABCA works, how can we ask realistic questions?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Next time start out with "is it possible to...." as opposed to "this should be done, it's easy".

 

And don't be indignant when it is suggested that it won't be as easy as you think it should be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was thrilled to hear that this list was going to become a reality! But when I heard that the "trigger point" is 30 pups (which does seem a lot to me) I immediately wondered (somewhat like Mum24dog) how that might negatively impact the "right" breeders who happened to have three large litters of 10? While it wouldn't be usual or expected for three litters to all have 10 pups each, it doesn't seem that the odds are extraordinary, either. I re-read the thread and did not see this question answered: Is it known how the number of 30 pups was decided upon? I am not in favor of volume production, but neither am I offended at the idea of a good, responsible, working breeder producing three litters in one year. Could ABCA somehow consider number of pups *together* with number of litter registrations to come up with the "high volume" designation?

Julie said:

There is a way to find out what stud dogs are used the most in the UK.

 

If you're referring to Teun's list http://www.bcdb.info/popdogs.htm , I believe it's compiled independently by Teun, based on the published ISDS studbooks. So such a list COULD be produced for ABCA dogs (even if by a non-affiliated individual), if ABCA would publish its studbooks. :)

 

Julie said:

I think people are asking simply because they don't know what can be provided/done. Asking questions about how it works and how it might be used to garner additional information shouldn't be seen as criticism of anyone or of the ABCA.

 

I agree with what Julie said above. I am a curious person, and I tend to ask a LOT of questions. I often need to point out to people that asking questions is not the same as "questioning" (in doubt or disbelief) someone or something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Next time start out with "is it possible to...." as opposed to "this should be done, it's easy".

 

And don't be indignant when it is suggested that it won't be as easy as you think it should be.

 

I just reread this thread, and I'm sorry, but I'm just not seeing where the entitlement and indignation you're talking about is coming into play. People were talking and brainstorming, someone made a suggestion, phrased quite nicely. You said it couldn't be done, people were confused as to why, and you explained. I never saw anyone say it was easy or anyone be anything but curious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a curious person, and I tend to ask a LOT of questions. I often need to point out to people that asking questions is not the same as "questioning" (in doubt or disbelief) someone or something.

 

This is a great way of putting it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was thrilled to hear that this list was going to become a reality! But when I heard that the "trigger point" is 30 pups (which does seem a lot to me) I immediately wondered (somewhat like Mum24dog) how that might negatively impact the "right" breeders who happened to have three large litters of 10? While it wouldn't be usual or expected for three litters to all have 10 pups each, it doesn't seem that the odds are extraordinary, either. I re-read the thread and did not see this question answered: Is it known how the number of 30 pups was decided upon? I am not in favor of volume production, but neither am I offended at the idea of a good, responsible, working breeder producing three litters in one year. Could ABCA somehow consider number of pups *together* with number of litter registrations to come up with the "high volume" designation?

 

 

Megan, ABCA does not have "litter registrations" the way AKC does. Each pup is registered as an individual, and there is no requirement that all pups from a litter be registered at the same time or on the same application. Because of this, there is no practical way to sort by number of litters.

 

If there were, I personally would have much preferred using number of litters rather than number of puppies for the high-volume list, and I believe that would have been the preference of most of the directors, for the reason you mention. The number 30 was arrived at after long and intense debate, and might well have been lower if we didn't have the same concern about large litters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those few sophisticated enough to be worried about genetic diversity would be likely to already know that a sire had been bred a lot.

 

What about people who are just becoming interested in border collies? Or, like me, are coming back after some time away? e.g. While I've had border collies continuously for about 35 years, I haven't worked my dogs for 20 and for the past 12 years my dogs have been rescues, so I haven't been keeping up with trial winners for quite a while. I'm thinking of possibly buying a pup in the near future so will have some catching up to do. Another example is all the people we advise here to look to working breeders for their dogs instead of buying from a sporter collie breeder, an ACK puppy or the first litter advertised on Craigslist.

 

Or are you suggesting that every newcomer to the breed should already be aware of whom the popular sires are and have been? How often are any neophytes born completely informed?

 

That attitude seems pretty elitist and condescending to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those few sophisticated enough to be worried about genetic diversity would be likely to already know that a sire had been bred a lot.

 

I don't think it's elitist or condescending at all. I think that anyone aware of the various problems re: genetic diversity in domestic animals would be asking questions about how many times a given sire(s) appeared in their prospective puppy purchase's pedigree. This would be true of the first-time Border Collie buyer or the 16th. So they might not know already, but they would be motivated to find out.

 

If it is elitist to be interested in what you're getting for your money, and how much genetic trouble you'd be buying, then call me an elitist! :)

 

I know very little about who's winning trials, and I know almost nothing about which are the most used sires. But when considering a pup, Border Collie or Toy Poodle, I would be looking these things up or talking to people who did know before putting my money down for a well-bred pup. As it is, it's of no consequence to me, as any dog I am likely to get will be a rescue, and so it would have no pedigree info available. But it would be very different if I were looking for a top-notch working or trialing dog.

 

This is also a point about how reading a pedigree can be useful. If I looked at a pedigree and saw the same dog represented several times - especially if it appeared so on both sire & dam's side of the pedigree, I'd be apt to look elsewhere. I made a lot of phone calls and sent a lot of e-mails trying to hunt down the breeder of the rescue I just placed in a working home. (She was unusual-looking enough to make this slightly less than completely hopeless. :lol: ) I figured it would help people see what they were getting vis-a-vis working "kinfolk". In fact, the person who took her did ask if there were a pedigree - and since the dog in question is spayed, it would not have been because she was looking to breed her. It would have been for clues as to what to expect from her as a working dog, or possibly info about genetic problems that could crop up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Megan, ABCA does not have "litter registrations" the way AKC does. Each pup is registered as an individual, and there is no requirement that all pups from a litter be registered at the same time or on the same application.

 

I understand, and perhaps I didn't choose my words carefully. I suppose I meant, each submission of a list of pups born at a certain date, of a particular mating. But, since you reminded me that the pups aren't always registered at the same time or on the same application form, maybe it would be more complicated to identify "litters" versus individual pups than I expected.

 

Thank you for answering the question!

 

(PS, it's always baffled me how breeders put up with AKC getting money TWICE for the same dog; first in "litter" registration and again in individual dog registration...unless that process has changed recently.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Geonni,

I think the real problem is that neophytes wouldn't even begin to know where to look. I know when I first got involved with working border collies I hadn't a clue and honestly every dog we'd had (my family) up until I was on my own and got a rescue was an AKC registered/registerable dog. I had been raised on a farm, certainly have a background to understand genetics, but really didn't think much beyond that, except that the one rescue I had for whom there was papers was obviously an uncle-niece breeding.

 

But if you (the general you) hasn't been involved with breeding of any animals and you find yourself with a border collie and want another, I don't think it's so obvious to know where to start looking or what to start looking for. I might well have started with AKC just because that's what was the "norm" when I was growing up.

 

FWIW.

 

J.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that anyone aware of the various problems re: genetic diversity in domestic animals would be asking questions about how many times a given sire(s) appeared in their prospective puppy purchase's pedigree. This would be true of the first-time Border Collie buyer or the 16th. So they might not know already, but they would be motivated to find out.

 

Um, that, to me at least, shows an already developed level of sophistication. But not to know who those popular sires are without having foreknowledge, IMO, does not demonstrate a lack of sophistication but rather an as yet incomplete familiarity with the data.

 

If it is elitist to be interested in what you're getting for your money, and how much genetic trouble you'd be buying, then call me an elitist!

 

That's not what I was calling elitist. What felt elitist to me was the inference that a person not already possessed of this information may not be sophisticated enough to be concerned about genetic diversity.

 

IMO, for a newcomer to be looking for that information may indicate that that individual may not be particularly well informed about popular sires within the breed, but certainly demonstrates (again, IMO) sufficient sophistication to be aware of this and to work towards closing the informational gaps.

 

Having somewhere to find that information, were it feasible to produce and maintain, would certainly be an asset even if it's not the only way to discover that information. I think that's all people are saying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Geonni,

...you find yourself with a border collie and want another, I don't think it's so obvious to know where to start looking or what to start looking for. I might well have started with AKC just because that's what was the "norm" when I was growing up.

 

FWIW.

 

J.

 

I got lucky. I didn't even know I wanted a Border Collie 'till I saw Sugarfoot on a Petfinders page. I just knew that was my dog. It might have been a disaster - but instead I got my heart dog.

 

This was the first place I landed looking for info of all kinds of info about Border Collies when I found myself with one. I found out a lot - fast. Especially because I bothered to read the "Read This First" statement. :)

 

Sorry about the double quote... Crazy fingers typing...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm very confused over here about what kind of a ABCA database people are looking for, but just in case, I'll post this link.

This is the American Dairy Goat Association's (ADGA) pedigree database. Very easy to use, and, I think, run by a single, volunteer breeder, who actually, is not connected to the ADGA. It is a private website.

http://www.adgagenetics.org/PedigreeSearch.aspx

 

Anyway, if that's what Liz was asking about, it is doable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anyway, if that's what Liz was asking about, it is doable.

I don't think anyone is questioning whether it's doable. What is being questioned is the level of effort that would be required and is that level of effort something that would add value to the majority of the ABCA membership.

 

The current ABCA database is on a computer in the office of the administrator. To make the simple goat page you've referenced, you will need to expose the database to the public facing internet. A couple ways of doing that are using a web service to the database server (which has some level of security and access issues), or creating a copy of the database (to be updated at regular intervals) and importing to a MySQL database which will reside on a web server and interact with the web page through data calls. There are other ways to do it too. These are the ones that first come to my mind.

 

Then you need to decide what that goat page is going to look like. What fields are able to be queried? Who can access this page? Is it for members only? Does it need a login? If a login is required, do they need to be unique? How do you communicate to the membership what their login is. Can you reset your password? Etc. etc.

 

Some have mentioned Teun van den dool's border collie database, which is very cool! He explains on this page that all he had to do was

...(leaf) through all StudBooks from volume one to 54 and scored every piece of information. Well, something like that. I used a bit of automation. I scanned all pages, OCR'ed the images (Optical Character Recognition software: Textbridge), analysed the resulting text to obtain cross-checked tables (programmed in Perl), put the tables in a relational database (MySQL) and used several methods to investigate its contents (SQL, Perl, C, Matlab, Apache driven html browsing). Commercially available pedigree software like BreedMate, CompuPed and KCBS are excellent and affordable but have insufficient flexibility for many of the analysis displayed below....

 

Most of the work involved correcting the errors of the OCR processing and errors in the StudBooks themselves. The OCR software is approximately 99% accurate. That seems pretty good but a StudBook contains 1 million characters on average. So 10000 errors are introduced in every processed book. Luckily most data in every StudBook occurs twice and OCR-errors have typical behaviour. Approximately 90% of the OCR-errors could be corrected automatically with suitable software. That left 1000 OCR-errors plus original errors in every StudBook. These last errors have been corrected by hand after they were found by cross-checking with software specially developed for this job....

 

Easy peasy! And that was just the data import. :D

 

So at the end of the day, it comes down to balancing the needs, wants and desires of the membership with the goals and directives of the registry, while acknowledging that there are limited resources. And as an aside, my interactions with the ABCA office have been excellent. I have done an owner transfer, using good old printer and paper and snail mail, and received my ownership papers in 10 days. Then I decided that my dog had one too many R's in his name, so I did a name change, and again received my ownership papers back (minus one R) in under two weeks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mark, I am still at a loss as to how I somehow insulted you. What did I say to inspire your rude comments?

 

Riika, I've used the Anadune database to research pedigrees in the past. You can take a pedigree all the way back to the beginning of the breed. You can follow the pedigree sideways to see which dogs are littermates, cousins or otherwise related. You can see which litters a dog or bitch has produced. You can calculated COI, try out test matings, etc. Some dogs have DNA test results and other health data entered. The issue with this database is completeness and accuracy. It's very incomplete from the standpoint of not all litters being listed and not all dogs in a litter being entered. You also get mistakes since data is entered by many different individuals. Still, I find it very useful tool.

 

My dream database would contain 100% complete pedigrees, essentially all the registered dogs (ISDS, ABCA, CBCA, etc). It would also allow search functions like finding common ancestors between dogs. It might even have links to videos of dogs working.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Will listing all who have bred help puppy buyers better find the right breeder vs talking to breeders?

 

Will knowing how many pups registered by all low volume breeders help puppy buyers find the right breeder?

 

As far as I can tell listing low volume breeders only provides puppy buyers with a list of who has bred a litter but not who will be breeding; this information is available locally (by talking to handlers).

 

If the list is really not helping puppy buyers find the right breeder (who will be breeding), what is the list for? It is this question I keep coming back to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I consider us low volume breeders; we breed every 5 years or so. Our name would show up on the list and people shopping for a puppy now would call us only to find out we won't be breeding for several years.

 

How is helping them beyond what the local lists of breeders already provide?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...