Monday, 31 January 2011

Dalmatian Club of America - last throes of resistance?

Not much winds me up like the Dalmatian Club of America's resistance to introducing the backcrossed LUA/NUA Dalmatians. (Background here.)  The Club's eugenicistic obsession with purity is at a clear cost to the dogs who suffer a painful and sometimes fatal health problem. 

No longer able to ban discussion of the LUA/NUA Dals (yep, they really did that) the DCA is pulling out all the stops after experts commissioned by the American Kennel Club to examine the issue concluded:

"Because the introduction of the low uric acid dogs into the AKC registry gives Dalmatian breeders a scientifically sound method of voluntarily reducing the incidence of the condition, this committee strongly recommends some controlled program of acceptance of these dogs. Where the strict health and welfare of the breed is the over-riding concern, no other argument can be made."

Phew. Job done, then.

Er, not quite, because the AKC decided to refer the decision to the Dalmatian Club of America - the very people opposing this ingress of mongrel blood. (The current generation of backcrossed Dals is 99.7 per cent pure, by the way)

So what does the DCA do? It publishes an article suggesting that the 10 distinguished members of the AKC advisory committee got it all wrong.

Contrary to what those vets and scientists think, the DCA wants its members to know that:

• Descendants of the backcross project are not purebred enough.
• Abnormally high levels of uric acid do not often lead to the formation of crystals and stones.
• Urate stones are not a significant problem in the breed.
• High levels of uric acid is not a predisposing factor in the formation of urate stones.
• Introduction of LUA Dals into the AKC genepool could have a negative impact on the health and welfare of the breed.
• It would be extremely challenging to come up with any plan to safely integrated LUA Dals into the AKC population of Dals.

Bollocks, of course.

You can read more in the latest edition of The Spotter (from page 47 onwards...)

This is going to be an interesting one because the case for introducing the LUA/NUA Dals is just SO strong that I think the AKC might be able to make a stand on this one.  As the KC did in the UK, despite a lot of resistance from the purists here, too.

Or am I being a hopeless optimist?

43 comments:

  1. Okay, let me get this straight (and this is only supposition on my part) if we were able to DNA test one of the founding stock Dalmations and found it to be 99.7% Dalmation or less, would it still be a Dalmation as defined by the DCA?
    Even wine growers are getting concerned about hybrid vigor; what is wrong with these people?

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  2. I agree. AKC's board has invested rather heavily in this issue. It asked its Canine Health & Welfare Advisory Committee to opine on the matter, and the board has clearly stated that, apart from what a majority of the DCA members may decide, IT will “consider ... other factors”, and IT will make the “final decision” about allowing registration of the LUA Dalmatian. All that AKC would be deciding is whether to register the LUA/AKC Dals' litters. No one is asking AKC to require the matings. -- Rod Russell

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  3. Just a correction - it's even better than that it was in fact 99.97% on the 12th generation, its now on the 15th!!!

    Julie

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  4. I am proud to be part of the new generation of dog breeders who doesn't reject science as superstition.

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  5. It's like these people have no clue as to how purebred dogs were created in the first place. They really DO believe that breeds spring fully formed from the mind of God, science, history and reality be damned!

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  6. You are so right Pai!
    I have almost all the KC stud books and they show that during the war years (30 through to 40's) quite a few Dalmatians were registered 'pedigree unknown' including 3 champions. The same method was used then as now - a dog would be assesed by 2 judges and passed as a member of the breed!

    Julie

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  7. If you repeat something long enough I guess you believe it. The article was a summation of all of the Boards ( or bord's as we sometimes call them) ongoing misguided beliefs. This sentence to me says a lot "what other genes linked to the low acid gene have been introduced with the back cross and what other genes have been lost?

    Do they really think that people passionate about the breeds health would deliberately overlook other problems that arose? I think not. The rebuttal wasn't written by people who are scientists, it was written by people who should know better, by two mmebers of the board of DCA but they didn't even have the nerve to publish who wrote it and DCA should be ashamed of itself

    I sincerely believe that we will prevail and the our beloved LUA pups will be given registration this year. Not that our Will & Lyra care but we do !

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  8. The AKC is even worse than our own. At least our KC does listen to the public and at least they have made small steps in the right direction even if they have been begrudging small steps. I honestly don't understand how anyone in the DCA can stand up and say they are passionate about their breed but don't care to improve on future health and welfare.

    Louise

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  9. I have almost all the KC stud books and they show that during the war years (30 through to 40's) quite a few Dalmatians were registered 'pedigree unknown' including 3 champions.

    *** The same thing happened in the U.S.
    Reigate Bold Venture, one of the "pillars of the breed" in the U.S.
    This was in a time when finishing a championship made an un-registered dog eligible for registration -- and he is behind virtually all U.S. bred Dalmatians today.

    Jeri Jennings in SoCal

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  10. Sadly, I’m beginning to think you are a hopeless optimist, as am I. The shear hubris of the leaders of the Dalmatian Club of America is mind-boggling. For them to think that they know better than a blue ribbon panel of ten independent and extremely well-credentialed veterinary scientists (or, as the Spotter article so demeaningly characterizes them “ten accomplished individuals”) is astounding. A few members of the DCA, albeit very well-connected members, are intent upon distorting the truth of the situation for their constituency as well as for the general public. I have lost hope that the DCA will do the right thing for the health of Dalmatians. My last shred of hope is that the AKC will finally step up to the plate and allow Dals who carry the gene for low uric acid into the registry. For the AKC it would be a win/win situation – generating more revenue and earning them public accolades-at a time when both are sorely needed. I urge the AKC to follow the recommendation of their own panel of experts and allow registration of low uric acid Dalmatians.
    Loretta Swanson

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  11. ever heard the saying "you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink !" ...even if LUA Dalmations were allowed onto the registry, they would simply not be used by Dalmation breeders and without the support of the breed clubs and more importantly Dalmation breeders Lua genes will not make any significant impact on the future of the Dalmation breed.


    Yvonne

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  12. To the last post - You must understand there are many breeders already 'Well Known' breeders
    who are breeding & suporting NUA Dals in the US.
    No one breeding them is not an issue! quite the reverse, all they are asking for is to show them
    & compete on level ground with AKC Dals!

    Julie

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  13. I believe the initial vote to allow LUA Dals was split quite close to evenly... so really, it's not that 'no AKC Dal breeders' want to use them, it's that the people in control of the club don't want to use them OR let anyone else do so.

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  14. Yes Pai, there are plenty of breeders who are saying if only we could raise a litter and then show a pup or two in the AKC shows. They are just waiting for this to happen. LUA Dalmatians will make a great impact on the breed. To have a Dal especially a male who you can feed any kind of food ( not just low protein) to and not to have to worry all the time about stone forming, with whom you don't have to use distilled water for their drinking water, rush out every so many days to check the ph of their urine. We decided after having our first dal as a stone former , raising a litter where there were 3 stone forming pups that we would never have another male unless it was an LUA Now we have a male and a female LUA . There are a few people that are adament against them but things are beginning to change. YEAH

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  15. I've always been skeptical about Dalmatians. I am more than a little skeptical about the traditional account of their origins.

    And in that same vein, I'm having a hard time understanding why the DCA thinks it will lose so many important genes if these dogs are brought into the registry. What important genes could they be? Surely the backcross Dals don't carry a gene that somehow turns them into Labradors or pugs.

    They are backcrossed so that they retain the Dalmatian phenotype but don't have health problems.

    What's wrong with that?

    It is well-known that basset hounds were saved from extinction by an outcross to the bloodhound toward the end of the nineteenth century. But even when the dogs had very little of the bloodhound influence, people complained about their purity. Luckily for bassets, the became accepted into the breed.

    Why can't the same happen with these Dals or the naturally bob-tailed boxers?

    Are modern day dog fanciers so much better than the ones from that time period-- who actually helped found these breeds and keep them in healthy, sustainable gene pools?

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  16. why does it matter if they are shown or not ? ....if the aim of the project is to get the LUA genes into the Dalmatian breed then it matters not one jot if they are shown -if what you say is true and breeders want to use LUA Dalmations then why the fuss about making the AKC and the breed clubs accept them - register them with the UKC or hold your own shows ! ...

    ...but I'm not convinced that they will be used ...in the UK a similar thing was tried with unregistered Bloodhounds - these dogs were given KC registration against the wishes of the breed club and subsequently made ZERO impact on the breed because they simply were not bred from in sufficient numbers -

    contrary to what scientists and other 'experts' would like to beileve it is the breeders who hold the trump cards in this - they are the ones making the biggest impact on their breeds - to make any progress at all you will need to get them on side - you simply cannot FORCE this particular horse to drink !!

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  17. "It is well-known that basset hounds were saved from extinction by an outcross to the bloodhound toward the end of the nineteenth century. But even when the dogs had very little of the bloodhound influence, people complained about their purity."

    Is this really so, Scottie? am surprised to hear that there was any disapproval at that time. Stonehenge writing in the late 1800s refers to outcrosing a lot and even has the drawings of how quickly you get back to type if you cross a greyhound with a bulldog. Will blog these at some point.

    Jemima

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  18. "in the UK a similar thing was tried with unregistered Bloodhounds - these dogs were given KC registration against the wishes of the breed club and subsequently made ZERO impact on the breed because they simply were not bred from in sufficient numbers"

    Yes, the breeders even tried to sue the Kennel Club for daring to bring in this new blood.

    It is to the bloodhound's great loss. They need the new blood. Mediage age of death 6yrs 9 months, according to the 2004 KC survey - which also showed a whopping 34 per cent died from bloat, and 28 per cent from cancer, notably lymphoma. And with only 55 registered last year in the UK, inbreeding must be a big problem. And yet there are unregistered packhounds out there - doing the job they were bred to do - that are ignored because they are not "pure" (in the eyes of the purists). It is extremely sad.

    Jemima

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  19. "What's wrong with that?"

    Are you crazy? Those dogs are IMPURE! Impurity goes against THEIR RELIGION! The Cult of the Closed Registry has as it's primary tenet that the Blood Must Be Pure! Just the fact that a LUA Dal has a normal gene for uric acid marks it as impure. Doesn't matter if you can't see it, it's there, being....impure.

    That's why you get people saying nonsensical and frankly disgusting things like, "Well, maybe it's just part of being a Purple-Spotted Gooberhound to die of cancer at age six."

    Purity of blood is more important than the actual dog to some people. It's most definitely not PC to feel that way about humans, but hey, we can exercise our dubious knowledge of genetics and our latent racism on our dogs and that's okay.

    And frankly, I think some people get off on having a breed with health issues. It marks the dog as special, that it needs special care above and beyond what an 'average' pet owner might be expected to provide. You cannot just feed a decent quality food and expect normal preventative care to keep ExtraSuperSpecial Hounds healthy, oh no! ExtraSuperSpecial Hounds require a far higher level of dedication than that. Only the TRULY dedicated owner is deserving of an ExtraSuperSpecial Hound, and you prove that dedication by spending lots of money and time on your dog's health problems.

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  20. Anonymous says "contrary to what scientists and other 'experts' would like to beileve it is the breeders who hold the trump cards in this"

    True, but tell me why breeders would ignore a potentially fatal genetic defect in every Dalmatian when there is a viable solution?

    Are we talking about breeders who care about their breed and want to make a difference in their lifetime? or just the ones who want to win the most?

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  21. http://retrieverman.wordpress.com/2011/01/15/the-outcross-that-saved-the-basset-hound/

    Yes. There was disapproval. They complained they weren't pure bassets. They insisted on calling them Basset-Bloodhounds, even though they had very little bloodhound blood.

    This was after Stonehenge.

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  22. The LUA DalmatiAns are all registered with UKC and Dalmatians of North America held their first specialty in 2008 ,2009 and last year and this year the specialty is being held at tge UKC premium show.

    The reason for wnting AKC registration is for several reasons. One so that they can be shown and people can see that these sweet pups are normal dalmatians. I think it was great that the UK kennel club allowed these dogs to go to the UK. Fiona who most people have heard of has now qualfied twice for Crufts, this year and next year . She is registered with the UK kennel club and I must say I couldn't be more proud that the country of my birth has seen the value of the LUA's and the UU's and ashamed of the DCA for not seeing the value.

    Marion

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  23. To the person out there that said "contrary to what scientists and other 'experts' would like to beileve it is the breeders who hold the trump cards in this" While this may be true, I can assure you there are alot of "breeders" out there that are just waiting for this to happen and incorporate the LUA's in their lines.

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  24. why wait for AKC and breed club approval ? I'm just not understading the need to show these dogs or have them accepted by the breed clubs if the aim is simply to get them into the Dalmatian gene pool - after all here in the Uk only around 2% of all pedigree dogs are shown and I would think the number is fairly similar in the USA -
    if the existing breed clubs won't accept them then form your own breed club I just don't understand why this need to do battle with the present breed clubs - if after all many breeders DO wnat to use Lua Dalmatians what's stopping them from doing so - the fact that they cannot show them - really ?
    ....sometimes I think that folk just enjoy the fight !!

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  25. Anonymous- It is not just a matter of showing the dogs. You can show in conformation in UKC, and through breed club shows, whether the dogs are AKC recognized or not.

    AKC and the Canadian Kennel Club have reciprocity deals with the FCI. That means that even though Canada and the US are not FCI member countries, AKC and CanKC registration is recognized by FCI member countries. UKC is not recognized as a registry by other countries. In order for the LUA Dals to be used around the world, they must be AKC recognized. So you see it has nothing to do with showing, but with registering the dogs with a registry that is recognized around the world. The dogs cannot contribute to the world wide gene pool unless they are registered by a registry that is recognized world wide.

    It is a very big deal that the English KC has chosen to recognized a few LUA Dals. Maybe it will set the precedent for other kennel clubs, to accept smaller or single breed registries.

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  26. And then there is the small matter that this isn't about the people, it's about the DOGS. The doors need knocking down because we actually should not, morally, be breeding dogs that are homozygous for the high uric acid gene and the health problems that come with it, when there is an alternative. I'm not saying that breeders should be forced to use the dogs. But I believe that once accepted, a growing number will want to - and will be able to, and not least because I believe the pet market will want the backcrossed dogs and this will, ultimately, drive the market.

    Jemima

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  27. So this is NOT about spreading Lua genes throughout the Dalmatian gene pool but about FCI and KC recognition ..both of which are connected with the ability to show the dogs - lets face it show breeders are not going to use Lua Dalmatians so it's only those breeding for the pet market that will have backcrossed dogs to sell - why would they care if their dogs are FCI or AKC registered ?

    If you are convinced of the importance of this project then go ahead and breed Lua Dalmatians - there is in fact at present NOTHING to stop anyone from doing so - just the belief that they can force their morality on others - it won't work - if your theory is correct and the pet owning public demand backcrossed Dalmatians then you will have achieved your aims without the need to turn everything into a fight !

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  28. "Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt."

    Since anonymous obviously believes that the LUA Dals are mutts, this is for anyone who actually wants to learn something. How you can think this ISN'T about spreading the LUA gene throughout the gene pool is beyond me. It can't get widespread use unless the majority of breeders have access to it, so your arguments about breeding unregistered dogs or staying within their own registry are exceptionally stupid.

    In some FCI member countries, the dog MUST be shown and receive at least two Very Good ratings to be bred, otherwise the offspring can not be registered. A European breeder who wants to use the LUA Dals must obtain them from a country recognized by FCI member countries, because the dog must be shown to be bred. If you want to register the dog, and allow it's offspring to benefit the international gene pool, it must be shown.

    FCI is NOT a registry, BTW, it's an umbrella organization that coordinates shows, and makes sure that judges and pedigrees are internationally recognized.

    I have never seen a LUA Dal breeder yet that didn't show their dogs.

    Your comment on morality is telling; many people would consider the morality of an individual questionable if they choose to breed a dog that is homozygous for a trait that has a high risk of disease. Breeders wanting recognition of LUA Dals by major registries like AKC has nothing to do with forcing their morality on others, and you know it. It has to do with allowing breeders who CHOOSE TO DO SO access to the LUA gene. Breeders who think such dogs are mutts might be forced to actually read pedigrees before a breeding to determine if there are any mutts back there. Oh, dear. You see the same sort of specious arguments with brindle Salukis, and it's just as hilarious in that context. If AKC registers LUA Dals, suddenly all breeders will magically lose the ability to read pedigrees and actually choose which dogs to breed. I choose to use Salukis of desert bred descent in my breeding; other breeders who feel that desert bred dogs are mutts are free to avoid them.

    And personally, I think there's nothing wrong with breeding healthy dogs for the pet market.

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  29. Is there a reason the UKC is not recognized by the FCI? Is it because the UKC doesn't care to be, or are there certain criteria required to be met before the FCI considers a registry body 'legitimate' enough?

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  30. If Jemima has no problems wih this I would like to bring to your attention an article I wrote for the www.dogpress.com The article is right below the Westminster links

    http://www.thedogpress.com/ShowShots/LUA-Dalmatian-Crufts-11022_Mitchell.asp

    Anonymous is completly ignorant of the reason why we need the LUA dals to clean up the problems of stone forming in Dalmatians We are not breeding just for the pet people but for anyone that values health. Fiona the dal mentioned in my article has been accepted by the UK kennel club after 2 prestigious judges deemed her to be a dalmatian. Fiona is now registered with the UK Kennel Club and will be completing in Crufts in March. Maybe Anonymous believes the incorrect information that has abounded on the Uk Dalmatian lists.

    There are many Dalmatians like Fiona in the USA she is not a one of as some DCA people would like you to believe. The spotting that use to be the main stumbling block with the "Real Dalmatian People " has been so improved that one cannot see the difference between an AKC dalmatian and a LUA dalmatian. this is especially oobvious with the LUA X LUA breedings.

    Marion

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  31. and neither do I ... nor do I believe that Lua Dalmatians are 'mutt's - what I'm questioning is the stance that you're taking - all this talk of 'knocking down doors' and forcing others to accept what quite clearly they don't want to simply won't work - and slinging insults at those that question your approach won't make them change their minds either !!

    I'll say again this 'fight' is all about being able to show the Lua Dalmatians NOT about breeding them - Silken Windhounds are not accepted by the AKC or the FCI yet are still bred as are Alaskan Klee Klai etc etc - their breeders are proving the worth of their dogs without forcing others to accept them.

    Yvonne

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  32. Marion wrote: "...one cannot see the difference between an AKC dalmatian and a LUA dalmatian. this is especially oobvious with the LUA X LUA breedings."

    Have these just been test matings, Marion? I thought the decision was to not produce homozygous LUA Dals?

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  33. Pai-The US and Canada are not member countries of FCI. Being a member country involves accepting the standard of the patron country for each breed. FCI recognizes only one kennel club per country. In order to allow the breed clubs to keep their standards and yet allow FCI member countries to recognize AKC registration, AKC has a reciprocity deal with FCI. AKC does not recognize UKC registration. Therefore, FCI does not recognize UKC registration. I believe the individual kennel clubs for each country can decide to accept registries as they see fit, however, I'm not sure about that. I know they can accept breeds that are not yet FCI recognized.

    Yvonne- are you being deliberately obtuse? Haven't you just been told that LUA Dals can be shown in UKC shows? Dals are not a rare breed, they've been recognized by the major registries for so long that they no longer have a little single breed registry, like Klee Kais and Silken Windhounds. There's no comparison there. If a breeder in Finland wants to use a LUA Dal they are sh!t out of luck, because LUA Dals aren't recognized by AKC. That is why LUA breeders want AKC recognition, and why these dogs being registered by the UK KC is such a big deal, Dal breeders world wide will now have access to those genes and still be able to register their dogs with their own kennel clubs.

    It has nothing to with 'forcing' anyone to accept anything. I have Salukis, and desert bred Salukis from the countries of origin are considered to be impure by some breeders. COO dogs are still registered, and still available to those who want to use them. Nobody forces a breeder to use a dog of desert bred descent. Breeders have the choice to use such dogs or not. That choice is what Dal breeders want. Right now, that Finnish Dal breeder doesn't have the choice to use a LUA Dal.

    I really fail to see why this is so very hard to understand.

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  34. Jemima wrote- "Have these just been test matings, Marion? I thought the decision was to not produce homozygous LUA Dals?"

    I thought the end game was for the gradual elimination and replacement of non-LUA Dals through breeding with LUA Dals. Eventually you would have LUA X LUA breedings.
    When more and more of the non-LUAs die off and/or are eliminated from the gene pool then you have to replace with LUAs or some other Dal.

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  35. What country has the FCI standard for the Dalmatian?

    The last time I checked, it was Croatia.

    Now, what's interesting is that I've looked into the actual history of Dalmatians, and I don't think they are Croatian.

    But that's how the FCI works. If the Kennel Club changes the standard for the Labrador retriever, then the FCI goes with that standard.

    It's why the bob-tailed boxers didn't get recognized in the rest of Europe. The German Boxer Club had a fit over it, and they rewrote their standard to disqualify any naturally bob-tailed dogs.

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  36. Hi Jemima
    We have 7 UU's right now. Carol C & Denise co-own a gorgeous girl Selia (UU) that is going to knock the spots off of any AKC dal.

    Breeding is only done LUA X LUA when the pedigrees are not too close. As the AKC Health Committee said we have to be careful about not breeding to the popular sire of the day. We need more diversity the only way to get that is to show our dogs in AKC shows so that people can see our LUA's are the same as the AKC dals . Selia's UKC name is "Fiacre's Seeing is Believing" rather apt I would say . We do have more and more AKC breeders waiting for a male or female which is encourging. this isn't about the dogs it's a political "fight" which is sad.
    Marion

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  37. I'm sure the pet buying public would not be worried about the purity of the blood if it meant their pet didnt require special food and extra care so they can be fit and healthy. I'm sure they would just love to be able to give them a normal meal and take them for long, long walks. As long as they looked like the breed they bought, that's all they would want. This purity of blood excuse has to stop. Dogs are suffering because of this belief. Why should these people be allowed to breed "pure" dalmations just so they can be shown. They perhaps take one or maybe two from the litter and the rest are sold as pets - to the people who would be delighted to have a dog they could feed and care for normally. Perhaps it would be a good idea to do a public survey to see just exactly what the majority want - rather than the blind minority that are seemingly hell bent on destroying their breed and causing suffering to the dogs they "supposedly" love. Beggars belief!

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  38. Jemima Harrison wrote:-

    "Have these just been test matings, Marion? I thought the decision was to not produce homozygous LUA Dals?"


    If you don't produce homozygous LUA Dals then up to half the progeny will be HUA - what happens to these?

    Are they to be culled or left as a by-product and risk being stone-formers.

    It seems as though this hasnt been thought through.

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  39. Im disapointed that no one has responded to the previous post or is this the question that dare not be asked?

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    Replies
    1. There was already an earlier comment that states homozygous are being produced. The concern about LUA/LUA matings is that they all trace back to the same Pointer and many will have common ancestors that are more recent as well, so care should be taken to only pair up dogs that will produce low COI.

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  40. These Dalmatians can, indirectly, be inducted into the AKC registry. Having been recognised in the UK, they can be shown and bred in both the UK and any other country that recognises the English Kennel Club (including all FCI countries) and from there exported back into America. Very easily done in one or two generations.

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  41. Possibly not that simple!

    The KC have agreed to open the Registers for dogs of 'unverified parentage':
    http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/3672

    but they also say:
    'Whilst the Kennel Club is keen to open up its register, it should be noted that there is no guarantee that dogs so registered (and their progeny) will be accepted for registration by overseas registering bodies. That will depend upon their local regulations.'

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