Thursday, 5 June 2014

LUA Dalmatians... still the Clubs resist



The Dalmatian Clubs in the UK have blocked an attempt to have the results of a key DNA test for the breed listed on Dalmatian pedigrees.

Four years ago, despite breed club opposition, the Kennel Club agreed to recognise LUA Dalmatians (those dogs that had at least one copy of a gene that ensures the normal production of uric acid). A year later, the AKC followed suit. It was a real victory for common sense.

The problem? 'Regular' Dalmatians don't have a normal copy of a gene that controls the production of uric acid. They only have a version that results in high uric levels which makes them very vulnerable to blockages/stones in the kidneys/urinary tract. These blockages can be painful and, at worst, life threatening.

The normal version of the gene (which exists in all other breeds) had been lost in Dalmatians somewhere along the line. But, in the late 1970s, American scientist and Dalmatian breeder Bob Schaible did an outcross to an English Pointer to restore the normal version of the gene to the breed. The LUA Dalmatians are descendants of this single outcross some 14/15 generations ago. Today, they are identical to any other Dalmatian, just blessed with a gene that prevents suffering from a significant problem in the rest of the breed.

But despite Kennel Club registration, and a growing acceptance within some in the breed, there is a diehard core of resistance in the upper echelons of the Dalmatian breed clubs. There are four in the UK and not a single one mentions the LUA Dalmatians on its website. There is also, very disappointingly, still mutterings ringside about 'mongrels' when LUA Dals enter the show-ring.

Recently,  LUA breeders Julie Evans and Dr Elizabeth Sampson wrote to to the Kennel Club to request that the uric acid status of the LUA Dalmatians be recorded on pedigrees.

The KC replied to say that for this to happen:

1) the DNA test had to be relevant to the breed
2) the Dalmatian Clubs had to agree

The first was a no-brainer. Litters from LUA parents can result in a mix of LUA and 'regular' pups, so LUA breeders always DNA test their pups to determine which ones carry the LUA gene - vital to ensure the onward survival of the gene in the breed.

So Evans and Sampson wrote to the Joint Dalmatian Clubs to ask for their agreement.

The response?




As you can see, it is an unequivocal no - plus they very rudely suggested that the LUA breeders find an alternative way to flog their pups.

But, of course, in doing so, it's clear that the Dalnosaurs know that LUA Dalmatians are more marketable.

Evans, Sampson and the other LUA Dal breeders all have waitings lists for their pups because the public, at least, recognise that they are healthier dogs.

For here's a thing: it isn't just that the LUA Dals don't form stones. There is a lower rate of deafness in the LUA dogs than in the rest of the breed - most likely because LUA Dal breeders will only breed from bilaterally hearing dogs with brown, not blue, eyes.

How about that?

50 comments:

  1. Leave the dalnasaurs behind. Great to hear that there are some members of the public are doing their research on this breed and avoiding the dalnasaurs. Seems like the LUA breeders are leading the way.....they are to be applauded.

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  2. You'd think that even people who see LUA Dals as 'mongrel' would -want- their LUA status marked so that they could avoid them in their own lines.

    That they refuse to allow such marks proves it's pure selfish interest that drives them.

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    1. Exactly. It's pure marketing- they know which people would prefer, or at least that they'd have to explain to each new puppy buyer exactly what those funny letters mean...

      Otherwise there's no reason for them to dislike this move. They can avoid LUA dalmatians, they can proudly state what they're breeding for. If you can't own it, don't do it.

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  3. Correct "unable" to "unwilling" in red pen and send it back to them.

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  4. INSANITY! They need to be health tested by a psychiatrist.

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  5. What a travesty that not one but FOUR Dalmatian breed clubs voted against having a notation for LUA recorded on Dalmatian pedigrees. This really highlights why breed clubs should NOT be trusted on matters concerning breed health and preservation. These matters need to be completely taken out of their hands and decided upon instead by the main registries.
    The vast majority of breed club members I know are simply owners and/or breeders and exhibitors of dogs. Many are recruited by other breeders to share the work load of organizing and reporting on club events… mainly shows. Their contributions are voluntary and done at their own leisure. They are people that for the most part just want to be acknowledged for breeding ‘superior’ dogs and have a venue to show them off at. They form clubs so they can share their experiences with other likeminded individuals and have others to compete against. All well and good, if we weren’t leaving matters of health and welfare for an entire breed in their hands, but this is what is happening and it is something that should be of great concern to everybody that loves dogs.
    The main registries allow breed clubs to have the final say in matters that they are not qualified to have a say in. What vet, geneticist or canine biologist would say it is not a good idea to clearly note on a Dalmatian’s pedigree that the dog carries a gene for such a vital function? Probably none, yet why don’t we hear their voices now?
    Many breed clubs I know only have a handful of breeder members even though there are many more owners and breeders that exist in the greater community. These people register and breed but may not be affiliated with any club. Who looks after their interests? I believe that since the main registries take their money, they should at least ensure that matters of breed health and welfare get decided upon by people qualified to make these types of decisions. In most cases breed clubs don’t have the money or incentive to consult with professionals and they totally under-represent a breed anyway. This practice is clearly not beneficial to the dogs or fair to the majority of breed lovers.

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    1. nor to the people who buy Dalmatians!

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  6. I don't know what can persuade any breed club, and I mean ANY breed club to improve the health of their breed. I know not all breeds are sick, and suffering like some others. But blimey, it is beyond ridiculous that these clubs are holding on to old standards that are completely out dated. Kennel clubs need to be reformed like the Swedish Kennel Club, enough said!

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    1. As Swedish, I must say that the Sweidhs Kennel Club has done much more than many other kennel clubs, but it is still a long way to walk before all breeds in Sweden are healthy. But at least, all breed clubs in Sweden must have a document called Breeding strategy. In that document the breed clubs must document the health, COI, population and so on. The club write the document, but it is the Swedish Kennel Club that determines the document. I know that several other kennel clubs are interested in doing someting similar.

      We also have something called "Breed Specific Instructions". All judges MUST folow that document. It doesn't matter if the judge is from Sweden or any other country. If you would like to read more about the Breed Specific Instructions, have a look at http://www.skk.se/Global/Dokument/Utstallning/special-breed-specific-instructions-A8.pdf

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    2. Maria, thanks for providing the link. Sweden's Kennel Club seems to be an excellent model that all K.C.s should follow. They are many years ahead of the rest of the world. What an excellent document. I was also happy to see that only one of the nine breeds I've had in my life is a "listed" breed--and I had that dog (an ESS) 37 years ago and he was neutered. All dogs before and after that are not on the SKC list.

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  7. Wow! Just so sad they can't do what is best for the breed they claim to love.

    How about they do another outcross to a Pointer, so even more Dalmations can be free of this affliction?

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    1. Doing another outcross would make no sense. We already have the normal gene. It would take another 14 generations to get where we are already. Here in the USA we have added the gene to many different lines so we are getting more and more genetic diversity with each new litter!

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    2. Okay so you have one gene in the population that is LUA. And every LUA will carry that exact same gene.

      Basic biology tells us that a dog carries 78 chromosomes, and when reproducing each parent contributes 39. Somewhere on one of those chromosomes is the LUA gene. And no one can predict what other traits are also carried on that chromosome, or how the chromosome that pairs with the LUA carrying chromosome will affect it's genetic expression.

      But a worthy goal is for all dalmatians to have one chromosome that is identical to every other dalmatian?

      How would another outcross (i.e. introducing another LUA chromosome) make no sense?

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    3. All (pretty much) that remains genetically of that original Pointer is the normal version of that one gene - not the whole chromosome. That normal version of the gene exists in every other dog breed.

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    4. seabrooksr,

      You should have a look at how DNA get mixed up during reproduction.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromosomal_crossover

      Any genes close to the LUA gene are more likely to be transferred across at the same time than those further away on the chromosome, but in the long term if all we're testing for is LUA that's all that will remain.

      Of course, any additional outcross may well have other benefits (including increasing the proportion of LUA in the population faster with less inbreeding). But not entirely necessary, especially considering how hard the KC fights against it.

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  8. Fran.it does not require another outcross..we have the gene...

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  9. Why not set up there own LUA breed club? would not that solve the problem?

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  10. And? So what are the KC doing? Still accepting registrations from non Lua puppies, still licensing Dalmation breed dog shows, still supporting the 4 breed specific clubs, so? Of course these blind and deaf breeders can march forward sure that they are right, immune from any action from the KC, so why shouldn't they continue to damage the breed until it is extinct. Again I am going to point my finger at the KC because if they were really concerned about the future of Dalmations and the real health concerns related thereto they would stop this nonsense in it's tracks. But they won't, they either can't be bothered, or careless about the breed, breeds, dogs in general, as long as the money flows in why should they? I have just lost dear old Tots at 15 who was a Dalmation I rescued and she and her kind do not deserve this sort of abuse from people who make money from them and allegedly love them, I would put it to them that they DO NOT LOVE THEM, THEY LOVE THE MONEY AND THEIR OWN EGOS MORE Horrible, horrible people.

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    1. I wonder if the test can be included in the MateSelect programme?

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  11. Please don't make the mistake of thinking we don't need hua Dals...of course we do..LUA needs to be mated to as many HUA as pos! To enable the gene to spread with as much genetic diversity as posable...we must breed for the complete dog..not just one aspect

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    1. Whaaaaaat!!!!

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    2. But if the HUA brings misery upon the individual dogs, one must work to remove that aspect as quickly as humanly possible, yes?

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    3. How can these people claim to love the breed when they are apparently willing to have dogs suffer painful (and unnecessary) deaths.
      I lost my beautiful young dalmatian at the age of just two years because of this genetic urinary tract problem. This happened despite careful diet and a lot of veterinary care. He died in agony - I just wish these heartless, selfish people were there to see him suffer!
      They are not dalmatian lovers, they are not even dog lovers, they are sadists!

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    4. No! It is an autosomal recessive and is only deleterious in double dose.

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    5. Unless the LUA dalmations have two copies of the dominant gene, mating them to a HUA, will surely still result in 1 in 4 dogs having two copies of the recessive gene? Or, if not 1 in 4, there will still be some dogs afflicted with this terrible condition. This may be acceptable to some breeders, but not if it's your dog that's dying in agony.

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    6. 1 in 2 actually. The HUA parent can only pass on the HUA gene. The single copy LUA parent has a 50/50 chance of passing on the HUA or LUA gene.

      This is why we should have multiple outcross lines. So breeders can breed LUA to LUA without inbreeding. That would still give 1 in 4 chances of producing HUA dogs. But the Homozygous LUAs that are produced will be able to produce 100% LUAs even when mated to HUAs.

      Unless LUA Dal breeders aleady have homozygous LUAs produced from inbreeding, even they will be producing HUA dogs.

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  12. This reminds me of the situation with HYPP in Quarter Horses.

    HYPP is also a genetic disease. It is a neurological disorder that often results in twitching, seizures, etc. Single carriers of this gene may be asymptomatic for most of their lives. Or they may have a seizure and colic unexpectedly at any time.

    Double carriers die young, often horrifically.

    However, in horse fancy, this disease became desirable because of another symptom of the disease; overdeveloped muscle from the random firing of the nervous system.

    People began lobbying the Quarter Horse Registry, asking them to please ban HYPP positive horses. This is not a small breeding pool. In fact, the quarter horse registry is not even closed; suitable horses with thoroughbred lineage can gain entry to the "appendix" books, and these horses as well as their offspring can eventually earn registration status as a Quarter Horse. In one generation, HYPP could be eradicated with minimal consequences.

    The registry refused. Absolutely not. Too many of the board and the fancy had too much invested in this disease to devalue their stock, even if their stock was suffering from a painful and potentially fatal disease.

    The lobbyists did eventually manage to get the board to record HYPP status on pedigrees. Why?

    Bad Press and Liability. A horse that could potentially have a seizure while being handled or ridden presents a serious danger to his rider and potentially the public. The possibility of a someone (i.e. young child) being killed at a public event because no one knew the horses HYPP status was a public relations nightmare they couldn't bear to face.

    Of course, now that the board has plausible deniability, breeders may still breed from HYPP positive horses. In fact, there are no regulations against breeding HYPP positive horse to HYPP positive horses, regardless of the fact this breeding may produce a double carrier. There are also no regulations against breeders who use a stallion who is a double carrier, carefully managing his condition for as long as they can to get as many foals as possible who are guaranteed to "well-muscled".

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  13. Personally, I think all DNA results with strong health repercussions should follow pedigrees. eg, people with PRA clear dogs should be able to list that on pedigrees, too.
    I think it would be a bit odd for only one breed to include such information for one condition.
    As for mutterings about mutts . . . that happens in all breeds. Some breeders are obsessed with stupid notions of purity.
    With the Dals, this may be a Hobbs' choice. Over-using a small number LUA sires may bring out unwanted recessives. More outcrossings would be a better fix.

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    1. Dna tests are recorde for many breeds..but as stated by Jemima they have to fulfill two criteria. .1a health problem relevant to the breed. 2 breed club approved

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  14. Clearly a move to protect existing breeders (who would do fine if they'd only adapt), while ignoring the needs of the dogs in their care. The maddening thing about this is that MOST BREEDS HAVE A HISTORY OF OUTCROSSING before their registries were closed. Breeds may be observable entities, but biologically they're just isolated populations prevented from mating with others. These clubs can continue isolating their populations all they like, but it will only result in extinction due to inbreeding depression. This is obviously already happening to dalmatians and many other breeds. Like the photo above shows, these people really are just sticking their heads in the sand and hoping this blows over. But it won't.

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    1. Actually, a whole lot of outcrossing took place after registries closed. For Labradors read Mary Rosiln Williams (eg., Advanced Labrador Breeding). I doubt there's anything unique about the Lab story. I'll bet show Pekes got their horrific coats from bringing in some blood from Northern breeds.

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    2. I'd guess it happens a lot more than we know. My breed in particular has changed dramatically in the last 10 years and being a rare very inbred breed ( a lot of dogs are supposedly up to 40% COI ) I do not see where the coat and structure changes could have come from unless outcrossed to a similar breed that most kennels keep along side.

      In some ways not a bad thing as it brings diversity but the breed they seem to be crossing to has worse health and a totally different temperament .
      unlike show breeders i choose my breed for its character and I don't want that to change to suit their whims on looks.





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  15. This almost exactly where I am with pituitary dwarfism in the GSD however, I do have GSD Health Coordinators backing from the breed council but KC will still not listen despite having scientific evidence to support testing. So none of this surprises me at all. What it needs is a fundamental change in attitudes of the people in power...................

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  16. ......and getting people to change is nevet easy. I think the answer is to boycott and start their own club.

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  17. At the point where government legislation here in Victoria specifically disallows the deliberate breeding of diseased or disabled animals, pet owners are in the position of being able to make the breeder liable for deliberately producing an animal with a genetic defect which affects its health. This should encourage breeders to start making an effort to produce the healthiest animals they can, as otherwise they may end up in an expensive law suit. They are also required, under this legislation to disclose breed specific genetic problems and any general health issues to purchasers, this will limit their ability to make sales on uninformed purchasers. I also own a pedigree dog breed with inherited issues for which the testing is expensive and can only be of relevance carried out after age three, the gene pool is tiny and I wonder where the breed will be in a few more years. As a cat breeder I have the ability to apply for experimental breeding programs specifically designed to enhance type and health, why is the mainstream dog fancy, particularly the breed club heirachy so opposed to this? Dont they want their animals to be healthy and to survive?

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    1. MBBAB, it will not be long before this legislation hits our shores and the sooner the better. There was a case recently in Holland where a breeder was sued for denying that the dog they had sold came from a contaminated line, and that dog suffered horribly and his owner fought to save him but was unable to she lost him in the end. Litigation is going to be the only way ultimately to stop these sick people from continuing to breed dogs that really suffer agony and life compromising/shortening lives. All so that the owner can swagger in the ring, make it up to champ, breed a litter or two and then probably have to pts because THEY DON'T WANT THE EXPENSE OF MAINTAINING A KIND LIFESTYLE. However, the surplus from their litters they happily charge extortionately for and let the new owners bear the sadness of what the breeders knows is going to come. I know people have the impression I am anti ped dog, this is absolutely not the case, I showed a gundog breed for 40 years, bred very few litters during that time and currently have two peds at my feet. But I and everyone on this site love their dogs and to see the abomination being enacted on dogs in the name of "dedicated dog lover" sickens me to my very soul. I have had a couple of Cavaliers and I have just lost a 15 year old Dalmation, Totty, who I rescued, I know the breed I showed is in an appalling state and when I look on a dedicated site and see 32 litters advertised, same old people, it makes me angry. They are just plain greedy and careless and my only conclusion is that their interest is as someone recently said is to ponce around a ring, glory in being a big fish in a very little sea and careless the damage they are doing to dogs. I would think that the sooner the KCs realise that they too will be hauled in as accountable for any lawsuits then we will see reparation in dog breeding and it can't be too soon, imo.

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  18. So typical of the KC. They would have known that the Clubs would not agree and therefore allowed the bad decision to be made. If the KC had a back bone, they would simply go ahead and allow the sensible request.

    Just about every decision the KC makes is focused on money !

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  19. Only puppy farmers would consider breeding from a blue-eyed dalmatian; it's not accepted in the breed standard and not accepted by any of the dalmatian breed clubs.

    Also the LUA breeders themselves acknowledge that it's still possible, after so many generations, to recognise a LUA dalmatian by its spotting - if you know what you're looking for. Of course 'the average Joe' wouldn't notice but the difference is usually still observable, which isn't something you'd anticipate.

    If the gene is to make a significant impact on the breed as a whole there needs to be the use of homozygotic LUAs whose EVERY puppy would be LUA, not just half of them. I believe there are still only 9 male LUAs in the UK - and clearly it would be dreadful for the gene pool if every bitch was limited to these few mates.

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    1. ONLY recognisable in puppies! pigment takes a little longer to come in!

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  20. Australia now has TWO alternative breed registers - one has been endorsed by the state governments as a suitable alternative for dog registration to the ANKC clubs. This register has as core to it's mission to produce physiologically sound pets. They don't run shows, they don't have judges, all participating breeders are vet checked annually. They are producing quality dogs - fit for purpose, including as pets.
    About time the UK followed suit?

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  21. Hmmmmm. Please correct me if I am wrong but the 'good' gene was introduced from pointers. How many? One, ten, one hundred? If the 'good' gene came in from a small number of outcrossings and everyone mated their 'pure' dalmatians to offspring of teh outcross programme pretty soon you'll be taking out all the added genetic diversity...LUA dalmatians will just be a new type of popular sire. They may 'fix' one problem but we know that reducing the gene pool, even to eradicate one disease, increases the risk of other diseases.
    I'm not saying don't outcross, but I am saying it needs more outcrosses so a new bottleneck doesn't develop.
    Or just do head in sand...
    VP

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  22. This outcross was not done to introduce genetic diversity into the breed. It was done to bring in a single gene and that is probably all that now remains of the Pointer. (i.e. very similar to Bruce Cattanach's Boxer/Cordi x). Most of the onward breeding has been to HUA (i.e. 'normal') Dals - to organically spread the gene into the wider Dal population. The aim has not been to remove the HUA gene because there may well be something else it does that is beneficial to Dals. The aim has been for heterozygosity for this reason. So popular sire syndrome/inbreeding is not an issue in this instance.

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    1. OK, thanks for the reply.
      VP

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    2. The trouble is that, at the current rate of spread, it will be many decades - probably even centuries - before it's done the breed any good.

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    3. Mary, that's utter bollocks.Based on what evidence?

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  23. How did they set it up?

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  24. Margaret Carter18 June 2014 at 15:25

    Dog World today reports on a typical refusal to discuss or explain decisions by the breed clubs and a clumsy attempt at deflection by the KC.

    Does the hope that a programme for registering hearing loss may be available in the near future, really justify the refusal to record an existing DNA test for a life threatening condition?

    If a choice needed to be made, I think I would prefer a hearing impaired Dalmation than one that may develop a life threatening urinary tract condition despite constant monitoring and a special diet.

    Quote:

    "DOG WORLD was unable to contact Mrs Cuthbertson, and British Dalmatian Club secretary Shelagh Stevenson did not want to comment.


    The KC’s health and breeder services manager Bill Lambert said:

    "When assessing and introducing new tests, the KC is mindful that excluding too great a proportion of the population from breeding on account of a single condition could have a long-term detrimental impact on genetic diversity. This can be a particular problem where limited numbers of dogs have been tested or are likely to be clear of a condition.

    "The breed clubs are very aware of the prevalence of high uric acid in many Dalmatians, which can lead to the production of bladder stones, and information about this condition is available on various club websites. In addition the Dalmatian clubs have been working with the KC to introduce a programme to record the results of hearing (BAER) tests which will provide valuable information on the hearing status of individual dogs and which will assist breeders in making informed breeding choices. This programme is currently under IT development and it is hoped that this will be available in the near future.”

    - See more at:
    http://www.dogworld.co.uk/product.php/116482/34/breed_clubs_deny_bid_for_uric_acid_status_to_be_recorded_on_dalmatian_pedigrees

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  25. The photo says it all - head under sand. It will take time and effort to just get people to pull their heads up from under the sand, and to see what is obvious right under their own noses. THEN we can really work on the problems - either that, or leaders could just change the standards, and let the breeders adjust to the change as best as they can.

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  26. I'll NEVER adopt a Dalmatian who has the LUA Dalmatians in them. They aren't Dalmatians they are crosses! Hence the word "out cross". The breeders are so high and mighty about them too, when it's wrong. Yes breeds have out crosses from 100s of years ago, but not as recently as this. It's wrong. If you want a pointer get a pointer, don't mess around with a wonderful breed.

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  27. As a Veterinary Assistant who has seen Dalmatians suffering from urinary issues and bladder stones, if I were inclined to get one myself I would ONLY consider a LUA Dalmatian. And I would recommend anyone who cares about their dog's health and comfort to consider them too.
    -Crystal

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