Maintaining The Standard

By Sheila Atter

Kennel Club Register

Kennel Club Register

<p>The question of dogs being registered with the Kennel Club as 'colour not recognised', if not addressed is likely to be the issue that could lead to the eventual eradication of the pedigree dog as we know it.</p>

<p>Strong words? Over-exaggerating the situation? Unfortunately not. We have already reached the position in three breeds, French Bulldogs, Bulldogs and Pugs, where a sizeable number of puppies born each year are registered with the designation of 'colour not recognised'-more than 8000 French Bulldogs in 2016 for example. Sadly that doesn't include the pups deliberately registered inaccurately, nor does it include those of standard colour born to parents who are themselves CNR.</p>

<p>It could be argued that there are very valid reasons to open the Kennel Club register. Many breeds are genetically compromised, and a judicious outcross could in such cases be extremely beneficial to the genetic and physical health of those breeds. However, the operative word in this case is 'judicious'. There is absolutely no point in randomly out crossing, as this is just as likely to introduce unwanted health issues as it is to improve matters. Herein lies the problem behind virtually all these CNR litters. We do not know, and are unlikely to be able to find out exactly where an outcross was done in order to introduce the non-standard colour. Somewhere in the ancestry of each of those pups there is an inaccuracy, which makes a nonsense of the whole idea of a purebred dog register.</p>

<p>Those who breed specifically for rare and unusual-more accurately genetically impossible-colours in any breed are rarely interested in anything other than how much money can be made from their litters, and often vie with each other to produce something even more outlandish. For years we have had 'teacup Yorkies', now we are offered 'micro Frenchies' coming in a rainbow of different colours-lilac and lavender, black and tan, blue or even pink! There are a few, a very few, who are genuinely interested in resurrecting colour patterns that have long disappeared. I have no problem, for example, with the quest to recreate the Harlequin Pinscher, a variety that disappeared largely because breeders of the time didn't understand the genetics of the merle colouration. That is, however, a completely different situation from the casual cross to another breed in order to provide a gullible public with something that panders to their desire for a pet that is different.</p>
<p>The poor old Pug is a breed that seems to attract more than his fair share of attention from the 'greeders' who see dog breeding as a means to a very comfortable life style. So-called Jugs and Puggles are almost commonplace, although why anyone would believe that a cross between the self-opinionated little person that is a Pug and the feistiness of the average pet Jack Russell or the deaf to all recall demands of the Beagle is desirable is something that I have never understood. But now that apparently purebred Pugs come in such a range of colours, why would anyone need to look for a designer crossbreed anyway?</p>

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<p>Just where do these rainbow colours come from? The owner of two 'white' Pugs decided to find out by utilising the services of one of the companies offering to provide proof of ancestry through DNA analysis. Whilst there is a lot of doubt as to just how accurate such results are, they do give at least an indication of the dogs that have gone into the mix behind any particular dog. In the case of these two there were no real surprises. Marsha was confirmed as being 75% Pug, 20% Bulldog, with the other 5% shared between JRT and Italian Greyhound, whilst Poppy's results came back as 80% Pug, 10% Bulldog and 10% JRT. Whilst these figures do have to be treated with some scepticism-if the tests were truly accurate, they would be used to confirm all cases of queried identity, especially in the case of the banned breeds-they do confirm the suspicions that most of those questioning the veracity of pedigrees have voiced time and again.</p>

<p>Does it matter? In the case of these two specific dogs probably not, in that they are much loved rescues, owned by someone who took them in simply because they were in need, and didn't buy them just because of their high price tag and their rarity value. But... yes, there's usually a 'but'. Both these bitches, registered with the Kennel Club as CNR, have been used for breeding. Polly, for example, is the dam of 21 Kennel Club registered puppies-most of them white. With white Pug puppies fetching sums in excess of £2000 each, that's quite a substantial income for someone, who cared so little for the bitch that gave them this lifestyle that she was dumped in rescue when she was no longer of use. Sadly, many of those who pay out such sums for a puppy do so in the belief that they too can jump on this bandwagon, and they will all too soon be breeding in order to recoup their outlay.</p>

<p>In this way the breed is compromised more and more, and this is why something needs to be done in order to stop the situation becoming any worse. I understand that the Kennel Club believes it cannot legally do anything at all. The argument is that dogs imported with correct documentation from an overseas Kennel Club must be accepted for registration, even if they do not conform to our breed standard, and that to refuse to register puppies born to parents who are themselves correctly registered is a restriction of trade, and could be contested in the courts.</p>

<p>The Kennel Club has recently issued a <a target="_blank"href="">statement on the subject but although a start, does this really, despite its title, actually address the problem? Many feel that it is far too little, and far too late. What do you think? We will consider that question in depth next time, so your comments would be welcome!</p>


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About Sheila Atter

Sheila Atter
Sheila Atter lives in the Lincolnshire Wolds with six Cesky Terriers. She fell in love with this breed in 1989, and since then has owned, bred and shown them with success. In 1998 she was made a 'Member of Honour' of the Czech Breeders' Club for her work in promoting the Cesky Terrier in the UK. Before falling for the charms of the Cesky she owned Parson Russell Terriers and Otterhounds, and is the author of two books on Parsons, as well as contributing to another. She has written for most of the canine publications in the UK and several in the US.

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  1. AnneeV

    My first reaction on reading the KC Statement was it did not go far enough. Just do not register anything CNR. I agree with you Sheila, everything you have written is sensible and true. I sincerely hope the KC wake up before it is too late. Time to bring in DNA testing on registration may be?

  2. Rarestaffords

    Good luck team!!! Great mobile optimised site and such an Array of talent. Look forward to you joining the frey on twitter soon. SOne one as already go @dogfocus I'd suggest you grab @dogfocus_uk soon. 😏 ☘ 👍 #rarestaffords 😏

  3. Gal

    I haven't seen the KC statement but can't they just stop accepting CNR registrations whether the parents are registered or not? Surely that would be a deterrent to start with,or even introduce much higher registration fees for CNR if they have to accept them.

  4. Sheila Atter

    You can find the link to the KC statement in the last paragraph of the article.

  5. jenny217

    So pleased you still have a platform for your articles which I always enjoyed reading in Dog World

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