In the Crossfire: When should descendents of crossbred dogs be allowed into the stud book?
D. Caroline Coile, Ph.D.
A couple of issues ago, I reported on the controversial effort to allow low-uric-acid (LUA) Dalmatians into the American Kennel Club stud book. Labeled crossbreds by some, these dogs are the result of a single cross to a Pointer in 1973. Only the progeny with low uric acid (a trait no pure Dalmatians have, which is why so many Dals have urinary stones) were bred from, and each generation they were bred back to Dalmatians until today they essentially look the same as any other Dalmatian and are far less likely to develop urinary stones. In essence, the gene for low uric acid was transferred into these dogs.
In June, the Dalmatian Club of America members voted by a 55 to 45 percent margin to register the LUA dogs. In July 2011, the AKC agreed to open its stud book to them. The registration numbers of these dogs and their descendents will contain a letter that designates their Pointer ancestry so that breeders can make informed decisions about integrating them into their bloodlines. It’s a history-making decision, but what does this mean for other breeds?
The AKC has the ultimate power when it comes to opening the stud book to dogs that don’t meet their normal registration requirements, such as crossbreds. Reasons for opening the stud book include increasing the gene pool, especially if the breed is based on very few founders or if it has genetic problems from inbreeding; increasing the number of registered dogs, especially if the breed has a large number of unregistered dogs or dogs registered with another organization (e.g., breed-specific); or bettering the breed’s health if a health problem is so prevalent that it can only be addressed by outside sources. One of the most interesting recent crosses doesn’t fit into any of these categories.
What about bobs?
English geneticist and long-time Boxer breeder Bruce Cattanach has been working on a project to transfer the gene for naturally short tails into the Boxer breed since the early 1990s. Boxers are born with long tails that are usually docked at birth. However, many countries have banned the practice of docking, and it’s likely that the ban will further expand. Most Boxer breeders prefer the look of a short-tailed Boxer. What if they could be bred to have naturally short tails?
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