Posts Tagged ‘purebred dog health’

fierce chihuahua

I’m not a toy breed person, so this debate entirely slipped under my radar.

It turns out that concerns over health have led several registries, including the Kennel Club, the Canadian Kennel Club, and the Australian National Kennel Club, to disqualify the merle coloration in Chihuahuas. Not only that, but the KC has new regulations that prevent any Chihuahua that is either merle or from merle parents from being registered. FCI countries are trying to breed out any merle genes in Chihuahua.

Health issues were a major reason for this change in these breed club standards. Merle in Chihuahuas is very closely associated with deafness, so it could be a major victory for breed health.

However, some breeders have always contended that merle Chihuahuas weren’t purebred, so that may have had something to do with the ban on merles. After all, Dachshunds come in long and smooth-haired varieties, and they carry the gene for merle (called “dapple” in Dachshunds). The theory goes that these dogs had falsified pedigree and were derived from crossbreeds.

Dapple in Dachshunds is a dominant gene, and the Chihuahua merle gene is also dominant. In Dachshunds, dapples cannot be bred to dapples, because it will produce “double dapples,” which are known to have several defects.

Now, it could be that the Chihuahua people don’t want these defects, so they banned merle. It also could be that they wanted to ban a coloration in the breed that supposedly came about through crossbreeding.

Now, the AKC and its parent club for the Chihuahua refuse to ban merles. Thus, the AKC and its parent club are out of step with most of the world. That has caused a worldwide civil war among Chihuahua fanciers.

And there are strident merle Chihuahua fanciers. On their sites, they blame the “BBC” and “UK vets” (probably in this documentary) and claim that no merle Chihuahua has ever been found to be deaf.

I have no dog in this fight.

So I really don’t know whether merle in Chihuahuas is really connected to deafness or not.

My guess is part of this movement to ban merle Chihuahuas has less to do with health and whole lot more to do with the possiblity that these merle Chihuahuas are part dachshund.

Blood purity matters a lot to these people.

If this had truly been a health revision, I think they would have gotten rid of the apple head requirement and strictly banned moleras.

So there may be a health victory in the banning of merle Chihuahuas and their progeny. Or it may be more jockying around with eugenics and blood purity– this time using health as the front to ban a color that may have arisen from crossbreeding.

Boy, times have changed. Remember, golden retriever people had to make up a story about their Russian origins to get their breed split off the flat-coat! Now, they are using health. Maybe the health issues are justified, or maybe  it’s just the same old wine in a different bottle.

My guess is we’ll see a lot more of this in the years to come.

For the record, I think merle should be banned in Chihuahuas, just as double dapple is banned in Dachshunds. But the Chihuahua standard needs several revisions.

And color is but one of them. The extreme small size and large,  rather unnatural head are two things that should be reformed. I would think those would take precedence over the extreme minority of Chihuahuas that are merle.

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