Discussion in 'Dog News and Articles' started by lizzybeth727, Feb 16, 2012.
This. X 1 bazillionjillion.
Well it's not always being done for "pretty color" since it is done in working breeds. I very much doubt the influential working Aussie litters that came from merle x merle breedings had anything to do with color at all. It could be that some breeders truly feel that is the bets match. Not everyone breeds generation to generation, some people are aiming for what they will do in the future and how the current generation can benefit the future generations. I can't really guess why this specific merle x merle breeding was done (the WKC BOB's sire) but it is not always about looks across the board.
It is my understanding is that in breeds prone to deafness, it is rather random and depends on how the pigment happens to fall.
It seems that happened in multiple breeds when genetic testing became available for different issues. That sort of thing really has done a lot of harm to a lot of breeds. It seems sometimes choices made by people trying to be ultra responsible end up being really bad choices long term.
Lethal White Overo in horses is linked to the white colour though; but my understanding is it's a development in parallel with the colour. The syndrome has deafness, and intestinal issues noted in horses and similar syndromes with similar affectations are found in rats and humans.
Yes, breeding dogs means taking risks. We all know that.
but it all depends on what you are willing to take risks FOR. Good breeders breeding quality puppies and honestly feel they are creating dogs they feel better the breed (improving health and temperament or work ability or dogs that exemplify the breed through shows, have the drive for agility, the temperament for SD work etc.. or some other kind of quality through their breeding program )
but to risk it all.. for something as totally pointless as COLOR is more telling than anything else.
To put health on the line for coat color doesn't sit well with me. at all.
It's COLOR. It literally means NOTHING. Coat quality, texture, amount of coat, there are uses, work qualities, etc.. but to risk the health of even ONE puppy, and to put those odds on a litter just to breed a coat color considered more pleasing to the eye is just wrong.
I'm not saying that deaf/blind puppies have these horrible lives and bringing them into this world is wrong. Just like I'm not saying that my disability RUINS MY LIFE or that i'd rather be dead.
but if I found out my parents knowingly took the risk of placing the importance my hair color over me being born healthy.... I would hate them both.
Well when I looked into koolies there was a large group with the prevailing thought that koolies had to be merle. I would not think color would matter at all in such a breed but it obviously did to some of the breed founders and even modern breeders. Why was there a push to breed toward a merle dog? I would bet because a breed founder or influential people of the past preferred the color.
I do think that working breeders (of all breeds) do pick for color sometimes. Stay on the BC boards long enough and there is a huge anti-merle feel to a lot of the breeders there. I am assuming a lot of that is just them being jaded by people wanting a fancy/flashy merle puppy that they just get annoyed. But there have been threads where people certainly do have preferences in color in working border collies for whatever reason.
I'm not saying they're choosing ONLY for color and no other factors but I definitely think there are enough people with preferences towards merle in some of these breeds that people were picking for the color at least to an extent.
Perhaps in historic breedings people just didn't understand the genetics behind the colors and why it was not a good idea to cross two merle dogs. I don't think that means it's okay to do those breedings now, though.
I think this is interesting:
Only sort of related, I suppose but it seemed related at the time.
Working breeds are not at all immune from 'pretty'. It just has to be functional first pretty second. The working breeder Seren came from breeds the most freakin adorable JRTs, but they are workers first and foremost.
If you have a working dog and actually work with it day in day out you might as well pick one you find pleasing to the eye (all other things being equal) Just look at how many riders have a colour preference in horses.. has nothing to do with the athleticism of the horse or ridability.. just personal preference. (I for one do not like palamino yet many people breed for it) There is one breeder in Ontario who breeds high quality hunters in fun colours. She gets top dollar and has exported horses to Europe and Australia due to quality with colour.
So I strongly disagree that people who want an animal for work won't care about colour. IMO they just care about it less. If it isn't going to work it doesn't matter how pretty it is its not worth it.
It may just be that I JUST got home from work and I'm so tired I could just pass out on the floor right now, but I'm not sure I'm following this...
Sable and tri color headed whites will look NOTHING like a double merle. Now I could see how a extremly new novice (who shouldn't be breeding anyway) could MAYBE mistake a blue merle color headed white as a double merle, but even then it's a stretch because MOST of your color headed whites are going to have much more coloring to them than most double merles. Even a sable merle double merle I saw a picture of once, was pretty obvious a double merle, based on the lack of color on the head and the washed out color that was there.
Here is kind of an interesting article written for colliesonline a couple years ago http://www.colliesonline.com/may2009/coat-of-many-colors.php
I certainly dont' find this to be true. That is like saying any tri puppy out of a blue x tri breeding carries the merle gene. I have done a few sable to blue merle breedings and actually have gotten very few sable merles. The first breeding I did resulted in 1 tri, 1 tri factored sable, 1 Blue merle and 1 sable merle (he had a blue eye).
The second blue to sable breeding I did resulted in NOT ONE sable merle. There was 1 blue bitch, 1 tri bitch, 1 tri dog, 1 sable dog and 1 sable bitch.... neither were sable merles, as was obvious at birth because they were such dark sables they were almost black (Mahogany).
Then when I bred Paris for the first time, my CH smooth tri-factored sable girl to a blue merle male and got 6 puppies.. none were sable merles... 4 tri factored sables, 2 blues. I might also add that Paris was the sable bitch from the first litter I mentioned above where I had I had 1 sable merle male, 1 sable, 1 tri and 1 blue in the litter. So Paris is from a blue x sable breeding.
Now the litter I had the most sable merles in was actually when I bred Paris to a tri-factored sable merle stud. Of 8 puppies in the litter, 4 were sable merles, 2 were blue merles, 1 was a tri-color and 1 was a regular sable.
The puppy whose head is being laid on by his brother, is the regular sable, probably pure for sable, but he is for sure not a sable merle. If I can find a better picture I will post it, but I lost alot of photos when my computer crashed a couple months ago.
I kept a sable merle bitch from this litter, who is just over 18 months old.. aside from her ears (and her blue eye) her body doesn't look sable merle at all anymore, her ears are still a little spotted though. I THNK She would be the one on the far left in this photo.
Also, IF I had to pick a favorite color, sable merles, or sables in general would certainly not be it, even though most of the collies I currently own are sables.. color is one of the last things I consider, 6 of the 8 dogs I own are sables...however I would LOVE to get another nice tri bitch, but that has yet to happen..lol
Not really linked to white, but linked to overo. White horses thata re NOT homozygous overo are just fine (ie, white TBs) and you can breed white to white with no issues.
It is linked to white in that its a different white than what you get with grey horses. The white you get with 'albino' horses, which are born white with blue eyes (but not true albinos) is different than horses with the greying gene.
For example this horse isn't white.. genetically she is chestnut with the epistatic greying gene.
this one I found interesting (he wasn't a great horse, but colour wise was neat) He is a grey pinto. Eventually he will end up all white. But if you get him wet you will always be able to see where his patches were (he was 3 or 4 in this pic)
The lethal white goes hand in hand with the white gene, but its not being white that causes the genetic lethality.
I suspect that has less to do with pretty and more to do with a prevailing thought that merles work better. I have noticed historically, there tended to be a lot more superstitions about thing like that. In a breed that is predominately merle, it's easy to see where people could decide that the only solid dogs they knew weren't as good of workers as their merles.
Same with people on the BC boards. It does seem the majority of merle BCs are not working bred and certainly not working bred by the narrow definition used on that forum. So many hardcore working BC people have come to associate merles with poor working ability because the merles they see are likely not as good, in their eyes as their B&X, R&W or Tris.
Of course, there can be some bit of truth to such superstitions too. People long associated lack of pigment with unhealthy animals and many, many breeds do not allow for poor pigmentation in their standards. While plenty of dilute colored dogs live long healthy lives, the lack of pigment does seem to have some effect on the immune system. For example, dilute colored dogs are at a higher risk for vaccine reactions and certain skin issues.
And with most hardcore working BC people not breeding merles, there likely are not a lot who work to the trialing level that that crowd expects.
More likely, historically such problems were not as widely seen. Like I said, people tended to be very superstitious about things, so if they were seeing a lot of defective puppies from merle to merle breedings, they likely would have put two and two together. Most of these breeds did not traditionally have the heavy white markings and the lighter, more clear blue merle coloration that is selected for today. And of course, when such puppies did occasionally occur the breeders involved would have had no issues with culling "defective" puppies.
One of the big reasons for that (other than most are not educated in genetics) was because solid Koolies look very similar to Kelpies and the merle was used to stand out. Many solid Koolies got passed off as Kelpies.
Added to the fact that different breeders had different thoughts of what colors worked better for whatever reason they came up with.
'White' in dogs is also not the same pattern genetically across breeds. A white GSD is not going to have the same risks of issues as a white papillon is. One is white due to white spotting, the other is genetically a really light cream so isn't white due to the lack of pigment.
Aleron, I don't think I'm disagreeing with you at all? Your original statement though made it sound like working breeders are/were never selecting for color, which I disagree with. I don't doubt that a lot of that is due to superstition/personal preference/not understanding genetics, or what have you. I just don't think that because breedings were done historically this way that that means we should continue with these crosses in the modern day now that we do understand genetics better. In particular the cases of Aussies, BCs, shelties, collies, etc where there's a lot of documented cases of problems happening due to merle x merle and where a large portion of the breed is NOT merle. There should be plenty of options to breed dogs without having to resort to breeding two merles together.
The BC boards has a thread on this dog now, of course.
Very well said.
I was more replying to the idea that the only reason anyone would do a merle x merle breeding is to get "pretty". While working breeders have color preferences, they generally have little to do with "pretty". And FWIW double merles are a DQ in any breed I can think of.
There's plenty of people out there who strongly feel that no merles should be bred at all. I think that is the popular opinion with many of the hardcore working BC people.
Which is fairly interesting to me since they swear up down and sideways that color and looks don't matter.
Well I think that's their point -- since (to them) color and looks don't matter, why would you want to keep a gene that is a danger to pups' wellbeing but contributes nothing of value besides "pretty"? As far as I can tell, to their minds merle is nothing but an unnecessary risk with no chance of positive return.
What would a color preference have to do with other than 'pretty'? I don't really see why else it would matter.
Yep. That's basically what I gather.
I haven't gotten around to reading these links yet:
Because there is a belief that certain colors tend to work better than other colors. Or that certain colors are healthier than others. Those things have nothing to do with looks at all.