Impure dalmatian angers traditionalists at the elite pedigree dog show

Posted by Shazy on Sunday, March 6, 2011

Impure dalmatian angers traditionalists at the elite pedigree dog show

For 120 years Crufts has been the premier show for the world’s pedigree dogs. Now for the first time a mongrel is to compete – and not everyone is delighted at the prospect.
Fiona, a three-year-old dalmatian, is in training to take the title as best in her breed this week. But there is resentment because she is a crossbreed, descended from a dalmatian and a pointer.
As far as some traditionalists are concerned Fiona, who has brown spots instead of black, is ‘impure’ and should not be allowed in the show ring.
Paul Heaton, a dalmatian breeder from Liversedge, West Yorkshire, said: ‘It is pretty unethical to allow this dog in a pedigree show. As far as I’m concerned it is an illegal entrant and makes a mockery of the dalmatian breed. ‘This is a dog that is not pure-bred. This is a mongrel. You can’t cross a dalmatian with a pointer and say it’s a dalmatian. This is unethical and I’d be disgusted if the dog won.’ Anne Harcraft, a breeder from Sheffield, agreed.
The dog is unpure and I do not think it should be shown with pedigrees,’ she said. ‘I would be really miffed if it won.’
Unlike the other 18,600 pedigree dalmatians in Britain, Fiona carries a gene from the Pointer which protects her from a life-threatening condition.
After many months of wrangling, and to the dismay of many dalmatian breeders in the country, The Kennel Club declared that Fiona could be registered as a pedigree because she can bring health benefits to future generations of dalmatians
in Britain.

Fiona, who competes under the show name Grand Champion Fiacre’s First and Foremost, has won a number of regional competitions.

She has also shown such movement and agility in the preliminary heats that her owner, Julie Evans, from Barmouth, North-West Wales, believes she is in with a strong chance to win the coveted breed title at Crufts.

Mrs Evans, who has bred dalmatians for 30 years, imported the dog from Nevada, in the US, last summer. She has been concerned for many years about the health problems which afflict British dalmatians as they carry a mutant gene which makes them prone to a potentially fatal chemical imbalance that affects the urinary system.

By getting permission from The Kennel Club to import and breed she hopes that Fiona will be able to mother puppies with a wider gene pool that can rid the breed of this problem.

Mrs Evans said: ‘My efforts have been unpopular. Breeders and clubs don’t want impure dogs and they see this genetic modification as interfering with the breed. It is interfering, but it is to introduce a healthy gene. I hope one day I can persuade them it is the right thing to do.’

The Kennel Club said it was committed ‘to consider applications to register dogs from out-crossings and inter-variety matings if it is felt that to do so may present potential health and welfare benefits’.

The Club has taken tough action to promote healthy dog breeding since the furore over the 2008 BBC documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed, which highlighted the breeding of dogs with deformities and disease.

Jemima Harrison, producer of the programme, said last night: ‘It is astonishing but true that the majority of breeders would rather have sick dogs than allow a single drop of foreign blood to taint their breeds.’

Source: Dailymail