Articles from the Archives

As I see it....JMHO.

Those of you that contribute to, or are lurkers on various lists pertinent to our breed, would have noticed a lot of discussion re colour,tail docking, all sorts of testing and the costs involved.

There is, at present, information being colated as to the creeping incidence of "chocolate" into the coat colour of the ACD. This problem is widespread and indeed, is, and continues to be, of concern here in our own back yard. Some of our local breeders ...no names no packdrill..have indeed produced these anomalies in coat colour.

There have been suggestions that a Kelpie influence is/was responsible. Being of a cautious nature and with no credentials to back me up, I will make no comment that may come back to haunt me. Suffice to say that there is a detailed investigation into the problem being carried out by very accredited persons who will no doubt, ascertain the cause in due course.

Tail Docking:

I have voiced my opinion of people who do this to ACD's just for "the aesthetic value". This is a criminal act and perpertraters should be banned from ever owning a dog.. The ACD uses its tail as a rudder when working and to put forward excuses like "the cow stands on its tail" is just plain bovine excretea. I have to accept there are cases where the tail has been docked, acting on veterinarian advice.This is of course an entirely differnet situation .

Tests and costs:

I have donned my asbestos fire suit so I am ready for all the flames I fully expect. Fire away !!!!If this doesn't produce replies then I will desist in stirring the pot anymore. I promise.

In my opinion,if a breeder of ACD's with over 20 years of breeding experience, can not tell if any of his/her line has HD,PRA,or is deaf, either uni or bi-laterally deaf,he/she should give it all away. If recessive genes have not surfaced in that time frame in his/her line, especially if there is a strong influence of "line breeding", then I would suggest that particular line could expect to be free of those problems.

To those breeders that are affluent enough to be able to pay the freight charges on litters or dogs/bitches, foot the bill for kennelling fees, accomodation and the vet charges on top of the test charges, I say,"Great. You will be happy in the knowledge that the dogs you have at present, not the previous ones you have bred from before testing are free of the problems that you have tested for."
Since the majority of breeders are not as rich; are disenfranchised by distance and can not afford the costs involved; then by this assumption, the inference is that the poorer breeders' dogs must be affected in some way. Sorry, but I have heard it all so many times. I have also seen many "fully tested" dogs with temperament and conformation problems that I personally would not feed.

Where is the line going to be drawn? After all, ours is a man-made breed and man has a lot to answer.

The cry is that we have to remove "affected dogs " from the gene pool. OK, lets go along that road a bit. Disregard for the present that the gene pool is getting smaller and smaller as far as variation is concerned:

Are we going to discard a well-balanced dog with sound conformation and temperament because he may be uni-laterally deaf? Are we going to discard a dog/bitch that has a hip score, but does not show symptoms, in favour of dippy backs, bad mouths, protruding and light eyes, straight shoulders and short upper arms and no turn of stifle?

What about the bitch that tested free of PRA at 6 years of age, after she had produced 3 litters, only to be found with PRA at 9 years of age? What are we going to do with that bitch's progeny, that in turn produced "affected dogs/bitches"? The mind boggles as to the number of progeny there would be in that time frame.

In for a penny...in for a pound. One point that sticks in my craw is the person who "finds" the culprit responsible for some problem in a "line". The culprit responsible is five generations back. They don't stop to think that their "find" had to have it passed down from one of its pregenitors and so it goes back and back. Where does it stop? Then arises the question, why did it start and where and when? But of course these fortnight experts, and we all know the definition of an expert, can't supply an answer.

Despite what some breeders may think, I do applaud those whose bank balance allows them to test, who genuinely have the breed at heart and so try to help reduce the problem somewhat in future generations. However, until such time that a test,affordable by ALL breeders,becomes available, I can not see how testing can overcome a problem that has been with the breed for such a long time and will continue to be with the breed.

Somehow I just know someone will give me an answer......or two or more?

I am off to find my fire retardent suit, ensure all fire hoses are in good working order and to remove the batteries from all smoke detectors. 'Till next time....................ED.



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