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Old 02-17-2012, 08:38 PM
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Aleron Aleron is offline
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Originally Posted by Laurelin View Post
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 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.

Originally Posted by Laurelin View Post
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.
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.
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