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  #71  
Old 02-17-2012, 07:38 PM
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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.


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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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  #72  
Old 02-17-2012, 08:40 PM
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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.
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.
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Old 02-18-2012, 01:08 PM
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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.
'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.
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  #74  
Old 02-18-2012, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Laurelin View Post
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 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.
Very well said.
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Laurelin View Post
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.
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.
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  #76  
Old 02-18-2012, 03:46 PM
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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.
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:50 PM
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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.
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Old 02-18-2012, 04:57 PM
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What would a color preference have to do with other than 'pretty'? I don't really see why else it would matter.

Quote:
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.
Yep. That's basically what I gather.

I haven't gotten around to reading these links yet:

http://www.lsu.edu/deafness/StrainMerleJVIM2009.pdf
http://www.pnas.org/content/103/5/1376.full
http://www.bordercolliesociety.com/B...bcdeafness.pdf
http://www.lsu.edu/deafness/Tufts.htm
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  #79  
Old 02-18-2012, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Laurelin View Post
What would a color preference have to do with other than 'pretty'? I don't really see why else it would matter.
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.
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