Chihuahua Information & Reference
World bans merle-colored Chihuahuas due to potential health problems related to merle gene, leaving AKC Chihuahua breeders unable to sell/export that color of Chihuahuas.
WORLD BANS MERLE CHIHUAHUAS
by Lesley Harger and Staff, March 2009
Chihuahua Club voted down merle disqualification due to AKC Director ballot interference, international judges and breeders dismayed..
But the world votes thumbs-down on AKC Chihuahua bloodlines after Chihuahua Club Of America members failed to disqualify merle color from the show ring whereas many international registries forbid it genetically.
You may not have Chihuahuas but if you have AKC dogs, you should be aware of the genetic (and political) ramifications of this historical debacle. The story behind the story is that many Chihuahua breeders say AKC Director interference with ballot resulted in chaos and loss of export opportunity. Complete background links below.
Effective March 2009, The Kennel Club (England) General Committee banned registration of progeny produced by a merle colored Chihuahua. Taking the ban a step further than disallowing merles to compete, TKC seeks to eliminate the merle gene from the Chihuahua breed by essentially, forbidding the breeding of any Chihuahua of that color.
No puppies will be Kennel Club registered from a mating of merle sire or dam. If European and Australian breeders are careful not to use American bloodlines, it is hoped the merle gene can eventually be eradicated from the Chihuahua, thus removing certain health problems associated with the merle coloration.
Merle has been popularized as a rare “Designer” color by Chihuahua breeders accused of being more concerned with sales than health and type. Some breeders actually doubled-up on the color, breeding two merles together to strengthen the merle color. This practice began to prove disastrous, producing Chihuahuas with health defects such as blindness, deafness, or gruesome deformities as described in this article on merle color genetics by Gloria Lambert.
“I am sending this newspaper article as requested by a dear friend and well known International judge and top UK breeder Bob Brampton. AKC needs to see what's happening throughout the world with the breeding of the Merle gene into the Chihuahua gene pool. I also personally attended the World Dog Show Chihuahua Conference in Stockholm, Sweden in July 2008, where everyone who attended was very much concerned about the future health and welfare of the Chihuahua breed. Europe is working diligently to shore up its gene pool against the Merle gene, and the UK is leading the way with Australia to ban the registration and breeding of Merle Chihuahuas.
“I only wish that the USA would have followed suit as exporting Chihuahuas to other countries will now have far greater consequences to those on the receiving end. And to add the nail in the coffin for many American breeding programs, Genmark has halted testing for the Merle gene due to inaccuracies in test results. This can only lead to less and less exportations of American bred AKC Chihuahuas to other countries. Merle can lay hidden in what is known as the “phantom merle”, so many of the UK and European breeders have seriously discussed not importing any American bred lines because it. AKC needs to take a deeper look at this, because the fragile purebred American Chihuahua’s gene pool is in dire jeopardy, now, more than ever before.”
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Note* TheDogPress.com covered the merle debate when Attorney-AKC Board member Steven Gladstone interfered with the parent club ballot to disqualify merles from the ring. That story begins here:
AKC Defended Board Member who interfered with Chihuahua Club ballot on merle color DQ. AKC communications with Gloria Lambert, internationally respected Chihuahua breeder.
Judge, British Chihuahua Club Chairman Graham Foote, on merle color gene, including Merle Gene Fact Sheet. One of the hottest international genetics ethics issues in dogs...
Gladstone Letter to CCA Members See the letter by Steven Gladstone, who interfered with Chihuahua Club Of America ballot to DQ merle color, using his AKC and AKC/CHF Board positions.
Chihuahuas - Any Color Marked Or Splashed?? Gloria Lambert, Tanyas Toys, says absolutely not and explains the genetic deformities.
Chihuahua Breeder Rebuts disqualifying merle colored, defends genetics, breeds, shows, and wins with the color and thanks Gladstone for his letter to Chihuahua Club Of America members.
Pomeranian Club Ignores AKC guidelines, defies majority of members' wishes by adding merle pattern to revised Pomeranian breed standard.
World Bans Merle Chihuahuas but CCA voted down merle DQ following ballot interference by AKC Board member. Other countries refuse to register any dog out of merle parents. American Breeders unable to export.
Australian Chihuahua Breeder-Judge chastises AKC Director on his letter interfering with Parent Club vote on the merle gene.