*****The following is the DCA Board's Opinion Poll which was sent by mail in September 2003 to all DCA members, along with a mail-in ballot.  The ballot is to be returned by October 1, 2003 to be valid. ********

The DCA Board is interested in learning the opinion of members on subjects related to possible changes to the breed standard. This is an opinion poll for information purposes only; as such, it is not binding and the results will not affect the standard. ( Any change to the breed standard must proceed according to the DCA Bylaws, Article X).

The  board is recommending the following revisions to the breed standard:

1. The double dapple pattern should be excluded from the standard as an acceptable pattern.

2. The piebald pattern should not be included in the standard as an acceptable pattern.

3. Dachshunds weighing over 11 and under 16 pounds should not be penalized for size in the show ring.

Please be aware that these changes to the breed standard would not affect registrations: AKC will continue to register all purebred dachshunds regardless of color or pattern. The proposed changes would also have no effect on any dog's eligibility to participate in performance events, i.e. field trials, obedience, agility, tracking, etc., or in DCA's ROM program. All piebald and double dapple champions of record would retain their titles if these revisions to the breed standard were adopted by the membership.

READ each statement CAREFULLY, then indicate your opinion putting a circle around your response.

1. The double dapple pattern should be excluded from the standard as an acceptable pattern.

             AGREE                        DISAGREE

2. The piebald pattern should not be included in the standard as an acceptable pattern.

             AGREE                        DISAGREE

3. White areas other than a small spot on the chest and unpigmented hairs due to honorable wounds should be penalized.

             AGREE                        DISAGREE

4. The following italicized addition to the standard is proposed: "Size, Proportion, Substance- Bred and shown in two sizes, standard and miniature; miniatures are not a separate classification but compete in a class division for "11 pounds and under 12 months of age and older." weight of the standard size is usually between 16 and 32 pounds; intermediate dogs are not to be faulted for size".

             AGREE                        DISAGREE


DCA Board's Discussion on Piebalds & Double Dapples

****The following is the DCA Board's discussion of the changes regarding the piebalds and double dapples. These discussions were mailed along with the Opinion Poll, and contains a lot of misinformation, which we have countered (marked in red with stars) here.***

1. The piebald pattern carries a potential risk of health problems, specifically deafness.

*****This is an unproven health risk in piebald dachshunds - they have not been specifically studied by any researcher using scientific
methods.  The rate of PRA, Intervertebral Disk Disease, Epilepsy, Luxating Patellas, etc., has also never been quantified in the Dachshund breed as a whole.  These are much more serious health problems that affect the breed as a whole.  Why single out the "potential risk" of deafness in piebalds as a reason to exclude them from the breed ring?  Piebalds would still be allowed to be registered with the AKC and could participate in all AKC performance events, so how does eliminating them from the show ring address the "potential" health issues?

Several piebald dachshund show breeders are currently getting their breeding stock BAER-tested, and no piebalds, to date,  have yet to show up with any hearing problems.*****

 Most of the countries in the Western world have sought to exclude white on their dachshunds during the last century and none of them permit piebalds.

*****Piebalds can be shown in Canada and several have completed their championships.  Although not in the "Western World", per se, The Japanese Kennel Club allows piebalds to be shown and also has several champion piebalds.  There is a piebald champion in Germany and a piebald breed winner in Italy.

 Why do we in the U.S. particularly care what other countries are doing or have done?  Most European (FCI) countries ban cream dachshunds in the show ring, yet they are allowed in the U.S. show ring.  Standard sized dachshunds are not allowed to be over 25 lb in the FCI countries.  The standards in the U.S. are usually in the 22-32 lb. range.  Our breed standard has already significantly diverged from those of the European countries, so this argument about what other countries do is moot. *****

In this country, piebalds only began appearing around twelve years ago.

*****Piebalds began appearing IN THE SHOW RING about eight (8) years ago.  They have existed in this country since at least the 1940s (Springdale Kennels).  Several prominent breeders bred piebalds in the late-1960s-early 1970s, and one continues to do so today (Dr. William C. Nixon).  These breeders never bothered to show their spotted dogs but they certainly existed.

Many commercial puppy producers and puppy millers have been breeding piebalds for over 30 years.

The existence of piebalds in early breed history is well-documented in several dachshunds books from Germany, England and the U.S.*****

As a result, there has been little attention paid in our breed to the potential health problems associated with the pattern.

*****There haven't been any serious health problems in the piebalds bred by show breeders to date.  There has been little attention paid by DCA to the really serious health problems in Dachshunds as a breed, never mind singling out piebalds.*****

Even piebald breeders disagree openly on the genetics of the pattern. Some claim that there is only one allele (sp) in the dachshund while others claim that we have all three known forms of the Spotting (S) locus present in our breed: sp (piebald), si (Irish spotting), and sw (extreme white piebald).

*****Whether or not the 3 spotting alleles exist in piebald dachshunds is irrelevant to this discussion.  Piebalds are white spotted

What is known is that the piebald and the extreme white piebald alleles are present in the great majority of breeds subject to congenital

Dr. George M. Strain of the School of Veterinary Medicine of Louisiana State University, one of the leading experts in the field, reports that in eight studied breeds with these genes, deafness occurred from a low rate of 6.9% in parti-colored English Cockers to a high of 29.9% in Dalmatians.

*****Approximately 75% of the breeds of the world are some form of piebald or carry one or more of the piebald genes.  Dr. Strain
has only studied (from http://www.lsu.edu/deafness/incidenc.htm) five (not eight as stated above) breeds in depth to where he can say the results are statistically significant in relationship to deafness - Dalmatians, Bull Terriers, Australian Cattle Dogs, English Setters, and
English Cocker Spaniels.  Please note that Dalmatians and English Setters are extreme white piebalds with the dominant ticking gene.
White Bull Terriers are extreme white piebalds with no ticking.  Austrialian Cattle dogs are merles, not piebalds.  Only the English
Cocker Spaniel and the Colored Bull Terrier have the piebald gene(s) similar to piebald dachshunds.

In Bull Terriers, the white ones have a 19.9% deafness rate while the colored ones (still with plenty of white on their bodies) have only
a 1.3% deafness rate. In English Cocker Spaniels, 1,067 parti-colors were examined and 7% exhibited some deafness; only 60 solid colored dogs were examined and 1.7% showed some degree of deafness.

Dr. Strain has admitted to me that he has not studied the incidence of deafness in solid colored breeds.  However,  in
http://www.lsu.edu/deafness/breeds.htm,  Dr. Strain notes that in some breeds with congenital deafness,  such as German Shepherds, Scotties, Schnauzers, Chows, Miniature Pinschers, and Dobermans, the deafness in those breeds has nothing to do with color.*****

The AKC health Foundation has issued a number of grants toward research on deafness in dogs. Those studies continue to support that increasing amounts of white in the coat increase the likelihood of deafness.

*****Most of these studies are incomplete at this time.  Please note that many breeds which are white or which have a lot of white on them appear to have low incidences of deafness, such as Great Pyrenees, West Highland White Terriers, and Whippets.*****

The Board believes that now is not the time to open the door to this potential health problem in the breed. The fact that piebald breeders are willing to test their dogs' hearing does nothing for the deaf dogs that we may create by adding this pattern to the breed standard. Recently a leading breeder tested a few piebalds using Dr. Strain. The hearing in the tested dogs was fine. The color committee contacted Dr. Strain. He gave us permission to report his viewpoint which is that, as our breed sees increasing numbers of piebalds, we will see increasing cases of deafness.

*****Piebalds have been allowed to be shown in the breed ring for 8 years now.  The "door" is already open.  No where in the current
standard does it say that piebalds are not allowed.  The fact of the matter is that piebalds have been in the breed ring and have been winning championships since 1995.  Several piebalds have taken RWD, RWB, and AOM, plus numerous class placements at DCA National Specialties under several different breeder/judges and one was BOS at Westminster.  The DCA  Board  issued the new "Illustrated Standard" several years ago describing the piebald pattern.  This can be construed as encouragement from both DCA, the Parent Club, and from knowledgeable breeder/judges to those of us breeding that pattern.

Eight years is a long time to be breeding and winning with piebalds.  If DCA  had wanted to ban piebalds, they should have done so within 2 years of  their first appearance in the breed ring.  The precedent was set by the Pomeranian Club of America.  When a brindle Pomeranian showed up in the breed ring and set the country on fire at the same time the first piebald appeared in the breed ring in 1995, the Pomeranian parent club acted immediately to add brindle to their standard.

Deafness issues have been in the Dachshund  from the very beginning of the breed via the dapples.  If the founders of the breed were so concerned about the incidence of deafness, then dapples would have been eliminated many years ago.  This has not happened.  If deafness was such a big issue in other piebald (spotted) breeds, then most of the breeds of the world wouldn't exist.  This has not happened.

Despite Dr. Strain's studies of those 5 breeds, no country in the world has sought to ban Dalmatians, Bull Terriers, Australian Cattle Dogs, English Setters, or English Cocker Spaniels from any show ring.

Banning piebald Dachshunds from the show ring in the U.S. should not be
allowed to happen, either.*****

2. No reasonable basis exists to distinguish between piebalds and double-dapples in the show ring. As the enclosed explanation on
double-dapples makes clear, the Board feels that it is very important that double-dapples be excluded from the standard. The only effective way to exclude double-dapples is to exclude dogs with large patches of white. Without a genetic pedigree, no judge in the show ring can always positively distinguish between a piebald and a double dapple. The Board has considered a number of alternatives and has not found an effective basis which would allow a judge to distinguish between the two patterns. While there are some dogs who exhibit a more typical piebald than a double-dapple look, it isn't possible to clearly describe that difference in writing. Moreover, there are many examples of piebalds which look exactly like double-dapples. The Board explored the concept of distinguishing on the basis of eye color. Usually, but not always, double-dapples exhibit some blue in the eyes. Using this as a distinguishing basis is not desirable because it doesn't always hold true and also because it would cause confusion with respect to single dapples which often carry a blue eye or have eyes with blue in them. It is the considered opinion of the Board that it would cause excessive confusion to introduce a pattern with substantial white (piebald) at the same time another pattern with substantial white (double-dapple) is being removed.

***** Only a very few double dapples are hard to distinguish from piebalds.  Generally, there is a shading/ dappling effect within the
solid patches of double dapples; however, with red dapples the dappling effect can disappear as they mature. Very few double dapples have totally dark eyes, though.  Most double dapples have a blue eye or at least a partially blue eye.  This is one of the reasons to support all patterns and colors.  No confusion. It would be left to the judge to decide whether he/she likes color, just as it is up to the judge to decide whether he/she likes a dog higher on leg, "pretty heads", standards or miniatures, etc.

The DCA Board already has well-written description of piebalds that would make judging them very easy.*****
3. Exclusion of piebalds protects the integrity of the traditional dachshund colors. While some breeders feel that color is irrelevant to
type, many others believe that the traditional one- and two- colored dachshunds do exemplify the dachshund breed.

*****Yet some of these "traditional dachshund colors", like blue/tan and Isabella/tan, are rarely, if ever, seen in the breed ring and usually have skin problems associated with them.  Brindles are also infrequently seen.*****

For most of the 20th century, breeders in this and other countries have fought to keep white out of the breed.

*****Again, who cares what they do in other countries?  This is the U.S.A.

White as a background color was listed in the AKC Dachshund standard until 1992.*****

The current standard encourages no more than a small amount of white on the chest of one- and two- colored dachshunds. Were piebalds to be permitted, dachshunds with large white blazes and other mismarkings could no longer be effectively penalized in the ring; arguably, they would just be piebalds with a small amount of white. Also, any attempt to define piebald by how far the white reaches up on the sides and back is fraught with difficulties and is not something a judge can effectively assess in the ring.

*****The description the Board currently has in draft form on how much white should be present on a piebald dachshund is very easily determined by any judge with good eyesight.  A mismarked solid colored dog could not be mistaken for a piebald with this description.

Varying degrees of white mismarks have appeared on traditional one and two colored dogs (red and black/tan) since the beginning of the breed. Some lines, both standard and miniature, carry it more predominately than others. Mismarking and the piebald gene are two entirely different traits.  Many solid colored dachshunds which are carrying the piebald gene have no white on them whatsoever.

The piebald pattern, unlike the dapple pattern, is recessive. Dapple can be avoided by simply not breeding to a dog exhibiting the pattern.  As a recessive, over the years the piebald pattern would be quite likely to infiltrate the breed if it were added to the breed standard.

*****Allowing piebalds to remain in the breed ring does not mean that every Dachshund breeder is going to go out and start mass-producing piebalds in all coats and sizes.  There are not many "color breeders" of the other unusual colors and patterns within the breed as it is.  These other allowed colors and patterns have not "infiltrated" the breed to any great degree and are easily avoided if one so desires.

Those breeders desiring only solid-colored dachshunds will still be able to produce them with ease.  It is a matter of knowing your bloodlines and pedigrees.*****

If excluded, the quality piebalds can still be utilized and be bred away from the pattern. The fact that piebald is in the gene pool is
irrelevant. Many breeds with color restrictions have excluded colors in the gene pool. There are white Dobermans, white Boxers, and spotted poodles, to name just a few.

*****Yet other breeds have added colors or patterns recently, such as brindle Pomeranians and Mantle Great Danes.*****

Just because a trait exists in the gene pool doesn't mean that it exhibits breed type or that it should be accepted. To quote from
Catherine McMillan, writing about white Miniature Schnauzers in her article Why Not White?: "If breeds did not adhere to a specific shape, form, and colour range, or if breeders disregarded this blueprint, the breed would degenerate to the point  that it would hardly resemble the breed at all. Selective breeding does not just create breeds- it preserves them as well." Breeding purebred dogs inherently means accepting limitations on your freedom to just breed anything.

It is widely felt that The Dachshund Club of America made a mistake in 1992 by adding double-dapples to the standard and again later when it described piebalds in its "Visualization of the Official Dachshund Standard". The Board encourages you to correct those errors by voting to exclude both double-dapples and piebalds from the standard.

***** By stating that DCA made a MISTAKE by describing piebalds in the illustrated standard is an insult to the people who worked hard to publish it.  Also, the DCA Board had to approve its contents before it went out to the membership, so this is implying that those board members at the time were incompetent, too.  This is also a slap in the face to those breeder/judges who have awarded piebalds with RWB, RWD, and AOM at several DCA National Specialities.  Those long-time breeder/judges apparently considered these piebalds worthy DACHSHUNDS, regardless of their pattern.*****

For more information on the ongoing color controversy, see our main web site at   http://www.dachshundcolorcrisis.org

Those of you with web pages can link to the above web site from your web site without seeking our permission first if you want to help educate the public about what is going on with color and pattern in Dachshunds.

Copyright © 2003 Sandra J. Russell.  All rights reserved.