THE PROPOSED intervarietal matings between Miniature Smooth and Miniature Wirehaired Dachshunds continues to court controversy, with yet more breeders coming forward to express their concern since the news broke last week.
The request was made to the Kennel Club by well known breeder, Sigurd Wilberg, who had sought approval to mate two of his Champion Miniature Wirehaired bitches to two Miniature Smooth dogs.
The reason for the proposal was to improve conformation and temperament, and would involve selecting mates who were as ‘unrelated as possible’.
However, according to some, there is no need within the breed for such a mating, with claims that the results could be a regressive move with no benefit to the breed whatsoever. Further disappointment has been aimed at the Kennel Club concerning the fact that it appeared not to have consulted with any of the breed clubs or even the breed council.
Judy Squires, president of the Miniatire Dachshund Club, told our dogs: ‘whether you agree or not with the intended mating, I ask what right has the KC to give permission to make such a radical change within a variety of a breed without prior consultation with the relevant breed clubs or, in our case, a very pro-active Breed Council.
‘There were some very clear messages at the recent KC AGM about the importance of the KC engaging with the Breed Clubs. It can be clearly seen that there has been a missed opportunity for the KC and our Clubs to work together on such an important issue and in so doing, much ill feeling and adverse publicity could have been avoided.
‘The Dachshund Breed Clubs, and I am sure the majority of breed clubs, are made up of long-standing, knowledgeable breeders working hopefully hand in hand with the KC to breed good, healthy stock. We have an extremely good range of blood lines within our breed and the request for permission to carry out this mating is based on one breeder’s view of the breed. How can we possibly respect the KC in their actions, however well meaning, when they treat us with seemingly blatant disregard.
‘In this instance, I am certain that I speak for a great many breeders. We need co-operation not a dictatorship. We should not find ourselves in a position where we are pressured into doing something which many people consider to be a retrograde step for the breed. Of course, we cannot agree on everything all the time but with prior consultation and discussion a considered deliberation can be made for the benefit of the breed.
‘In these difficult times of dog breeding we should be speaking with one voice. Please can we all, consult, listen and then deliberate?’
Other breeds have been the subject of intervarietel matings, including Bull Terrier to Miniature Bull Terriers, as well as Belgian Shepherd Dogs, with some degree of success. Dachshund breeders, though, are adamant that the breeds in question need no improvement other than careful matings within varieties, and the need to cross varieties is irresponsible.
Zena Thorn Andrews, of the Drakesleat kennels, says: ‘We are all horrified at this decision, which has been made before any consultation with the breed clubs, or the Breed council, which consists of 19 clubs.
‘Exactly what this is hoped to achieve is uncertain. We have a healthy, long lived breed (average age of mine is 15, with many well over that) we do not suffer with any major disease in any great degree, my dogs see the vet very rarely if at all, sometimes not until they are exceptionally old. The temperaments are wonderful; they still work, and are useful ratters. Some are extremely good trackers, and I had one of the top trackers in the country with Ch Drakesleat Prints Fillup. One of the top truffle hunters & finders in the USA is Ch/Am/Can Ch Drakesleat Spaghetti Junction. Many are in use with gamekeepers and worked, as the Teckel society will testify.
‘I have kept, bred and worked Min Wires for almost 40 years, in the early days the odd smooth would appear, as when developing the breed in the late 50s/early 60s some Mini Smooths were used to reduce the size: 12lb was the weight allowed for some time as the Min Wires were also bred down from small Standards.
‘It has taken many years to get our breed to the high standard it now enjoys, to produce pure wires that are the envy of the rest of the world, and well within the weight guidelines. If another breed is deliberately introduced what of the potential health risks that breed carries? Apart from testing for PRA (in Min Smooths), what about the back problems that the Smooths seem to get more frequently than the Wires?
‘We have introduced outside bloodlines from a wide variety of countries, to help widen the gene pool and we certainly have no need of any further bloodlines, other than we have at present, why regress when there is absolutely no need? We as a breed wish to carry on weighing at shows to prove we produce Miniatures, we wish our breed to remain pure, and we wish to be consulted before any radical decisions of this nature are made.’
These feelings were echoed by others, including many members of various breed clubs across the country.
Bernd Kugow and Susan Holt (Waldmeister) were also unhappy about the lack of consultation.
‘It would be enlightening to know why this decision was taken. We have a kennel of dual-purpose Min Wires all of whom work and show and are much-loved, long-lived pets with no health problems presenting. The coats are superb; we have no soft coats and all have the true double coat.
‘As for conformation, we have won well, making up a champion already this year and gaining the BCC and RCC at Crufts this year. There is no shortage of quality Min Wire bloodlines. In fact, we have imported a dog and bitch from separate German kennels in order to ensure we retain the hunting instinct. Crossing this with top English lines has given us healthy, happy hounds who work, show and socialise extremely well. We outcross regularly, as advocated by Florence Nagle of Irish Wolfhound fame, and we see no reasons for introducing potential problems from the other breed to either side, or indeed, creating new problems such as recessive smooths or larger sizes.
‘We wish our breed to remain pure, and we are horrified that such a decision was taken without consultation… If it is felt there is a lack of diversity surely we can turn to Europe rather than crossing coats, which is so very hard to eradicate and produces recessive Smooths for many years to come. What has happened to democracy when not one of our breed clubs or members or breed council was consulted for their opinion before this decision was taken?’
KC spokesperson Caroline Kisko said the matings would make the most of the ‘extra genetic variation the intervarietal matings would bring to the Miniature Wirehaired breed and provide a platform for further improvements in the breed.
‘All the dogs who participate in these intervarietal matings will be DNA tested for the presence or absence of the cord 1-PRA mutation, since there is now an official testing scheme available . The proposal is in line with the already accepted general principle of intervarietal mating and registration according to phenotype.
‘While we accept that some people may not like the proposals all breeders have the choice of using or not using the offspring in their future breeding programmes but it is important that the KC continues to encourage the broadening of genetic diversity in breeds.’
Comment: Why on earth would you crossbreed miniature smooth and wire haired miniature dachshunds? What in my humble view is needed to improve the wire hired in this country, is introducing more "German" type working dogs with proper wire haired (pin wire) coats and better conformation. I am not a breeder, but common sense tells me this inter breeding is not the way forward. The two are so very, very different in almost every way. (Apart from size maybe). They are like two separate breeds. I have owned and worked wire haired miniature dachshunds for 50 years, on the continent and for the past 20 years in the UK. Unfortunately I find it very difficult, if not impossible to find a healthy, fit for work miniature wire haired dachshund in the UK. I am looking for one at the moment, have been for almost a year.
Send your opinion of this story below
(All opinion is fully moderated. Your comment will be uploaded once it has been moderated.)