Open Letter to The Kennel Club (U.K.)
Posted on January 8, 2014 by Jack Vanderwyk
The Kennel Club
Copy to: the Labrador Breed Council; the Labrador Clubs in the United Kingdom
Dear Board members of The Kennel club,
The Kennel Club maintains the studbook of the Labrador Retriever and has the task of ensuring that only purebred Labradors are registered in the studbook .
In that respect, it seems that the registry of the Labrador Retriever is about to go wrong, or has already gone wrong. This concerns not only me, but also the Labrador Clubs in the United Kingdom and abroad.
The cause of these concerns lies in the fact that more and more dogs are imported from the United States, with pedigree certificates from the American Kennel Club (AKC), which state that the dogs are Labrador Retrievers with the colours black, yellow or chocolate, while in reality these are dogs that are carriers of the so-called “dilute” (dd) gene. The dd gene is characterized by a “diluted” coat colour and light eyes, which are called “charcoal” or “blue” if the base colour is black, “champagne” if the base colour is yellow, and “silver” if the base colour is chocolate. In particular, the “silvers” are becoming more and more popular with the general public and substantial amounts of money are paid for puppies and adult dogs.
On first sight it seems that there is nothing to worry about these practices, because these dogs are imported with the recognized colours on their pedigree certificates, and as such they can formally be entered in the Kennel Club studbook. However, the duties of the Kennel Club as keeper of the studbook surpass that of formally administrator. One can not pretend that nothing is wrong, only because of the fact that the paperwork looks okay.
The fact is that the “dilute” (dd) gene or locus is alien to the Labrador Retriever breed. This gene is simply not present in the breed as we know it. In order to keep the studbook closed, and maintain the purity of the Labrador Retriever breed, the Kennel Club should ensure that no genes alien to the breed are entering the breed. Covert operations like opening a closed studbook in a sneaky way is not what the public expects from a respectable organization like the Kennel Club.
In the United Kingdom it was never possible to register dogs with the “dilute” (dd) gene as Labrador Retrievers. Until recently. The “dilute” (dd) gene surfaced in the United States in the late forties and early fifties of the last century. In those years there were no DNA tests available, and unfortunately these dogs were registered as Labrador Retrievers. The breeder who produced these dogs, Mayo Kellogg from Kellogg Kennels, was an important customer of the American Kennel Club (AKC). Kellogg bred several breeds, including the Weimaraner, a breed which carries the “dilute” (dd), and the dogs often ran free. Initially these dogs were registered as “silver”, until the Labrador Retriever Club Inc. (LRC), the parent club of the American Labrador Retriever clubs, objected against these practices. From that moment the “dilute” (dd) dogs were registered with the recognized three coat colours of the Labrador Retriever.
More than half a century later we sadly have to observe that the American studbook of the Labrador Retriever, as maintained by the American Kennel Club (AKC), contains more than 35,000 dogs that carry the “dilute” (dd) gene. Not all carriers are also phenotypically affected. However, these dogs that only carry the gene are passing it on to their offspring. This means that we simply can not be satisfied with a phenotypical (” by eye”) check, let alone by simply looking at an AKC pedigree certificate. Genetic research of these dogs by means of DNA tests will need to take place to make sure that the stud book stays closed. Any presence of the “dilute” (dd) genes in the Labrador Retriever is unacceptable.
Three renowned genetic laboratories, Vetgen, Laboklin, and the Van Haeringen Group, have confirmed to me in writing that it is perfectly possible to show the presence of the “dilute” (dd) gene. These studies have already been developed and can be used today. The costs are about 50 pounds.
Now science has progressed, it can be shown that the DNA of a dog contains genes which are alien to the Labrador Retriever breed, which means that such a dog CAN NOT be a purebred Labrador Retriever. Kennel Clubs, including the AKC, are increasingly under fire because of these extremely bad and dangerous developments, which need to stop here and now. It’s only a matter of time before the first lawsuit in the United States against the American Kennel Club appears, as the AKC in their pedigree certificates quite wrongfully gives the impression that these “dilutes” are purebred Labrador Retrievers. If the National Kennel Clubs are not willing or able to effectively guarantee or monitor the purity of a dog, then who is? And what is the value of a pedigree certificate?
The National Kennel Clubs have the means to prevent non-purebred dogs to enter the studbooks. If in doubt about the presence of the “dilute” (dd) gene in Labrador Retrievers, one should require the applicant of a pedigree certificate to proof that this particular dog or litter is free from the “dilute” (dd) gene, by means of DNA testing by accredited laboratories.
I would like to ask the Board of the Kennel Club to require that any Labrador Retriever that is imported in the United Kingdom has to show the results of a DNA test proving that the dog is free from the “dilute” (dd) gene. This should also apply to any Labrador Retriever when there are doubts about the purity, regarding the presence of the “dilute” (dd) gene.
Finally, I would like to ask the Board of the Kennel Club to look into the practices of registering “dilutes” with the remark “Colour Not Recognized”. Although these practices might seem to be effective, they are not. Breeders and owners of “dilutes” are clever enough to register their dogs with the recognized colours black, yellow and chocolate, and some Kennel Clubs, like the AKC, willfully cooperate with these frauds. A “silver” Labrador is not a chocolate Labrador, a “charcoal” Labrador is not a black Labrador, and a “champagne” Labrador is not a yellow Labrador, not even when a foreign Kennel Club has registered the dog as such. They are simply not purebred Labradors. The task of the Kennel Club is to guard the purity of the breed. This is a very serious task .Should it turn out that the Kennel Club is not willing to take this task seriously (enough), then there is always the possibility to let the Courts decide about these issues.