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Old 05-04-2012, 11:45 PM   #1
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Question Genetics Question

Hi new to this forum-looks like a great source of info. I had a question regarding genetics and I hope I'm posting this in the right area. I'm not looking to breed but my friend and I are having a discussion about a dogs classification and I feel that I am right but she disagrees.

A few things before going into my question-I know you cannot or you are not supposed to breed merle to merle. So the dogs we are discussing the breeder has have saddle patterns. Within the saddle pattern there is merle markings-would this dog be considered merled and therefore should not be breed to another dog with same pattern?

Her reasoning is some have more solid within the merle so she thinks they are okay to be bred? I on the other hand think though the body is not completely merle it should not be bred-isn't this true with lets say a border collie or aussie? To me a merle pattern is not a set in stone pattern it could have big splotches of black. I hope this makes sense-if I'm wrong I'm wrong. The breeder has them marked as merle saddle pattern. Her other set of breeding pairs is a merle dog with a merle saddle pattern. Almost every puppy in every litter she has had is merle or has the merle saddle pattern-she had a solid in one litter and then a few litters back had 2 solids in that one but seems to be rare for her to have solids.

To me its a clear indication that she is doing merle to merle breedings. My breeder used a merle and solid and had half solids and half merles. Her other litter had more solids then merles.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 05-05-2012, 12:40 AM   #2
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I will start off by stating I am not a breeder, however I did assist in raising Ion's litter and chatted a LOT with his breeder about how complicated choosing the matches can be!

Here is what I gathered on merling. Ion had a Sable Merle sister, she had sable in all the same places as Ion, but faintly there were patches of distinct tinting changes. One ear was absolutely hued lighter, and she had a partial split mask, along her body could be seen splotches of differing colors. In Collies the Sable Merle is the reason that an attentive breeder will take great care when breeding a Sable to a Blue Merle. A Sable may indeed silently carry the Merle gene and not display it risking a litter of double Merles. She told me that most often there is used a Tri in the breeding to be certain that a double doesn't become likely. The Tri rules out the double-dilute potential. Can one breed a Sable to a Sable? Sure, responsibly one would have seen many generations to ensure that the Merling is not present. A Blue Merle to a Blue Merle is a risk at a litter with high odds of serious problem pups... this includes puppies who are malformed to the point of never being able to draw a breath. The odds are not worth the risk.

Ion's mom was Blue Merle, his father was a Sable. The choice was made to pair the two knowing the Sable wasn't carrying the merleling gene. This litter has shown amazing results in both conformation show rings (where several of his siblings are shown) and performance rings.

Generally speaking, I have never heard of a merle saddle pattern before. Not in Aussie's or Borders, and I suspect it may be something the breeder is using to distinguish her lines. I could be wrong, but this sounds rather like the 'teacup poodle' term. I would be suspicious of just how tight of a line needed to be maintained to turn out consistent merle patterns. They usually aren't 'that' predictable.
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:53 AM   #3
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blkjacklab, I am not a breeder either, but merle is merle, even if the dog has small patches of merle. I have seen merle Collies that have very dark pattens mixed with merle. Merle to merle breeding is a real big no-no.

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Old 05-05-2012, 10:24 AM   #4
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American Dog Breeders Association you might find this article very interesting.

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Old 05-06-2012, 10:07 PM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback everyone and that link-I just find genetics interesting. I don't think I will fully understand it though. To me if I was the breeder with these dogs I would not be breeding the two and two together. She said there merle pattern-as the pup ages it slowly fades a small portion of the pups lose the merle pattern completely.

She is also the only breeder whose dogs look this specfic way too. The other dogs within this breed all look the same BUT I've never seen a dog like hers. She always uses merle saddle pattern when describing their looks but some of her dogs have a visiable darker merle saddle with a merle body-she says its spotted. Its merle.

Thanks again for the feedback

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Old 05-06-2012, 10:34 PM   #6
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Here's another link you may find interesting, along with many pictures.
BC Museum: Saddle Patterned Border Collies

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Old 05-15-2012, 09:41 AM   #7
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To keep dogs genetically sound, do not breed to genetically defective traits. Avoid inbreeding. Presence of show champions among ancestors may be a red flag. Breeding of similar to similar for success at show contradicts laws of population genetics. Mother Nature designed numerous sophisticated devices (adaptations) to prevent breeding of relatives. This is how show breeds differ from races of wild species.

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Old 05-15-2012, 01:13 PM   #8
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I know absolutely nothing about breeding dogs, but I did read once that in attempts to make solid merle aussies with blue eyes, a bad side effect was dogs that were blind and deaf. I only remembered that tidbit because I have always been fascinated with the blue merle color pattern and the one blue eye that my weird dog has, after becoming an owner to a herding type dog unexpectedly and scrambling to read everything I could to learn how to be a good dog owner to a herding dog.
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Old 05-15-2012, 01:24 PM   #9
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Blue (or glass white) eyes is a trait genetically associated with an array of health problems. If I had to choose a puppy out of blue eyed breed, I would pick one with normally pigmented brown eyes. Natives of Siberia and Inuits did not like blue eyed dogs, but this trait pupped up one time or another in the offspring. This is a recessive trait. However, it had been made a "trade mark" of Siberian Husky and in recently designated in Russia breed - the Yakutian Laika.

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Old 05-15-2012, 02:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrodoMom View Post
I know absolutely nothing about breeding dogs, but I did read once that in attempts to make solid merle aussies with blue eyes, a bad side effect was dogs that were blind and deaf. I only remembered that tidbit because I have always been fascinated with the blue merle color pattern and the one blue eye that my weird dog has, after becoming an owner to a herding type dog unexpectedly and scrambling to read everything I could to learn how to be a good dog owner to a herding dog.
You read right. Breeding Merle to Merle will result in some pups being solid spots, some being merle, and some being double merle. A double merle will be all white with just merle coloring. The major issues are the eyes and hearing. These dogs can have eye defects, partial blindness, or total blindness. They can end up with partial hearing, total loss of hearing in one ear, or completly deaf. Double merle's are not recognized in most associations, that I know of. They can have other health issues, but that's because byb's and puppy farms go for the merle look, and we all know by now, that the health of their litters mean nothing. Reputable breeders do not breed merle to merle.

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