This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)

7th of April

The chairman of the Dutch Kennel Club recently expressed one of his intentions. He would like to promote the breeding of pedigree dogs, more pedigree dogs instead of look-a-likes……….

A noble goal in the fight against irresponsible breeding. But what do we see when we look at the figures?  In 2008, 47,180 pedigree dogs were registered in the books. However, every year the number decreased. In 2019, it did not exceed 34,259.

 12,921 Less or 38% of 34,259.  And that in 11 years. We are curious about the figures for 2020, which are unfortunately not yet available due to the new computer system. Will there be fewer again?  Maybe less because of the stopping of registrations of short-muzzled breeds in this year?

But instead of a charm offensive for the pedigree dog, we see new threats coming our way. Rules that can only accelerate the decline in registrations that has already started the last decade.

– A breeding ban for breeds and a stop on issuing pedigrees.

In the Netherlands we live with a breeding ban on short muzzled dogs, now only for 12 breeds but soon maybe 30. Then they plan a breeding ban on the short-legged breeds, hairless dogs, epileptic breeds, breeds that are too light, too heavy and breeds with ED/HD.  These are all on the wish-list of the NVWA (law enforcers) and the activists of ‘Dier&Recht’.  After a breeding ban, the pedigree issues of the Dutch Kennel Club will stop too. The discontinuation of the issuing of pedigrees has driven many pedigree breeders either abroad or into the camp of pedigree-less breeders. What else can you do with dozens of bitches in heat in your house?  An additional advantage for the pedigree free breeder is that all kinds of expensive health tests are no longer necessary. An extra financial incentive to get out of breeding pedigree dogs and sell the puppies for high prices to pet owners who often don’t need a pedigree anyway. Later on, when things are perhaps going better, they will try to let the ‘look-a-likes’ approve again in order to get them into the pedigree books. However, the pedigree is ‘cut’ and valuable information is lost. Breeding bans should be avoided.

– A show ban by Corona

Because of Corona, all dog shows have been cancelled.  Once again, a piece of motivation for breeding pedigree dogs has been lost. Even more breeders are discovering the advantages of pedigree-free breeding.  Expensive tests are not necessary and Corona pushes up the prices of dogs with or without a pedigree.   What can you do to overcome the objections to dogshows after Corona?

– Limited registration (=breeding ban)

The biggest problem with the introduction of ‘limited registration’ is the barrier it puts in the way of breeding with foreign dogs. After we have seen that the hereditary diseases that arise within the breeds are caused by the decreasing genetic diversity within a population, foreign populations are now practically cut off from the Dutch populations. Only a few top breeders can afford to keep the puppies for a year before testing them to get a pedigree and then selling them to mostly foreigners.  Even more purebred dog breeders will turn away from pedigrees or they will go abroad. The Netherlands is isolating itself further. Let’s start by encouraging a simple check by a vet to be realised abroad.

– And then the inbreeding requirements become stricter.

It should not sound strange to the board of the Dutch Kennel Club  that linebreeding has nothing to do with the decrease of genetic diversity within a breed. If they want an explanation about this, they can consult the population geneticist they have installed in the health committee. However, with healthy and carefully planned linebreeding, the good characteristics of a breed can be secured. A simple explanation why really good breeders often have healthy pedigree dogs. Increased inbreeding requirements make this impossible. More and especially good pedigree dog breeders are leaving the Netherlands. The stricter inbreeding requirements are not even applied to humans. Why do they apply them to dogs? Don’t let one dog cover too many bitches! That is disastrous.

– Limiting the caesarean section.

The next rule is that only two caesarean sections may be performed on a bitch. The consequence of this is obvious. The choice is between breeding litter 3 and litter 4 without a pedigree or using all kinds of means to get the puppies out of the bitch ‘naturally’ but irresponsibly so that they can still get a pedigree.  Is this animal welfare?  The simplest and cheapest solution for a reputable breeder who cares about animal welfare seems to be pedigree-free breeding. Moreover, one must ask the question in what way a caesarean section is a welfare violation?  But that is another discussion.

– And all that combined with testing requirements of breed associations and covenants.

All these requirements and that combined with the smaller populations of pedigree dogs  in the Netherlands will eventually make the purebred dog literally ‘sick’ in the Netherlands. Many breeders will switch over to the ‘DNA-less’, untested and untraceable, whether or not inbred look-a-likes whose diseases are unknown and not publicly displayed on the website of the Dutch Kennel Club. We will no longer need the import of foreign look-a-likes because we will breed them ourselves in our own country.

However, if we want to breed pedigree dogs in this country, we will have to consider whether the road we have chosen is the right one. A path in which borders for pedigree dogs are practically closed and the pedigree dogs are flooded with requirements so that too many dogs are excluded from a pedigree and the small gene pool will finally do its devastating work. And that while anything is possible with the non- pedigree dog.

Clever combining with tested dogs without excluding dogs is necessary. Also, a good genetic diversity within a population is necessary for which it should at least be easy to appeal to foreign populations. Our southern neighbours (VFC of Flanders in Belgium) are less frenetic about many things and have embarked on an interesting path with good prospects. This is despite the fact that politicians there are struggling with the Community question (Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels).

Although we are convinced that the chairman wants the best for our pedigreedogs,  the big question that remains is how the chairman of the Dutch Kennel Club intends to realise his intention to get more pedigree dogs bred in the Netherlands instead of less?

Foundation Ras en Recht (Justice for pedigreedogs)

Edwin Meyer Viol

More or less pedigree dogs in the Netherlands?

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