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The National Pomeranian Club adds new (merle) pattern to AKC breed standard based on a minority vote!
August 31, 2010 | TheDogPress.com
Geneva Coats, Genetics Editor
AKC suggests a 2/3 supermajority vote to approve any changes
to important documents like a breed standard. Most clubs include
such a stipulation in their by-laws. One would assume that to ADD a
new pattern description into a standard, the APC membership would
have to approve the measure with a 2/3 majority vote. Right?
Well, throw that
assumption out the window. In this case, a very vocal minority
was allowed to prevail. The American Pomeranian Club recently
approved a revised breed standard. The club members are being told
by the APC board of directors that the updated standard will include
this statement in the pattern section:
Merle – Blue,
Chocolate, Sable. A base color with contrasting lighter and darker
areas giving a mottled appearance on allowed colors or patterns.
APC members were TOLD, not ASKED, that this merle description will be
added to the standard....without any vote of approval! This is in
direct violation of the club’s constitution and bylaws. Lack of
disqualification does not equate to acceptable. A DQ that fails to
attain supermajority vote status does not legitimize an existing
problem, it merely spotlights the issue.
Since the beginning
of the modern breed in the late 19th century, a merle pattern
description has NEVER existed in any written standard; and there has
NEVER been historical documentation to suggest that merle
Pomeranians have ever existed until recent years. Neither is merle
an allowed or described pattern for Pomeranians in any other country
in the world!
In the recent
standard revision balloting, a line-item vote was taken on the issue
of a disqualification for merle. A whopping 59% of the club
members voted for the disqualification for merle. A
landslide! Not only do these members not wish to have merle
described in the standard, but they felt strongly enough about this
issue that they actually voted for merle to be a disqualification.
Ignoring the will of
the overwhelming majority of club members, a minority opinion was
apparently sufficient justification to add in new verbiage
describing blue merle, chocolate merle and sable merle. (Sable
merle? Which color class do I enter?) Claiming direction from AKC,
the APC board of directors added a completely new pattern
description into the Pomeranian breed standard WITHOUT a vote of
approval! How was this accomplished?
In fine print on the ballot we find: PLEASE NOTE: If the Merle DQ does not pass the following
will be added to Allowed Patterns: Merle: Blue,
Chocolate, Sable and the merle description will be added to the pattern descriptions.
Mari-Beth O'Neill is
AKC's Assistant Vice President of Special Services and was the
club's advisor for the standard revision process. When questioned
regarding the legality of the addition of this pattern description,
Ms. O'Neill responded: “The membership was provided with the description of the merle pattern as it is what was
voted on as the DQ on the ballot. The statement that followed explained if it failed that description would be added to the Pattern description. I realize what a controversial issue this is for the breed, and fully appreciate your concern.”
Supporters of merle
Pomeranians observed what happened with the recent Chihuahua
standard revision. They noticed how the DQ for merle was narrowly
defeated by presenting it as a separate, line-item vote. The APC
board polled its club members and discovered that they fell short of
a 2/3 majority support for a DQ for merle...and so, "Monkey see,
Monkey do".... the standard ballot was presented with separate
line-item votes for ONLY the color section items. Seemingly the APC
board wished to avert a very controversial DQ by presenting it as a
separate item, as they were aware from polling that it was unlikely
to attain a 2/3 vote as a stand-alone measure.
APC's board of
directors is composed primarily of a group who ran as an independent
slate in the last club elections. Proclaiming a "commitment to
communicate", some of the current board members have instead
revealed their true agenda....control of the standard revision that
was in progress at the time of the club elections nearly two years ago.
This board has
sliced, diced and served up a different recipe than the standard
revision committee originally presented. Several membership polls
were taken, but there was no poll regarding adding a completely new
pattern to the standard! And now, nearly two years later, just as
their term is about to expire, they present the standard for a
vote....waiting as long as possible for newer, more "progressive"
members to join the club. (There is no waiting period, new members
may vote immediately.)
Thankfully, there is
no other country that allows or describes merle Pomeranians in its
breed standard; including FCI countries, The Kennel Club of the UK,
and the Canadian Kennel Club. Merle Pomeranians have only recently
been seen in the breed, and even more recently in the show ring. The
current AKC standard states that all colors, patterns and variations
thereof are allowed. The patterns are then described in detail, but
merle is not described. Thus, merle breeders and owners have
"pushed the envelope", showing merle Pomeranians under a loophole in the current standard.
Merle brings several
distinctly linked health problems into the breed....the strong
probability of eye defects and deafness when a dog is born with a
"double dose" of the merle gene. (see photo above). While most caring and educated
breeders would not intentionally breed merle to merle, the gene can
be visually undetectable in some dogs with excessive white coat, or
in the red, orange, cream or sable colored specimens that comprise
the majority of the Pomeranian gene pool. Accidental or perhaps even
intentional merle-to-merle breedings have already happened, as
evidenced by double merle Poms recently entering Pomeranian rescue.
We will likely see more of these cases in the future, particularly
if the pattern is legitimized by inclusion in the breed standard.
standard has always called for DARK eyes, not the light blue eyes
that commonly accompany merle. In a move that preserves dark eyes as
an essential component of breed type, 67% of the APC membership
agreed that light blue eyes should be a disqualification. The newly
approved standard includes a disqualification for "eye(s) light
blue, blue marbled, blue flecked".
about crossbreeding that likely brought this new pattern into the
Pomeranian breed, APC member Mari Iffland noted:
"This issue will not
end with the vote. It has divided the club in half and its unlikely
things will ever be resolved. Regardless of how the vote went . . .
it did not change my mind about where the merles originated, and I'm
sure I am not alone in this. All it does is destroy our faith in the parent club and the AKC."
standard has been submitted to AKC and is slated for discussion at
the October board meeting. The voters have spoken and their voices
should be heard. But; should the APC insert a merle description
into the standard when the majority of club members are opposed?
Such an addition should only be allowed upon approval by a 2/3 majority vote of the club members.
This standard revision represents years of hard work by many people.
All that is needed to rectify the
situation is an additional ballot on ONE item. The AKC board
should direct the American Pomeranian Club to conduct a separate
ballot on the merle pattern description issue prior to finalizing
the new breed standard. Such action would exemplify the AKC motto:
"We're more than Champion dogs. We're the Dog's Champion".
Copyright © TheDogPress.com 109142
AKC Defended Board Member who interfered with Chihuahua Club ballot on merle color DQ. AKC communications with Gloria Lambert, internationally respected Chihuahua breeder.
Judge, British Chihuahua Club Chairman Graham Foote, on merle color gene, including Merle Gene Fact Sheet. One of the hottest international, genetics, and ethics issues in dogs...
Gladstone Letter to CCA Members See the letter by Steven Gladstone, who interfered with Chihuahua Club Of America ballot to DQ merle color, using his AKC and AKC/CHF Board positions.
Chihuahuas - Any Color Marked Or Splashed?? Gloria Lambert, Tanyas Toys, says absolutely not and explains the genetic deformities.
Chihuahua Breeder Rebuts disqualifying merle colored, defends genetics, breeds, shows, and wins with the color and thanks Gladstone for his letter to Chihuahua Club Of America members.
Pomeranian Club Ignores AKC guidelines, defies majority of members' wishes by adding merle pattern to revised Pomeranian breed standard.
World Bans Merle Chihuahuas but CCA voted down merle DQ following ballot interference by AKC Board member. Other countries refuse to register any dog out of merle parents. American Breeders unable to export.
Australian Chihuahua Breeder-Judge chastises AKC Director on his letter interfering with Parent Club vote on the merle gene.
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