LUA Dalmatian Makes Breed History
A Low Uric Acid Dalmatian Going to Crufts!
As breeder Carol Chase snuggled the warm newborn, breathing in “puppy breath” she could never have dreamed how famous Fiacre’s First and Foremost would become.
February 7, 2011 | TheDogPress.com
Marion Mitchell, Sect. of the Dalmatians of North America the UKC Club for Dalmatians
A Dalmatian puppy born September 9th 2007 forever changed the concept of a genetic problem in her breed. Fiona, as she was nicknamed, was destined to become First and Foremost in important ways to the Dalmatian breed. She was the result of a breeding program commenced in 1973 with the original outcross of an AKC registered Champion Pointer sire bred to an AKC registered Dalmatian dam. Dr. Robert Schaible (a geneticist & hobby breeder) conducted the breeding in an effort to address the fixed genetic defect in Dalmatians that affects uric acid metabolism and that may lead to increased urinary uric acid, urate crystals, urinary bladder aggregate formation, stones, urinary tract obstruction and even death.
The LUA Dalmatian puppy grew up robust and healthy however she and many other low uric acid Dalmatians cannot currently be registered with AKC. The AKC club (Dalmatian Club Of America) is opposing registration on the grounds that the Low Uric acid Dalmatians aren’t pure enough. Yet these are 15th generation and are 99.98 % pure, the same as all Dalmatians.
In 2007, Dr. Danika Bannasch at the University of California (Davis) under a grant primarily funded by the National Institutes of Health, identified the gene mutation that causes high uric acid. Dr. Bannasch developed a genetic test to determine if a puppy has the normal form of the gene or the mutation. A dog with one normal copy of this gene will have low uric acid, but can produce both low and high uric acid progeny. A dog with two normal copies of this gene has low uric acid and will only produce puppies with low uric acid.
Notably, Fiona finished her UKC Championship in 4 shows with 3 Reserve Best in Shows and 1 Best in Multi-Breed Show - at just 6 months of age. Carrying the banner for the Low Uric Acid outcross gene, this lovely Dalmatian proved herself by becoming UKC's #1 Dalmatian for 2008 and 2009 even winning the group at UKC's Premier - first time ever for a Dalmatian. At the UKC Premier show in 2010 she became a UKC “Total” dog which means she won her conformation competition and had a qualifying score in a performance event on the same day.
But Fiona wasn’t done with being First and Foremost. In August 0f 2010 she went to England to live with Julie Evans, a Dalmatian breeder who had convinced the UK Kennel Club to register the LUA dogs even if the Dalmatian Club Of America and the American Kennel Club had refused to do so for over for 35 years.
Two judges assessed Fiona before she was able to be registered by the UK Kennel Club. Both judges gave her an excellent report and deemed that she was indeed a Dalmatian! Thus Fiona achieved another “first” and became eligible to be shown in the UK and to prove to the world that Low Uric Acid Dalmatians are capable of taking on the so-called “real Dalmatians”.
The show scene is VERY different in the UK. The highest award is the Challenge Certificate (CC) ONLY awarded at Championship shows to the best bitch and best dog in the breed. To gain a champion title the dog must win 3 CC's under 3 different judges! Entries are VERY large at these shows, usually around 150 Dalmatians. It is widely accepted that the UK champion title is the world’s most difficult to win. The strongest class with the most entries and highest quality is usually Limit bitch. This class is for CC winners and other top-winning bitches. Fiona, at her very first championship show (in December) was 3rd in Limit bitch with 13 in her class which qualified her for the world-famous Crufts Dog Show! At Open shows (no CC's) she has won Best of Breed twice and a Group 1st. Unless you have a CC or Studbook Number, you must qualify every year for Crufts so on January 9th Fiona placed 2nd in Limit, which also qualifies her for Crufts in 2012.
We must all be truly grateful to her breeder Carol Chase. Julie Evans, her British owner, says of Fiona, “I don't believe any other dog could have achieved what Fiona has done in the UK. She is well up to size for the British show ring. I think fate plays a part in many things, Fiona was only coming here to produce a litter, however the moment I laid eyes on her I knew she was going to do so much more than that. She is an LUA ambassador for the rest of the world. With the Crufts Dog Show coming up, Fiona is more famous than the Queen!!!!”
Win or lose, Dalmatian breeders around the world will know Fiona is special, a gift to the Dalmatian world. Carol Chase is also to be commended as she has given her heart to Fiona and this project to promote urinary health in all Dalmatians.
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Reference and Related Dalmatian Information:
http://www.spotsdna.org (web site for the new UKC Dalmatians of North America)