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> What Is A 'rare Breed' And Does 'rare' Matter?
Kanie
post 7th Apr 2017, 1:33 pm
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How would you define 'rare'?

If a breed has a healthy, sustainable population in its place of origin (whether that be a country or a locality) does it matter if it isn't numerous outside that area?

Should people keep registering these breeds and trying to establish populations in the UK? I know I'd rather see a 'type' of dog out doing its thing in it's place of origin than a 'breed' that fits a standard drawn up by a committee, trotting round a show ring, or walking down my local high street.

I know it's happened to lots of breeds in the past and they are now popular and lovely pets (and some have peaked in popularity, become massively exaggerated in appearance and then diminished again like the St. Bernard and the Afghan) but does that mean it's still okay?

This post has been edited by Kanie: 7th Apr 2017, 1:34 pm
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Penninepoodlewelfare
post 7th Apr 2017, 2:19 pm
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You can find the definition for this if you google under "Britains endangered dog breeds"
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nikirushka
post 7th Apr 2017, 4:22 pm
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It depends on whether you're talking about rare in the UK, or a vulnerable native breed.

If the latter, I'm in two minds about it: on the one hand, it would be a shame to lose old breeds as they are a piece of our history but on the other, their gene pool is shrinking and perhaps in some cases, it would be better to let them go as suitable homes dwindle as do suitable people to continue breeding them to keep the breeds alive.
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Kanie
post 7th Apr 2017, 5:11 pm
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smile.gif I know what the Kennel Club definition is (and I don't really agree with the KC line on 'rare' and 'vulnerable' which is one reason I posted.

I agree that it would be a shame if some of our British and Irish native breeds died out, but realistically, many of them only became recognised as distinct breeds, rather than local types, at a point in History when people were obsessed with labelling and categorising and showing and breeding of animals was taking off in a big way. If you look at some of the breeds, they are good examples of what can happen if you breed solely for a 'standard' and although in most cases, this lead to an initial surge in popularity, it hasn't actually done a lot to keep the breeds going strong.

If you look at spaniels, we've got show ESS and show Cockers that look very different, but once they were the same breed and just variations in type. Working springers and cockers come in all shapes and sizes. It's like we've ring-fenced little islands of distinct type, based on someone, somewhere, wanting to promote 'their' type of spaniel and now we have little isolated populations of some spaniel breeds that are rarely seen working and rarely seen as pets either, like the Field and the Sussex. It's a shame, but should we have been at such pains to classify and label what was once just the 'Land Spaniel'?

Likewise, our terrier and pastoral breeds. The Kerry Blue and the Soft Coated Wheaten were once the same breed and the Westie was a white Cairn that was non-standard. We've split and defined so often and the irony is that if you go out and about and look at farm dogs and working terriers, you can still see many examples of what these breeds looked like right at the start of their show-breeding journey. They are undoubtedly 'collies' or 'terriers' - why wasn't that enough for us in the first place? There would still be a place for people who wanted to establish their own, distinct strain within the broader type and I'm sure they still would.

It still baffles me why the KC keeps adding foreign breeds onto the Register while claiming to champion our native breeds too. If a dog has a healthy, sustainable population in its native land then to me, that's a success. The breed is among a population of humans who understand what it is all about and know and (sometimes) love its specific qualities. Breeders live close to one another and know what dogs are around and how they measure up without the need of breed clubs, breed standards, internet sites and shows and litters aren't bred as a commercial venture but pups go locally so they are more likely to keep in touch. I think we should be pleased when we see a situation like that still existing, not trying to 'recognise' it as a breed and bring it to the UK as a show or pet dog. I don't see these dogs as 'rare' either: they are doing okay where they are meant to be, among a population of people who don't see them as 'specialist' breeds, but just the local dog.

I love seeing the Native Breeds as much as anyone and now they are here and actually, after years of selective breeding, a much better choice of pet in most cases than their working counterparts, I'm all for promoting them - but if we do that and at the same time start re-creating the problems all over again with so-called 'rare' breeds from the Continent, we're just going to condemn another breed to the same cycle.

lol.gif and that was my Friday essay! I just wanted to look at the whole 'rare' thing and try to see things differently and give people something to think about. I'm not madly anti-KC, or anti-show, or anti-pedigree dogs (or at least I'm not against breeding dogs with a purpose in mind) but I do think we don't learn much from past mistakes.
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Craters_on_the_lawn
post 7th Apr 2017, 6:44 pm
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I think the biggest problem with rare breeds is that they consist of a very small gene pool. So say there are only 200 of a particular breed - as I believe may the case with some of our very rare Native breeds. With the Kennel Club's insane (to my mind) demands that a dog can only be a particular breed if they are bred from parents who are registered of that breed then there is never any way that tiny gene pool is going to be enlarged.

Even presuming that same rare breed then becomes popular again - how is that going to happen? Only by interbreeding the existing dogs (who are probably already quite closely related) would a larger number of dogs be created - but they would all be very closely genetically related and at high risk of having inherited diseases and other genetic problems.

So - although its sad to loose some of our native rare breeds I think its better to let some die out rather than continue interbreeding and risking more inbred problems.

I think the whole "breed" idea is madness and we were much better off with "types". That would solve the problems of the small gene pool and yet retain our ability to still have dogs suited for particular jobs or with particular traits.

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ceri1
post 7th Apr 2017, 7:27 pm
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It's like the "new" KC jack Russell. They were talking on Crufts about how a lot of the founder registered dogs were imported as they wanted to fit the standard. They say that being a KC registered breed will allow dogs to be bred to a standard and how that's a great thing. I know lots of JRTs. I have a 6kg rough coated one and a 11kg smooth coated one, they are healthy active dogs, bred to do a job, not to fit an arbitrary standard, few health problems and long lifespans. I don't understand how the KC think they can improve them by homogenising them?
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woofgang
post 7th Apr 2017, 7:35 pm
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"It still baffles me why the KC keeps adding foreign breeds onto the Register while claiming to champion our native breeds too. If a dog has a healthy, sustainable population in its native land then to me, that's a success. The breed is among a population of humans who understand what it is all about and know and (sometimes) love its specific qualities. Breeders live close to one another and know what dogs are around and how they measure up without the need of breed clubs, breed standards, internet sites and shows and litters aren't bred as a commercial venture but pups go locally so they are more likely to keep in touch. I think we should be pleased when we see a situation like that still existing, not trying to 'recognise' it as a breed and bring it to the UK as a show or pet dog.

I get why you are saying this but personally I would be sorry if Weimaraners or GSP’s had never made it to the UK as I love these breeds and enjoy having them as my companions....there will be people who say this about other breeds which are now well known here. The same argument might be made about the Doberman, German Shepherd, Belgian Shepherd.....shall i go on?
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Kanie
post 8th Apr 2017, 12:58 pm
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smile.gif I couldn't agree more about Jack Russell Terriers! I was slightly incredulous when the Parson Jack Russell was 'discovered' by the Kennel Club, not least because they could have got more or less the same result by breeding less exaggerated wire and smooth fox terriers (I wonder why that would be errrrr rolleyes.gif )

I totally accept that many imported breeds have gone on to become firm favourites in the UK ( wub.gif post some more pictures, Woofgang! Your dogs are lovely!) and there's no point turning back the clock and saying they shouldn't be there, but I wonder what the net benefit to these breeds has been and how would we measure it?

Can I use the Weimeraner as a Guinea Pig (not even the Kennel Club have tried that!)

Since the breed arrived in the UK and began to become 'mainstream', how many Weimeraners have been bred that ended up in rescue or in homes that failed to provide for this wonderful breed's needs? How many have been bred that are totally unable to fulfil their original function through lack of ability or lack of opportunity? (playing Devil's advocate: does this actually matter if they are bringing companionship and fun into people's lives?) Would the people who really love the breed have somehow found them anyway and owned them regardless of whether or not they were recognised by the KC? (Devil's advocate again: doesn't KC registration also bring benefits like traceability)

I bet it's impossible to calculate, or even agree on a method smile.gif

You could also argue that some breeds just grab the general public's imagination more and it doesn't matter whether they are UK breeds, breeds from overseas, or even crossbreeds: some breeds just suddenly rocket in popularity and then the effect snowballs as the puppy farmers cash in.

Going back to UK Native Breeds: I'd sooner see sensible outcrossing and more of a push from the KC to actually showcase what they are actually capable of. We've got to accept many of them are no longer genuinely 'fit for function' but they are a lot more 'fit for function' as companions that many other, less 'reconstructed' breeds. Did you know there is a Smooth Collie working as a mountain rescue search dog, for example? Surely a Dandie or a Sealyham would be a much better pet terrier than a Patterdale (making sweeping generalisations here, but how many Patterdales end up in rescue?)

sad.gif It's as though the Kennel Club just don't learn anything from the past.
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woofgang
post 8th Apr 2017, 3:24 pm
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QUOTE(Kanie @ 8th Apr 2017, 12:58 pm) *

smile.gif I couldn't agree more about Jack Russell Terriers! I was slightly incredulous when the Parson Jack Russell was 'discovered' by the Kennel Club, not least because they could have got more or less the same result by breeding less exaggerated wire and smooth fox terriers (I wonder why that would be errrrr rolleyes.gif )

I totally accept that many imported breeds have gone on to become firm favourites in the UK ( wub.gif post some more pictures, Woofgang! Your dogs are lovely!) and there's no point turning back the clock and saying they shouldn't be there, but I wonder what the net benefit to these breeds has been and how would we measure it?

Can I use the Weimeraner as a Guinea Pig (not even the Kennel Club have tried that!)

Since the breed arrived in the UK and began to become 'mainstream', how many Weimeraners have been bred that ended up in rescue or in homes that failed to provide for this wonderful breed's needs? How many have been bred that are totally unable to fulfil their original function through lack of ability or lack of opportunity? (playing Devil's advocate: does this actually matter if they are bringing companionship and fun into people's lives?) Would the people who really love the breed have somehow found them anyway and owned them regardless of whether or not they were recognised by the KC? (Devil's advocate again: doesn't KC registration also bring benefits like traceability)

I bet it's impossible to calculate, or even agree on a method smile.gif

You could also argue that some breeds just grab the general public's imagination more and it doesn't matter whether they are UK breeds, breeds from overseas, or even crossbreeds: some breeds just suddenly rocket in popularity and then the effect snowballs as the puppy farmers cash in.

Going back to UK Native Breeds: I'd sooner see sensible outcrossing and more of a push from the KC to actually showcase what they are actually capable of. We've got to accept many of them are no longer genuinely 'fit for function' but they are a lot more 'fit for function' as companions that many other, less 'reconstructed' breeds. Did you know there is a Smooth Collie working as a mountain rescue search dog, for example? Surely a Dandie or a Sealyham would be a much better pet terrier than a Patterdale (making sweeping generalisations here, but how many Patterdales end up in rescue?)

sad.gif It's as though the Kennel Club just don't learn anything from the past.

I think net benefit to breed is just about impossible to measure...it would depend so much on how you define net benefit. When we got our first one we were told many times firmly and publicly by complete strangers that a) he should have been docked and b) we shouldn’t have one if we didn’t shoot. Actually I think a well bred HPR is quite a good companion dog for many reasons. They are bred to work in partnership with humans and to view humans as close companions. My experience is that teaching distance recall is fairly easy and they are neither exaggerated in conformation or coat.
I think that the number ending up in rescue or in the wrong home is something of a red herring. I suspect if it wasn’t a weimaraner it would be some other dog. I honestly think that the bulk of wrong homes are homes that are wrong for any dog. I think that the dog needs thing needs to be taken more broadly than the dog being able to do what it was bred for in the task sense. The very wise lady who bred our first dog defined the needs of weimaraners differently from saying they need to hunt point and retrieve. She said they needed companionship and interraction with humans, opportunities to use their brains, opportunities to free run safely, although not for miles and not every day and to know that they were loved and approved of. She placed her dogs in both city and country homes, as working dogs, show dogs, agility and trials dogs, a couple of police tracking dogs but mainly in homes where they were well loved companions.
Actually, I see the whole breed/rare breed issue rather differently. I think we should be breeding the dogs who suit the current circumstances and letting the breeds go who do not or who are otherwise..not sure how to put this but i think the best way is probably “not viable in their present form” best example of this I reckon is the bullddog....there have been arguments that the breed could/should be improved by crossing it with other dogs woth better conformation but this seems to me to be doing a disservice to both the other breeds used and to the offspring produced because it takes “normal” viable breeds and disimproves them....anyway now I am wittering
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