Open Letter to the American Kennel Club (AKC)

The American Kennel Club (AKC)

Attn governance

Copy to: the Labrador Retriever Club, Inc.

Dear Board members of the American Kennel Club,

We, the Labrador breeders and Labrador Clubs from all over the world, are concerned about the future of the Labrador Retriever. The cause of these concerns lies in the fact that more and more dogs are imported from the United States, with pedigree certificates from the American Kennel Club (AKC), which state that the dogs are Labrador Retrievers with the colors black, yellow or chocolate, while in reality these are dogs that are carriers of the so-called “dilute” (dd) gene. The dd gene is characterized by a “diluted” coat color and light eyes, which are called “charcoal” or “blue” if the base color is black, “champagne” if the base color is yellow, and “silver” if the base color is chocolate. In particular, the “silvers” are becoming more and more popular with the general public and substantial amounts of money are paid for puppies and adult dogs.

On first sight it seems that there is nothing to worry about these practices, because these dogs are imported with the recognized colors on their pedigree certificates, and as such they can formally be entered in the studbook of a National Kennel Club. However, the duties of a Kennel Club as keeper of the studbook surpass that of formally administrator. One can not pretend that nothing is wrong, only because of the fact that the paperwork looks okay.

The fact is that the “dilute” (dd) gene or locus is alien to the Labrador Retriever breed. This gene is simply not present in the breed as we know it. In order to keep the studbook closed, and maintain the purity of the Labrador Retriever breed, the National Kennel Clubs, and especially the AKC, should ensure that no genes alien to the breed are entering the breed. Covert operations like opening a closed studbook in a sneaky way is not what the public expects from a respectable organization like a Kennel Club.

In the United Kingdom, where the Labrador Retriever was first registered, it was never possible to register dogs with the “dilute” (dd) gene as Labrador Retrievers. Until recently. The “dilute” (dd) gene surfaced in the United States in the late forties and early fifties of the last century. In those years there were no DNA tests available, and unfortunately these dogs were registered as Labrador Retrievers. The breeder who produced these dogs, Mayo Kellogg from Kellogg Kennels, was an important customer of the American Kennel Club (AKC). Kellogg bred several breeds, including the Weimaraner, a breed which carries the “dilute” (dd), and the dogs often ran free. Initially these dogs were registered as “silver”, until the Labrador Retriever Club Inc. (LRC), the parent club of the American Labrador Retriever clubs, objected against these practices. From that moment the “dilute” (dd) dogs were registered with the recognized three coat colors of the Labrador Retriever.

More than half a century later we sadly have to observe that the American studbook of the Labrador Retriever, as maintained by the American Kennel Club (AKC), contains more than 35,000 dogs that carry the “dilute” (dd) gene. Not all carriers are also phenotypically affected. However, these dogs that only carry the gene are passing it on to their offspring. This means that we simply can not be satisfied with a phenotypical (” by eye”) check, let alone by simply looking at an AKC pedigree certificate. Genetic research of these dogs by means of DNA tests will need to take place to make sure that the stud book stays closed. Any presence of the “dilute” (dd) genes in the Labrador Retriever is unacceptable.

How is it possible that the American Kennel Club (AKC) got away with this fraud for so many decades, and still seems to get away with it? What is the difference between the American Kennel Club (AKC), the United Kennel Club (UKC), and the Continental Kennel Club (CKC) to name a few? Well, to us foreigners the difference is huge, because the AKC is the only American Kennel Club which is recognized by the FCI, and therefore regarded trustworthy. How wrong we are, how wrong the FCI and the British Kennel Club were when they recognized the AKC.

The AKC seems to be an organization with fantastic business people at the top, despite being a non-profit registry. Integrity, the interests of the breed clubs, such trivial things seem to be bad for the budget. Being the largest, the most well-known, and the most influential Kennel Club of the world, doesn’t necessarily make the AKC the most trustworthy Kennel Club in the world. A studbook seems to be as closed as the budget allows. The Labrador Retriever isn’t the only breed the AKC have messed with. There was the merle Chihuahua scandal (the merle coloration came from the Dachshund), the fraudulent Bulldog registrations, the Mastiff studbook fraud, the Samoyed scandal, the Kuvasz scandal, etc. The list goes on and on. In his book “The Dog Wars:– How the Border Collie Battled the American Kennel Club”, Donald McCaig writes, “AKC authority doesn’t derive from affection. Through the long years of the dog wars I never heard one dog person, obedience or conformation, confess fondness for the AKC. The highest praise I ever heard was said — in response to criticism by the Humane Society of the United States — “The AKC isn’t much, but it’s ours.” Whenever I came to an AKC event, dog fanciers took me aside, to relate scandals,”

I think it is a good thing that the FCI and the Kennel Clubs around the world become aware of the “qualities” of the American Kennel Club, because in my opinion they trust and value the AKC far too much.

Below, you will find a list of “Labradors” which originally were registered as “silver” or “charcoal” by OFA/AKC. In 1987 the Labrador Retriever Club of America (LRC) objected against the registration of other colors than black, yellow and chocolate, after which dilute Labrador lookalikes carrying the dilute (dd) gene were registered as black, yellow or chocolate Labradors. One has to admit that agreeing to this fraud wasn’t the brightest move of the LRC.

Aldine Gundogs Silver Ruger (Silver)
Baba Yaga Americani (Silver)
Baby’s Chelsea Lynn’s Diamond (Silver gray)
Belle’s Remington Steel (Silver)
Bristol II (Silver)
Culo Toot (Silver)
Eldridge Silver Libby (Silver)
Landis Sadie My Lady (Silver)
Lily Grace Huggins (Silver)
Madam Wigeon of Dry Creek (Silver)
Nowicki’s Silver Lily (Silver)
Pintailpeaks Silver Belle (Silver)
PR Molly Sapphire (Silver)
Princess Silver Lily (Silver)
Rain of Silverpawz (Silver)
Silver Star Adara (Silver)
Silver Star Bella Blue (Silver)
Silver Star Sheza Darlin (Silver)
Silver Sugar Cara (Silver)
Silver Thao (Silver)
Silverback Grizzly Pope (Silver)
Silverlands Sly Sylvester (Silver)
Sir Silver Drake of Just Labs (Silver)
Spook Culo (Silver)
Tara’s Chloe of Just Labs (Silver)
Thunder of Silver Pawz (Silver)
Klumpp’s Khrome Ruger (Charcoal black)
Mika Bou (Charcoal)
Smoke n Chevy (Charcoal)

Today there are more than 35,000 of these mutts registered as Labradors with AKC. By allowing dilute dogs to be registered as silvers and charcoal Labradors first, and as black, yellow and chocolate Labradors later, the AKC have set a precedent. What they’re actually saying is, “Okay, if you were clever or lucky enough to get your mutts registered with us in the past, we’re not going to be critical when it comes to registering their offspring with us now.” These are, however, not the policies one expects from a well respected organization.

Imagine the arrogance of it all: the standard of the Labrador Retriever breed only mentions the colors black, yellow and chocolate, and the AKC ignore the standard completely by registering “silvers” and “charcoals”. Once they realize that they’ve gone too far, they refuse to unregister these dogs. Instead, they look at a couple of pictures, say, “Yeah, these are Labradors”, and continue registering these mutts as black, yellow or chocolate Labradors for the following decades.

Perhaps we should give the Americans some “Marshall Aid” regarding the registration of purebred dogs and the principals of closed studbooks. The fact that you have done something wrong for half a century, doesn’t make it right. Now is the time that the AKC can do something to limit the damage.

Like no other the AKC knows which dogs we’re talking about. Like no other the AKC, with its digital and paper database and its AKC DNA Database and Parentage Verification, is able to find out which dogs are carriers of the dilute (dd) gene.

Three renowned genetic laboratories, Vetgen, Laboklin, and the Van Haeringen Group, have confirmed to me in writing that it is perfectly possible to show the presence of the “dilute” (dd) gene. These studies have already been developed and can be used today. The costs are about US$65.00.

Now science has progressed, it can be shown that the DNA of a dog contains genes which are alien to the Labrador Retriever breed, which means that such a dog CAN NOT be a purebred Labrador Retriever. Kennel Clubs, including the AKC, are increasingly under fire because of these extremely bad and dangerous developments, which need to stop here and now. It’s only a matter of time before the first lawsuit in the United States against the American Kennel Club appears, as the AKC in their pedigree certificates quite wrongfully gives the impression that these “dilutes” are purebred Labrador Retrievers. If the National Kennel Clubs are not willing or able to effectively guarantee or monitor the purity of a dog, then who is? And what is the value of a pedigree certificate?

The National Kennel Clubs have the means to prevent non-purebred dogs to enter the studbooks. If in doubt about the presence of the “dilute” (dd) gene in Labrador Retrievers, one should require the applicant of a pedigree certificate to proof that this particular dog or litter is free from the “dilute” (dd) gene, by means of DNA testing by accredited laboratories.

I would like to ask the Board of the American Kennel Club (AKC) to require that any Labrador Retriever that is exported to another country has to show the results of a DNA test proving that the dog is free from the “dilute” (dd) gene. This should also apply to any Labrador Retriever when there are doubts about the purity, regarding the presence of the “dilute” (dd) gene.

Finally, I would like to ask the Board of the American Kennel Club (AKC) to look into the practices of registering “silvers” as chocolates, “charcoals” as blacks, and “champagnes” as yellows. Stop with this fraud. These dogs are not even purebred Labradors. The task of the American Kennel Club (AKC) is to guard the purity of the breed. This is a very serious task. Should it turn out that the American Kennel Club (AKC) is not willing to take this task seriously (enough), then there is always the possibility to let the Courts decide about these issues.

Yours sincerely,

Jack Vanderwyk

UPDATE 1: January 10, 2014

Reply from Glenda Brown, the Labrador Retriever Club (LRC):

Thank you very much for your letter to the AKC in regard to “silvers” and other “exotic colored dogs”.

I sent it on to the Board of the Labrador Retriever Club.

We have approached the AKC on numerous occasions about this situation and the reply has been “the AKC will do nothing about Silvers or anything else that might impact registration.”

Possibly more letters such as yours might have an impact on the Board of the American Kennel Club.

Thank you for writing to The Labrador Retriever Club.

Glenda Brown

Update 2: January 10, 2014

Dear Jack – thank you for the copy of your letter to the AKC.
I will onforward it to delegates of the Labrador Retriever National Breed Council (Australia) for their consideration.
Additionally I will send it to each State Labrador Retriever Club Secretary for inclusion in their newsletters to members.
I am sure that your stance against “Silvers” will find widespread support amongst breed enthusiasts here in Australia.
All of our State Clubs have featured a “Silver coat” warning on their websites for a number of years.
Congratulations on taking up the good fight against this ever growing problem in our breed.

kind regards

Mark Sheppard
Secretary – National Labrador Retriever Breed Council

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Click here to download the print version of the petition, to be used at shows, events, etc.



About Jack Vanderwyk

Hey! What am I like! :-)
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2 Responses to Open Letter to the American Kennel Club (AKC)

  1. 8 January 2014, 11.45pm: First hate mails from American “silver” breeders have arrived. They say they can prove that their dilutes are purebred Labradors, and that they feel “sorrow” for me. If that’s the case, what are they worried about? Why are they even bothered?

  2. Hope says:

    I bought what I was told was a pure Boxer. It became apparent around 8 months old that something was not right. She never went into heat, and she only weighed 30 lbs. Now after 2 years, an emergency TOTAL hysterectomy, and a total weight if 34 lbs., I know in my heart that her AKC papers are worthless, that something is wrong with her and it is genetics. There have been too many issues that are not related to her breed.

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