The DNA test for the “dilute” (dd) locus – How new is it?

Silver_Labrador_Retriever_Cooper Serious, well-respected breeders of the Labrador Retriever, especially those outside the United States, were never confronted with the dilution gene. The dilution (dd) gene is alien to the Labrador Retriever breed. However, in the dog world in general, the dilution gene is very well known and valued, sometimes even required. These are some dog breeds in which the dilution gene is present; often rare, sometimes common. In the Slovakian Pointer and the Weimaraner the dilute colour is the only recognized variety of the breed. American Staffordshire Terrier, Beagle, Bearded Collie, Border Collie, Borzoi, Canary Dog (Presa Canario), Cane Corso, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Chihuahua, Chow Chow, Doberman, Elkhound, Finnish Lapphund, Foxhound (American and English), German Pinscher, Great Dane, Greyhound, Harrier, Italian Greyhound, Kelpie, Miniature Pinscher, Mudi, Neapolitan Mastiff, Newfoundland, Otterhound, Peruvian Inca Orchid, Plott Hound, Podengo Portugueso, Pomeranian, Rat Terrier, Russian Toy Terrier, Schipperke, Shar Pei, Shih Tzu, Slovakian Pointer, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Thai Ridgeback, Tibetan Mastiff, Weimaraner, Whippet, Xoloitzcuintle. Ever since the dilute (dd) gene in DNA was “discovered” and “isolated” in 2007, many breeders of the breeds mentioned above made good use of the test. It’s an excellent test to find out if (part of) your litter will be “blue”, “isabella”, “light gray”, or “lilac”. It has come to my knowledge that many breeders of “dilute” “Labradors” are also frequently using this test, either to establish the financial value of a dog, or to find out if a litter will be “silver”, “charcoal” or “champagne”. All this testing of DNA in regard to coat colours, especially the dilution gene, has resulted in the fact that veterinary genetic laboratories are experienced in this field, not only when it comes to dogs, but also in cats and horses, to name a few. The serious, well-respected Labrador breeders of today, the ones who want to prevent the bloodlines and closed studbook of the Labrador Retriever to be fouled by the dilution gene, can and should profit from this knowledge. If you’re acquiring a dog, or an unknown bitch comes to make use of your dog’s stud services, you can require a DNA test which proves that this particular dog doesn’t carry the dilution gene. Kennel Clubs can require such a test before a dog is imported from a foreign country, or before a dog or a litter is registered, when there are doubts. Some people in the Labrador world might be opposed to these requirements, as it means extra costs. However, DNA does not change, and a DNA test does not need to be repeated. When both the male and the female have been tested and found to be free of the dilution gene, you can be sure that the puppies are also free. Unless, of course, there is fraud involved, and other parents are used than stated in the pedigree certificate. Breeders of “silver”, “charcoal” and “champagne” “Labradors” (I use quotes because these are mutts) are continuously trying to get new blood into their lines, from respectable bloodlines, In the past, and even very recently, owners of champion stud dogs have been lured into letting their stud dogs servicing a dilute bitch, or a bitch carrying the dilution gene. As a result, the names of these champions turn up in the pedigree certificates of diluted “Labradors”. Such a move could be the end of the career of these stud dogs, and maybe even of the owners, as no serious Labrador breeder wants to be in any way connected to a dog who has produced “silvers”, “charcoals” or “champagnes”. Hence my serious advise: whenever in doubt, require the DNA test for the dilution gene. Jack Vanderwyk, January 2014

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About Jack Vanderwyk

Hey! What am I like! :-)
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