Centered across the top of the rather official, tasteful certificate: Certificate of DNA Analysis.
Then it identifies the dog it represents by name, sex, age, Field Dog Stud Book number, owner, a colorful bar code which assures the holder that its offspring can be identified to a greater than 99.9% certainty from now on. Dr. Dennis Fontin, Ph.D., M.B.A., signs for MMI Genomics, Inc of Davis, California.
It represents one of the greatest forward steps ever taken for dogs registered with the FDSB. It is progress.
For there is no reason any longer to buy a registered dog and wonder if it is what the papers say, or to ship a female to be bred and wonder if she was bred to the intended stud.
The club that registers Greyhounds, profoundly interested in accuracy of breeding, has for several years required DNA typing of all dogs. The UKC for hounds, the AKC for many breeds have offered and required the typing. It is widely known that Tennessee Walking Horses, so out of control with inaccuracies, compelled DNA testing. But that was after the lawsuits and federal intervention.
The FDSB has negotiated with MMI to bring the breeds it registers into the fold at a minimum fee of $50 and the couple of minutes it takes to run a swab along the dogís gum.
No requirement is yet imposed, but it must in some form shortly come. One breed, the Lewellen Setters, appealed to the FDSB to require all its dogs to be DNA recorded. The tool which has freed prisoners on death row and put others there is an infallible detective. Costs were prohibitive until very recently. No longer.
It is a shame that recently deceased prominent sires are not recorded. The one requirement existing is that a dog must be DNA recorded in order to have its frozen semen registration eligible.
Abuses of registration have been widely known and even more widely
suspected, and that with some of the most often used sires, whose custodians,
faced with many females in season would juggle other dogs into the breeding
pen as substitutes. And stand-ins have been used regularly when age
started slowing down even some of the most prominent. When all sires are
typed, there is no reason for this to go undetected. There is every
reason to believe that those who would continue to violate the integrity
of the breed would be caught and by their action put themselves out of
business. The same for the female, but her influence is not so widespread
as that of an advertised sire. Papers of deceased well-bred females
have also been foisted on litters of other females.
The first obvious question is why would the owner of a sire offered to the public at stud not immediately and voluntarily have the dogís DNA recorded? And the only answer is so the pattern of using substitutes can be continued. The schemes have been many, all to the goal of gathering greater stud fees and prices for puppies, with blatant disregard for integrity of the breeds. If all the pups of a producing kennel are registered by a single champion sire, the likelihood of getting a good one is greater, the success of the offspring, by what ever natural sire accrues to the one promoted. Promotions without foundation in fact will one day be over, and sooner the better. Already one kennel has been tripped up twice by DNA testing. In one instance, a pupís test said it was not by the sire stated, which was DNA recorded. The registration was turned down. In an elaborate program, all available males in the kennel were tested. Sure enough, the actual sire was identified. The tests have disqualified at least one litter.
The inaccuracies have been so winked at that to suddenly impose a requirement of DNA to register would be a severe blow, however advisable.
But the FDSB has been pressured to begin a requirement that will take a first major step. One suggestion is that a dog must be DNA typed when its second litter is offered for registration. There are many that support the stringent requirement that a dog must be DNA recorded to enter a field trial. Another proposal would have DNA record required for a dog advertised at stud and the ad to so state
Perhaps the most supported idea is for a steady accumulation of a solid DNA base by requiring a dog that wins a championship or runner-up be DNA recorded before he or she gets the placement included in the FDSB. Just think how many prominent dogs in just a couple of years would have been put in the DNA records, and they have now died. To that extent the true records have a void. These first recordings are the building blocks that would one day allow a 5-generation pedigree to be 100% DNA typed. A pedigree with meaning rather than a joke.
The voluntary plan unfortunately will not work. It is not working now, and one would think it should be. The impetus might be expected to come from owners of females and buyers of dogs simply asking to see the DNA certificate. If a prominent breeder says he hasnít got ole Jim typed, then he should be passed over for there is no excuse other than a presumption that he has been substituting and plans to continue.
It erases let the buyer beware to let the buyer be sure.
Itís simple. Ask the FIELD to send the kit, itís free. Run the swab over the dogís gum, complete the simple form, and with $50, mail it back to Chicago. The certificate follows and Ole Jimís identity is recorded for all time, an identity never to be stolen or toyed with. At least one championship this year paid the fee for its champion and runner-up. That could become a pattern.
However, it is predictable that when the potential is fully understood the pressure will mount for a minimum requirement that a champion or runner-up by DNA recorded.