Wed, 06/02/2021 - 1:58pm

Question of the Week

How should parent clubs deal with new colors or color combinations that have been introduced to their breeds?

Allan Reznik

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

I would like to see parent clubs become more proactive and add the appropriate disqualifications to their standards. Some have already done so. In my own two breeds, brindle “Tibetan Spaniels” (they are, in fact, Tibbie x Shih Tzu crosses; purebred Tibetan Spaniels don’t come in brindle) have appeared on Facebook, as have FCI champion Irish-marked (“panda”) Afghan Hounds. We can no longer rely on the honor system to keep these funky colors and patterns out of the AKC conformation ring. It’s the Wild West out there! Someone — either deliberately or out of naïveté — will push the envelope and enter a mismark if it is merely a “fault” in an AKC breed standard, or not mentioned at all.

Let’s not put judges in the untenable position of having a brindle, chocolate, blue or merle specimen in their ring, colors and patterns that are foreign to their breeds yet not addressed in their standards. Add the DQs as needed, so that judges, exhibitors and breeders are all, quite literally, on the same page. 


Luis and Patty Sosa

Madisonville, Lousiana

We believe that the first ad in each page in the AKC Marketplace should be the parent-club banner with contact information. That way the prospective puppy buyer can contact the parent club for breed information. Most parent clubs have tips on their website on what to look for and how to buy a new puppy. That way the prospective buyer can make an informed decision. Many breed clubs are addressing new and disqualifying colors in standard revisions.


Cathy Rubens

Kenly, North Carolina

My humble opinion: DNA required on both parents and an AKC audit to verify DNA of correct parentage. Are they not responsible for the integrity of the stud book?


Carolyn Siebert

Scotland, Maryland

A lot depends on how the new color or colors being introduced impact the genetics of the breed. In my case, German Wirehaired Pointers, the introduction of black, which is dominant over the brown that is characteristic of the breed, could essentially extinguish the color that the breed is known for. Also, some colors carry problems that a breed may want to avoid. In the case of the color blue in Dobermans, it is often associated with skin problems. It is a slippery slope and once started down it may not be possible to get back up, so the ramifications of any such decision should be carefully considered before allowing the introduction of new colors in breed standards.


Leslie Earl

Davis, California

“Introduced” means that these colors are not likely found in purebred dogs of a particular breed. Hence, they are evidence of “introduction” or “addition” of another breed(s), which taints the original lineages of that breed. Parent clubs need to remind fanciers and judges about what the breed standard says about color, if explicit. If not mentioned or not explicit enough, parent clubs need to review the breed standard and revise it as necessary. Parent clubs can also send notices to members, fanciers and judges about what constitutes acceptable colors for that breed. Additionally, should “new colors” be either listed on a registration form or occur on a dog presented in a conformation ring, AKC should not accept such registration and judges should not reward such exhibits. Parent clubs can register complaints with AKC should these anomalies occur.


Amy Gordon 

West Palm Beach, Florida

My breed is Miniature Schnauzers. There are many breeding non-standard colors and sizes, including merle, for the pet market. These non-standard colors do not appear in show lines. The American Miniature Schnauzer Club recently changed the breed standard to make all colors except the three accepted colors to be a disqualification. Previously it just mentioned solid white. 


Jessica Breinholt

Willow, Alaska

I believe parent clubs have a duty to battle impure breeding of their breeds, and impure breeding is how these “new” colors/patterns are introduced. Clubs should add DQs for colors not native to their breed, and should work with the AKC to disallow options for these colors/patterns on registrations. They should also work with the AKC to investigate and revoke registration on any individual AKC-registered dogs exhibiting non-standard coloration. 

My parent club, the Siberian Husky Club of America, has recently revised our standard to DQ merle and brindle patterns (as well as taking the other steps mentioned above) in the hope that it will discourage these non-native patterns before they gain any considerable foothold in our breed.

Once non-standard colors/patterns become known and generally accepted in a breed, they will be almost impossible to eliminate. 


Robin Stansell

Clayton, North Carolina

1. Add disqualifications to breed standards. 
2. Provide public-education materials
3. Strengthen codes of ethic to prohibit members breeding DQ colors
4. Direct their Delegates to pressure AKC to identify DQ colors as undesirable on AKC marketplace. 

 Eva Marie Mitchell

Jackson, Tennessee

Simple. These are a DQ. New colors are introduced by bringing in another breed that carries that color. Some of these “new colors” are dangerous. Merle in Poodles is one example.  


John C. Ramirez

Downey, California

In honesty I feel little can be done to stop the breeding of these so-called fad colors. Parent clubs can petition AKC not to register them, unlikely they would. The parent club can deny membership or expel members guilty of these promotions, but how many actual responsible breeders are guilty?

The designer colors are a damaging situation to any breed, but truth lies in the fact that the purchasers buy because they want something different and care less about the AKC recognition.

Nothing is impossible, but this is close to a futile task for the parent clubs.


Marcel Daignault

Anaheim, California

I've been a breeder of Bulldogs and French Bulldogs for 30 years combined. Anything outside the AKC standard for each breed has never concerned me except to not want it in my breeding program.

As for the designer colors being bred and made available to consumers, you just can't fix stupid, but we should continue to try via education. Main thing is, do not attack them like they have a plague at the end of the lead. Good news should be that the owner altered the dog and is not breeding it. These buyers are also not too concerned about AKC registration of their purchase.    

All that breed clubs can do is stick with having members adhere to the breed standards and make sure AKC doesn't start allowing blues or fluffies to become showable dogs.

Last thing: When somebody inquires about puppies and mentions they do not want a show dog, I respond by saying, “No, but you want one as close to the AKC standard if you want a healthy one.” I explain that French Bulldog designer-color breeders will breed a three-legged dog if they produce a litter of blues with no regard to conformation/health.


Rita Figg

Laurel, Florida

As the parent clubs "own" the standards and are the guardians of them, each club has the responsibility to protect the integrity of that standard.

I would think the first step would be to research extensively on the original color or colors of the breed. Go way back into the history of the breed. Where did the accepted colors come from? Were there other colors considered unacceptable and why? Are there possible health issues with the new colors? If this new color was in the breed originally, why was it not promoted? Who, what, how, why and where are always good questions to work from! 

If the gathered information verifies the new color as acceptable for the breed, then go through the correct procedures to include it in the standard!

Love the thought-provoking questions!


Delores Burkholder

Rockton, Illinois

In English Cocker Spaniels there are several acceptable colors and combinations listed in the standard. There are also non-acceptable colors. I feel the standard should be honored and remain unchanged.


Patrick Ormos

Nashville, Tennessee

The answer is already in your question. If the new colors are “introduced” into the breed, then the progeny are, by definition, not purebred. Were the fancy to achieve a consensus to introduce a new color and then go to AKC with a well-thought-out plan on how to do this and then control the subsequent generations until they breed true, that is a different situation. The introduction of a new color by someone trying to make a buck should not be condoned.

If, however, the colors already exist in the breed but are not accepted, then it is another question. I was involved in uncovering a recessive color in my breed. As genetic tests were developed, it became easy to identify carriers. The parent club formed a committee to make recommendations. To fully accept the color would have necessitated a change in the standard about pigmentation. It was recommended NOT to make that change. I chaired that committee.

With recessive colors, it becomes important to think through how that color affects other color issues, health issues and, finally, tradition. Only then can a full analysis be brought to bear.


Wyoma Clouss

Meridian, Idaho

I’ll be interested to see if others have workable solutions. The American Miniature Schnauzer Club has struggled for a long time when literally decades ago we started to see brown, orange, particolor, merle, ticking, blue or green eyes, etc., appear. White dogs appeared that were dead ringers for Westies. All registered by AKC. So we asked AKC to not register these genetically impossible colors. I spoke directly with a breeder of off colors, and discovered their solution was to register all as salt and pepper. AMSC then decided it was better to know colors being bred. We believe up to 28 percent of AKC-registered Miniature Schnauzers may be of impossible colors. I once joked that if our breed ever finds itself in some sort of roadblock, we could find plenty of new DNA without ever leaving AKC’s registry. (Not funny!)


Karen Adams

Holladay, Utah

I believe the parent club should be putting out a mass of information everywhere!

If there is anything on their site, I cannot find it. Every bit of information should be available there and should be the first thing that comes up when someone searches French Bulldogs. I have so many ask me about the issues with the DQ colors. It is difficult to keep explaining, and people tend to believe what they read on an “official” site more than they do an individual breeder whose opinion varies greatly from the “rare” color breeder they have been speaking to.

It’s the parent club’s responsibility to do everything possible to preserve and protect the breed.


Virginia Boylan

McKinney, Texas

Parent clubs should respect the work of those who worked to establish their breed and maintain the breed's colors as refined by those developers. In some cases, this should include colors that were originally accepted but later disallowed. In other cases, respect the breed's founders and disallow new colors or colors that the founders obviously worked to eradicate. New colors need not be disqualified, but they should not be accepted when evaluating breeding stock.


Iva Kimmelman

Stow, Massachusetts 

I think the answer is "to do no harm."

If the color is dangerous to the health of the breed, the parent club should probably DQ it. That will have only so much impact in this big world.

If it's a matter of them being attractive to commercial breeders, that's another concern.

Educating the public is the biggest challenge. They fuel the demand for these oddities.


Janet Tomlinson

Wellington, Florida

Purebred dogs are becoming so tightly bred that it will be impossible for them to survive long into the future without bringing in some new blood from outside the lines somewhere along the way. This may introduce a new color. In my opinion the dog that is chosen to introduce this new blood should be voted on by the breed community at large and all should breed to that one dog then go back into their own lines to prevent extinction. This way there is some manageable control of the pedigrees and lines going forward. This new blood should be tested for everything available medically speaking before using. They did this with a certain species of cow that was going extinct.

If a new color/outside blood has already been introduced by going outside the line sneakily, that person should be banned for producing a non-purebred dog and not following accepted rules and being open and honest. DNA testing can exonerate the banning, but there is a reason we have a listing of standards for every breed of which color is one, height, etc. If a dog doesn't meet the standard, it should not be shown or bred but placed as a spayed/neutered pet and its dam never bred again and spayed as well once an intense study of the pedigree shows there is no way for this new color to exist without having gone outside and/or had an accidental breeding that was accepted.  

People who dye their dogs to have them show in the most acceptable color should be excused from the ring for "cheating." Take the Scottie who is black but has brindle cheeks, and the people dye their dog to be all black. Black brindle is an acceptable color in this breed, but will look nicer to a judge if all black. This should not be allowed either in my opinion as it does not show the real dog. Judging should be on the bone structure for the most points and less points for each of the rest of the items in the package, head, tail, etc., and coloring should be standard but not matter to the judge if in the standard and excused automatically if not in the standard. In my opinion, if the dog meets the standard coloring the judge should be blind as to whether it is black, brindle, wheaten or grizzle, for example, when judging a Scottish Terrier, which is the breed I am most familiar with.

Do other countries have different standards for a breed than the United States? If so, then dogs purchased from other countries to introduce new lines having different colors in their standards and should be able to be proven by pedigree to be purebred and that color a standard color.

This is a logical way to go about it, in this girl's opinion.


Marcie Dobkin

Poway, California

Standards should be updated to include allowed colors/patterns ONLY, and any non-standard colors/patterns a DQ. Otherwise, “new” ones will continue to be developed and long lists of unacceptable ones will have to be continuously updated – difficult to monitor and for judges to remember. Registration papers should list standard colors/patterns only with one choice for “other” or “non-standard” description option.


Sara Nugent

Houston, Texas

My breed does not EVER come in merle. However, there are now some pets being sold in that color as "rare." We consider them not purebred. Our American Staffordshire Terrier standard states: Any color, solid, parti or patched is permissible. Have not yet seen any trying to be shown, but our judges education program informs judges that merle is not only unacceptable in the standard, but is not possible to produce without impure breeding.



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