Articles to assist with researching FCI Breeding Recommendations.
Dec 2016 So How Diverse Is Your Breed - Belgians at 32 & 69 - if you needed a reason for Intervariety, this is it!
Myths and legends - in progress
Our most experienced breeders in Australia (including, but not limited to, those who are also judges) support Intervariety matings, due to their knowledge that such matings have produced some of the most typical and healthy Belgians in the past and present. We request that the decision to perform such matings be that of the breeder.
MYTH - if the gene pool is so small, why not import more dogs and semen?
Although using imported frozen semen is an option which has been taken up by many breeders, this also has limitations, including small litter sizes, many “misses” with no puppies, cost prohibitive for many breeders, and logistical issues for breeders living remotely from AI breeding centres etc. Breeders overseas have very limited access to collection centres and are reluctant to travel to collect their dogs.
There is a limited gene pool world-wide so the option of importing new dogs/frozen semen to Australia does not widen our local gene pool as there is now so little diversity of bloodlines world-wide in each variety of Belgian Shepherd Dog.
Importing fresh lines from overseas has become cost prohibitive, with quarantine costs increasing by at least 30% in just 5 years. Airlines now charge by cubic meters not weight, so larger dogs are becoming extremely expensive to ship.
MYTH – each variety is self-sufficient for reproducing correct breed standard coat texture.
Intervariety breeding is essential in the Laekenois to maintain the correct coat. Breeders with this variety are fully aware of the responsibility to maintain coat texture by using Malinois. Also due to the limited gene pool, breeders all around the world are doing such Intervariety matings to ensure the quality in their breeding programs. Those breed enthusiasts who do not live in countries where this mating is allowed are forced to import show stock from other countries.
MYTH – Intervariety causes missing mask
Issues such as lack of mask has been cited as a reason not to allow matings between Groenendael and Tervueren, are now known to be faults carried by the Groenendael but hidden from view. DNA testing can now be done to confirm which dogs carry the masking gene prior to mating. It is also a fault that can usually be seen by 8 weeks of age, and subsequently these puppies can be put onto the Limited Register.
MYTH – mismarking is caused by Intervariety.
Mismarkings such as grey in pantaloons, reddened black coats, brindle, washed out fawn, black and tan points etc, are NOT caused by Intervariety, but were already in the genetics of the dogs that produced the mismarking. DNA testing can identify dogs that carry brindle genes and black and tan genes, so these dogs can be carefully bred from without intentionally creating mismarked pups.
MYTH – keeping the varieties separate will keep them pure.
In the USA intervariety matings are forbidden as the 4 varieties are not considered the same breed. Unfortunately, this has caused the varieties in this country to diverge and “grow apart” with regard to type, proving that it is important to maintain Intervariety matings to maintain consistent type across all four varieties.
Groenendaels of 20+ generations have produced Tervueren offspring. The number of generations from the Intervariety breeding does not magically remove recessive genes if they are passed to the next generation. In fact, the very first pedigree litter from two Groenendaels produced Tervueren – so carrying recessive genes has always been part of the breed. One breed with Four varieties.
MYTH - you can tell if a Groenendael carries Tervueren by looking at the fur between its toes, or if it has some white hairs through its coat.
Wrong. The only sure way to determine if a Groenendael carries Tervueren is to DNA test the dog. Even if the dog has only ever produced Groenendaels, it may still carry Tervueren hidden genetics.
MYTH – the grey is the dilution of the chinchilla gene.
We note that the 2010 study in Canada by Dr Shiela Schmutz, at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada proved by DNA analysis that there is NO such chinchilla gene in our breed.
“What gene distinguishes a fawn Belgian Shepherd Dog from a lighter colored Belgian? The long-held belief was that it was the C and Cch (Chinchilla) genes that were responsible. Dr. S Schmutz and her team have ruled the Tyrosinase gene out, which is the gene called C (Chinchilla) in most other mammals”. Lee Jiles & Libbye Miller DVM, DNA “Testing is Changing Our Thinking About Belgian Shepherd Dog” 23.09.10
We also contacted Lee Jiles in March 2013, who is the breed historian in the USA. She replied:-
“The current thinking by canine geneticists (see Sheila Schmutz's pages on colors http://homepage.usask.ca/~schmutz/dogcolors.html) is that there is an "intensity gene" that modifies a fawn coat to a beige or the appearance of "grey", which is really a light base coat mixed with the black overlay giving the illusion of grey.
Greys can be bred to whatever color their owner chooses to breed them to.
Grey is a perfectly permissible color. Why wouldn't greys be used in intervariety breedings? There's no lethal gene attached to the Belgian Shepherd Dog colors.
Dogs used in intervariety breeding must be 3 generations clear of what? With so many other real problems in the breed (epilepsy, etc.) it is foolish to pick a color and attack it. There have been many famous and important "grey" Tervs historically, and will continue to be.”
Breed historian in Belgium, Jean-Marie Vanbutsele was asked specifically asked about breeding with greys. Here are his quoted responses dated 16.03.13 :-
MYTH - Grey is only ever permitted to be bred (in Europe) to the Tervueren of the preferred colour (reddish/brown).
JM Vanbutsele “I never saw a written document about this rule. “
MYTH - Grey should NEVER be used in ANY Intervariety breeding.
JM Vanbutsele “I never saw a written document about this rule. “
MYTH - Only dogs who themselves are three generations clear can be used for Intervariety breeding is a requirement in Europe under the FCI standard.
JM Vanbutsele “I never saw a written document about this rule. “
Additionally, Jean-Marie Vanbutsele offers his support of the newly implemented ANKC policy of permitting Belgian Shepherd Intervariety breedings,
“As the majority of the Australian breeders (taken into account the population of the BSD in that very large country very distant from Europe), I agree with this policy on basis of my historical knowledge” Jean-Marie Vanbutsele 16.03.13.
MYTH - Indiscriminate Intervariety breeding will destroy the Breed.
Responsible Belgian Shepherd Breeders in Australia invest considerable time into researching possible breeding combinations, with intensive pedigree investigations, DNA analysis, utilization of online facilities available to them to ensure wise plans are put in place. Ethical breeders fully health test all breeding dogs.
Bad breeders frequently make poor choices as their decisions are not driven by the desire to improve the breed. However, access to Intervariety breeding will not change this and the damage will be no different than if they bred two inappropriate dogs of the same variety.
Good breeders should not be denied access to Intervariety Breeding to “save” the breed from bad breeders.
MYTH - All this type of experimentation was done when the Breed was being developed. After the war, Intervariety breeding was undertaken in Belgium because of the small numbers they had left after the war, but it is certainly not done now.
A number of recent European pedigrees are included in the linked document above to refute this statement. Refer Examples of Best In Show GREYs, Groen x Grey litters
MYTH - In other European countries, permission has to be sought before this can be undertaken and again never with the grey.
The pedigrees in the document EXAMPLES OF BEST IN SHOW GREYS, GROEN X GREY LITTERS are evidence that grey has indeed been used in breeding programs, including Intervariety breedings throughout Europe.
MYTH - In other European countries, except Belgium where the grey is not shown nor bred from, the breeding pair have to be 3 generations clear for their phenotype before permission is considered.
This statement is incorrect and unfounded. The pedigrees in the document Examples of Best In Show GREYs, Groen x Grey litters are evidence of no such ruling for 3 generations clear. DNA testing is now available to determine recessive colour genes, rendering the concept of 3 generations clear outdated and regressive to expanding the gene pool.
Amanda McLaren (Corsini Kennels, UK, FCI judge) advises that the majority of Tervueren breeders in Belgium breed from greys including:
• Jean-Louis Vendenbemden (van de Hoge Laer kennels) former President of the Belgian Breed Club
• Monique van Bauwel-Gieres (van het Wouwenhof kennels) current President of the Belgian Breed Club
• Eric Desschans (Of the Two kennels)
• Christian and Chantal la Compte (Sincfal kennels)
• Frans Verwimp (Van't Sparrebos kennels)
• Paul Froment (Mas des Beautuyas kennels)
• Yvette Brixhe (La Chenestre kennels)
• Norman Deschuymere (de la Quievre kennels) former President of the Belgian Breed Club. Mostly a Groenendael breeder, but did have a litter from a grey bitch
Jean-Louis Vendenbemden (van de Hoge Laer kennels, Belgium) who was a former President of the Belgian Breed Club, stated in September 2015 that grey has always been accepted in the standard, albeit, depending on the era, with some restrictions. Grey has never been excluded from breeding in Belgium or by the FCI breed standard.
MYTH - In France, the grey can only be mated to the fauve (fawn) Tervueren.
Again, the same pedigrees linked above Examples of Best In Show GREYs, Groen x Grey litters are evidence to refute this statement, with grey Tervueren being utilized in Intervariety breedings.
MYTH - Intervariety breeding in the Belgian Shepherd is not permitted in the Country of Origin.
St Hubert, the kennel club of the Country of Origin, has given written support for the ANKC to adopt the 2012 FCI breeding requirements that encourage Intervariety Breeding.
MYTH - And it is not recommended to do Intervariety, in other countries it can only be done with the permission of the breeding commission.
This statement was rendered obsolete with the publishing of the 2012 FCI breeding recommendations that ENCOURAGE intervariety breedings, with NO restrictions on generations between intervariety breedings, nor prior approval from any breeding commissions.
MYTH - In Europe, to be accepted for this Intervariety, the dogs need to have:-
· three generation clear pedigree
· selection by the breeding commission, or to be a champion
· before Intervariety mating is permitted, a minimum 1 litter in their own variety and the puppies have to be high quality
This statement was rendered obsolete with the publishing of the 2012 FCI breeding recommendations that encourage Intervariety Breeding. The FCI encourages intervariety breedings worldwide, with NO restrictions on generations between intervariety breedings, and no prior approval process. The Royal Society of St Hubert, the Belgian Kennel Club, has provided support for the ANKC to adopt the FCI breeding recommendations that encourage Intervariety Breedings.
MYTH - the only Intervariety mating allowed is Groenendael x Tervueren and Malinois x Laekenois
This statement is incorrect. The FCI recommends all intervariety breedings, except combinations that would result in untypical coat texture and colour (black curly coated Laekenois and black short coated Malinois are not acceptable according to the breed standard). Acceptable breedings therefore include Groenendael x Tervueren, Tervueren x Malinois, Malinois x Laekenois.
This article sums it all up - http://www.zkovarny.com/new/en/index.php?About_the_breed:History_of_BSD
sourced from above url
"The Belgian Shepherd Dog of other colours
When the Belgian Shepherd Dog was born, about the end of the 19th century, Prof.Reul advised the first breeders to breed the dogs according to their ideal and vision, not to cross-breed the different hair types, but to disregard colours. The battle over the colour, however, began very early, around 1900, when the newly founded club decreed that the long-haired should henceforward only be bred black, the short-haired only red-brown and the rough-haired only grey. This innovation the existing breeders of other colours did not accept and they bred outside the club´s rules at their own discretion, formed their own club and produced good long-hairs in all shades of grey and brown. In 1914 at the Brussel show a long-haired grey bitch was exhibited which took the first prize. She was called CREOLE and was from the pure black Groenendael parents Doka and Demon de l´Enfer.
Creole created a great furore at the time, for she was exceptionally well-built, embodied the desired type in the highest degree and also had a wonderful nature. Through her colour she visibly rocked the established theses of the great experts and organisers of the breed, for she was light grey in colour, her mane was somewhat darker and the undercoat was black.
But judges as well as breeders were enchanted by her beauty and people rightly asked why one should exclude such valuable animals from breeding.
After all, this so-called grey colour is simply a throw-back to the wild colour which most of the herd dogs formerly were."
MYTH - It is concerning that unacceptable Intervariety breeding is being undertaken in Australia – a grey Tervueren to a Groenendael – unheard of in any country in Europe which has the Belgian Shepherd Dog.
As evidenced by the European pedigrees in Examples of Best In Show GREYs, Groen x Grey litters, many of which were selected to demonstrate Grey Tervueren x Groenendael, this statement has been proven false. Grey Tervueren x Groenendael IS acceptable and a tried and tested breeding combination in Europe.
MYTH - Problems arise when breeding the progeny from Intervariety matings.
This broad, sweeping statement is completely unfounded. What problems arise? To refute this claim, the linked pedigrees of European bred dogs Examples of Best In Show GREYs, Groen x Grey litters include many generations of repeated Intervariety breedings with no reports of “problems”. In fact, these bloodlines include many outstanding examples of the breed that are well sought after in ongoing breeding programs. There are no lethal genes in the Belgian breed that are linked to colour and coat genes. Mismarked puppies are not caused by Intervariety breedings, but by defective genes in the flawed individual selected to parent the litter.
MYTH - All experimentation was done in Belgium at the time of development of the Breed, and finally they decreed what could be mated to what, as they had realised that coat length and colour were being affected. The three generation criteria required allows for consolidation of coat length and coat colour.
The 2012 FCI breeding recommendations override any prior breeding suggestions from across the world. The mystery of recessive colour and coat type has been removed since the advent of DNA testing. Coat colour and texture are not linked to lethal genes in this breed, which eliminates all concerns with health and wellbeing being affected in Intervariety progeny.
MYTH - Genetics is a very difficult science for the lay person to comprehend, this is one of reasons that the three generation clear requirement has been adopted in Belgium.
Our Belgian community has a myriad of resources at hand, including a ready reckoner chart listing out possible outcomes of breeding Belgians carrying different colour/coat genes. This document was printed in its entirety in the Nov 2014 Dog World magazine published by Dogs Qld. http://ozbsd.com/coat-inheritance/coat-inheritance.html
The mystery of recessive colour and coat type has been removed since the advent of DNA testing. Coat colour and texture are not linked to lethal genes in this breed, which eliminates all concerns with health and wellbeing being affected in Intervariety progeny.
Amanda McLaren (Corsini Kennels since 1989, FCI judge) wrote Sept 2015
“Grey as such is not an exact term as it is simply a diluted form of fawn. The recessive diluting gene is present in most of the Groenendael lines, but of course it is not apparent as it is a diluting gene which doesn't attack the black colour (it is certainly not an alien gene in the breed).
The original standard was drawn up in French and the first time that the Tervueren variety was mentioned the colour was described as fauve (fawn). Fauve actually means a wild colour which includes the whole range of colours from very light to mahoganny that are found in nature and which encompasses what we call grey - which is nothing more than a diluted fawn.”
MYTH - Mismarking, Brindle, Colour Dilution, Missing Mask is caused by Intervariety breeding.
DNA testing proves that these issues are not caused by Intervariety .
MYTH - Indiscriminate Intervariety breeding will ruin the breed.
Indiscriminate breeding practices can ruin any breed, however as Australia has had Intervariety Breeding allowed almost continuously for the past 30 plus years, there is nil evidence to support that Intervariety Breeding should be classified as indiscriminate.
MYTH – If FCI recommendations are introduced, breeders will rush to breed Black Malinois.
Groenendael x Malinois breedings are not listed as an FCI limitation. However, the FCI Breed standard lists colour and coat acceptable combinations. It is not conducive for breeders to strive to breed for Black Malinois, as they don’t conform to standard, and are not considered show prospects.
MYTH - They don’t do Intervariety breeding it in Belgium.
Royal Society St Hubert, the kennel club of the Country of Origin, has given written support for the ANKC to adopt the FCI breeding requirements that encourage Intervariety Breeding . The FCI itself, is based in Belgium. You are also comparing a country with a significantly broader gene pool due to easy and cheap access to the US, Europe and the UK.
MYTH - They don’t do it Intervariety breeding overseas.
Yes they do. For example, but not limited to Sweden, Finland, Norway, UK, Germany, Ireland, France, Italy, and Canada .
MYTH – lethal genes may exist so we should avoid Intervariety breeding.
There is no lethal colour gene in the Belgian Shepherd like there is in Blue Merle Collies and Shelties. There are no health issues linked to Belgian coat colour or texture combinations.
MYTH - Our gene pool is big enough.
Refer the article in the 2016 Journal Animal Breeding and Genetics, “Half of the 23 Belgian Dog Breeds have a Compromised Genetic Diversity as Revealed by Genealogical and Molecular Analysis” Research suggests that the gene pool in Europe is dangerously compromised. It is ludicrous to suggest that Australia’s gene pool is in a better position, considering that the largest number of imports come from Europe. There are currently only 6 Australian breeders who have recently or regularly import dogs, due to the ever-increasing cost of importing and difficulty to find dogs from healthy lines. These few breeders cannot sustain the entire breed. Allowing Intervariety Breedings will technically almost double breeding options for Australian breeders.
MYTH – Intervariety Breeding causes loss of coat length and texture
In 2004 breed historian Jean-Marie Vanbutsele from Belgium wrote re Intervariety between Malinois and Laekenois “Because the rough coat, to the contrary of the smooth long coat or short, is a mixed and nonstable coat. To maintain the mixed coat, it is necessary to have recourse, at a given time, to the short coated variety. It is also a variety small in numbers with a very poor genetic pool.”
Additionally, dogs with incorrect coat length and texture are not only limited to progeny of Intervariety Breedings.
MYTH - 3 generation breeding has genetic significance.
After World War II due to a tragically reduced gene pool, other breeds were known to be introduced to revive all 4 varieties. (Bouviers for the Laekenois, Rough Collies for the Groenendael and Tervueren, and other Shepherd breeds for the Malinois). At this time, it was essential to breed back to each variety for 3 generations to re-establish breed type. Today’s Intervariety bred Belgians do not have a different genetic formula to those from 3 clear generations.
MYTH - you won't know what to expect in an Intervariety litter.
Expected coat, colour and texture results of planned Intervariety breedings (as well as same variety breedings) can be easily predetermined by DNA testing and/or using one of the many Coat Inheritance charts available on the internet for our breed.
The current situation worldwide
The FCI encourages interbreeding between varieties when needed for promoting health and genetic diversity (FCI General Assembly 2011) – avoiding breeding long coated to wire coated or risk of untypical coat texture. (Appendix 3)
Subsequent to the 2011 change in FCI policy, Germany has recently approved intervariety breedings with Breed club permission and German breeders have already produced 3 Groenendael x Tervueren litters this year.
Sweden has reinstated intervariety breedings, effective 1st Jan 2013.
Finland allows the three requested intervariety breedings with no restrictions. Groenendael to Malinois matings may be allowed with club permission.
Norway allows the three requested intervariety breedings with club permission.
The UK allows intervariety matings by permission from representatives from each of the 3 breed clubs. Permission has been granted for several Groenendael x Tervueren matings, one Tervueren x Malinois mating and one Laekenois x Malinois mating.
Intervariety matings are allowed in Ireland with consultation with the Breed Club. To date there have been four Intervariety matings of Groenendael x Tervueren.
In France, where the breed is most numerous, the three requested intervariety breedings requested are allowed with Breed club permission.
In Italy unrestricted intervariety matings are allowed.
In Canada there are no restrictions as to intervariety matings. This system has not produced irresponsible Intervariety matings and the quality of dogs in Canada is equal to those found elsewhere.