60: The Legend of A, the Blue Speckled Marbled Eye Pomeranian
Decades ago, there was this beautiful champion cream Pomeranian from Canada, so beautiful that I thought he was beyond compare. He was bred to a black and tan champion bitch producing a beautiful sable pup named A_ who could not be shown because he had a blue marbled speckled eye and a weak rear. He was sold to a hobby pet breeder who allowed him to be bred at public stud and at the same time his breeder was given stud rights, thereby producing several champions. Two generations after, an A grandson became the Number 1 Pomeranian and Number 1 All Breed Dog in the Philippines for 2 consecutive years. Three generations after A, from another branch of his breeding, his great great grandson M would become a famous international dog siring an APC BIS Nationals Winner. By this time, the bloodline of A has been spread out in most of the continents of the world. I liked the sire of A so much that I did a swap deal with the owner of A where I got a bitch puppy sired by my Canton stud bred to a bitch he owned - the bitch was a daughter of A bred to his half paternal sister. I have consciously kept this breeding apart from the rest of my stuff because of “ the dirty blood”…but really these are really silly prejudices as I will explain later.
As we all know, the Mendelian theory is the road map for any animal breeder who is of any consequence. I have talked about the Mendelian theory in several of my blogs, namely, Blogs 13, 49 & 50. I have used this tool in analyzing bsd, aka, black skin disease. This may be a repetitious thing for some, but, I like to share some of my thoughts on this again with my blog readers. Using this same tool in analyzing the merle gene, I am sure some of my readers will gain new insights in the process.
First, let us come up with the Mendelian Genetic Chart and define the dominant, the carrier and the recessive gene.
The dominant gene is the homozygous(pure) merle coming from two merle parents. This is a dangerous breeding because it is the result of breeding two merle partners that may cause blindness/etc. It has been done by some because they want a double merle or a homozygous merle which will be dominant in color, thereby producing all merle puppies.
The carrier gene is a the heterozygous(not pure) merle coming from one merle parent and one non-merle parent. In other words, a merle carrying the non merle gene; they are not carriers of the merle genes but the other way around….visually merles carrying the non merle gene. This is also where most of the merle poms would be classified in.
The recessive gene is a non merle specimen.
There is no such thing as a recessive carrying a dominant gene. In other words, there is no such thing as a non merle carrying the merle gene. This is contrary to the Mendelian theory. Phrased another way, once the merle gene is gone, it is gone forever…and it in no way will help produce a merle specimen in the future.
I repeat, again. A recessive gene can be hidden in a dominant gene and when that happens, that is what we call the carrier gene; the specimen having the expression of the dominant gene but carrying the recessive gene just like a shadow hiding and waiting to jump out sometime in the future. Therefore, the recessive gene is so easy to erase but not 100% unless you test breed. A dominant gene cannot be hidden in a recessive gene and that is why it is dominant; once erased, it is erased forever.
Scenarios A, C and F in the chart refer to breeding 2 merle partners. This is a NO NO…so this is therefore, out of the picture. Breeding merles to merles may cause blindness and other deformities and as such it is usually not done. For the risktakers, they would do this because they want to produce a pure merle which will be dominant. It is this lack of information that being used by anti merle sentimentalist to lobby against the merle.
Scenario D talks about breeding non merle parents so again this is not a point in our discussion.
Scenario B and E talks about breeding a merle to a non merle which is the only safe thing to do. Scenario B is eventually eliminated in the realms of possibility because pure merle breeding is usually not available for the same reasons stated in Scenarios A, C and F. That leaves Scenario E alone for merle breeders who wants to remain safe.
I suppose the first question is does the blue speckled marbled eye of A, a manifestation of the merle gene? I am inclined to think so.
How did A get his merle eye…his one blue speckled marbled eye? Both parents did not show any signs of the merle gene. If we use the Mendelian tool, at least one of the parents must have had a merle gene to produce a merle eyed pomeranian! As some of us already know, the merle can be camouflaged by a light colored dog; ie, the sire of A was a cream. Merles has been compared to a dark canvass with white paint splashed on it. With a lighter color, the splashing could have been veiled.
Will the children of A and their subsequent gets carry the merle gene? No, unless they visually express it or if the merle gene is camouflaged in a lighter colored specimen. Once erased, the merle gene is erased forever. They are unlike the recessive gene which may stay hidden for many generations resurrecting once in a while…yes, recessive genes are easy to clean up but not 100%. Merles once cleaned up are clean forever.
But what is the point of all this? A lobby against the merle gene is based on the supposedly health issue involved and once the merle gene contaminates the Pomeranian gene pool, the breed will be ruined permanently. Wrong!
The point of all this to clearly explain that the merle is NOT a health issue when handled properly. There will always be uninformed people who can turn good things into bad because of their stupid actions. But the point is any mistakes due to the merle gene ends there. The merle gene once cleaned up is cleaned up forever. That is what the Mendelian theory states! They are not recessive lurking behind waiting to jump on you.
The new AKC Pomeranian standard continues to allow the merles to be shown in the ring but it now provides for a new DQ(Disqualification) for blue, marbled or speckled eyes. I find this self contradictory because if the merle coated dogs are allowed in the ring, then merle eyes on merle poms should be allowed. To say otherwise would show lack of information on the merle gene. How can you say that a merle colored American Champion in the past year is now DQ from the show ring because it has merle eyes?
For the merle haters, I wish they would be more sympathetic to merle Pomeranian breeders who have worked so hard to upgrade the quality of poms in this color. For all you know, your show poms, though not carrying the merle gene, may be related to our merle poms through a common merle ancestor!...as well as ancestors from standard colors.
Pictured in the front cover of this blog is Yingyang Blue Sea of Canton…and he has nothing to do with the Pomeranian named A.
May 17, 2012