Heiko Wagner

First question: Is it ok for the breed if we have Merle as an official color in the standard and at the shows?

One more color is increasing  the competition in the showring. Thus there are more possibilities to find the dog with the best anatomy. The color rather should be secondary in the showring. And this word is not the perfect word for that what we do. It has to be a breeding competition and not a show of beauty. The best combination has to win. There is no other choice than if I have a nice anatomy of a merle colored dog and a bad anatomy of a harlequin colored dog, the dog with better anatomy has to win. With the morphological faults and the bad movement we begin to increase the health problems. We want them having a long life, but if they have a long life, they will walk around without that kind of problems. At the shows and the questions of giving awards for the international champion the Merles should be shown together with the Harlequins and Blacks, that should be possible.

Second question: What positive effect can the Merle give to the breed?

First of all, the standard has been written long before the major associations noticed  the situation  being as big and strong in Europe. Some people decided to have several colors in the breed whereas other specific colors not. After some years the standard was changed requiring 5 colors. In that case it was a way to build out the type and homogeneity of the breed. Nowadays we have the case that we eliminated 25% of the black/harlequin/merle population of the breed. By that problem the genepool is getting continuously smaller and faults are enabled to stay in the different bloodlines. We can get a healthier dog with an increased heritability. Personally, I offered the VDH a big program for a research in Canada with Prof. Dr. Dr. Shila Schmutz who decoded a part of the human DNA.    The subject was supposed to be Merles , Harlequins and all different blacks out of  Harlequins, in order to decode their colour sequences and thus for being able to test different dogs in this big line of different possibilities. Due to the fact that the DDC  is rearing  the same breed in Germany, the VDH asked the DDC if that would be anything interesting to find out but sadly  the DDC  rejected a research program on the colors of Merle, Harlequin and Black. At the same time the research in France began and finally by the support of the DCF the merle is now a part of the official population.

Third question: What is the political issue in adding another color the breed?

Adding one more color, which has already been in the breed with the instrument of the standard, is creating a larger quantity of dogs at the dog shows and surely in the studbook. It is a matter of keeping a part of the breed‚Äôs population and the people who are supporting these colors. Dogshows have become expensive events and the smaller the community the higher the costs which the community has to pay for.  For example regarding the German Shepherd. There is a white population which was always  there, but the club and the standard diminished  that population of dogs  so much that they were actually not officially existing. Therefore  that population found support by the people who liked them and they have started to breed those in a proper way. Consequently they built up a new club and there was a kind of competition within those two . Thus a part of the general community of the German Shepherd friends  was lost. In consequence they returned as ‚Äúwhite Shepherd of Switzerland‚Äù, which was a political way to establish them into the FCI. Finally it is the taste of the people which  kind of color in which breed they like. Include them into the big community and stop being so narrow-minded. We have to unite- not separate  all dog supporters.