What is a Breed Club…and Why Should I Join??

First let’s talk about what a breed club is. They are non-profit organizations responsible for maintaining the breed standard of their specific breed. Breed Standards give a description of the origin of the breed and describe what the qualities of a breed should have to perform the job they were originated for, like a blueprint. These clubs exist to promote their breed and protect it.

There can be national, local and regional breed clubs. It is the national club that is responsible for the breed standard. Many breeds are recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and you can find breed standards on their website.

Breed clubs are a good resource for finding breeders. Many of these clubs also fund health research and sponsor rescues for their breed.

Belonging to a breed club brings people together that have the love of their breed in common. I have formed many friendships through my breed clubs that I might have otherwise never had. It also gives you the opportunity to be mentored by long time breeders. But most important, these clubs help ensure the welfare of future generations of their specific breed.

There are many things that can benefit you by joining your breed club. For example, this is from my national breed club, the American Chesapeake Club (ACC) and the benefits their members have…

  • Receive our bi-monthly Bulletin that is filled with upcoming events, health information, training tips, heartwarming personal stories, and photos of the dogs.
  • Access to an inexpensive and extensive Video Library
  • Join a members only Chat List
  • Get Updates on Legislative Issues, Health Issues & more
  • Advertise puppies for sale or a stud dog
  • Join the Breeders Referral List
  • Vote on the standard for the breed
  • Purchase breed specific items like book, training manual, note cards, pins, etc.
  • Eligibility for recognition awards for your dog(s)

Your membership also helps support breed specific health research and rescue. Most importantly, it helps ensure that the future generations of these dogs and the people who love them have an organization that is there looking out for their well being! 

If you have Chesapeake’s and would like to find out more about the ACC, you can contact a Regional Director for your area here.

For other breeds a simple Google search should give you results of breed and national clubs. You could also contact your breeder for information.

Remember breed clubs play a very important role in the preservation of specific breeds.

Tina and the Brown Dogs 

Splish Splash…Dogs Having Fun!

My friend Michelle and I are Michigan Regional Directors (RD) for the American Chesapeake Club (ACC), this is our national dog club. As such we coordinate different events and activities in our state for Chessie’s and their owners.

A couple of months ago my friend Deb invited me to go with  her and try dock diving with Titan. She talked with me about putting together a dock diving fun day. We worked out the details with Heather, the trainer and gal who runs the facility.

So Michelle, Deb and myself coordinated our first Dock Diving Fun Day at the TNT Dog Center. Heather was great to work with and the facility is fantastic!

TNT PoolTNT..TNTPhotos from TNT Dog Center website

We made fliers, sent out emails to all the Michigan ACC members, and posted on our Facebook group.

This past Saturday was the day of our event. It is always fun meeting new Chessie enthusiasts. The dogs had so much fun. Deb’s dog Grace has her Dock Senior (DS) title, but the rest of us are newbies to the sport. Michelle’s dog Ronnie took right to jumping, she was a natural. Titan had done it one other time but had a minor injury from that first time so he was hesitant about jumping from the dock but has the ramp mastered. Our new friends Emerald Isle and her parents, Pattie and Jeremy, drove over two hours to join the fun. Emmy was unsure of the ramp at first but she caught on quick.

We had a potluck lunch that was fabulous, so after eating and sharing stories we let the dogs have some more fun in the pool.

This is such a fun sport, so if you are looking for something fun to do with your dog you might want to see if you have a dock diving facility in your area and give it a whirl. If you are in Michigan I highly recommend TNT Dog Center.

Some photos of our fun…

Emerald Isle (3)Emerald Isle’s first time in the pool.Emerald Isle (6)Emerald Isle (7)Emerald Isle (14)Emerald Isle (15)I think they are negotiating with her Winking smile

Gemma (3)This is Gemma, she came to watch her mom Grace do her thing!Grace (3)This is Deb and Grace. They are experienced at this. Deb puts Grace in a sit stay at one end of the dock and then when she is ready she says her name…Grace (7)as Grace nears the end of the dock Deb releases the bumper.Grace (8)Grace (2)Grace (6)

Ronnie (2)This is Michelle and Ronnie!Ronnie (5)She can walk on water Winking smileRonnie (13)Ronnie (15)Ronnie (16)

Titan & Hailee (11)My niece, Hailee with Titan.Titan & Hailee (12)Titan & Hailee (26)Titan & Hailee (6)Titan & Hailee (8)Titan & Hailee (17)Titan & Hailee (33).Titan trying to walk on water Winking smileTitan & Hailee (36)

So what did you do for fun this past weekend?

Tina and the Brown Dogs

Why Genetic Testing??

Last month I did a review on the testing facility I used, Paw Print Genetics, for some of Maia’s genetic testing I needed to have done. You can read about it here.

Why do we do genetic testing on our breeding stock??

For me it is just one of the tools I use, to quote a friend, “in a full toolbox” to determine how and who I am going to breed my bitch to. I do not use the results to eliminate dogs but to make better breeding decisions to help reduce the risk of producing dogs that will have certain diseases or afflictions.

The information in my tool box enables me to choose a stud dog that will compliment her not only genetically but physically as well. Bringing things to the breeding I am looking to improve upon while also trying to minimize the bad genes coming through.

In my “full toolbox” I have the information from her pedigree, my breed standard, status of hips, elbows, Eye Certification, Degenerative Myelopathy (DM), Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC), Ectodermal Dysplasia (ED/SFS), and a Brucellosis test which will be done right before breeding. I also have the knowledge and wisdom of some long time breeders/mentors, some not so long time breeders and all the research and educational classes I have done on my own. I have a list of potential stud dogs that I have compiled, this list is a living document as it changes all the time depending of the bitch and how the male will compliment her.

Now how am I going to use this information? For example, Maia is a DM carrier but clear on PRA, EIC, and ED/SFS, so I would lean towards a clear male for DM and I have wiggle room on the other tests because with her being clear even if I used a carrier male I would not be producing pups that were at risk of getting the disease. Why you ask would I do that and not breed to a male that is all clear?? Well if it is the right male that might just be what I do however, in my breed if you only focus on the all clears then you will be limiting the gene pool greatly. I guess you could say “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”. If we continually dismissed dogs that were not clear on every single trait we soon would be left with very limited breeding stock and could also cause great harm to the breed as a whole. Not to mention missing out on some pretty great dogs!

For me it is looking at the strengths and weaknesses of my breeding stock and then finding a suitable mate that will build on the strengths and hopefully correct the weaknesses.

Let’s face it, there are no perfect dogs out there. They are living breathing beings and as such we can only do the best we can when it comes to breeding. That is why I use all the tools at my disposal to make the very best educated decisions I can. The rest is up to nature!

#WORLDSMILEDAY

Today is World Smile Day!

World Smile Day is celebrated on the first Friday in the month of October every year. The idea of World Smile Day was coined and initiated by Harvey Ball, a commercial artist from Worcester, Massachusetts. Harvey Ball is known to have created the Smiley Face in 1963.

So in honor of this day here are our smiles…

Happy FaceChesapeake Bay Retriever ~ Maia Silly GirlRiva the big smileMistyShoresChesapeakes~The Great Titan

Paw Print Genetics Review

Recently I used Paw Print Genetics to do some genetic testing on Maia.

I was introduced to them a couple years ago through friends on Facebook. I kept seeing all these posts about the site so I thought I should check this out. What I found was a place to do my major genetic testing at a price I could afford while not skimping on quality. This is from the homepage of their website…

Highest Industry Standards and Accuracy

Our laboratory is staffed with expertly trained geneticists, veterinarians, and technicians. We are equipped with the latest testing technology and analyze each mutation with two independent methods to provide you the highest accuracy in the industry.

  • All mutations offered are based on the published, medical literature
  • Board-certified geneticist by the American Board of Medical Genetics on staff
  • Each mutation is tested twice, with two independent methods
  • All results are reviewed and reported by both a PhD geneticist and a veterinarian
  • Majority of test results accepted by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals
  • Diagnostic-grade DNA extracted from a variety of accepted sample types

They were offering half off their breed panels, so I couldn’t pass it up. The breed panels are great as each one is geared to a specific breed so you know you are ordering the correct tests. The breed panel for Chesapeake’s consists of:

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM): is a gradually progressive neurological disorder of Chessies and many other breeds. It is similar to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease), a condition found in humans. For more information, look here.

Exercised Induced Collapse (EIC): is a neuromuscular condition that causes collapse of dogs when they become overly excited or exercise heavily. For more information, look here.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): is a general term referring to several different genetic diseases. These diseases have one thing in common: they affect a dog’s vision by gradual destruction of the retina of the dog’s eye. For more information, look here.

Ectodermal Dysplasia (EDA):  a skin fragility syndrome, where affected dogs begin showing signs of skin sloughing off from the nose, footpads, and lips immediately after birth. The disease is inherited as an autosomal recessive disease, meaning animals with a single copy of the mutation show no symptoms, while those with two copies usually die at a very young age due to the aforementioned symptoms and general failure to thrive. For more information, look here.

I was very pleased with their service. My test kit arrived in a timely manner and included the swabs, the paperwork to be returned with the swabs, all I had to do is verify the information and sign it and the prepaid return envelope. The instructions were very easy to understand, including a video I could view online. Once I did the swabs on Maia and sent everything back to them they sent me an email when they received my tests, I liked this so I didn’t have to wonder about it. Once they had completed testing they emailed me with my results. I had my results in a week even though they had told me two weeks, (note that result times may vary, this was just my experience). I had a follow up email from a real person regarding my experience with the company, to me that is great customer care in this age of automated messages.

The website it very user friendly and I was able to set up my breeder profile so I could easily give potential puppy buyers the link to check the results for themselves as well as having my paper copies. They also have a badge that you can download and use on your website or blog that enables people to see that you use them and I was able to link it right to my profile page.

breeder_seal_sm.3140d451c4d0

Go ahead and click it to check out my profile, you know you want to Winking smile

Their tests are very affordable however they have specials quite frequently, who doesn’t like a deal! So if you are looking for a genetic testing facility I highly recommend Paw Print Genetics!

Tina and the Brown Dogs