From my ‘Crossing the headlines’ column in Dog World (6th May 2015).

Have you got some bunting gathering dust at the back of your cupboard? Well get ready to dust it off and hang it out in the streets.

Why? Well haven’t you heard? There’s some great news. The Daisy dog has finally reached these shores. Hurrah!

Yes, the very first litter of “Kennel Certificate registered Daisy puppies” have been born in the UK. You can take your pick from a range of colours; from the run-of-the-mill blacks and chocolates to the rather more fitting creams and champagnes.

The advert, which has certainly caused a lot of interest and comment on social media, states that the Daisy puppies are from a “carefully planned breeding… to produce the highly sort [sic] after hypoallergenic designer toy breed, ‘The Daisy’ (ideal for allergy sufferers)”.

The mother it goes on to say is an “F1 hybrid Bichon x Imperial Shih Tzu” (note, in the style of the famous Marks & Spencer adverts, this is not your usual Shih Tzu… this is an Imperial Shih Tzu) and the father is a “KC-registered show-quality Chocolate Miniature Poodle”.

The advert then assures us that “only the very best bloodlines have gone into this breeding to produce the very best quality… an outstanding litter of non-moulting adorable Daisies”.

And, dear reader, you too can buy into this hypoallergenic dream of a dog for a mere £900.

Confused by the wording

I’m sure we’ve all become quite used to seeing adverts like these but a couple of things caught my eye with this one; initially it was the name, ‘Daisy dog’. It seems there is now a conscious move away from the ‘poo’ and ‘doodle’ moniker.

The other thing that caught my attention was the wording of the advert, ‘Kennel Certificate registered’ and this certainly caused a bit of confusion online.

“How dare these people fraudulently use this term,” commented some… “the KC wouldn’t register such puppies…would they?”

Well, for now, no they wouldn’t. But the advert isn’t fraudulent. Look again at it. It says ‘Kennel Certificate registered’. The breeders are not doing anything wrong but I must admit to being shocked at the number of knowledgeable intelligent dog folk who were confused by the wording and it’s easy to see why and if some of ‘us’ can be taken in by it what hope has Joe Public’?

We are all trying to push the message that you should only buy a ‘KC registered dog’ and from a quick scan of this advert that is exactly what the uninitiated would assume they were getting. It even says at the end of the advert that the puppy would go to its new home with its “Kennel Certificate registration documents and pedigree certificate”.

But how could that possibly be? A look on the Kennel Certificate Company site and it all becomes crystal clear.

It says it supplies “…pedigree paperwork for all dogs including mixed breeds or designer dogs. Full litter registration with three generation pedigree certificate, adult dog registration and change of ownership paperwork. Whether you’re a proud owner or a breeder The Kennel Certificate Company is here for you”.

Which is very reassuring to know.

I wondered how one would possibly go about creating a ‘pedigree’ for what is essentially a mongrel litter. Surely, by their very nature, the background of most of these dogs would be at best sketchy.

However the Kennel Certificate Company website says: “If you don’t have any documentation for the parents then you can create your own family tree and register it with the Kennel Certificate Company.”

A mongrel really can now have a pedigree!

So, just think about the person who is completely new to dog ownership, who wants to do the right thing. It would be easy to think you were getting ‘Kennel Club’ registration.

The ‘hypoallergenic, non-moulting’ lines are trotted out and go unchallenged, despite being disproved time and time again.

Who suffers when the little dog’s coat becomes a tangled, matted mess or when hairs are left all over the couch? Who will be banished when the allergy-prone child of the family eyes starts streaming?

However we all seem to fixate upon the possible problems of coat but what about the myriad of other potential problems. I would like to see the figures for caesareans among these so-called designer breeds especially among the ‘toy/miniature’ ones like the miniature labradoodle featured on the Jonathon Ross show the other week. Surely if you breed a six pound bitch out of a ten pound mother by a four pound father you are setting yourself up for far more whelping difficulties than the uniformity, that took many years to stabilise now found in our recognised pedigree toy and miniature breeds. Of course the numbers of pedigrees needing such interventions will and quite rightly so be available but is there anyone out there collating figures for dogs such as the Daisy?

Others will follow

With ‘registries’ popping up and printing their own pedigrees isn’t this just another way to sell a mongrel at an inflated price? And for those who say it doesn’t bother me what price these people charge for their pups, I say… it should because seeing such people make money just makes even more think, ‘oooh, I’ll have a go at that…’ and so the shelters continue to fill with unwanted dogs who have outgrown the cute and fluffy stage or failed to live up to the many dubious promises that were made.

What a wonderful legacy the ‘anti brigade’ have left us.

Then I compare the above sorry sage to a story I heard from a lovely lady at our local ringcraft class. She takes along her Silken Windhound and was telling me how breeders of these dogs were battling to get recognition for their breed.

Our friend, Joy Gonszor, has one of these beautiful dogs and on meeting ‘Socks’ I was really impressed with her wonderful laid back temperament, something all these dogs seem to share. The Silken Windhound is certainly not the type of dog that is going to make its owners a fortune but they are passionate about their development. They demonstrate what ‘carefully planned’ breeding really means.

I was told that before our KC will recognise a breed, it has to fill a particular niche and be recognised in its home country. The Silken Windhound was developed in the US in the mid 1980s. The breed is currently in the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service which is the major step on the road to full AKC recognition.

To be eligible for consideration to become an AKC recognised breed each of the following criteria have to be met:

A demonstrated following and interest (minimum of 100 active household members) in the breed (in the form of a National Breed Club).

A sufficient population in this country (minimum of 300-400 dogs) with a three generation pedigree. Dogs in that pedigree must be of the same breed.

Geographic distribution of the dogs and people (located in 20 or more States).

AKC must review and approve the club’s breed Standard as well as the club’s constitution and by-laws. Breed observations must be completed by AKC field staff.

If a substantial nationwide interest and activity in the breed is then demonstrated and all the above criteria is met… then and only then will it be considered for the miscellaneous class.

And let’s not forget the significant costs involved in developing a breed to become recognised; the thousands of pounds spent on importing stock, the health testing and DNA profiling – a requirement of the International Silken Windhound Society. Given that we aren’t dealing with cute, fluffy toy breeds that could so easily become a commercial proposition, these breeders will be lucky to break-even, further demonstrating their dedication to their chosen breed.

Jessica Holm was asked during the Crufts coverage why doodles and the like weren’t recognised by the KC. As she diplomatically replied, to get recognition takes years of hard work and requires true dedication and commitment, which is probably why I don’t think we’ll be seeing the Daisy dog recognised anytime soon!

See more on Dog World’s website http://www.dogworld.co.uk/product.php/135733/

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