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WHY SHOULD THERE BE SEPARATION?

According to American Kennel Club (AKC) records, standard smooth dachshunds were recognized as a breed in the United States in 1885 at which time, eleven were entered into, what is now, Volume I of the AKC Stud Book. In 1895, the Dachshund Club of America (DCA) became a member club of the AKC. The miniature dachshund is a relative newcomer, by comparison, and was introduced in this country around the 1930s. They were first exhibited at the DCA specialty in 1934. Since that time, the standard and miniature have been competing in the same ring. Granted, when minis first came into the show ring, and for a long time thereafter, they were virtually ignored by judges and scoffed at by standard breeders. It has taken many years of hard work and determination from some very dedicated breeders to turn things around. Today, the miniature dachshund is well received and a respected and integral part of the dachshund scene in both conformation and obedience rings, as well as in the field.

It is documented that ever since miniatures were recognized by DCA and AKC, some group or other has, unsuccessfully, tried to separate miniatures from standards either into separate breeds or expansion to six varieties. The National Miniature Dachshund Club (NMDC), not long after its inception in the early 1950s, has worked toward bringing about six varieties. When the AKC turned NMDC down in their last attempt, they decided to address separate breed status. NMDC now has its own “official” miniature dachshund standard as a first step toward becoming a separate breed. How this will all play out, no one knows – perhaps there will be one parent club for miniatures and one for standards, or DCA might be parent club for the two separate breeds, or maybe things will remain just as they are today. Whatever the outcome, if you are a miniature breeder, there are lots of questions you should ask yourself regarding separation.

Why should there be separation of miniatures from standards? Would it be for the betterment of the breed or is it all about the points? Let’s see:

• the reasoning behind the beginning of the dog show, and its primary existence for the breeder today, is to confirm the quality of dogs from one’s breeding program and also to evaluate other stock for future breedings.
Since both standards and miniatures are now in the same ring, we are able to exhibit and observe both sizes in their respective classes and, in addition, we also have a larger gene pool from which to choose. If there are separate breeds, we will no longer be able to observe standards in the same ring and most importantly, we will lose their valuable gene pool, as well.

So, Why should there be separation?

compete in every all-breed Hound Group
If there are quality dogs in the ring, both miniature and standard, there is just as good a chance, nowadays, for three miniatures to go to the Hound Group as three standards. As the by-laws state, the goal of both standard and miniature breeders is “to do everything possible to bring the natural qualities of purebred dachshunds to perfection.” Let’s all focus on breeding better dogs so that we can send quality rather than quantity to the Hound Group.

So, Why should there be separation?

miniatures are a separate breed in all other countries
That doesn’t mean it’s the only way to exhibit. Without sounding pompous, I dare say the USA has the best overall quality dachshunds in the world. That is simply because we have so many more options available to us than breeders in other countries. I’ve spoken to many people from around the world and most say they wish they had the same system we do here in America.

So, Why should there be separation?

any color or pattern is allowed in the NMDC “official” standard
Why does the NMDC Standard allow any color or pattern when their Mission Statement clearly states they strive to eliminate inherited health problems? Why would a club knowingly add more health problems to its gene pool than it already has? First and foremost, reputable breeders should care about the health and welfare of their dogs. The DCA membership voted to remove double dapple from its revised “Official” Standard and also voted to exclude the piebald as a new pattern mainly because these breedings cause major health problems. (Please see “Double Dapple and Piebald Patterned Dachshund Health Issues,” on this website)

So, Why should there be separation?

no longer will breeding down from standards be available to miniature breeders
A sound breeding program is necessary to produce quality dogs. You will lose one of the most important elements which we are very fortunate to have available to us in our present system – the Breed-down Program. Breeding down usually takes at least two generations to get the correct size but it is worth the wait and the effort. Not only do you get size, but excellent bone and, generally, an overall look of a standard in miniature. And, again, you also have the benefit of the larger gene pool.

So, Why should there be separation?

• the quality of miniatures has greatly improved
Many miniatures do excel over standards right now, not in spite of the competition but because of it. The competition forced mini breeders to work that much harder and the great strides that some mini breeders have taken are showing in the ring today. Take the competition away, plus reduce the gene pool, and the quality could soon diminish, as well.

So, Why should there be separation?

breeders of both standards and miniatures might run into conflicts at shows
With the cost of showing dogs at an all-time high, do you then want to run the risk of ring and time conflicts?

So, Why should there be separation?

major points would be harder to come by
Needless to say, if there aren’t any standards competing with the miniatures, majors will be even harder to come by than they are today. If the point system changes, as some suggest it will if there is separation, fewer dogs will be required for a major and we could easily lose the caliber of miniatures we see in the ring today.

So, Why should there be separation?

guaranteed points
Yes, points will be available both for standards and miniatures but, at what price? When a judge is forced to put up a less than desirable specimen simply because there is nothing else in the ring, is that good for the breed or bad for the breed? Again, quality could be compromised.

So, Why should there be separation?

So, should there be separation? Absolutely not. The only logical and sensible conclusion one can draw – stay with as many options as are available to you in order to breed better dogs. Seriously think about why you breed and show dachshunds. Weigh very carefully all you might lose if there are two separate breeds. Or is it all about the points?

Some food for thought: What will happen to the oversized miniature? Since weight would only be a preference, exactly what will distinguish a miniature from a standard? Unless there is a disqualification for weight, what would be the difference? Will AKC insist that NMDC put a specific weight limit at, let’s say, “between 8 and 11 lbs.” for miniatures? If that will be the case, all dogs shown as miniature dachshunds would have to be under eleven pounds to compete, not only in the Open class as they are now, but in the BBE and Am Bred classes, as well. Thus, the oversized dog could only be shown and bred as a standard.

When NMDC originally wanted expansion to six varieties in the Hound Group, most breeders were willing to go along with that concept. Separate breeds, however, will be a huge mistake for all ethical, responsible dachshund breeders in this country. In addition, the fact that the NMDC standard will allow any color and pattern to be shown, is extremely irresponsible and detrimental to the health and well-being of our breed.

Interestingly, DCA held its national specialty in April, 2008, where a mini wire went WB, not only beating the many miniatures in attendance, but the standards, as well. One other notable point – she was from a breed-down program! No longer would miniatures be able to be shown at this prestigious show if AKC relegates miniatures to NMDC and standards to DCA. The same dog was also WB at the NMDC specialty. A miniature winning at both the DCA and the NMDC nationals might never happen again.

So, Why, again, should there be separation?

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