I hope to have 2 litters late next winter or early spring and my question to corgi owners is...would you consider buying a corgi with an undocked tail. Many places in Europe have banned the docking of tails and I feel strongly that I would like to leave their tails but as a small time breeder I also want to make sure that my pups will get sold... so I am just checking out what other corgi owners would do if they wanted/found a pup but it had a tail.I most likely will do this (leave their tails) but would like some input!
A pup as a personal pet for myself would be acceptable with or without a tail. HOWEVER, my main requirements would be to ask for a carefully & thoughtfully bred dog from a responsible and ethical breeder first of all, and not consider a cosmetic issue first.
Are the normal and recommended screens for genetic disease done on parents and grandparents with proper certifications? Eyes (CERF), heart, hips (OFA with cumulative generational improvements), VwD clearance (DNA test), DM status (DNA test).
These are all things I would ask any corgi breeder. They are minimum requirements for me. If they do not know or don't test, I'm out of there. If they're breeding responsibly to improve the breed or to at least do no harm, a tail is immaterial to me (but be prepared to explain and prove how you are breeding responsibly). I want a normal, long-lived companion to cherish...this is a long-term personal relationship. I want the pups from a breeder who cares about breeding the whole dog, not just expression, gait, drive, color or a tail.
I agree that verifying the breeder is being careful and has a plan would be most important for me, too. Wow, though, those are a lot of tests, and I'm not sure most breeders do all of them! I have a great book on choosing a dog breed and then finding a good breeder. Breed by breed it says what tests should be done on the parents and/or pups. Certainly some breeds that are prone to the bleeding disorder recommend VwD, but Corgis aren't on the list. For Pembrokes they say hips and eyes, and pups should have their eyes checked by a certified vet b/n 6 and 8 weeks. For Cardigans they also recommend PRA.
My pup's sire is certified clear of VwD, but I don't know that most breeders cert on that. I thought the DM status test was quite new? And I also am not sure which heart test you are referring to. I didn't think that Pembrokes carried a genetic tendency to heart problems.
This is from PWCCA.org:
"Members of the PWCCA are bound by the club's Code of Ethics, which calls for breeding only animals of sound temperament and structure, with clear/normal hips and eyes, and clear of other known inherited problems. When evaluating a breeder and considering the purchase of a puppy, do not hesitate to ask questions such as:
Are the sire and dam screened clear of hip dysplasia via an OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) evaluation?
Are the eyes certified clear of inherited conditions by a veterinary opthamologist?
Describe the temperament of both the sire and dam. Any noise sensitivity or other observed fears? How do they react to new situations?
What other inherited conditions are found in Pembrokes? (Hint: if the answer is "none"-that's not the right answer!) Does the breeder openly talk about reproductive issues, cancer and autoimmune diseases, hips and eyes?
A survey of PWCCA members produced the following list of top genetic issues in the breed:
Eye problems: progressive retinal atrophy, retinal folds, persistent pupilarily membranes, cataracts
Cancer and autoimmune system problems (including underactive and overactive immune systems)
Reproductive problems: uterine inertia during whelping, sterility in males (related to autoimmune problems?) "
I do respect that you look for the extra health clearances. However I'm pretty sure a lot of the club members will not be doing all 5 certs/clearances on your list, as they are not common problems with the breed.
I have been puzzling over the DM test, and it makes me uncomfortable. Apparently there is a fair amount of controversy over it. So far all dogs with DM have a certain genetic marker, but it is not clear what percent of dogs with this marker develop the disease. Nor is it clear that there are not other genetic markers involved.
This is something I know a fair amount about. I have an autoimmune condition called ankylosing spondylitis, which is an inflammatory and progressive arthritis of the spine. There is a genetic marker for the disease which is present in roughly 92% of people with AS. I lack this marker. However, over 90% of people who have this genetic marker will NEVER, I repeat NEVER get AS.
Moreover, more recent long-term studies have uncovered at least 2 other genes implicated in the disease, or expression of it.
I would have zero confidence that a test for DM, which is an auto-immune disease, would at this early stage of research give any real indication of how likely an "affected" dog is of coming down with the disease. I would also have virtually no confidence that a dog that that tested clear would not come down with a disease that is symptomatically so similar to DM as to be indistinguishable in its end result. Why is that? Because I highly doubt that research in the field of autoimmune disease in dogs is so far ahead of that in humans that they can say definitively what genes cause this very sad condition.
It leaves more questions than answers. If indeed a relatively large portion of the population tests positive, but it turns out that as in humans the huge majority of "positive" animals will never, ever develop the disease, what would we do by screening them out of the gene pool?
I think the testing should be done for research, but to offer it as a breeder screening as a means of somehow insuring that a pup won't be affected is perhaps getting a little ahead of the current status of the research.
These auto-immune conditions are very complicated, are likely caused by several sets of genes causing expression or suppression of symptoms, and moreover more than likely have an environmental component that "triggers" the onset of disease activity.
Edit: This is from the very website that is conducting the research and testing for DM:
"The “A” allele is very common in some breeds. In these breeds, an overly aggressive breeding program to eliminate the dogs testing A/A or A/G might be devastating to the breed as a whole because it would eliminate a large fraction of the high quality dogs that would otherwise contribute desirable qualities to the breed."
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is one of the breeds with a very high incidence of Positive or Carrier dogs. Don't count on a flood of breeders offering up the results of their dogs tests any time soon.
Indeed, from the same site:
"Summary: We recommend that dog breeders take into consideration the DM test results as they plan their breeding programs; however, they should not over-emphasize this test result. Instead, the test result is one factor among many in a balanced breeding program. "
Let's stay on topic with the DM marker issue and avoid assumptions with human diseases. Human and canine immune system diseases can be very different. The DM test is huge as a diagnostic tool, as prior to this, the only definitive identification of DM was in a post-mortem. It is based on dogs which ALL have the same genetic marker issue - there is no "muddying" logic from including "dianosed identicals" which do not exhibit the DNA marker. This is to me, faulty logic, especially in immune system disorders. I can respect your lack of confidence in a test and I can only ask that you extend me the same courtesy.
For the record, one of my own dogs is sired by an affected dog reported in the DM research program who recently died of DM related issues. Trust me when I say that you become far more involved when your own dogs are at risk. When you witness the devastating progression of DM, beginning to develop in the prime of a dog's life, you can't help but be moved. Even an imperfect tool has value, particularly because immune-suppression issues are so variable.
I'm not suggesting that breeders remove DM carriers from their breeding programs. I would however, expect any breeder to be aware of the carrier status of their breeding dogs and to take this into consideration in making breeding choices. It is only logical that if a carrier is used for breeding, that it's mate is CLEAR of the DNA marker for DM. It is clear that DM appears to be inherited as a recessive with variable penetrance in the "At Risk" individuals.
Class 1 - A "clear" dog does not carry the DM risk issue/marker.
Class 2 - A "carrier" is not at risk for developing progressive paralysis but will produce an expectation of 50% carriers in their offspring with a clear mate .
Class 3 - An "At Risk" (read: affected) dog is at risk for being afflicted with symptoms, but not all such dogs develop symptoms. Affected dogs would be expected to produce 100% carriers with a clear mate.
Perhaps we should take this to a separate topic as it now has nothing to do with presence or absence of a tail ;-)
Joan Coates (author of the DM paper) is doing a seminar here in Seattle this weekend.
What I want to ask her is: I'm guessing that the high incidence of the A allele in PWC may be due to tight linkage (close on the chromosome) to some valuable corgi trait that breeders have selected for, and the A allele came along for the ride. Is there any evidence for this?
Stay tuned; I'll post 10/11/10 if I learn anything worthwhile.
Personally I wouldn't care if my corgi had a tail or not (Although I do love laughing at his little nub wagging back and forth--you can't even see the nub until he is excited).
I don't show my dog, and probably never would, so to me as long as they are healthy I would consider either one. As someone else said: "I want the pups from a breeder who cares about breeding the whole dog, not just expression, gait, drive, color or a tail."
All I can say is that I LOVE Talula's tail. We might not be very popular amongst hard- core corgi owners who show their dogs, but she's a dog and was born with a tail. She chases it and in addition to her giant ears, it is also very expressive of her moods.
I actually would not buy a dog with a docked tail. Thats why I got a cardigan, I just hate the idea of having part of them cut off. I don't know if it hurts the dog, it just makes me feel guilty. That and their tales are so beautiful, I think they are prettier with the tales, even the naturally short ones.