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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all,

Was just doing some reading on colour restrictions in other dog breeds, particularly Boston terriers. Sounds like many perfectly healthy dogs are removed from breeding lines as they are not the specific correct colouration listed in the breed standard. I'm all for breed standards but in some cases it sounds like the same genes produce these different colour patterns so good dogs are being removed from the breed for somewhat arbitrary reasons, especially when the colours were acceptable at one point in the breed's history. Of course that would tend to shrink the gene pool, and potentially amplify out other health problems. Seems like something really important with any breed is to have a diverse and healthy gene pool.

It got me to thinking that we're quite fortunate that the many different colours of Havanese are acceptable in the show ring. With the small gene pool the breed has started with, at least in the U.S., it would likely only make things worse to be breeding for very specific colours any more than is already done. Of course there are some colouration requirements with regards to eye rims, nose, etc, but overall we are not taking perfectly healthy dogs out of the breed for lack of a correct pattern/colouration. Lucky us, and we get to have all these cool looking little dogs of all kinds of interesting patterns and colours prevalent in our breed!

Anyway just some food for thought/discussion if anyone else is into this kind of stuff. I'm only a newbie when it comes to dog genetics and breed standards so please correct me if I'm making any incorrect assumptions!
 

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Although the written history makes it sound like Havanese come from a small gene pool, genetic research tells us they might even be the most genetically diverse of all the "purebreds".

As far as I know, color is not connected to any health problems currently, but there are some colors excluded for possible health reasons. For instance, blue merle carries with it eye problems in other breeds, and fortunately, that's one color you don't see in Havanese, or at least, not in well bred ones.`
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, I read about the blue merle (the double merles specifically having problems), and as pretty as it is, good thing it's not in Havanese! :) I have heard anecdotal reports of red Havs being more prone to cardiac problems, but of course that could just be specific lines, and it could also be with any colour that people are striving to breed for due to popularity reasons. There are always breeders willing to put health of the critters on the line to make a sale. :(

That being said, I guess my point was more that having limited acceptabe colours would just shrink your gene pool within a breed and take perfectly good dogs out of the running, thus increasing the possibilities of recessive health problems cropping up.

Tom, are there any particularly good articles or resources on the history of the Havanese that you favour?
 

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There are genetic tests for color. The whole canine genome has been mapped, so they know what is where on all the chromosomes. The color genes are not even on the same chromosome as genes that cause heart problems that I know anything about, so if there is a correlation, it would be more line related than color related.

I always remember what Winston Churchill said about history he was going to write, and believe that's true in a lot of history.
 
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