View Full Version : Breeding 'A' dogs: a success story

20th March 2010, 01:16 AM
Lee Pieterse, a dedicated Australian breeder of Griffon Bruxellois -- another breed which seems to have a higher incidence of CM/SM -- gave me permission to share these two posts she made recently to one of the discussion lists. She was immediately very proactive when it began to appear that griffons also had a degree of SM showing up on scans, and has been pivotal in raising awareness internationally amongst griffon breeders and in supporting research projects.

Some may recall that griffons are part of the Canadian genome work as the control group clear of both CM and SM, because not enough cavaliers clear of both could be found.

Lee is very excited about these successes and her experience with her breed is in line with what the Dutch cavalier breeders also have been seeing too over several generations. 'A' dogs produce more 'A' dogs and add more 'A's to the overall breeding pool. This offers much hope for both breeds! :)

Here are her two posts. Incidentally, neurologist Dr Child is the same neurologist who did the presentation about the 60 club breeder cavaliers in Australia, where 50% had SM on scans.

Just recently we had 2 more griffons MRI'd, and have received their gradings back from Dr Georgina Child (specialist neurologist in Australia) both are A's.
They are mother & son.

Going backwards in the pedigree,
They are: BIS Ch Statuesque Pumpkinpickle - "A" now 2.5 yrs
his mother BIS Ch Statuesque Pumpkin Pie "A"
her mother Ch Statuesque Muscadelle "A"
her mother Statuesque Lizabeth "A" (had D graded mother)
her father BIS Ch Beagriff Boeing "A"
his mother Ch Beagriff Stargazer "A"

This gives us great faith in MRI ing -and Dr Rusbridge's methods.
And if you saw the continual improvement in the MRI's themselves, it would make your heart warm.

It is a relief to know we are pretty unlikely to produce an affected and symptomatic dog by knowing what we are putting together.
Yes, it is possible we may produce a dog with SM - but it's not 'likely' -
No there are no guarantees, but wow, I'm happy.

Again, a large thank you to Clare & Penny, they have supported and encouraged me at EVERY turn.

Lee Pieterse

Thank you everyone for writing in - it's a long road, but it is proving very worthwhile.

To answer you David,
Yes, there is absolute direct improvement on each MRI, each A graded dog that was bred to a better one.
The D graded bitch in there (the worst MRI anyone seems to have seen) really downgraded the quality of the MRI's for that next generation - 2 were MRI'd from that litter.
1 was a D (not bred on with)
the other was an A - (only just - she has a tiny syrinx)
but then back to good A grades and each generation is
an improvement from here with no syrinxes, AND less chiari like malformation

Regarding the inbreeding:
you can see all these dogs on this site,
and the site has the ability to work out any co efficients etc.

Regarding their siblings etc - Griffons often only have small litters.
Pumpkinpickle has one brother only - Ch S Pumpernickel he will be MRI'd as soon as I save my pennies again!
Pumpkie Pie was a singleton.
Muscadelle had 3 littermates, all were A graded ( of varying quality, all with significant problems))
Lizabeth had a D graded brother and mother (the one with the truly horrible MRI)

Lee Pieterse

20th March 2010, 06:39 AM
Karlin I will just add a bit of background on the Australian scene.

Frank and Lee Pieterse are very well known in the dog scene in Australia. After PDE was televised nationally in Australia there was a meeting at Sydney University and there was an open invitation to breeders and canine organisations to attend. Hear at the end of this audio interview what Lee Pieterse mentions to anyone buying a puppy of any breed and I notice the mention of "Accredited Breeder".

Frank Pieterse is on a few ANKC Commities & Working Parties and he is even the Chairman of Dogs NSW, see at this link address.

Oh here is something interesting where Dogs NSW just might start having "Accredited Breeders". Maybe down the track Australia might even have a BVA/ANKC Scheme for Hearts and maybe even for CM/SM, and for years they already have schemes similar to the UK BVA/KC Schemes for Eyes, Hips and Elbows. Also the NSW Government already now has Codes of Practice which includes a section regarding dog breeding and in time they may change a word from "should" to "must". Oh yes the following is interesting in Australia and from this link address.

Dogs NSW



It is important that DOGS NSW leads the way in the health and welfare debate particularly recognizing the high quality work being done by our leading breeders in these areas.

In the UK the Kennel Club has recently given unqualified support to the recommendations of the Bateson Report on health and welfare in dog breeding, including proper health testing and disclosure to purchasers.

Accordingly DOGS NSW has prepared a proposed voluntary Accredited Breeders Scheme for input and comment by members with a view to implementing these principles, as applicable to Australia, on a voluntary basis.

It is not possible to breed perfect dogs as Mother Nature is not perfect.
However by common sense and good science based practice, DOGS NSW members can demonstrate their commitment to achieving the best possible outcomes with the health and welfare of their dogs.

This Accredited Breeder Scheme is aimed ensuring that, when buying from us, the puppy buying public can have confidence that the right thing has been done in producing those puppies and that proper health testing of parents and puppies has been carried out.

The strong member input/comment in 2009 on our proposed new Judges Training Scheme and the proposed NSW Government Breeding Code of Practice contributed to positive outcomes for DOGS NSW. We look forward to repeating those outcomes with strong member contribution to the proposed Voluntary Accredited Breeders Scheme.

In addition to publication in this Gazette the scheme will be published on our website for three months for member comment and input. Commentary is invited by email to info@dogsnsw.org.au or by post to PO Box 632, St Marys NSW 1790, closing 30th June 2010.

Finally neither purebreds nor crossbred can be bred 'perfect' and this program is not designed to go down that track. It is about sensible science based good practice and proper disclosure.

Existing obligations all DOGS NSW member Breeders

1. To comply with all relevant Companion Animal Laws and Prevention Of Cruelty to Animals Laws.
2. To comply with the DOGS NSW code of Ethics
3. To comply with ANKC Code of Ethics and the current ANKC National Code of Practice for Hereditary Diseases,
4. To comply with the Standards set out in the NSW Department of Industry and investment Animal Welfare Code of Practice "Breeding dogs and cats" 2009.


Note. Accolades to Accredited Breeders under scheme based solely on high welfare standards

To qualify as an Accredited Breeder a member would agree to the following:

i) pre-mating disease testing of prospective parents

Note. "Disease testing" means;

a) testing for health conditions which are notified by the Breed Club, ANKC or DOGS NSW as relevant to the breed, and for which scientifically validated, reliable, readily available and cost effective screening procedures are available.
b) DNA tests for hereditary diseases that are available in the relevant breed
ii) subject to veterinary advice, no mating where tests indicate inadvisable
iii) microchip puppies prior to sale
iv) puppy microchip numbers to be included in Application to Register Litter
v) presale veterinary checks on puppies with written report by veterinary surgeon
vi) copies of parent test results and puppy vet check results to be made available to prospective purchasers
vii) prospective purchasers can view puppies with mother where litter was born and raised
viii) comply with standards and guidelines of management and welfare for kennels as set out in NSW Animal Welfare Code of Practice "Breeding dogs and cats" Standards and Guidelines
ix) provide detailed information for puppy care and welfare to purchasers
x) inspection of kennels and records if requested by DOGS NSW
xi) non compliance results in deregistration or suspension from scheme
xii) scheme to be upgraded from time to time as circumstances require


1. After due member consideration and input the Board will finalise the voluntary scheme and prepare the necessary regulations for implementation.
2. It is proposed that Accredited Breeders will be permitted to use a specially designed logo and describe themselves as Accredited DOGS NSW Breeders in advertising both in the DOGS NSW and other media.

For and on behalf of the Board

Christine Davis
CEO 15 February 2010

20th March 2010, 10:43 AM
This must surely prove that the way forward for our Cavalier Breed is by MRI Scanning, also can I Link in Testing for MVD.

I am not so sure about this though , since it's believed that there could be so many Cavalier Carriers around now with the MVD Gene/Genes.

50% of Cavaliers will have a Heart Murmur at 5 years of age, that ,I believe is ,42% Carriers and 8 % Clear.

Could I also mention EddyAnne has said about the Accredited Breeders Scheme, for sure it's not much of a success here in Britain,there are not many Cavalier Breeders involved in it.

Back to the Australian MRI Random Sample of 60 Cavaliers MRI Scanned, I would think the same Percentage will apply to those Cavaliers,

50 % had SM, of the other 50 %, 42% probably will be Carriers of the SM Gene/Genes, and the other 8% will be Clear of those SM Genes.

This must be cause for concern.

The Genes have to be found for SM, or the SM Carriers could be Spreading this Disease further afield.


20th March 2010, 12:40 PM
But the issue isn't necessarily how many dogs are carriers for two serious problems, but how breeders use the information they can obtain about individual dogs, and how those dogs will fit in to a wider family analysis (the EBVs/gBVs), that will be essential. This evidence is one of the most encouraging, exciting aspects of Lee's results. :)

I think it is pretty much assumed that nearly all cavaliers now carry genes for SM -- simply because most at least have CM and huge numbers clearly go on to develop syrinxes as well. But as Lee's own breeding success has shown, evidence is very strong that you can take a dog with a syrinx and a poor scan and with the right mating, breed away from SM within a couple of generations to greatly reduce the severity/rate of incidence. The Dutch breeders have had similar good fortune with the same approach with cavaliers.

As Lee notes, this doesn't ensure that a breeder won't still see some cases of SM, but it is far less likely, exactly the same as breeding older onset MVD dogs or clear heart dogs.

Scanning older, hopefully clear dogs for the end of the genome project is absolutely critical to give the best results for the EBV/gBV programme for breeders. As David Harwood argues (who many breeders have listened to regarding probability, statistics and genetics for SM) -- at this point it might actually be better for breeders to be screening the PARENTS of whatever A dogs they get in scanning programmes, rather than scan their offspring -- that's a better indication of whether the younger offspring will be likely to develop SM. And it is even more valuable to scan those age 6+ parents/grandparents/great-grandparents for the genome research before this opportunity is lost forever -- at best, it may be years to decades before a similar project is undertaken at which point further possibly clear dogs will be dead and gone.

For breeders where funding such scans is a hardship, Rupert's Fund has steadily been raising money to cover the cost of some individual dogs. Five are to be scanned in the next week; there is funding already for three more, and we continue to raise funds and will do so as long as such dogs are needed for this research effort. Breeders can talk to Clare Rusbridge about the programme and whether they have a dog that would be valuable (ALL older dogs scans are valuable to both the genome and EBVs but with limited funding, they feel it is best used to help breeders with hopefully clear older cavaliers).

If breeders wish to scan independently and fund themselves, they can talk to Clare Rusbridge for information on how to go about doing this. It is not possible to use some scans from some neurologists so please ensure the scan will be useable. :thmbsup:

Given the results of the Australian breeder's scans, where half of asymptomatic cavaliers scanned with syrinxes, how can any breeder now doubt how critical the genome and EBV/gBV work is? How will the breed survive otherwise? Just guessing and using dogs that appear unaffected when they are young enough to not be showing symptoms is clearly going to prove disastrous for the breed, and its death knell.

Please, breeders, get your older, *hopefully* clear dogs scanned now while they can help benefit the future of this breed. Eevery additional dog found to be clear at over 6 is an enormous boost to the accuracy of the EBVs/gBVs.

20th March 2010, 01:54 PM
Lee has added these comments in a post to the SM discussion list:

I'd also like to say how beneficial it has been to go backwards in the generations.

below are the 6 I previously mentioned -
half of these we would not have scanned ourselves (as they were already desexed oldies by the time we knew about SM)

They were scanned as older aged dogs, and part of the pilot study done for research, and paid for by the funding
arranged by Dr Rusbridge & Penny Knowler, including Sandy Smith's
"For The Love of Ollie" Book funding.

Without this funding, and their assistance and support - I wouldn't know half of what I've learned,and I am forever grateful that they gave me the chance to help their research, which in turn helped my own breeding efforts.

It has made it so clear for me, to see these MRI's and their improvements (or regression in one case) depending on the quality of the MRI on the parent used.

As stated years ago, had I known how bad the "D" graded bitch 'in there' was at the time, I wouldn't have bred with her.
Just absolute blind luck that she was bred to dogs that many years later turned out to be "A" grades.
AND IT WORKED enough to go forward with!

If anyone has an 'oldie' that has been influential in their bloodlines - go and get it scanned! It has been so helpful to us, to KNOW what is back there and WHERE. (plus they make the best blood samples for research when they are older clears)

BIS Ch Statuesque Pumpkinpickle - "A" now 2.5 yrs
his mother BIS Ch Statuesque Pumpkin Pie "A"
her mother Ch Statuesque Muscadelle "A"
her mother Statuesque Lizabeth "A" (just) (had horribly D graded mother)
her father BIS Ch Beagriff Boeing "A"
his mother Ch Beagriff Stargazer "A"

best wishes
Lee Pieterse

20th March 2010, 01:59 PM
Could I also mention EddyAnne has said about the Accredited Breeders Scheme, for sure it's not much of a success here in Britain,there are not many Cavalier Breeders involved in it.

Bet the UK Kennel Club Accredited Breeder Scheme has been there for several years and in proportions to those who breed dogs I see it so far as a failure. Bateson mentions the following in an UPGRADED scheme where I feel that yet more may NOT be interested if it is upgraded. The following is from the Bateson Report.
"An UPGRADED Accredited Breeder Scheme should be implemented guaranteeing among other matters that all pre-mating tests for inherited disease appropriate to the breed or breeds are undertaken on both parents, that no mating takes place if the tests indicate that it would be inadvisable"

Meanwhile in the UK I think that the Government is NOT concerned if dogs are being bred by breed club breeders or whatever club breeders or not, they are concerned about people who have bought dogs and those people are influencing the Government. Gradually more people are being concerned about health and welfare including hereditary diseases. The APGAW and Bateson Reports both mentioned Government Codes or Practice and I think that in time that may become a reality and which will apply to ALL DOGS.

In Australia I see things happening including an attempt to start an Accredited Breeding Scheme, but then I already see in another major State a Government has already used the word MUST in Legislation and Codes of Practice and where other States in Australia might decide to implement something similar. Meanwhile I see UK DEFRA sitting quietly after the APGAW and Bateson Reports to see what the UK Kennel Club does.

22nd March 2010, 06:04 AM
I noticed this on the Griffon website via the link address given above in Karlin's post.
"All results, positive or negative will be publised on the dogs own page and in the Griffon Database."

I also noticed this new thing whilst visiting the Griffon Club of NSW website.

Accredited Breeders have undertaken the pledge below:-

I …………………………………..pledge to veterinary test both parents of all litters of Griffon Bruxellois for Patella Luxation, Hip Dysplasia, Eye disease, heart disease, and to follow Dr Rusbridge’s Breeding Guidelines for CM/SM. I further pledge to keep veterinary certification of such testing and make it available for puppy purchasers or stud inquiries, and for stud dog owners.



Oh and there was this by Lee Pieterse.
"If anyone has an 'oldie' that has been influential in their bloodlines - go and get it scanned! It has been so helpful to us, to KNOW what is back there and WHERE. (plus they make the best blood samples for research when they are older clears)"

Also I noticed Lee Pieterse mentioned this.


22nd March 2010, 11:24 AM
Just have looked at the Site mentioned by EddyAnne.

The first thing that struck me was ,the Names of the Griffons who have been MRI Scanned A are given.

Why does this not happen here in Britain ,why are the Cavalier Names of MRI Scanned A Cavaliers not given. ?


22nd March 2010, 12:08 PM
Bet I noticed not only the MRI A results but also the F results, and I think that ALL testing information be it positive or negative is of benefit to the breed, and when they set-up the database they did mention.
"All results, positive or negative will be publised on the dogs own page and in the Griffon Database."


22nd March 2010, 01:10 PM
In Australia State Governments are starting to step-in with Codes of Practice such as the following in the State of NSW. Note they used the word "should", but in another major state the word "must" is being used where DNA testing is available. In time I think it will be interesting to read the DRAFT Federal National Government Codes of Practice when it is ready particularly if it includes a section pertaining to breeding and heritable diseases. Meanwhile I noticed that the APGAW Report and Bateson Report both mention Codes of Practice, and Government Codes of Practice can apply to ALL dogs and not just those at Breed Clubs.

Meanwhile this is in the NSW Government Codes of Practice and where Lee Pieterse is. Where a heritable disease is recognised in a breed and where there is screening procedures or a test for that disease the person in charge in the case of a stud cat or dog or bitch or queen should:

• have a current official evaluation or test result for the dog or cat for such hereditary disease;

• provide the official evaluation or test result to the owners where the dog or cat is to be mated to an animal not owned by the breeding facility;

• provide the official evaluation or test result of both the sire and the dam to the new owners of any puppy of kitten;

• endeavour to ensure that the genetic make-up of both sire and dam will not result in an increase in the frequency or severity of known inherited disorders.