At the risk of getting myself in hot water (so what else is new) I am going to make a public statement:
I feel it is time for the CWCCA to stop hiding its head in the sand about the "Pink", or ee Red issue.
I am not going to attempt to explain the genetics behind the pinks, or ee reds, here. There are other websites and blogs that are far better qualified and do a much better job than I could ever do on that subject. If you are interested in more information on exactly what an ee red is, I would suggest you visit Cathy Ochs-Cline's website (http://www.phi-vestavia.com/).
The reality is that there are many truly lovely dogs and bitches being born that are ee reds. The misfortune in this is that they are not "really" red; ie- they don't breed true- a red bred to a red will produce red. A "pink" bred to a red will not always produce red. As a matter of fact, the owner of a pink may not know what color their puppy really is- since testing the puppy will only result in being told it is an ee red.
And then there is the ethical question:
I have personally never seen a pink with naturally black pigment (naturally being the key word here.) I am told that they exist- but I cannot attest to that. Every pink that I have ever seen has had some shade of brown or grey pigment. And... if the nose is brown in the winter- even if it turns black in the summer- its not normal- natural- black pigment.
Our standard is very clear on this. To quote: Nose black, except in blue merles where black noses are preferred but butterfly noses are tolerated. A nose other than solid black in any other color is a disqualification.
Do I feel that these stunningly beautiful Cardigans that are born pink should be DQ'd-- ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! -- but the way our standard reads-- they should be-- and showing them "au natural" risks a DQ under a judge that knows his stuff!
Of course, there are "ways" around the pigment issue-- anyone that has been around the grooming tent at any dog show knows that products abound to take care of a little color issue on some pigment... Right? But... how ethical is that? Really??
Lets see... The AKC Rules and Regulations for Dog Shows state that a judge may disqualify any dog that he feels has been changed by artificial means (pg 46-47). The judge may also excuse and/or withhold awards any dog he finds artificial substances in the dogs coat or skin (pg 49), and the owner/exhibitor may be liable for disciplinary action.
I am sure, right now, you are thinking that no judge is going to really bother with all of that... but let me assure you that there ARE judges that DO bother...
With brown noses being a DQ, and with so many lovely pink puppies being born, what are we to do? The current standard literally forces ethical breeder/exhibitors choose between violating AKC Regulations or placing their best puppies in pet homes.
A Possible Solution:
The following breeds allow for brown or liver noses within their reds or red merles and brown dogs:
Australian Shepherd; Bearded Collie; Border Collie; Canaan Dog; Polish Lowland Sheepdog
I propose, rather than throw away otherwise exceptional specimens of our breed, we open a new color variation of the breed- which would allow for the unique coat color, which is without black hair; as well as the lighter pigment.
This would eliminate the stigma that has been attached to these dogs, and allow for a greater understanding of the genetics. There have always been "pinks." This color didn't just suddenly appear in a random litter in the early 1980's in Texas~ The only reason we are seeing more of them and hearing more about them is we talk about it now. And that is a good thing!
Some of the best puppies I have seen of late have been pinks! Without question, the best overall puppies in my last litter were the 2 pinks! My choice to place them was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make!
We, as breeders, cannot ignore the ee Reds. They are not going to go away! Right now, the top 5 dogs in the country all carry pink! A new person to this breed would be hard put to try to find a line that does not have someone in the pedigree that doesn't have some ee Red in there.
There are FAR WORSE things in our breed, then puppies being born pink! We have many more serious structural and breed type faults to be worrying about! Its a crime to have to pet out an exceptional quality puppy because it has brown pigment!
Every breeder has to set their own standards, and their own comfort level. I don't fault anyone for making their choices to show, or not show, their ee Red dogs. My hope is that the CWCCA Board Members will consider appointing a committee to examine the issue, and perhaps, in time, we will see a standard revision that will allow these beautiful, sound, typey pinks to be shown "au natural"- and admired for all that they are.
Of course, this is just my opinion!