Merle Cockers
American Spaniel Club:

View on the Merle Issue


NEW UPDATE!!-January 30. 2007
Scroll down for the newest updates

Below is a copy of an letter received from Dr Alvin Grossman
the past President of the American Spaniel Club,
written August 24, 2004.
Dr Grossman was asked for his opinion on the merle issue, and this was his response.

THERE IS NO MERLE gene in Cocker Spaniels!! NO MATTER WHAT PEOPLE TRY TO TELL YOU. The dog Rusty, coming from red/buff bloodlines could only sire other colors when bred to more dominant colors. He, himself could not carry a Merle gene. He is the bottom of the Cocker color chain. All other colors are dominant to his color. Dapple in Doxies is common. Just because people have bred them for five generations does not make them an acceptable color in Cockers. Our standard is specific when it says all colors not described in the standard are to be disqualified. Setting up a special category for them would only be acknowledge them. They are Pure Bred mutts!

Al Grossman 

Dr Clyde Shaw is now President of ASC and from what AKC has told us, after intense 
communications back and forth with them, for over a year, that they are contacting ASC in regards to this issue.
Hopefully, something will be done soon:-)
Update: The merle issue is to be discussed at the Summer Nationals in Perry. Hopefully, the ASC will
do something constructive about it.

June 2005
Letter from Dr Clyde Shaw, current ASC President:

From The President

Hello to all who read these pages. I assume that, since you are reading this, you have an interest in spaniels.

We cocker spaniel breeders have a problem that may seep into the other flushing spaniel breeds. The board is researching the topic and, with input from the Cocker Spaniel standard committee, will have a plan of action by the end of the July meeting. The issue is the merle pattern. As many of you know, I am not a fanatic and am not the least bit paranoid about "rare" colors. However, this is an entirely different matter. Cocker breeders who care nothing for the health and integrity of the breed have discovered that there is a big market for these unusual dogs.....especially those with blue eyes!!! Since their only motive is the astronomical prices they can get for these animals, they turn a blind eye (you should forgive the pun) to the health issues that the merle gene carrries with it.

I don't think it is within the scope of this letter to educate the reader on these points, but I would refer you to any number of websites that can be found by a Google search for "merle cockers." Briefly, merle is a dominant gene, which means that if a dog has the gene, he should have the pattern. This is good news, in that it should be easy to eliminate. But there are some animals where the gene is poorly expressed. Should two of these "masked" merles be bred, the resultant homozygous offspring will be blind, deaf, or both. Some may even be born without eyes (this according to one of the websites).

Suffice it to say these are problems we don't need in any flushing spaniel. But we might get it whether we want it or not.

There is no option on cocker registration papers for the merle pattern, so they are being registered as roans. It is easy to see what havoc this will create in future pedigrees. We could breed what appears to be a perfectly legitimate animal, that could in truth be a masked merle.

Education is part of the answer, and if we get inquiries from potential puppy buyers about the color, we should help them understand that these unfortunate animals should not exist and anyone breeding them does not have the best interest of the breed at heart. They are simply lining their pockets at the breed's expense. We certainly will not be able to alter the behavior of those who see big profits.

Ponder the issue and let your zone rep know how you feel about the issue and what you think can be done.


-Merle cockers: After discussion, the board decided to delay acting on the standard committee's recommendation to allow these dogs to be registered as merles by including this color pattern on the registration form. A dominant color cannot simply appear in a breed. Unlike a recessive, it can't remain hidden for generations. As guardians of the breed, we would be negligent if we accepted these animals simply because they are here. A subcommittee has been appointed to research the pedigrees and hopefully determine exactly where and when the pattern began. Even the merle websites say they don't know this. If it can be proven that the pattern could not have arisen from the mating indicated by pedigrees, the registration status of all merles would be in question. Then we would look to AKC on what the next step would be. Perhaps a "Z" registry like DPCA has for white dobermans.

As of November 1, 2005- No decision has been made....AGAIN

November 07, 2005
ASC has posted a photo of a merle Aussie On their website with a caption reading:
the dog is NOT a purebred cocker spaniel
Under this, it reads:
The American Spaniel Club recognizes three varieties of Cocker Spaniels ONLY:

    * ASCOB (buff, brown, or brown with tan points)
     * Black (solid black or black with tan points)
     * Parti-color (tri-color, red and white, brown and white, or black and white).
November 24, 2005
They still had the photo and message but they added roans.
The American Spaniel Club recognizes three varieties of Cocker Spaniels ONLY:

    * ASCOB (buff, brown, or brown with tan points)
    * Black (solid black or black with tan points)
    * Parti-color (tri-color, red and white, brown and white, black and white, and roans).

December 14, 2005
The photo and remarks were removed from ASC's website.
You can check this yourself by using
Internet Archive Wayback Machine

No announcement, no comments, no z-list proposal, no action taken.
This is NOT acceptable!!!!
Whether the ASC feels they are not purebred, they are still here and are still being detrimentally listed as roans! Which they are not!
It's time to wake up, ASC!
Even AKC states that dogs are considered PUREBRED after 5 generations. The majority of cockers bred down from the Rusty Butch breeding are 5 or MORE generations out now. They must be able to be listed as the pattern they are, or it can prove to be detrimental to many breeding programs.

Dec 30, 2005
ASC has formed a committee to investigate the merle cocker. There will be a meeting at the ASC National's in January 2006. Some will be allowed to voice their views both pro and con and the committee should have most if not all of the research information they need to decide whether to allow AKC to list merles as merles.

NEW UPDATE!!-February 22, 2006
From the ASC website:
The board has been approaching the merle issue from several angles, and I regret to inform you that there has been little change. A number of members feel that allowing the color pattern to be listed as an option on registration forms would, to some degree, imply acceptance of it. With the health issues that the gene carries, all responsible breeders know that it has no place in our breed, but we have had difficulties coming up with alternative solutions to the problem. AKC has made it clear that there is nothing they can/will do to assist us unless we can show color pedigrees to prove the origin of the pattern in cocker spaniels. They, of course, know that color pedigree research is impossible, as no cocker spaniel has ever been registered as merle. While we have pointed out that conventional wisdom indicates that we know the two breedings responsible for the first merles, AKC appropriately points out that they can do nothing without scientific proof that this information is accurate. In my discussions with AKC I have told them of Dr Keith Murphy's identification of the mutation responsible for the merle pattern. Dr Murphy has shown that the mutation is the same across all canines. In other words, all merle dogs have the same marker for the pattern…no spontaneous mutations have been found. A blood test on any merle cocker spaniel can verify that this is true in our breed also. So we can prove that, if no merles existed in cocker spaniels prior to the 1980's, the only way the pattern could have appeared in the breed would be through an outcross to another breed. AKC's response to this was that, unless we could prove how and when the pattern was introduced, there is nothing they can do. The latest correspondence for AKC stated that they "will not refuse registration of a cocker spaniel based on coat color alone."

This is where the issue stands right now. While the next step is not clear, the board will discuss it further at the Spring meeting. 

In other words, let's stick our heads in the sand and maybe they will go away.....
PLEASE, ASC, get the one(s) who are raising cain about having the merles thrown out and at least get the merles listed with AKC, until we DO have a huge mess on our hands!!!
ASC does NOT have to allow the merle to be shown in conformation..but it NEEDS to be correctly listed with AKC! Who cares by being able to list merle that the pattern is  considered "accepted"? So are cataracts, hip dysplasia, slips (Cockers rank #3),epilepsy, liver disease, AIHA, PRA, Thyroid disease, Cushings Disease, ECT, and people keep breeding these dogs and those lines. That's pretty "lethal" too! But they can't seem to accept a pattern??!!! Come on!
Many want the merles thrown out because they have found their lines are now behind many merle pedigrees. Too bad.... they are here. If this would have been taken care of long ago, maybe this wouldn't have happened to "YOUR" and "MY" lines.


Opinions from an ASC members in regards to the letter from Dr Grossman:
I can only say I haven't been able to get my breath since reading this.  To think this is the mentality of the pres. of ASC is frightening to say the least.  Dr. Grossman has disappointed me completely.

What would have happened if we refused to acknowledge rabies?  We would never have come up with a vaccine to arm our dogs and ourselves against it's ravages.  If we didn't acknowledge cancer, how would we fight it and save so many lives.

Dr. Grossman, acknowledging something is not the same as accepting it.  We must acknowledge our enemies.  If the merle gene can hurt our breed, whether accepted or not, we must, MUST face it to protect our breed's future.

You can call them "pure bred mutts" all you want.  They are being registered as pure bred American Cockers.  Your job, as President of ASC is to help us protect this breed.  You seem to be allowing your own personal biases to control your common sense.

I've heard of tunnel vision before, but this is no vision at all.

Having the color/pattern of merle acknowledged is not the same a accepting it.  Acknowledging it, simply means that it can be registered as a merle rather than whatever color the breeder decides to use, usually roan.  This way breeders down the line will be aware if there is a merle in the pedigree and can plan accordingly.

Merle is being bred now.  It has been being bred for a while now. It will continue to be bred, because human nature makes us a versatile being and some like things others don't.....  Whether it came from the introduction of another breed or from some accidental or purposeful breeding, doesn't really matter.  The fact is, it's here now.  We need to deal with what we have now.

Just try to remember....................acknowledging is NOT the same as accepting.  Try to think of it this way, the weather bureau tells you a tornado is on the way.  You do not want a tornado to come, ie, you do not want to accept it, but you acknowledge that it may happen, so you take precautions to prevent injuries to yourself and your loved ones.  Those few who are stubborn and won't acknowledge that the weather bureau could be correct, are in a position to be hurt terribly, and often are.

 OPINION FROM the July 2005 letter regarding merles from ASC:

This is very sad and really does nothing at all to help the  hundreds of puppies that will undoubtedly be bred in the meantime and will be  registered as 
ROANS. ASC is the guardian of the breed and at least we can all  agree on that. Health issues are vital to the future of our breed and what is  more vital 
than health concerns that KILL. ASC has been made aware of this merle  issue since Dr Grossman was President so they have had years. Hours and hours of 
research has been done and the dog of origin is clearly identified. ASC was  made aware of the merle website that has all of this research clearly arranged  and 
easy to understand. 
Where the gene came from is now a mute point  because:
1. AKC which ASC recognizes and accepts as a registry of pure bred  dogs is registering them and as been for years and is NOT going to backtrack  now
2. Even  if the gene is proven to have originally resulted  from a mismating, after 5 generations AKC would now have considered them  purebreds. And all 
those dogs are dead now so how are you going to prove this  one? AKC would not go back and delete generations of cockers
3. Health issues facing merle pet owners and the rest of the  fancy that is unlucky enough to have the unidentified gene lurking in false color pedigrees 
are DEADLY health issues.
4. ASC has now stepped aside and allowed to continue a practice of  false registration of color that gets worse each passing day
5. No one wants to legitimize the color or even advocate breeding  but we have a higher road in addressing the health issue

ASC had the opportunity to step up and take on a touchy subject and save hundreds of puppies lives now and in the future. Actions to make sure that the 
integrity of AKC stud books remains intact. 
But instead they  took the easy road and the terrible practice of registering merles as roans will go on. 
In the time it takes ASC to figure it out and they won't find out anymore  than is known today thousands more ROANS will be registered. 
Try to explain that to the public as I don't think the questions will be where did the gene come from 15 years ago but answer why didn't you tell me a
roan is a merle or why are all my puppies dying. So much for preserving a true sporting dog color. 

Common  sense never prevails it seems but the pass the buck and stall is easier. 
This was never an origin issue it was and is a health issue  PERIOD!!!!!!!!!

For me personally I love the roan color and hate the thought of  merles registered as roan. As a breeder who would like to breed roan litter myself  I 
resist because of this issue alone. In the 1946 ASC yearbook there are  beautiful roans throughout and it is very sad that despite 30 years of  pedigree study 
and research I can't look at a pedigree of roans and even tell if  a merle is lurking. 
How can you expect any breeder to?
Terri Pascal
(Posted with permission)

UPDATE! Dec 7, 2005
Comments from the Fancy regarding ASC's "Announcement" on their website

I thought that merles sometimes appeared in litters which also contained solids and/or partis. Is a solid or parti littermate of a merle cocker purebred? Only if ASC is assuming multiple sires.
But what if DNA testing is done and it is determined that the littermates have the same parents? Would that mean that one of the parents, by definition, would not be purebred?

Where is ASC going with this logic? Are we going to have to go further up the pedigree to see which line is contaminated? What if the grandparents, etc., are dead and unavailable to supply DNA? Are we going to have to cancel the registrations of any dog who has a suspect ancestor in its pedigree? What if a big winning dog was a distant cousin of a merle???


ASC had formed a committee and was going to study the matter. Looks like they did, lol.

They can stand on their heads, like it or not, after 5 generations of pure and documented breeding a dog is considered purebred and it doesn't matter what was in the mix before that as far as AKC reg. goes. That is the ONLY logic I can see, everything else is wishful thinking on ASC's part. Why should this AKC rule apply to all dogs, except merles!???

As far as appearing in litters with solid or parti litter mates, yes, they do but they don't just appear. One PARENT has to be merle to express the color pattern in the offspring so you don't have to go back terribly far in the pedigree to find the culprit.

I don't love the merles either . . . to me the colour just doesn't "fit" with the breed.  But that being said, I don't think the ASC can proclaim that any merle is not purebred.  I think it's a silly comment to make, to be honest with you . . . since there are plenty of merles out there with 5 generations worth of Cockers in their pedigrees.

To me it seems like a very rash statement to make, and while I understand ASC's underlying meaning (that merles will NOT be registered as Cockers), I think they are going about it the wrong way.  I think there must be a better way to handle the situation, but not sure what that way is.


Let's don't forget the sheer craziness of a parent club labeling any dog with AKC papers many with DNA numbers on sire and dam as non purebred. Can we trust AKC to provide us with registrations or not? If we can't we are in real trouble. Wait until someone gets a lawyer and sues ASC for saying their AKC registered possibly even champion sired sable, sable and white, blue, blue and tan, or merle puppy is not really a purebred DESPITE AKC papers? Talk about a Pandora's box!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I am 10000% against merles but they aren't going away and need to be properly identified.


I understand that merles have been registered as roans because there was no other place to put them. And I know that this is the big concern WRT health issues - because you don't know that they are in a pedigree.

If you see the parents, of course an educated eye could tell if it was a merle. But if all you have to go on is a paper pedigree, how would you know?


It is going to become more and more important knowing ones pedigrees and BREEDERS. …Breeders and their ethics are even more highly valued than the pedigree itself. Even when seeing both parents it may not be 100% possible to identify a merle. If they have blue eyes or/and the typical merle pattern all over the body yes but
some do not and it's only expressed on part of the tail. You know what happens to that part of the body. This was discussed once on an all
breed list with the Aussies who are also docked with lots of merles in the pedigree to worry about. Docking that part of the only hint of merle is something I had not thought of before but I guess it does happen. In that case it's imperative the dog is registered under the correct color,
which would not be a problem in THAT breed.

Since merle is a dominant gene, we really would only have to know the sire and the dam and not anything beyond that.


So - are we setting the stage for a witch hunt? Is the ASC going to petition AKC to cancel the registrations of ANY cocker with merles in the litter? You would also have to go up the pedigree ladder to get the cousins - those who had a parent who might have come from a litter which contained merles. And a grandparent. And however far back
you'd have to go to reach this first buff who allegedly created the "problem." But when people can't register merles as merles, there is no record. So everything is hypothetical.

I'm not saying that genetically - in the strictest sense - merles are purebred - but they are probably past that 5 generation AKC guideline.
When ASC comes out on its webpage with a statement that they are not purebred when it has not addressed the issue of merles hidden in pedigrees, it seems to me they are failing the breed insofar as health issues are concerned. All this feature can possibly do is shock or annoy fanciers - it doesn't solve anything.

It is the very people breeding merle and will continue to breed them..that are responsible for registration in their own animals. Seems to me that to further alienate this group will serve no purpose in promoting the integrity of the pedigree database or the health of cockers as a breed.

The American Spaniel Club recognizes three varieties of Cocker Spaniels ONLY:

    * ASCOB (buff, brown, or brown with tan points)
    * Black (solid black or black with tan points)
    * Parti-color (tri-color, red and white, brown and white, black and white, and roans).

The sable is missing from this list, so we could have to infer they are not purebred either, when in reality they just can't be shown.  Also, IT DOES matter how many generations have gone by to be able to designate the term, mutt, on a dog. All dogs came from cross breeding varieties and colors, often fairly nilly willy but after so many generations of breeding true, they were considered, purebred. Looks alone can't determine that either. If you look at the cockers we as a fairly small minority are used to and compare them to the pets being bred in great numbers, they still look like the English type, resembling our old type prior to 1950. Show breeders have selected for totally different criteria and the pet and show type don't even look like the same breed anymore but they are still purebred. Like we are always ready to point out, having *papers* is not guaranty for quality.

As lying goes when registering merles as roans, is it really lying? The AKC encourages breeders to reg. a color that most closely describes the dog and that would be roan in the absence of another choice. Also take into account that some *breeders* don't know what they are looking at. For that reason colors have traditionally been an iffy matter with AKC as far as accuracy. AKC itself has entered merles as roans from pictures sent to them and that didn't even involve the breeder's opinion. The AKC is of course not the problem but the ASC is. The best interest of the breed would be served if merles could be IDENTIFIED as such through a separate Z list. Just accepting the color with full reg. but non showable (like the sable) could not achieve the purpose of keeping them separate and would not be desirable IMO.

I am sure we all wish the whole mess would just go away but that is not going to happen. Also, the roan pattern and to some degree parti breeders have the biggest stake in this unpleasant affair and I hope they have some input with this current committee to study the merle issue. The July 20, 2005 minutes state that the Standard Committee (headed by Beth Speich) should try to determine if there is evidence that these are not purebred cockers. In the same paragraph the Public Education Coordinator is addressed to develop a web page to the effect that the merle in NOT a purebred cocker and does not have proper colors. Soooo, it's not clear to me if the Standard committee had already concluded it's research and if indeed it had, what is still to be studied except the cause of the health problems that were mentioned? PDF file July 2005 Minutes of the Regular Board Meeting


It was my understanding (I could have misunderstood) that the Standard Committee concluded it's research and advised the board that they felt the merle gene could have an impact on our breed, so we should identify it so that it could be registered with the AKC as a merle color.  The board decided it did not agree with that conclusion and did more research and have (I guess) come up with the idea of ignoring it.

From a purely logical standpoint, I think the board overstepped its duties here and should have accepted the committee's report.  Very few breeds are pure.  Whether these deliberately bred merles are pure bred or not, is really a long way off from being the issue anyway.  The fact is, this decision has inadvertently made it MORE likely someone could breed into one of these lines.  It is important for all breeders to have as much information as possible when they plan a breeding.  The ASC has just made that a little more difficult.

I understand the board wanting to, and feeling it is important to, insure the purity of cocker spaniels.  That is, after all one of their jobs. Another job is to insure we know that the pedigrees behind our dogs have been properly registered. The American Kennel Club cannot change what our parent club insists be listed on our registration forms.

  If these dogs are properly registered, there will much less chance of anyone breeding into those lines.  With this decision, pure or impure, this color is hidden and the chances of accidentally breeding that gene is more likely. It would seem to me the ASC board would more concerned in protecting us from this insidious type of gene roulette, than it appears they are, or they're understanding of what could be at stake is limited.

You can say "those dogs are just mutts" all you want.  The facts are, these "mutts" are being registered with AKC as purebred cocker spaniels and it's a toss up as to the choice of color.  Somehow, I think we're fighting the wrong battle here.

ASC hasn't finished their work on this in my opinion.  Either these dogs should be registered the color they are, or ASC needs to work to prevent them from being registered at all.  This is not fun and games.  The merle gene can be a "lethal gene".  We, cocker breeders have enough health problems now, we surely don't need anymore.

Has it ever occurred to anyone that if they would work with the merle breeders, it's possible to come up with a solution?  A new breed?  The Merle Spaniel?  They are doing something we, as cocker breeders don't want, but that doesn't make them from outer space. Why not give it a try? It's a sight more constructive than sitting around calling them names. We have a problem here, let's get off our duffs and solve it. And, truthfully, the merle breeders are (for whatever reason) proud of their dogs and their color.  They would probably be delighted to be able to register them as what they are.  They would be happy, and we would be relieved.  Sounds like the direction to move in.


Interesting to note -

Here are the minutes from the asc july meeting.

If you look under section "O", it is the standards committee. There was a "report" given by the committee that was "rejected" by board members.

I asked ASC for a copy of the "report". The standard's committee actually suggested allowing merles to be "registered" as such through AKC so they
would not be registered as roans, but not be allowed to compete in conformation. Voted on, and approved by all members of the standards committee.

It was the ASC Board members that rejected that report. They now want the standards committee to research the color in pedigrees to determine if there
is evidence that these are not purebred cockers. They are also tasked with investigating the source of health problems associated with the merle gene.


A few of us have suggested that they make it a separate breed. Calling it a "Whitlow" spaniel after the name of the breeder that had Rusty Butch.

They INSIST that they are purebred cockers, that they PAID AKC for registration on these dogs and they are DUE the benefits of a full
registration. Most do not believe there is another dog in the mix, they think it was a genetic mutation.

Even those who do say it might have been another breed think that after this many generations that they have a purebred cocker spaniel.

I agree that ASC needs to recognized the color, maybe not in full registration, but possibly a "Z" list. We can almost guarantee that
the majority of dogs that are registered as "roans" that come down from Rusty Butch are merles. But how would the "Z" list work..would
ALL dogs descendent from Rusty Butch have a "Z" put after their name?
To me that would make perfect sense. ANY dog descended from that dog would be "questionable" as "purebred" and thus automatically have
a "Z" in the pedigree. That way, even if they were misregistered as roan, we would know there was merle in the pedigree. Is there a way
AKC could do this, or would ASC have to do the work.

I am MORE than willing to help, with the help of AKC.

If you accept AKC as your registry and you acknowledge it as the most reliable source of record keeping for purebred dogs then how can you also publicly ridicule its registration process. If a merle cocker is not really a pure bred and a blue and tan is not a purebred and a sable and white is not a pure bred and a solid sable is not a purebred and a dilute blue and white is not a purebred despite AKC papers then what is to stop anyone from saying if a dog has slips he is not a purebred, blind not a purebred and, etc., etc. Think of the much bigger picture. Either AKC is the registration source of choice or we find another way to register dogs. It is like a district attorney that allows DNA evidence to free one man but does not allow it used in the next case. After five generations which we are way past now the color is here. Find a way to identify it to preserve the health of future generations or stick your head in the sand and say you don't give a damn. Either way the color is here and we will suffer greatly for sitting on the problem for so long. Now we not AKC hold the sole responsibility for the erroneous color entries into its stud books.

I will add only that I find the fact that sables and blues all lumped into the same non purebred label as merles no accident . We are so worried about color we are forgetting the health of our future generations.

There may be a legal issue here. If a party waits an unreasonable amount of time to enforce its rights, it may be unable to do so (Doctrine of Laches).

ASC did not take the position that merles are not purebred until they had been registered for more than 5 generations. At this point, according to AKC, even if another breed had been introduced it
wouldn't matter - the dogs would be considered purebred.

I don't see how ASC could defend the position that merles are not
purebred if it were challenged in court. They sat by and watched as
generations of merles (and their solid and parti littermates) were
registered as cockers. Now all of a sudden they have an epiphany and
declare merles are not purebred? I'm pretty sure AKC wouldn't cancel
any of the registrations, but breeders' reputations and pet owners'
bragging rights have been compromised.

Wouldn't it have made so much more sense if ASC had put the picture of
the sheltie and the statement "if your dog or its littermates are this
color, it might have health problems" - and then put a link to what
the problems would be?

. I am just shocked at the failure of some to see the bigger picture

But if YOU care about and place value and trust in AKC papers announcing to the world that you (meaning ASC or dog breeder) that AKC is registering dogs that are not purebred even ones whose current papers list DNA numbers what do you think that says about YOUR dogs papers? AKC is reliable only when you approve of the color? Many breeds have issues with color parti color Chinese Shar Pei, Rotties, Dobermans, Danes and so many others but all the parent clubs have found a way to deal with this without claiming to the world AKC is registering non purebreds and has been for 20 plus years!!!!!!!!!!!!

 I am sorry but if someone thought my dog’s papers are good and meant something. That my dog’s championships are all AKC and mean something. That all my dogs are registered with AKC and I support AKC events But if they bought a sable, merle, sable and white, blue and tan cocker I would say the papers and pedigrees are worthless how would you react?

ASC does NOT in any way have a registration process they never determine who gets or doesn't get papers. AKC does not issue papers based on quality.

ASC decides which dogs can walk into the show ring and what a cocker SHOULD look like. AKC does not. ASC determines the color options available to register a cocker AKC does not. AKC cannot identify a problem of color if ASC continues to insist that all merles be registered as another color. ASC is responsible for the color cover-up not AKC. ASC is responsible for burying the identity of the lethal genes not AKC. Merles are not the only color that is not available as a choice.

If I had the funds available I would think seriously about challenging ASC for publicly claiming my sable/white dog's papers are not legitimate and my dog is a non-purebred. That only colors ASC list on the official website are purebred.
Yet the pedigree of my sables as nearly 95% champions in a 4 generation pedigree and drops to 82% in a 5 generation one. And yes some of the sable/whites in the pedigree were AKC Champions and both sire and dam have DNA numbers.

ASC has sidestepped the real issue and taken it to a whole new level and one that is not going to help resolve any of the health concerns but only further alienate many. It is not about color and really never was.

If fraud can be proven..............that's the secret.   At this  point, no 
fraud had been found.  That doesn't mean that someone didn't  either 
accidentally, or on purpose (fraud) breed into another breed to produce  this color. 
BUT, these dogs are breeding and producing dogs with cocker  spaniel traits 
(breeding true) and many, many go back to well known  champions.  If fraud could 
be proven, don't you think it would already have  happened? 

Someone else has said that the breeders are deliberately registering them 
incorrectly.  Not so.  These breeders are proud of this merle  color.  They are 
proud of their breeding and their dogs.  They are not  interested in 
misrepresenting them. Many have requested to register them as  merle.  The AKC tells 
them that only the ASC can make that happen.   They send in pictures showing the 
colors.  The AKC then tells them which  ASC approved color they are closest
to and that is how they are  registered.  No fraudulent intent at all.

Why can't anyone see this?  Everyone is trying to punish the merle  breeders. 
 Forget that.   Make it right for the rest of us.   We, the cocker breeders 
have to get beyond this attitude and insist the ASC find  a way to correctly 
register these dogs which are already here.

Everyone needs to sit back a second and think..............  Think  hard 
now..........The United States of America is a free country.  A  Democracy.  We do 
not forbid people the freedom of choice.  WE do not  have the right to tell 
anyone they cannot breed something because WE don't like  it or because WE 
think it's a problem. WE are bigger than that.  WE  can find a way to work around 
this problem, because WE are intelligent  people. 

This gene should be registered with the AKC as something other than  whatever
the receptionist at the AKC office decides.  It needs to be  registered as a 
Merle.  That's what it is and that's what it will 
produce.............eventually.  If we want our colors to be true, and  pure, we need to know where the 
merle is. 

Just stop a minute and think.  I can't possibly be the only one in  this dam 
dog world who sees this.  STOP!  THINK!  This is going  to become a big and 
bigger problem. We must open our minds to this.

Many breeders agrees that merles are a danger to the health of all spaniels.
Everyone can agree that the origin of merles may in fact be suspect. Having said all that
what I don't understand is the wording of the ASC website, the hesitation to correctly
register and identify the color and how sables have been thrown into the mix once again.
I don't see this a color war but a push for the correct identification of every
merle in our breed.

 If we accept AKC as the ultimate authority when it comes to registration
then how can we set aside some of the papers as being fraudulent and expect that the rest
of the papers will retain any value. Registering the animals as roans or black and white
whatever is not an option and in no way in the best interest of the breed. Educating the
public on the dangers of merles is far more productive than labeling them non purebreds.

What about all those colors not include as purebred in the website warning
are they also non purebred? There are a number of colors well established in our
breed for many years that aren't on that list.

"The American Spaniel Club recognizes three varieties of Cocker Spaniels ONLY:

    * ASCOB (buff, brown, or brown with tan points)
    * Black (solid black or black with tan points)
    * Parti-color (tri-color, red and white, brown and white, black and white, and roans)"

  Since ASC has posted on their website that only  posted above are considered PURE-BRED cockers. then where does it leave these dogs, and their descendents?
Are these all now MUTTS and should they have their registrations taken away as well as their titles and all offspring and their descendents registrations revoked...since they AREN'T considered pure bred by ASC 's definition? Here's a partial list and if taken literally as what is implied on ASC's site, none of these dogs are considered pure bred cocker spaniels.
How many of these dogs are behind your dogs??

CH Absolutely Original -Golden
CH Adibor Wise Guy -(1926) Orange/White
CH Artistry's Soot And Cinders-Sable/White
CH Ashley's Golden Rule-Golden
CH Bar-C-Kar's Birchwood Belle-Golden
CH Bar-C-Kar's Touch O'Gold-Golden
CH Bar-Kay's Golden Glow-Golden
CH BeGay's It Is Miss Elizabeth-Sable/White
Can CH BeGay's Pride and Prejudice-Sable/White
CH Bi-Nan's Different But Luvable-Sable/White
CH Bobwin's Boy Eagle-Blonde
CH Bobwin's Sir Buffington-Golden
CH Bobwin's Temptation-Gold
CH Camelot Grenadier (1936)-Lemon & White
CH Campbell's Kismet-Sable/White
CH Campbells Another Color II-Sable & White
CH Candelle's Mystical Crystal-Golden
CH Canter Go For Blue Ice-Sable & White
CH Chatosha's Misty Moonlight-Sable & White
CH Da-Dar's April Luv Of Wib-Golden
CH Flairhaven's Wine And Roses-Golden
Gypsie (1930) Orange Sable
CH Hobbi-Hill's Half Carot-Sable/White
Hosking's Nancy (1924) Orange & Sable
CH Jaywyck's Tyme To Be Good-Golden
CH Jersie Hills' Hometown Dust-Golden
Juban's Incandescent-Blonde, Tan & White
CH Karavan's Silk 'N Sable-Sable & White
CH Kitchener Cockade (1929) Orange/White
CH Kitchener King Winter (1923) Lemon/White
CH Kitchener Pebble (1925) Orange/White
Legend Barney Rubble, CD-Sable/White
CH Legend Dudley Do Right-Sable/White
CH Legend I'm A Ten-Sable/White
CH Legend Jungle Jim-Chocolate Sable
CH Legend Precious Memories-Sable/White
CH Legend The Untouchable-Sable/White
Lin-Mi's Rocky Road, CD-Sable
Lorli Something Else, CD-Sable (But actually a brindle)
CH Nosowea's No Lable-Sable/White
CH OH My Roadshow's Gone Sable-Sable/White
CH Palm Hill Hu-Mar's Wild Fire-Golden
CH Palm Hill's Effervescent-Golden
CH Paradise's Blue Rebel Rouser-Blue & White
CH Rinky Dink's Candy Cane II-Blonde
CH Schiely's Shakespeare-Sable/White
CH Seesaus Phred Phlintcrest-Buff & White
CH Strack's Surgeon-Golden Red
CH Timber Lane Token -Buff & White
CH Van-Dor Vanilla-Golden
CH Windridge Stop The Music-Blonde
CH Wyndsong's Fancy Pants-Sable/White

If this is so..then sounds like most cockers are mutts.LOL

ASC has delayed the merle issue and have mentioned possibly a Z-List like the doberman club has done for the white dobermans.
As you can see, the white doberman IS a listed color, although it is a disallowed color.
In other words, ASC will still need to allow AKC to list merle as a pattern in order to create a Z-List.

August 19, 2006

The ASC website removed their notice and photo of the merle dog. Apparantly NO ONE knows how it got on there, or no one is taking credit for it anyway.:-)
ASC had another board meeting regarding the merle cocker this year at the Summer Nationals in July.
STILL nothing has come of it. One complained they didn't have enough information, although most everything was practically spoon fed to the person in charge of the committee.
There was a lot of information, IF someone was willing to  put forth the effort to READ it all and do some independent studying of their own.
The good news was, that they had contacted Dr Keith Murphy who had been studying the merle in other breeds (the Chihuhuhua  people were amazed to find out that their breed had merle in from the beginning) and had traced it to the SILV gene..and found the merle gene is a very ANCIENT gene. The bad news was the meeting apparantly didn't go very well.
Back to the drawing board. Sources say they are wanting to do an indepth study to see if the gene for merle is in cockers. AKC will not revoke any merle breedings on heresay, because no DNA testing was available then. And ASC cannot prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that merle came into the breed via an impure breeding.
My opinion is, for the ASC to get Dr Murphy to do a study on the cocker spaniel and actually all of the sporting breeds that Am cockers have behind them and actually SEE if merle was a valid gene in the Cocker. If owners of merle cockers would be willing to use their dogs for testing as well as non merle cockers, we could get this done and over with.
Sounds pretty simple to me.
OR is it that maybe the fancy really doesn't want to know...or do they already????
The last time, the proverbial doo-doo hit the fan over a color/pattern was over the sable issue. Dr Francis Greer traced sable down to the beginning. But it still didn't shut many of them up and the stigma and predjudice for breeding or owning sables go on to this day. 
So, we sit.......and we wait.......and wait.......and wait......

January 30, 2007

The ASC Nationals are over and they had their meeting again on the merle issue. Apparently they were able to get several merle owners to submit their merle cockers for testing.
They still want to get proof the merles are not pure bred but can't seem to get anywhere on the issue. Next, they wish to speak with ANOTHER genetic expert to get their opinion. I suppose they think if they ask enough people at least 1 may actually give them the answer they want. (LOL)
Word has it they are planning on having a meeting with AKC within the next few months to see exactly what AKC is willing to do.
AKC has a program under their belt that may blow many breeders out of the water, and the merle haters are not going to be pleased with it.
I guess if ASC thinks it wants to drag their feet long enough the merles will go away, but they aren't. As long as people like the unusual, people are going to seek it out and breeders will continue to breed unusual.
...More info on the update page.please read