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Recognition of Pied Mastiffs

This petition had 410 supporters

Pied Mastiffs have been present throughout English Mastiff history and from time to time they still crop up in purebred Mastiff litters. Today however, they are suppressed and condemned by a large number of breed aficionados and breed clubs alike. The Mastiff breed standard, as put out by the UK Kennel Club, states that excessive white on the body, chest or feet of a Mastiff is unacceptable. The American Kennel Club calls it a fault.  The Australia National Kennel Club follows the UK breed standard and will not recognize pied Mastiffs or allow them to be placed on full registration. They may not be entered in shows or bred from even though their standard-coloured, (pied gene carrying), siblings can be. On top of this, even their limited registration certificates will not truthfully state their actual colours. They may only be registered as standard coloured fawn, brindle or apricot Mastiffs: Pied Mastiffs are not recorded accurately with any canine registry - They are outcasts of their breed. Forsaken and untraceable, their long and proud heritage is completely dishonoured solely on the basis of the white in their coats. In the past, many pied puppies were put to death, for no good reason other than they didn't conform to the breed standard which was adopted by Old English Mastiff Club in 1883. Earlier breed standards like the 1873 Mastiff Breeding Club's standard had recognized pieds. In his book, The History of the Mastiff, published in 1886, Malcolm B. Wynn wrote in his, ' Points of the English Mastiff' under Colour: “Pieds are admissible and equal for purity”.  

The OEMC's decision to omit pieds from the breed standard they drew up was a tragedy for pied Mastiffs and breed devotees alike. The refusal to recognise and accept Pieds denies and invalidates all the joyous historical evidence we have of them. Although the Mastiff is now referred to as a modern breed, much of the romance we have with them stems from our association with them as being old world dogs. Pieds Mastiffs were very much a part of old England's landscape.  They have been mentioned throughout early Mastiff literature, owned by nobility and depicted by master artists such as Van Dyck, Reinagle, Gilpin, Bewick and Landseer. This is not a part of Mastiff history that should be denied or relinquished. It brings pride and honour to the breed. 

For the past 130 years however breeders have been trying to eradicate pieds and they now have the tools necessary to succeed at this. New science has identified the recessive piebald gene which gives breeders the means to totally eradicate it from the Mastiff gene-pool. This is of great concern. There may be attributes linked with piebald genes that are a benefit to all Mastiffs. We just don't know enough about pied Mastiffs to be sure they are not carrying attributes that we should be doing our utmost to preserve. Also by not allowing pieds to contribute their genes we are forced to make an already very small gene-pool, even smaller.

Science today permits us to confirm breed purity and the pedigree pied Mastiffs that have been tested so far, have all proven to be purebred Mastiffs. We can now also identify the piebald gene in standard coloured Mastiffs, so we know how the gene is carried and transmitted.

We feel it is time to stop the unnecessary discrimination against these beautiful Mastiffs. If you think the same please sign this petition. This petition asks the UK Kennel Club to recognise pied Mastiffs, to record their colour pattern accurately and to grant them full registration rights, because basing breeding decisions on purely cosmetic fancies, flies in the face of everything a responsible breeder should be doing.

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