Note: This debate is whether the MCOA should continue to require that all entries for the MCOA National Specialty shows must have AKC DNA profiles to enter or not. All members will be receiving a ballot in the mail to vote on this issue in November.

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The MCOA invited all MCOA members to submit their comments or additional considerations to the Corresponding Secretary for publication on this web page by the deadline of October 18th, 2014. The comments below are all which were received during that timeframe.

Member Commentary Below Updated Weekly In Random Order

Neither the Mastiff Club of America nor the Board of Directors of the MCOA endorse either side of the DNA Parentage Profile Requirment For Entry Into the MCOA National Specialty

dee dee  Anderson mastiff1@centurylink.net: We already have a history of AKC suspension of breeding privileges for two major contributors to the breed, due to falsified pedigrees (record keeping).  To compel integrity in breeding in our breed, I am 100% in favor of DNA testing being required of participants in the Mastiff Club of America, Inc. Specialty Shows. My only caveat would be that only dogs 12 months and older be required to meet this ruling.  It would be fair, in my opinion, to take a position that any owner can get the testing done and have it on file within a 12 month period. If a breeder wants badly enough to do a false breeding they will get around the DNA testing.  But at least the parent club will have taken a step towards maintaining honesty in the pedigrees. 

 
David Collinson (Massoluv): The validity of virtually all Mastiff pedigrees is easily shown to be false. The y-chromosome DNA of all Mastiffs should be identical, or displaying only minute mutations, because pedigrees indicate that every living male Mastiff has an all-male line of descent from a single dog, Eng. Ch. Crown Prince, born in 1880. (Details available from me atcollie_uk_uk@yahoo.co.uk). The y-chromosome is the only chromosome which is passed intact down a male line, and is used for testing male parentage. Since there is not actually just a single identical male Mastiff y-chromosome in all our dogs, all male Mastiffs with a y-chromosome different to that of Crown Prince actually have an incorrect pedigree, with a dog in their all-male line not as stated in the pedigree, and by no means guaranteed to be a Mastiff.My point is that "foreigners" have been introduced clandestinely or inadvertently between 1880 and now, but that doesn't disqualify many of our dogs as non-Mastiffs, it just means that every pedigree is unreliable.
 

Carla Sanchez: I have no idea why anyone would FIGHT AGAINST a DNA test. To all of you breeders out there who are so against it, what do you have to hide? Are you afraid of the truth; like, "oops wrong daddy" and that your pedigrees are going to be worth nothing because your dogs are not purebred? All of you who are against DNA should be ashamed of yourself! Trying so damn hard to persuade others TO VOTE AGAINST THE MOST BASIC OF PRINCIPLES_ are the buyers of our puppies purchasing a purebred puppy or not??? After all, what are we if we are not purebred? Buyers out there, do not be fooled by this propaganda-Ask your breeder the biggest question of them all...ARE YOUR DOGS DNA TESTED TO PROVE THAT THIS PUPPY I AM BUYING FROM YOU IS TRULY PURE BRED? I challenge everyone out there to have your dogs DNA tested for parentage and every puppy buyer to ask for the testing or test for yourselves. And to that end I will MATCH HALF OF YOUR TEST COSTS...the first 50 puppy buyers whose breeders Do NOT TEST or WILL NOT TEST YOUR PUPPY, I will pay 1/2 of your DNA cheek swab test. In your service, CARLA SANCHEZ, SOUTHPORT MASTIFFS, Est. 1982 (Continued) My sole concern is to verify parentage by the .DNA test we currently have available to us. It is very simple. We do not claim that our current test does anything more... Keep it simple. Why do you guys, feel the need to bash all of us over and over with what DNA does not do...next your argument will be that it does not cure hip dysphasia. We only ask that DNA verify parentage. That is it , now take it a step further, require that our MCOA National require that all mastiffs entered have a DNA NUMBER. Again, simple. But you people see something sinister in this requirement.The requirement is not designed to keep dog out; it is , in my opinion a simple request. If your dog does not have a number, a temporary number is available. As breeders , as breeders who stand by our pedigrees we should all be happy to join in and happily DNA! Again, this will be my practice here at Southport Mastiffs. It encourages me not to forget my girls!! Thank u all for reading the papers presented to you on the subject of DNA TESTING FOR PARENTAGE. But after all is written...it comes down to a very simple fact: the puppy u purchased is or is not backed by DNA tested parents. Your breeder is willing to back that 4 generation pedigree or not...I am a person who can be organized but , this old practice happens less and less lately. So let's say we are all procrastinators - we are scatter brains. We are going to the national but crap we have not DNA 'd our dogs! What ever do we do?  May I suggest that we offer to have the Cheek swab available for just this occasion. In lieu of a DNA NUMBER you agree to have your dog DNA TESTED at the show . This is my personal suggestion . I am not a member of either committee... Merely offering a suggestion. Thank you,

 

Gail Marschak : Member in good standing for more years than I can remember. :-) From the time DNA testing was voted, in, I thought it was a bad idea.  To me, the message I took away was the members of MCOA were not to be trusted and DNA testing was the way to ensure that it's club members were presenting who they said they were. Our  club should in no way be a "Nanny " club.  In the end, it only serves to lose more than gain.  We have a COE which should serve as the ethical guideline to it's members. Enough said, just my 2 cents. 

 

Linda Cain: MCOA DNA Parentage Issue – My perspective as a Breeder and Owner of Purebred dogs

Currently there is much debate ongoing in the Mastiff Club of America regarding the motion set in place during the general membership meeting in Crystal Lake National where a small population of membership, basically 10% of the membership, voted on this motion as it was a hot topic with AKC at that time.  At this meeting, it was determined that ALL ENTRIES into the Mastiff Club of America would be REQUIRED to have the AKC DNA Parentage Test before entries be allowed into the MCOA National Specialty.  Since that time, each year, there is a huge debate as to why this requirement is needed simply to ENTER the national specialty.  In my 25 plus years as an MCOA member, I have only heard of two litters that were identified by breeders or new owners where the parents of the puppies sold or bred, were not the true parents.  TWO TIMES.  I imagine there have been more, but certainly not to the extent that it is being led to believe.  Both times that I know of were from big breeders who had multiple litters at the same time who, hopefully, did not do it on purpose.  I can only believe they had ethical beliefs and it was a mistake on their part. As a member of MCOA who originally voted for this DNA Parentage Test REQUIREMENT, I have gained MORE knowledge of this “Whose Your Daddy” DNA test and believe that we as a group were rushed into this REQUIREMENT for ENTRY into the MCOA National Specialty.  I also believe that when something as important as this is being discussed and voted on that the ENTIRE membership should have the right to make an informed decision and that the ENTIRE membership have the right to vote on these issues, not merely the 10% or possibly 15% that attend the annual General Membership meeting where this motion was acted upon. As an MCOA member, I feel that this requirement should have been added as a REQUIREMENT in our Code of  ETHICS for our breeding programs.  This  would help ensure our pedigrees are as correct as they can possibly be.  NOT as a REQUIREMENT FOR ENTRY INTO A DOG SHOW, especially the MCOA National Specialty show. Some people seem to think people aren’t DNA’ing their Mastiffs because of a measly $40-$50 test and some are even willing to pay to have YOUR dog tested, but that ISN’T the issue here.  It’s not about the $$$$ for the TEST.  That cost is the least of their expenses if they are raising their Mastiffs correctly.  If AKC felt that this DNA Parentage Test was such an important part of our show dogs, AKC would have made it mandatory for entry into any show.  ANY Show.  I believe that we all know where we will cast our vote for the upcoming vote.  I also feel that having this important issue going to the entire membership for a vote is very important.  It keeps them all involved, not just those who can attend a show in a far away location. I, for one, will be voting NO that this AKC DNA Parentage Test should NOT BE A REQUIREMENT for ENTRY into the MCOA National dog show.  I, for one, will be asking the ethics committee to put this AKC DNA Parentage Test where it belongs, into our breeding program testing.  This “whose your daddy” test can’t really even tell you if your dog is a MASTIFF or Great Dane.  I DO DNA Testing for Health as well as “Whose Your Daddy” for all my breeds of dogs, but NOT JUST to enter a dog show. THANKS For Listening.  Linda Cain – Concerned MCOA Member

 

Constance L #1 Dear MCOA Board and Officers. I appreciate the many hours that both sides of the issue have presented to the membership, however I do have a few comments and questions and hope that the MCOA Board and Officers will be able to clarify things. 1)  Who is/are the author(s) of the "pro" argument?   The other side has listed the authors so I feel it is only fair and right to divulge who the authors are.  Please advise. 2)  In reviewing the paper from the mystery authors, it appears that on the opening page and I believe one or two other pages, give the impression that the argument is an official statement from the MCOA. Is this the case or is the paper penned by those that are not the Board, again, refer back to my first question.  Please advise. and finally, 3) Why is there a reference to Bill Newman used in the "proponent's" paper?  He is not alive to confirm or dispute any of it.  In fact, Linda Cain stated in a Facebook group (Unmoderated MCOA group) prior to this year's National that she had spoken with Bill Newman and that he had changed his mind.   It appears that the use of the "Bill Newman" card is a way to tug at Club members' heartstrings or influence uneducated members into thinking that the mandatory DNA-Parentage for entry to Nationals is somehow a "Health" DNA test.   Please advise. Thank you for taking the time to read this and I look forward to your replies. Constance L

 Constance L #2 Dear members of the MCOA Board and Officers, Seeing that the mystery authors chose to close their argument referencing Bill Newman, I feel that the other side of the argument should be allowed to post a rebuttal to their reference to Newman. All the facts that the opposing side presented are able to be fact checked with those who provided the information or statements or research.   No one can contact Bill Newman for comment.    Linda Cain stated on the Unmoderated Facebook group (I believe it was sometime prior to this year's National) that she had spoken with Bill Newman and that he did not intend for DNA to be used to basically limit entry to the National, I surmise that even he saw that it was detrimental to the Club's National,  therefore I feel that a rebuttal should be allowed and posted in a timely manner on the MCOA DNA page, in addition to the names of those who authored the "pro" argument. Thank you for taking the time to read this,  Constance L

 

Lisa Edwards Filu I'd like to begin by saying I have no problems with DNA in general.  In fact when it was offered for free at the Carlisle Specialty back in the 90s we jumped on the chance and got our girls done.  The boys are usually done as a matter of course anytime we do frozen collections.  That being said, I was very unhappy to hear that something so important was passed at a specialty when most of the members did not even know it was on the agenda or up for vote.  Again I have no issues re: DNA in general. I just feel that it is completely unnecessary to force such ruling on anyone who wishes to enter the MCOA Specialty show.  It seems it doesn't matter whether it's a veteran bitch or male (who may have never been bred) or whether it's a puppy going into sweepstakes.  My main thrust has been:  if it's not required for an AKC show, then it should NOT be required for an MCOA Specialty show (which IS an AKC show).  

 Just a fyi, when the Specialty show was held in RI a few years ago I specifically did NOT enter our mastiff.  He was THERE.  He was more than eligible to compete. But due to the DNA requirement, as a matter of principle I voted NOT to enter him and the Specialty lost $ on that entry.   Lastly, food for thought:  it is NOT a requirement to be an MCOA member to enter the MCOA Specialty.  How then can the MCOA require membership rules on a non-member?  

 
Bonnie Blink: Please download the following word documents linked below: 
1. DNA Yes - For Shows, No
2. Average # Pups VS CH  Entered since implementation of DNA Parentage rule
3. About Parentage, Not Health
4. Urgent Info For MCOA Membership (Added 10/15/14)

Jackie Spiars MCOA Member

My questions to be posted on the DNA debate page are as follows:  1)   ‘Betterment of the Mastiff Breed:  Demystifying DNA The Role DNA Plays in Pedigree Accuracy and the Mastiff Standard’ *    I thought the object of the paper was to show WHY we should require DNA to enter our National Specialty 2)   DNA Committee Members  *   Who is the DNA Committee, when did MCOA appoint them, and what is their purpose?  Who actually wrote this paper? 3)    Mastiff Club of America      *   Is MCOA sanctioning this opinion? 4)   Since when does AKC DNA show temperament and health?  5)   Does anyone verify the DNA numbers in the catalog? 6)   I thought it was AKC’s job to verify registry?  7)   There should never have been a vote on something that was not on the MCOA annual meeting Agenda.  8)   There should not be a ‘new motion’ by the MCOA BOD when there was never an initial motion by them!  9)   AKC DNA profile (requirements for the National Specialty) doesn’t even verify the Breed!  10)  The survey based on 239 responses where 60.25 % voted yes……How many members did MCOA have at that time?  Was that 60.25 % a majority of our membership?  Was the 239 even a majority?  Was any educational information given with the survey?  11)  All this information about ‘The Science’ does not in any way show that AKC DNA profiles does in any was protect our breed temperamentwise, healthwise,  or anyotherwise!  It doesn’t even always verify correct parentage.  12)  And why are you using Dr Newman’s name?  What  does that have to do with demystifying DNA? I have many more question, however I won’t bore you with them….

American Kennel Club DNA Profiles Should Not Be Required to Exhibit at the Mastiff Club of America National Specialty Shows’

•  I like that the title is actually what the task was supposed to be, that the authors of paper are identified, and they don’t attempt to be spokesmen for MCOA.

• This was a really long paper!  However, it show a lot of reasons (too many, in fact) why AKC DNA should not be required to show at our National Specialty.  Again, I want to ask who verifies the DNA numbers?

I would like to say that I personally feel that AKC DNA is a wonderful and important tool for breeders.  I wish it showed more about dogs temperament and health.  I do not feel it show be required to show dogs…those requirements are set by AKC.  That is their job.

 
Pam Gilley: Regarding the “Betterment of the Mastiff Breed: Demystifying DNA” paper:
1.       I don’t even get the title. How do AKC DNA Profiles which, even according to this paper on page 15 “used for parentage analysis does not provide information about the confirmation (which I assume they mean conformation) of the canine or the presence or absence of genetic diseases” have anything to do with betterment of the breed or the mastiff standard? I did not find the answer in the paper.
2.       Why aren’t the authors listed? The other paper had everyone listed that worked on the paper and contact information in case people had questions. Is this the official position of MCOA? That’s what it looks like.
3.       This paper references a survey sent to membership saying 60.25% of those that responded said yes MCOA should continue requiring DNA testing.  I can’t remember exactly how that survey was worded. This paper just mentions DNA testing, which if that was how it was worded would have been confusing and could have been taken to mean DNA tests available like for PRA or Cystinuria. I do remember there was no information about DNA Profiles included in that survey. Considering this paper is 27 pages and the other paper is 52 pages, how could membership make an educated decision without ANY information? I think those survey results are meaningless.
4.       The science discussion in this paper is a lot about stuff that seems to have nothing really to do with AKC DNA Profiles. I don’t see anything that supports the claim that using these profiles guarantees integrity of our pedigrees.
5.       It almost seems like a re-enactment of the 2008 meeting where this was voted on the first time. There is a bit of truth that DNA Profiles do not show anything about health, yet there are pages of information about DNA tests that are for health, but have nothing to do with AKC DNA Profiles. I think the long discussions about health just confuse people into believing DNA Profiles do have something to do with health.
6.       I just have to say it is bad form to bring up Dr. Newman, who can no longer discuss his opinion and how it may have changed after further investigation. None of us, not even Dr. Newman, who was a radiologist, not an expert in molecular biology, had enough information to make informed decisions when this was first brought up.
Regarding the “AKC DNA Profiles Should Not Be Required” paper:
1.       It is so much information, my head is spinning. I had no idea how imperfect the science could be. I found the examples interesting and concerning, and definitely relevant to the issue we’re considering.
2.       I agree that even if the science was perfect, we shouldn’t be requiring these profiles to show our dogs.
 

September 23 at 6:49am (Submitted by Bonnie Blink for Dee Dee Andersson with permission- from Facebook)

Dee Dee Andersson Ok, on an all or nothing premise, then I change my position and say remove any requirement as it pertains to the MCOA specialty. This is the club's biggest annual money maker. The most important event of the year, financially and socially. And when breeders pay money up front for example, for futurity, then there should not be exclusions later. This is a sticky question for the breed.

I would like to see the MCOA collect and archive DNA by its members. The club is so heavy-handed in so many ways with its breeders. This would be one way to serve the breed for the future. Archive all of the Mastiff DNA that they are able.”

September 26 at 6:29pm

Dee Dee Andersson Boy, miss logging in to FB for a few days and you can miss a world of stuff. Since I was partially involved above I will update my opinion.

If, and I repeat *if*, this was voted on at a specialty and no prior notice was given to the membership of it on an agenda, which is *typical* of old club practices, then it needs to be followed up on, checked out, verified, and voided immediately. At the same time it should be brought to the entire membership’s attention in writing just like the club has done when it misses a constitutional deadline on voting. The club keeps ALL minutes and MOTIONS so it should be extremely easy to verify. Once verified, it would certainly table this issue/discussion for the immediate future and it would relegate it to a (possible) vote (by the entire membership) for the coming future after all constitutional steps have been met.

The MCOA Specialty raises more money for itself than any other event in the fiscal year. Therefore high entries are encouraged for financial reasons for the club. The Specialty also draws more Mastiffs than any other show, appropriately, and winning there is the most prestigious win to be had of any breed win. So, high entries are also desirable to draw old breeders, new breeders and potential breeders.

If the DNA entry requirement adversely affects participation then it is not a good idea. And... keep in mind, a LOT of education is done during the specialty - so not only is DNA is at risk - but teaching so many other things to attending people. Especially when there is a way around it... the club can make it a COE rule to have DNA submitted for archiving by all its breeders. The MCOA has already lost some old timer breeders because of dragon rulings. What is more important here? After really thinking this over quietly I am convinced that requiring DNA to enter the MCOA Specialty is an exclusionary ruling. I am all for collecting DNA by the club and making it part of the MCOA library. Just not as an entry requirement.”

 

Judy Nash, Cynthia Stewart, Joanne Williams, Toni Hyland: Please note:  Neither Dr. Newman nor his heirs, gave permission for Dr. Newman's name or Danny's image, to be used in conjunction with the current DNA position papers.  Please vote on the facts provided and ask questions of the authors if you need more information. Thank you.

 
Bonnie Blink: Please click on the graphic below to link to a PDF downloadable presentation linked below: 

Anna May:

·         An AKC DNA Profile is a paternity and identity test, nothing more & nothing less.  AKC uses the genetic information collected from the AKC DNA Profiles to verify parentage which adds integrity to AKC pedigrees.

·         The MCOA National Specialty DNA Requirement is getting AKC DNA Profiles on the Mastiffs owned &/or bred by members & non-members. It is also covering the puppies sold with full AKC registrations for show, performance and as potential breeding stock and many of these Mastiffs have member & non-member owned popular and frequently used sires. AKC verifies their parentage.  Most have sires with a DNA Profile & many have both parents with a DNA Profile.

·         The standardized AKC DNA Profile panel has been validated to be accurate & useful across multiple dog breeds (including line breeding) for verification of parentage.  AKC runs additional genetic analysis using additional STRs &/or SNPs with more complex cases such as breeding litter mates.

·         Getting AKC DNA Profile numbers on veterans verifies their parentage of first generation relatives in the AKC DNA Database. Verification of the veterans' parentage adds value to "pedigree analysis" when evaluating health, temperament, conformation & longevity of the dogs & their relatives both vertically & horizontally (litter mates, parents, grandparents).

·         If we add the AKC DNA Profile Requirement to the MCOA Code of Ethics (COE) on breeding stock, it will only cover the dogs owned by MCOA Members.

·         MCOA does not currently have any policies or procedures to enforce or police any of the National Specialty rules or any other MCOA rules outside of the COE. A motion has been tabled (until after the National Specialty AKC DNA Requirement vote) to ask the membership if they want the MCOA to have a policy/procedure in place for the DNA Requirement like the BMDCA. That agenda item is pending the vote results.  YES to keep the DNA Requirement = "ask the membership" if they want to police it like the BMDCA.  The BMDCA DNA Compliance & Accountability Committee works with the owners to get the permanent numbers & no one gets in trouble & no one loses points or awards unless they intentionally put false information on the entry forms or refuse to work with AKC to get permanent DNA numbers. The BMDCA does not have any problems with compliance issues, but they do have to remind owners to follow through with AKC.e permanent numbers & no one gets in trouble & no one loses points or awards unless they intentionally put false information on the entry forms or refuse to work with AKC to get permanent DNA numbers.  The BMDCA does not have problems with compliance issues, but they have to remind some of the owners to follow through with AKC.

·         Some people procrastinate & sometimes stuff happens & people forget to resubmit another sample when AKC asks for it. Sometimes owners rely on co-owners and they do not follow up to verify a permanent AKC DNA number was recorded with AKC or not. Some breeders did AKC DNA Profiles on puppies before they were registered and they did not notify AKC with the puppies registered names to connect the AKC DNA Profile number to the puppy. 

·         Some people follow rules & some people don't.  If honesty is important & anyone intentionally cheated or knowingly put incorrect information on the AKC entry forms, do you trust them or their dogs’ pedigrees?