The Joint Breed Liaison Committee

JBLC UPDATE Autumn 2019

The JBLC has been working hard over the past twelve months on various initiatives:

  • Research into Addisons disease – We have recently received some exciting news from Prof Catchpole regarding this research. Previous research by his team found that Bearded Collies, unlike many other breeds, were not auto-antibody positive to the adrenal autoantigen used in the initial project to see if an early diagnostic test could be developed for Addisons. Over the past year Dominika Majorova has done further work on the project and has demonstrated that most affected Bearded Collies have autoantibodies against 21-hydroxylase in their blood. In addition to this research she has also been looking at the genome of Addisonian Bearded Collies and has demonstrated that there is a genetic variant in the AIRE (autoimmune regulator) gene which might go some way to explaining increased susceptibility to Addisons in the breed.
    Obviously we are at an early stage but it is exciting news and Prof Catchpole has agreed to come and talk to us about the work and where it might go next, so watch out for more information in due course! We are so grateful to all fundraisers but special mention must go to Sharon Jenkinson for her heroic parachute jump, raising well over a £1000 towards the research.
  • Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) - We are running a CEA clinic in December at the BCC Championship Show using 'Pet Genetics. The KC have recently announced that from January 2022, they will limit the assignment of ‘hereditary clear’ status of registered dogs to two generations, ie the third generation will need to be re-tested. This change will be put in place to safeguard against the impact that dogs with an incorrect ‘hereditary clear’ status could have on health issues within a breed. Therefore it will be important to continue run testing clinics for CEA. There is also a new project being run in conjunction with the AHT that aims to identify, investigate and eliminate hereditary eye disease in dogs. Samples are required from any dog diagnosed with an inherited eye disease (i.e. affecteds) – these can be diagnosed by any vet not necessarily a BVA panel vet. Details available on the JBLC Facebook page and Club websites.
  • DNA Databank – Don’t forget to submit your dogs DNA to the AHT DNA databank. Swabs are available at subsidized costs from Club events or the Breed Health Co-ordinator. If you have submitted samples don’t forget to update the AHT with any changes to their health, or if your dog has died, and let them know the cause of death.
  • BeaCon – remember to add your dogs details to BeaCon. We need details from all dogs with or without health conditions. Do update them with any health information you have eg hip scores, eye test results etc. and remember to update annually. BeaCon are looking for help to maintain this resource so if you have IT skills and are interested in finding out more contact Sarah Ritchie.
  • Bearded Collie Breed Strategy – We are continuing to monitor the Breed Strategy and have had good feedback about the ‘Buddy system’. The JBLC Facebook Resource page contains much useful information such as the sire useage tables, a leaflet that can be handed out to puppy owners about breed health, information about choosing a sire etc. so don’t forget to look there!
  • The recommendation remains that dogs should sire no more than two litters a year for current registration levels.
  • We have recently added a list to the resource page of UK Sperm Banks to aid members who may wish to utilize this facility. If you know of any others that you would be happy to recommend please let Liz Ayrton (BHC) or Yvonne Fox (JBLC Secretary) know.
  • We are also interested in compiling a list of stud dog handlers – if you are willing to act in this capacity or know of others who do so please contact us with an idea of the area you/they cover. Any payment/costs would be between the handler and user.
  • We will be writing to judges reminding them of correct Bearded Collie Breed type, character and temperament.
  • 2019 Health survey – We had another good response to the health survey – results were consistent with those found the previous year with no new health concerns or increased frequency of health issues coming to the fore. The full summary is on the JBLC Resource Page.
  • KC Judges Competency Framework Scheme – The JBLC wrote to the KC expressing the concerns raised about the scheme by their Club members. The KC has acknowledged our concerns and as a result of feedback from the show community are currently reassessing the JCF and how it should work. The first Bearded Collie Breed Assessment day (BAD) following KC protocol was held recently, with the BCC, MBCC, EBCA and NEBCC all working together to host it.
  • Embark Testing – We are aware that many members are now using the Embark DNA test to screen for health conditions in their Beardies. This test aims to screen for over 170 genetic health conditions and traits as well as ancestry, from a cheek swab. Whilst we applaud any steps to further knowledge about the health of your dog it is important to remember that there are not currently DNA tests for many conditions eg Addisons and SLO. Different mutations can also be responsible for the same condition in different breeds and there can also be more than one mutation causing a particular health problem in a breed eg PRA. Therefore tests need to be validated for each breed i.e proven that that mutation is responsible for that particular condition in Beardies before they can be truly valid. Embark themselves also state “While Embark can detect over 170 genetic variants associated with increased disease risk, we cannot provide medical diagnoses. You should talk to your vet if you are worried about specific medical conditions in your dog”.
  • There have been a couple of recent changes to the JBLC committee with Janet Jemmett from BCCS and Tony Burscough from EBCA both retiring. We thank them for their long years of service and wish them well. Fiona Steel now joins Liz Gault as the BCCS representatives and John Ferrigno joins Dave Morrant as the EBCA representatives. Sarah Ritchie will be retiring from SCBCC Committee at the next AGM but with their agreement will continue to represent them on the JBLC.