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Pom Review Kennel Visit (March-April 2011)

The following was published by the Pomeranian Review, the official magazine of the American Pomeranian Club.   I delayed in putting this in my blog so that it will not affect the said circulation of the magazine.

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Canton Pomeranians and Yingyang Exotics    ...by Basilio C Yap

I would like to thank Chris Heartz and Celeste Solano for being instrumental in making this kennel visit come to pass.  It is really a big honor to be featured in the Pom Review, the official showpiece magazine of the American Pomeranian Club.

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Welcome to Canton Pomeranians and Yingyang Exotics.  I send joyful felicitations to owners of Canton and Yingyang Pomeranian owners and all other Pomeranian breeders all around the world who love Pomeranians.

The Canton name originated from the street in the Philippines that I lived in 1977.  Canton Pomeranians has dominated the Philippine show scene since then up to present with more than a hundred champions to its credit.  Our homebreds has reached various continents as far as  Australia, Africa, Europe, Asia and America finishing their championship and grand championship titles in their new homeland.  More recently, the Yingyang kennel name was established more recently to segregate my breedings of the exotic colored; ie, dilutes, like chocolates, blues and beavers as well as patterned colors like the partis, brindles and merles.     

My name is Basilio C Yap.  I was educated having a BS degree in Commerce, Major in Accounting and a Masters Degree in Business Management with a licensure as a Certified Public Accountant.  I used to work as an AVP in Bank of America specializing in Problem Accounts, eventually leaving after 6 years to join our family businesses where presently, I hold various executive and directorship positions. I come from a family that nil is dog heritage.  I tried to make up for this by reading books, attending seminars, foreign trips visiting and extensively interviewing breeders plus expensive long distance calls doing the same, watching and exhibiting in dog shows locally and abroad, befriending dog people who eventually shared their family trade secrets, etc.  My numerous purchases plus acquisition of majority of the poms of two major kennels, Janshars(US) and Tookeyes(UK) with the resulting experiences over these 34 years backs up my Pomeranian knowledge today.  I am a licensed toy group judge and the founder of the Philippine Pomeranian Club.

I have two daughters, namely Hannah Ruth Chua and Ester Joy Chua.  Ruth is in her second year at the University seeking a BS degree in Fine Arts majoring in Multi-Media in Manila.  Joy has a BS degree in Hotel andRestaurant Management, a Diploma in Culinary Arts,  Diploma in Culinary Entrepreneurship; presently overseas for a 9 month diploma course in Patisserie at Le Cordon Bleu.  I hope, someday, they would continue my Canton Pomeranians.  Most of my Pomeranians are under their name as owner and breeder.  But for all intents of purposes, I am still in fact the breeder and owner.

 

Basilio C. Yap with Ruth (left) and Joy (right)                                                                            Faustino Farro(Tino)

There is Faustino Farro(Tino), who has been my administrative assistant for the past 18 years and is practically like a family member.  He is also my official Philippine trainer-handler having finished most

of my Philippine Champions, Grand Champions and Hall of Fame.  On some occasions, he has travelled overseas to show my dogs and complete their foreign title.  Many of my Pomeranians bearing the Yingyang suffix are under his name, and but again, I am actually the owner and breeder.

There is also Nestor Villaruel, who used to be a construction worker eleven years ago, but I  pulled him out to become a kennel boy.  He has acted in various capacities from the nursery section to the kennels from feeding, medicating, breeding and grooming.   Presently, he is presently my overall nursery and kennel supervisor and I have learned to depend on him.

Previously, I have a licensed veterinarian working full time for me but the call of overseas employment has been to irresistible for them; ie,  four of my former vets are now overseas.  As such, until I can find a veterinarian that does not need too much training and coaching, I have a retainer veterinarian who visits once every two weeks plus two others who are willing to visit when called upon.

I have numerous support staff, many of whom are university graduates such as animal husbandry, biology... and undergraduates who act in various capacities from caretakers, groomers, cleaners, etc.    I employ more than what is needed to make sure that my dogs are taken care of in the life-style standard acceptable to me and that I have enough back-up for sudden resignations.  No expense has been spared to give my Pomeranians a good life. 

                                  Kennels                                                                            Nursery

My kennel has been build with a rainforest atmosphere to give them the “nature” feeling with large trees and sun filters to protect them from the tropical heat.  Large runs are available for daily exercise with staff supervision.    At night, they are caged to protect them from snakes, poisonous  frogs, eagles, etc.  Several facilities are air-conditioned.  My nursery has several whelping modules, white tiled for easy cleaning optimal for sanitation and disinfecting.

As my deceased old maid auntie Cecilia used  to care of my dogs would always say, “Oh   you  dogs, you are so lucky!  All you do is eat, sleep and poo poo, and I have to do all the cleaning up.”  

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Looking back, I would like to share some of my experiences and  the lessons that I have learned.  Hopefully, this will help many and save them a lot of “tuition fee” which I had to pay.  There is no intention to cause offense to anyone and so, if the situation is a bit compromising to their feelings, I will omit their names.  In the process, I will also be talking about some of beloved poms, what it is today and the direction that I am taking.

In 1977, I started out by importing a Japanese pomeranian champion on co-ownership with my brother Benjamin named Jap Ch Secret Dandy of Azalea Sally.  This dog eventually had the most number of Best in Show in Philippine history, later to be surpassed by our other import, Jap Ch Charming Ace of Madono.  In addition to these dogs, we imported the best of the Japanese Pomeranians, many of which were record-holders, Jap Champions and Grand Champions who were direct gets and grand-kids of Eng Ch Hadleigh Shining Star who at that time was in Japan.  The money spent in this hobby in today’s currency levels will be a big fortune.  To me, those dogs were the most beautiful animals I saw in my life.  Without a doggey heritage, without proper guidance except for the person brokering the sales,   I was doomed.

Our wins in the Philippine show ring continued unexcelled.  We were advised that there are no good Pomeranians except English and Japanese Pomeranians...basically only Hadleigh Pomeranians.  American Pomeranians were chow chows.  Trusting our mentor and broker-judge, we were so guided.  Doing half brother half sister breedings of Eng Ch Hadleigh Shining Star and or even with most of those Japanese imports, I got nothing but ONE balls (monorchids) or NO balls(cryptorchids) when bred to Japanese bitches...and oftentimes, NO puppies.  The stud males I had use had to be a Japanese import  because they were not only beautiful but also entire.  When asked about this testicle problem, the answer I got was lack of exercise which I could not really absorb or swallow.  By the late 80s, my dogs were not longer breed-able.  The females would not get pregnant and by this time, most of my male imports were dead.  That ended my Pomeranian dream.

I do not mind spending all that money on those beautiful beautiful Pomeranians.  There are no regrets for me.  I only wish that I had the proper mentoring and guidance at that time.  I am sure there would have been a way of going around testicle and thyroid  problems.  Then, I would still have those fabulous dogs way back in my pedigrees today instead of being a pure waste of money.  I cannot over-emphasize the importance of having a mentor who you can trust and work with.  Even with my 34 years of experience in Pomeranians, I still have good friends that I can run to for more mentoring.

Somehow, this testicle issue is very much like the black skin problem that we have today.  They are both sex linked, and recessive.  Being recessive, it is easy to get away from but casualties will be expected.  Eventually, if you keep on culling(not kill but pet out), the problem should go away completely.  In the meantime, there are so many other issues you may want to improve on.  I will always want to improve on what I can see first, and then work on what is hidden in the genes...for it may not even exist in the recessive!

After being out of dogs for a year or two, I had to get back in Pomeranians.   So, to England I went.  This led to a meeting with the famed Derek Hill of Derronill Pomeranians and eventual purchase of Ph Ch Derronill’s   Billionaire(Bill).  It was basically a choice between Bill who was just a puppy at that time and the titled Eng Ch Sableways Silver Lining(repeat breeding of Cruft winner Eng Ch Sableways Silver Statesman) both were priced the same way.  The main reason for the choice of BIll was the pedigree.  His  sire was Eng Ch Derronill’s Millionaire, a Maxamillion son from Eng Ch  Cygal’s Angelique, a daughter of Jap Ir Eng Ch Daim of Sushimoto.  His dam was Paddockwood Domino, who like her littermate sister Paddockwood Pom Puss has produced nothing but champions. 

The purchase of Bill led to yearly visits to Derek with each visit yielding one purchase. Ph Ch Hadleigh Mighty Star, a Maxamillion son as the second acquisition followed by another Maxamillion son, Derronill Dear Heart, a crippled(by accident) littermate of Eng Ch Derronill’s Heartbeat and a repeat breeding of Eng Ch Derronill Hearthrob.  Though these dogs were not specials, my main interest in them was their pedigree, hoping that one day, I would resurrect those valuable genes of Maxamillion in one package.  These three dogs, 2 sons and 1 grandson of Eng Ch Derronill Maxamillion would later be the foundation male line of Canton Pomeranians.  For those who are not familiar with Maxamillion, it is said that he is the best Pomeranian that was produced in England.  His grandsire is Hadleigh Tom Thumb of Cygal,  who was a full brother to Eng Ch Hadleigh Twinkle Star, a half brother of Eng Ch Hadleigh Shining Star.

                        Jap Ch Hadleigh Superman

Without any available females from Derek, I bought American pomeranian bitches from Janesa, Janshars, and Great Elms which looked like distant cousins of Hadleigh.    And so, for the second time around, my basic foundation was a cross between Eng Ch Derronill Maxamillion/Hadleigh  and Janesa/Janshars/Great Elms(except for Great Elms, basically Ch BevNor Toasted Fudge).  The combination was extremely successful and I was so happy with the results.  Very  limited testicle problem.  Very  limited thyroid problem.  Beautiful dogs showing that the combination clicked.  The lesson I have learned here is the importance of SELECTION and the value of the OUTCROSS.  You can always water down a problem.  There is no such thing as a hopeless case.  Everything should be as NATURAL as possible with the least human intervention.

                                                                                                                                                             Eng Ch Derronill's Maxamillion

By the mid 90s, there was the black skin “scandal,” something what we have in Facebook today.  I then realized that the few hair losses that I have had in my early beginnings could have been black skin, and perhaps not thyroid.  I wished I did some thyroid testing then to rule out that possibility.

The fear of testicle problem, thyroid problem, and even black skin problem was so strong that I did not want to linebreed or inbreed except for a few times mostly based on Maxamillion himself or his imported progeny.  The rest were mostly outcrosses.  Que lastima!  Eventually, all my best came from those few inbred/linebred Maxamillion bitches that produced so well for me.   The lesson that I learned here is the importance of INBREEDING and LINEBREEDING.  Without this, there will be no consistency, no prepotency and no predictability of the quality of your puppies.  There will always be risk in inbreeding and linebreeding but as they say, no risk no glory.  Of course, if you have a big problem staring you in the eye, you should outcross.  Personally, I am more inclined to take the risk and aim for the gold....rather than stay in the limbo of mediocrity.   

(photo from left to right: Am Ch Park Ave Red Hard And Delicious, Am Ch CJ Peep Tequila Sunrise, 
Ph HOF Canton Braveheart, Ph HOF Am Tha Ch Canton Bravestar)

One of these Maxamillion linebred females, Canton Sparkling Coral was sent overseas for breeding to Am Ch Valcopy Wakham Valentino and that produced Ph HOF Am Ch Canton the Gigolo, my numerous BIS &  winniest dog, Philippine Grand Sire of Merit, having produced 20 Philippine champions from my breeding and 2 American champions from Janshars.   He became my new foundation dog being the basis of my  linebreedings and inbreedings.  Gigolo placed bones and breedable size in my shrinking puppies, giving them that triple AAA personality with that long reach vis a vis the traditional fast small stepping Pomeranian movement which has become passé.  In exchange for these superlatives, my Pomeranians started to lose consistency in some points...the impeccable rears, length and  straightness of tail and the complete 6-6 incissors which Europeans require....and not so pretty faces.

Gigolo was bred to Ph Ch Canton My Wild Heart, another Maxamillion linebred bitches and that produced PH HOF Canton Braveheart, also a BIS winner and who succeeded the throne of Gigolo.  Braveheart was bred to another Gigolo daughter Ph Ch Canton Beautiful Star and that produced the new heir PH HOF Am Tha Ch Canton Bravestar, who has numerous BIS attaining the stardom of his grandfather Gigolo.   He became Number #1 Pomeranian and Number #3 All Breed in the Philippines 2008.  After Gigolo, it is my intention now to inbreed and linebreed in Bravestar.

(photo from left to right: Ph Gr Ch Canton Black Ice, Ph Ch Yingyang Black Knight, Ph HOF Am Ch Canton The Gigolo, 
Ph HOF Canton Black Crescent)

I recall in a dog show in Thailand, when Bravestar  won 1 BIS and 2 Reserve BIS finishing his Thailand title over the weekend, someone commented that his face could be sweeter.   I defensively  reacted, “of course not...he has a beautiful face.”   Weeks after that, I must admit that my Japanese Pomeranians in the late 70s and 80s really had sweeter faces.  On so, off I went to Taiwan, the land of many descendants of Jap Ch Hadleigh Superman.  Most, if not all Pomeranians there are based on this bloodline.  And so, I started buying brides for Bravestar.  They all must have impeccable rears, straight tails and complete 6-6 incissors.  One of them, named  Klothild of Mei Tse Ai Chuang Cheng  was bred to Bravestar  producing my newest favorite,  Ph Ch Canton Genghis Khan.  He corrects all three earlier faults I mentioned. He is almost perfection for me.  I would love to bring him to the APC Nationals on March 2011 but like his father Bravestar, he is a late maturer and needs to body up to maximize his chances of winning in the US.

Instead, I will be bringing Ph Ch Yingyang Black Knight to the APC  Nationals 2011  who is of the same age,  but an earlier maturing dog.  He is from a chocolate sire and a homebred female sired by Ph Ch Canton Black Crescent who is tripled up on Gigolo (grandfather bred to granddaughter and then bred to a half sister).  Knight will be the future foundation  of  my  chocolate breeding program.  It will also be interesting to see how well he will do with my standard reds and oranges, if I breed him at all to them.

Being in a competitve 21st century, it is also very important to be aware of  what is happening in the Pomeranian world...and if possible, I want to obtain global partnerships.  Accordingly, I make it a point to come to the APC Nationals every year to see what other Pomeranian breeders are producing and competiting with.  This is one of the best places to know Pomeranian people in person, who you can only contact by email...or at best expensive long distance calls.   One such person who I met at the Nationals is Jane Lehtinen, from whom I acquired   Ph HOF Jan Le’s Don’t Make Me Laugh, Number #1 Pomeranian and Number #5 Toy in the Philippines 2007.  He has been a wonderful producer for me.  Another is  Virginia Dimick, the famed breeder of Am Ch Pufpride Sweet Dreams, aka, Parker, who is the Number #1 top winning and Number #1 top producing Pomeranian of all time in US Breed history.   From there, I have been in partnership with Virginia,   ie, she leases my stud dogs and  I  lease  her my stud dogs; we share our puppies and so forth.  Together with these  relationships  and  other acquisitions, I now have own Ph Ch Pufpride Cash Attraction who is more than 75% similarly bred to Parker together with three(3) Parker sons serving as my exciting outcross stud dogs, namely, Ph GR Ch Canton Dreamer at Allayn(half my breeding),  Am Ch CJ Peep Tequila Sunrise and Am Ch Park  Ave Red Hard and Delicious.   I continue to have close ties with Sharon Hanson(Janshars) and Jerrie Friea(Janesa).   I have made many friends in the US too many to mention.

(photo from left to right: Ph Ch Canton Genghis Khan, Ph Gr Ch Canton Dreamer At Allayn, 
Bailey a.k.a. ROC Ch Bai Fu Yong of Chiao Li Ya, Ph HOF Jan Le's Don't Make Me Laugh)

Another global working relationship that I have developed is with Taiwan’s famous Cheng Ju Hsieh, aka, Frank Hsieh of Chiao Li Ya Pomeranians, known all over the world for his whites.  I have helped him place some of his fabulous whites overseas.  He has also shared with me some of his bests. One example is Bailey, aka ROC CH Bai Fu Yong of Chiao Li Ya.  I have many other Chiao Li Ya poms that I presently own and I have blended many of them with my own white breeding stock.  My white foundation is  basically Tookeyes- Blitzen breeding, very similar to the bloodline of Am Ch Canton White Fantasy, who won Winners Bitch over 46 females in the Texas Specialty show many years ago.  I have also mixed in my Gigolo with my whites, producing blacks like  Ph Gr Ch Canton Black Ice but bred back to whites, are now producing beautiful whites too.  I have also started using these whites as outcrosses to my oranges and reds as an insurance against black skin, bsd. 

Before I close, I would like to comment on two most controversial issues in the Pomeranian world.  BSD and  Merles.  I hope this comments would help ease the tension and conflict between Pomeranian fanciers and hopefully pave a way of reconciliation.  After all, this is dog sports which should unite fellow fanciers.  Barriers should disappear because of this common interest. 

BSD, aka, Black skin disease has been in the breed since the beginning.   Now that people are well informed and no inhibitions talking about it is good.  Each person has his own way of addressing the issue.  Everybody is a free agent and they can all act as they please.  The conflict starts when the finger pointing starts with the witch hunts.  Generally dog people are more sensitive about their dogs rather than personal self.  The claim of wanting to save the breed from catastrophe is admirable and may sound messianic, but imposing ways of handling this problem is not the job of any one person or E group but the Breed Club that promotes the breed.  Members must accept the leadership of that club that they have enlisted in whilst the non members are free to do as they wish.  To put interpretations of dishonesty and negative insinuations on other people’s breeding and selling  protocol is not really functional and most definitely will cause conflicts.  There will always be pet breeders who will totally disregard what is good for the breed and there is no way of stopping them.  I think what is more important is to do the correct thing in your own backyard and if you are the breeder of a dog and its ancestors for the past three generations, you should be held responsible for the genes of that dog.  Finger pointing to the breeders of yesteryears is useless because they have made their legacy to the breed and now it is our turn. 

MERLE.  Some want them merles disqualified from the show ring.  In my opinion, it is already too late to change what has been allowed for so many years with several American merle champions todate.  Many people, like myself have placed so much time and effort breeding merles and it simply not fair to DQ them.  If they are not good enough, they will self destruct.  If other people do not like merles, then they should not touch them or get involved in them.   It is as simple as that. 

For more information, come visit my website at:  www.cantonpomeranians.com

 

In The Following Pages, Mr. Yap provided a dialogue from his web blog regarding Black Skin Disease. Questions and/or Comments may be directed to the author:

Mr. Basilio Yap, cantonpoms@gmail.com      www.cantonpomeranians.com

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Part I:  The Black Skin Nightmare 

Black skin is an unexplainable sickness in Pomeranians wherein the dog would lose its coat and will not grow back.   There is NO cure for this.  This problem would occur at different ages, sometimes at a year of age when some dogs blow off their puppy coat(and the coat will not grow back)… sometimes later like 3 years old or …sometimes much much later in the life of the dog.  This is the nightmare!  Unlike other faults, like  undescended testicle/s,   by breeding age,  you will know whether the breeding specimen  you are using have or do not have that problem.  In the case of black skin, you will not.  It may occur soon after or much later after you have kept a line-up of puppies for your breeding program, only to find out that their sire is infected with this ailment.  What do you do with these puppies now?  What happens when you are a well known breeder and the pups that you sell, though they reach their championship awards would eventually come down with this black skin?  Can you ever get out of this problem… or at least avoid it?

I first learned about black skin about 14 years ago, ie, 1994.  It was about the time that this issue was a big hullabaloo in the US.  There were big discussions and many articles written.  Certain bloodlines were being heavily attacked.  A witch-hunt was on.  In the process, the American Pomeranian fancier generally got their education.  I think that the bottomline is that all champion Pomeranian bloodlines have this black skin issue…one way or another.  It is just a matter of degree…and the higher or lower probability that a dog from various bloodines will come down with it. I suppose, the natural pomeranians which has been less tampered by breeders and look like pet poms remain to be free completely free from black skin. 1994 was also about the time that I had already purchased a lot of American poms.  Because of this scare, I did mostly outcrosses and did very little linebreeding and inbreeding.  I suppose, I was successful because I practically have had practically NO black skin problem.  However, it was the limited linebreeding that I did that eventually produced the best results and from which come most of my champions today.  They, too, had practically NO black skin.  So, I cannot really say logically that limiting linebreeding is the key to black skin avoidance.  Perhaps, a more logical conclusion would be the choice or avoidance of certain bloodlines…and doubling up on it.

Unfortunately, outside the United States, specially in Asia and Europe, people are not aware of black skin and it is about just now that the black skin problem is hitting them…and they are now asking questions.    I would receive some inquiries about my poms from some Asian countries where I know they have purchased a lot of fabulous poms and very expensive imports.  When I ask them why not buy locally, I am told that most of what they have over there has black skin.  I hope not…perhaps this is an exaggeration.    I would receive telephone calls from long lost pom customers who would want to get something from me because their beloved pom was gone bald and would not recover.  I would ask where he got their pom and I will usually get the same answer.  It was so tempting to say “I told you so.”  A high profile Philippine vet told me that he has handled so  many black skin cases in his clinic.  He would ask where they got them and it all traces back to the same source.  He continues to tell me that he has not seen any of my dogs down with that problem!  Humbly, I must confess that I DO have that problem too! The big BUT is I rarely have it.   I have other priorities that  I want to focus on for the betterment of my breeding program and black skin is not really something that is I would really worry about.  However, prudence dictates that I should be careful.

Late last month, we had a Pomeranian Specialty show and I thought that I should show off my champion oldies in full coat.  Aged from TEN(10) years old or so, I exhibited them in full coat.  I brought in 18 of them!

Some other balding ailments results from fungus/yeast accumulation, throidism, etc have been mis-diagnosed as black skin when it is NOT.  But for many of them,  is it!    Pity the dog groomers in Philippine vet clinics!  They are entrusted with poms that are badly matted for grooming....they would shave the coat and the coat will not grow back!...they are then blamed for the tragedy,  when in reality it was the black skin disease all along. 

Part II:  Strategy Against Black Skin Disease 
            My Strategies to avoid black skin.

They are as follows:

1.  Whenever I buy in new stock, whether they be puppies, young adults or even older dogs, I will be doing the following:

I always want to see the sire and the dam.  It is understandable to see that the dam is shaved down after having whelped the pups.  However, the sire must be in coat.  If he is cut down, or looking suspicious, or could not be produced,   I would be worried.  Some would say that he has died and that would make me worry some more.  If the stud dog is not owned by the puppy breeder, I would at least attempt to see the sire in person or check with someone who has seen the dog recently.  

I will avoid puppies with glamorous cottonish coat to die for.  I want the puppies to shed by six months and grow their coat by a year old and possibly be in full bloom by three.  I would be concerned if they do not shed at 6 months.   Some would grow they grow their coat while they blow off their puppy coat.  This is something I have experienced with Bryce, aka, Ph HOF Jan Le Don't Make Me Laugh, whom I purchased as a puppy at 6 months of age.  I am told by other Pomeranian breeders who are equally zealous that this is quite safe.

            I will also like to see older male adults (say 5 years or more) from the same breeder with the same bloodline to quickly access their black skin history.  Many will DENY, whilst others will be very open about it. I admire and salute the truthfulness of these breeders.

2.  When I choose a stud partner for my females, I would try to stick to my bloodline or my breeding which I know has practically nil black skin.  However, always having a desire to outcross for new blood for hybrid vigor, I am aware that I am increasing the risk for black skin.  Outcrossing or at least distant linebreeding is sometimes a necessity otherwise the puppies would just fall into pieces.  Whenever, I would outcross, I would do the following: 

 

I would avoid lines that are known for black skin, if I can.  Many poms in these lines are really so beautiful that I would take the risk to a certain extent.   But one thing I will NEVER do: is to knowingly breed to a dog that has the black skin.   I do not care how good he is!  

            I would prefer to breed to dogs that are at least 5 years of age.  If they still have their coat, I think that is a reasonable assurance that it is reasonable safe…they may be gene carrier of black skin though. This would also be my preference when buying outside stud dogs.  An example of this is Ph Ch Pufpride Cash Attraction who I bought at the age of 4 years old;  he is now 6 and he still is in fullcoat. 

3.  Another strategy that I use is mixing in my whites to my creams and wolf sables.  The result such as Russ Gr Ch Ph Ch Canton Silver Spoon is then bred to my standard oranges.  For me, this is an additional insurance against black skin. (Whites do not have black skin.  I am told that one breeder has been successful in getting out of this problem by mxing in white poms to his orange breeding program.  This strategy seems to be logical because it waters down the problem.)

 In the final analysis, all dogs has some issues one way or another.  There is no hopeless case.  If is just a matter of breeding out the problem or watering down the problem! ....then, you have the compromises wherein you get something and you lose something...

PUTTING BSD IN THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE
I have been breeding, showing Pomeranians for 33 years(1977).  I experienced BSD when I first started with very expensive top show winners from Japan but ignorantly, I thought it was because the dog was getting old. Then,  sometime in 1994, I read in the Pom Reader about BSD. I then realized the BSD that I have had. From then on, I resolved not to ever ever have it again. I think I am been quite successful in this resolve.
The biggest problem at that time and up to now is that the best show winners eventually have them. Those fabulous fabulous soft coated dogs win all the time in Asia and this is what the judges choose even if the AKC standard considers a soft coat as a major fault. The dilemma is how badly you want to win. Do you want to stick to lower risk dogs that does not have those winning coat or win with high risk dogs? In my case, I rather lose than get BSD. It is like a fly who so much attracted to light. They know that the light will kill them but they are so attracted to it that they still go near it and get burned...OR PERHAPS, by very very careful selection, breed to outside dogs that are more than 5 years old who still have his coat and at the same time, have the qualities that you like. I think this is one of the reasons why I wanted to join this group...I can get in touch with people who have older dogs without BSD that I can borrow or swap with!

Therefore, I think it is very important that all judges, whether they be AKC, FCI and KC be well informed of the BSD. They should be made to realize that their awarding the ribbon to the wrong dog is giving the wrong signal to Pomeranian stakeholders or wannabees.

Such is what I basically wrote in my Facebook Group on Black Skin Disease.  For any Facebook member who wants to join this Group, simply tell me and I will invite you.

With an ongoing group which is increasing in number very quickly, it would be a matter of time when passions get out of hand.  I want people to keep the right perspective regarding this matter.  There is a tendency for this to lead to leech mob hunting for the wicked witch who may not be a witch after all, OR; there may be another pendulum swing!

…at the same time, I would like Pomeranian fanciers to face reality and get out of that DENIAL stage.

What I want to do is to for people to be informed and be mentally satisfied rather than being cowed in blindly following a cult leader, if at all.  I want people to ask questions and use their human mind which God has given them.  They should not accept things that are said to them because they were told so even the person saying it is an expert.  They should ask logical questions to satisfy them mentally.  They should also read and research and not wait for spoon feeding like a baby.

I remember when I was working for Bank of America handling a problem Borrowing Account in the mining industry, our Foreign Consultant in that business sector from the US wrote a long study on his assessment of the situation.  I telexed him back to say that he was wrong because it was simply not consistent explaining the inconsistency…now, I do not even remember the details.  When my boss saw a copy of the communication that I have sent, he commented that I was out of place because I was not a mining expert.  I retorted that what he said simply was not logical.  The following day, we received a telex saying, and I clearly remember the exact words:

“Que lastima, you were right and I was wrong!”

I also remember when I was just starting in Pomeranians, when a dog had a bloody stool, the ALWAYS conclusion of the veterinarians was it was parvo.  Later on, I learned that a bloody stool usually could be due to the following reasons: 

-          HEAT (Bathe the dog in cold water)

-          INFECTION(Bacterial, Giardia, Coccidiosis)…in which case I would now give Albon and Flagyl with IV fluid

-          WORMS…in which case, I would deworm.

-          perhaps, there are still many other reasons other than parvo.

Now, we have tests that we can do to do an analysis, if it is parvo… if this is at all necessary.

And so, now we talk about BSD or HAIR LOSS due to BSD or black skin.  I am not aware of any test that will conclusively say that a case is black skin.  Just like parvo, there are many other reasons for hair loss and looking at a book entitled:  DOG OWNER’S HOME VETERINARY HANDBOOK, it makes mention of several diseases resulting to hair loss and they are briefly as follows:

HORMONE-RELATED DISEASES WITH HAIR LOSS: Cortisone excess, Growth hormone-responsive alopecia, Hyperestrogenism, Hypoestrogenism, Hypothyrodism.

OTHER DISEASES WITH HAIR LOSS:  Acanthosis nigrans, Color mutant alopecia, Demodectic mange, Nasal solar dermatitis, Pressure sore, Ringworm, Sebaceous adenitis, Deborrhea, Viteligo, Zinc-responsive dematosis.

…and they forgot to include FUNGAL DISEASES which is mentioned in another section of the book.             

I like to take back what I earlier said in Facebook about my initial BSD experience…re Japanese Pomeranians.  Some did get hair loss but I did not do anything to find out what it really was.  On hindsight, 30 years wiser, I wish I had blood tests on them to rule out thyroidism as a possibility…so that I could be absolutely certain it was BSD.

I would now like to suggest a protocol for hair loss and this is what I will do and doing now regarding a recent problem.

My best dog today, Ph HOF Am Tha Ch Canton Bravestar had some hair loss resulting from some red-blacking spots around the body something that is sort of greasy. With a change of new help, this was undetected for some time. 
We would clean this up and it will vanish only after a few days it will come back.  Without intermediation, it multiplies so quickly into more and bigger spots…greasy.  There is some thinning of hair in the affected area. In frustration, I cut off the hair in the affected areas and shampooing with tea tree oil shampoo and applying some fungal ointment. The result is unsatisfactory.  He is about 5 ½ years old. 

I remember that I have a few experiences like this before.  Detected early it was easy to cure with simple shampooing and fungal ointment.  Detected late, it becomes unmanageable.  I have used various ointments that have burned the skin making the dog truly like a BSD when he may not have been. Now, with Bravestar, I have to know for sure or lose him forever in my breeding program. 

I consulted a vet and he had thyroid test done.  The test was negative.  He said that it is BSD and suggested castration. No!  If it is BSD, then let it be so but no castration!  I will then not breed him, if it were truly so.  Just keep him as a pet.

I want to have proof that this is BSD but there is no test.  I know bsd is usually a clear skin with hair loss…but this is the case of dark brown spots causing the hair thinning.  I then consulted my Pekingese friend who is a human doctor (since I cannot get the right answers from vets.)  Dr Raymundo Lo who is a pathologist suggested that we do skin scrappings for fungal culture.  Accordingly, I had his skin scraped with blade until it became pink (without making it bleed).  After a LONG sleepless wait, the result is out.   I have a written report from a human laboratory that says it is:

FUNGUS:  Candida parapsilosis

My vet now tells me that this is the treatment: 

ORAL:  Fluconazole(Generic name) …Deflucan(Brand Name) 50mg capsules
2.5mg/kg two times a day for 8 weeks

SHAMPOO:  Nizoral Shampoo at least 2 times a week

OINTMENT APPLICATION:   1 times a day but I will make it 2 times.

It is very important that the right dose and frequency /length of time be faithfully done to achieve results. 
Perhaps, many of the Pomeranians that has been branded as BSD could have had fungal problems as well.  Since this is something acquired and NOT genetic,  I would still be using Bravestar for my breeding program.

Accordingly, if anyone has some problem connected to hair loss, I would suggest the following protocol:

1.              If the skin is not clear, there must be reasons.  Make sure your vet do these:

-          Rule out mange by skin scrappings and view under a microscope. 

-          Rule out fungus by skin scrappings and have fungus culture done.

-          Clear the dog from dandruff because that would kill the hair folliciles.  The skin must have some problems if the skin is not clear and I am inclined to think it is not BSD. Mange, Fungus, Dandruff are not hereditary diseases but acquired.  AN ACQUIRED PROBLEM IS NOT GENETIC AND WILL NOT BE PASSED ON TO THEIR PUPPIES GENETICALLY…but left uncured, it may contaminate them!  Therefore, rule out these possibilities first!

2.       Have a thyroid test done which is really a blood test.  Kinda expensive but do it to be sure.  If found to be thyroid positive, stop using the dog for breeding.  Many breeders still use thyroid dogs for breeding.  I will NOT!

3.      If the  dog is negative for items 1 & 2, there may be other reasons as mentioned it the book that I quoted and I will be really really scared.  I will research some more.  Until I am mentally satisfied, I  will treat the situation as bsd. Stop using the dog for breeding.   Accordingly, rather than leave a question mark in your head and have sleepless nights, I suggest you make sure that your vet do the above protocol…..and more.  Do not castrate the dog…but if you really want to do that, wait until you are absolutely sure it is bsd.  Imagine what regret I would have had if I had Bravestar castrated!

More thoughts on BSD

All my blog readers must understand basic high school biology - the Mendelian theory.  This concept is applied by mostly all animal breeders to their breeding program.  Applying this to BSD, the main controversy will be to determine whether it is a dominant gene or a recessive gene?  I am inclined to think that it is a recessive gene and this is what I call the Realistic Scenario.  But I am sure that a lot of people because of their present nightmare will argue that it is a dominant gene, and this will be what I call the Pessimistic Scenario.

The Pessimistic Scenario

Under the Pessimistic Scenario, BSD is a dominant gene homogeneously BSD.  The recessive gene would be a dog that is clear from BSD.  The carrier gene must have the appearance of a dominant gene which means necessarily is a BSD dog but would carry the clear gene. This definition of the carrier gene brings about several inconsistencies. 

1.      From mostly all discussions of BSD, we talk about a BSD carrier.  This means that the dog is a clear dogbut carries the BSD gene.  Under the scenario wherein the dominant gene is BSD, the carrier gene would have a different profile:  a BSD dog that carries the clear genes.    I repeat, under the Mendelian theory … you have a dominant gene; …you have a carrier gene which has the appearance of the dominant gene but carrying the recessive gene… you have the recessive gene which is the opposite of the dominant gene.  It is not possible to have a carrier of the dominant gene… having the appearance of a recessive gene but a carrier of the dominant gene.  This is simply contrary to the Mendelian theory.

2.     If the recessive gene is to be the clear gene, ie,  clear from BSD, the chart(D) shows that breeding 2 clear partners will necessarily always produce puppies which are all clear from BSD.  This is very again contrary to the general experience precisely because clear poms may produce BSD.  We can only rationalize that they are BSD carriers - clear poms that are carrier. 

3.     Based on the chart, since it is the general consensus not to use any BSD dog for breeding, only D becomes feasible.  And yet,  for D, the projected outcome cannot be said to be realistic based on the general experience of breeders.

Accordingly, I am inclined to say that the Pessimistic Scenario is not applicable to BSD in Pomeranians; ie, BSD is not a dominant gene.

The Realistic Scenario 

Under the Realistic Scenario, the Dominant Gene is a dog homogeneously clear from BSD.  The Carrier Gene is the pom that visually clear, meaning   without BSD but carries the BSD gene.  The Recessive Gene is the BSD dog.  For easier understanding, I have modified the Mendelian Chart - Realistic Scenario below in terms of colors/legend.  This chart shows the probabilities of outcome under various combinations of breeding partners whether they be Clear of BSD, Carrier of BSD or BSD dogs. 

From this chart, the conclusion is that as long as you do not use a BSD dog for breeding(A,C,F),  the worst outcome is that your chances of producing BSD is only 25%(F).  This explains why sometimes when we breed two dogs without the BSD problem; they still produce BSD…either because both partners are carriers or because the BSD of the Pomeranian in question has not yet occurred!  It is precisely for this reason why I strongly prefer using older males because by the time they are 5 years old or more.  They would have passed the more critical period.

In B, if you breed a BSD dog to a 100% clear of BSD (B), none of the puppies will be BSD but only BSD carriers.  In fact, if the stud dog (or bitch)  is 100% clear of BSD, he/she will not produce BSD dogs at all(A,B,C).

That makes a homogeneously 100% clear from BSD very valuable.  How do we then know that a dog is clear? By simply observing the outcomes of their puppies, if he never, never produce BSD even if bred to a BSD, we can conclude that he is clear. The condition though should be that the sample size complies statistically.  A short cut way, is by test breeding…breeding him back to his daughter….or in case of a female, breeding her back to her son….this will resurrect the recessive gene hiding and lurking in the background.
From the foregoing, it is now feasible to second guess the carriers and the clear dogs.  BSD identification is easy provided thyroid, skin diseases such as fungus, bacterial and parasitical causes, etc are ruled out.  With the above chart, there will be some sort of predictability rather than panic time!

This BSD discussion so much reminds me of haemophilia, the royal disease of European monarchs - a hereditary genetic disorder that impairs the body’s ability to control blood clotting and coagulation, which is used stop bleeding when a blood vessel is broken.  A simple lesion would cause a haemophiliac to bleed to death.  This is a rare disease that occurs in 1 in 5,000-10,000 human male births.  It is a recessive sex linked usually occurring in males and very very rarely in females.

English Queen Victoria passed this on to various royal families across the continent including Spain, Germany and Russia.  The male royalties having this sickness would pass this on to their linebred children since their wives were distant cousins who were carriers.  However, their bastard children from peasant stock would be very healthy, free from this problem…but, eventually being carriers themselves.
No wonder why my breeder friend says that the white (spitzy pets) Pomeranians would easily straightens up her BSD problem.  Somehow, I have been earlier informed that there are some whites have BSD.  Logically, these must be whites whose peasant pet stock has been bred to BSD royalty!

I am inclined to think that BSD is the result of too much IN or LINE breeding continuously generation after generation.  Without or with very little new blood, the breeding becomes weaker…faults emerging…infertility occurring. 

What then should be our actions be towards BSD elimination?  The answer to this will really depend on your situation in BSD.  How bad is it in your breeding program?

WHEN BSD IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM,   I suggest that you choose a breeding partner based on how clear he or she is from BSD.  Other aspects you want to improve on may have to be postponed unless you can get a partner that has both wants.  Since you are not using BSD dogs for breeding, worse case would be 25% of your puppies will be BSD.  Accordingly if your dog or the chosen partner is 100% clear from BSD, you will produce zero BSD.

WHEN BSD IS NOT A SERIOUS PROBLEM, OR NOT A PROBLEM AT ALL, that would mean your dogs are mostly clear or at worse, carriers of BSD.  Ideally, it would be best to breed your dogs within your line or stay within the lines of people you work(no BSD problem).   This will ensure that your stock eventually becomes 100% clear of BSD. However, this may be self limiting because after staying so many generations without new blood, there still a necessity to outcross.  There is also that attraction to breed to other bloodlines who have something that you want and they maybe BSD carriers.  If and when you do outcross, I suggest you breed to an older dog(5 years or more) who still have his coat in abundance and who is not on any kind of BSD medicine.  With a new puppy from an outside breeding which eventually will be maturing to be of breedable age, you may have a new opportunity. Ideally, you should use him on a limited basis when he is young…or test breed him (inbreed him) …………or wait a bit to see if he or his children ever becomes BSD.  OR, after 5 and he still has a fabulous coat, then you should use him a lot. Then you can go back to your line or stay within the line of your new hybrid puppy.
In both situations, I would also consider breeding to a white male or female, preferably from outcross breeding…..  Hoping he or she will be 100% free…and that would serve as another insurance against BSD. 

When a high profile American ALL Breed judge visited me last year, he suggested that I use a certain BSD dog for stud.  He felt that this dog is so superior compared to the rest in the pom world and that may place my breeding program up to a more advanced level compared to others. He said he had the confidence that I have the capability to go around the BSD problem……plus I had the numbers.  I just kept quiet thinking…and thinking.

After having discussed the Medelian theory above, I am now inclined to risk breeding to that dog one time… considering that since I feel that most of my females are generally clear of BSD, I would be test breeding my females. At the same time, if my conclusions are correct, I will not be getting BSD but rather carriers of BSD. I would keep the resulting puppy separate from my breeding program until I can better access the situation.  That could bring my breeding program to a discussed higher level….On the down side, I risk BSD on one litter which I can cull….not kill but pet out.

It has been said that most, if not all the older bloodlines had BSD one way or another.  For this reason, it has been rationalized that all bloodlines today has it, one way or another lurking in their BSD ancestors many many generations back.(Always someone to blame!)   If only there is such a test to find out whether or not a certain dog is a carrier of that BSD gene, it would have been so easy.  However, using the logic of the Mendelian theory,  if you have been breeding for so many generations and you do not use BSD dogs(who eventually do not become BSD), or at worse, carriers, sooner or later, you will have dogs clear from BSD.  The chart says so!

Let us  say at worse, you have a bitch that does not BSD but a carrier and you breed her to another male carrier(F), you have a 50% chance of producing carriers, 25% chance of producing BSD and  25% chance of producing a  clear dog.(First generation).  If they ever produce one BSD dog, you can immediately conclude that both parents are BSD carriers.  You cull the BSD and treat all the rest as carriers suspect(33% probability clear and 67% probability carrier).  Test breed.  Observe the puppies.  Or maybe even breed to a BSD because if your dog is clear, no BSD will result.  If you can intelligently guess which are the clear dogs, you are so much in a higher level away from BSD (A,B,C)…you can eventually have 100% clear BSD free dogs until you outcross again!

The paradox of BSD is it is easy to fix but it is not easy to clean it up completely. Why? It is easy to fix because it is a recessive gene and breeding such to a clear dog without BSD should produce no BSD on the puppies. It is not easy to clean up completely...meaning it may recur because it is a recessive gene and it is very hard to discern which are the carriers and which are purely clear. The key is SELECTION...and luck. There are turtle tail signs which are the potential carriers and there is also such thing as test breeding and past performance. Dogs from the same litter may have different genetic profile as to being purely clear, BSD, or carriers of BSD. Outcrossing may prove to be a very good alternative but again, whether it be BSD or some other faults, another recessive fault can easily creep in again. That is one of the risk you take when you outcross. When you stay within your line, you know what you have and what you will be getting...there are lines which are high BSD risk and there are low BSD risk...yes, many of us will have similar ancestors in our pedigrees way back....some have serious BSD problems whilst others very few to almost nil. The difference in all this is not lying about BSD but rather the SELECTION that has been done from generation to generation. After 3 generations of doing your own breeding, the breeding done by the previous breeders would have been washed out....either enhanced or degenerated...the puppies produced is really yours, and not the same bloodline that you started out with. Perhaps, it might even be a strain of your own had you linebred or inbred for 3 consecutive generations or more.

I hope in the process of sharing my thoughts and experiences, I have helped my blog readers access their BSD situation and make their appropriate action plans.   I do not presume to know everything but logically, I think the foregoing should be quite accurate.  I welcome your comments and stand to be corrected for any illogical or wrong statements