CRITICAL ANALYSIS of the
« OLD BLOODLINES » THEORY
Facing this theory which puts in jeopardy the sound development of a breed at low numbers, we have decided to spread as widely as possible the information which will facilitate for everyone the making of their own mind. Of course, it is easy and good for one’s status to assert to the buyers that some actual barbets originate from an ancient stock from the 19th century! But the Truth is something else :
The barbet was officially an extinct breed in 1939, then it has been rebuilt gradually, starting in the seventies. All the actual lines of barbets go back to the ‘70s! The work done by all the breeders is enormous, and it deserves respect.
It is harder to build the Future than to invent the Past
The official website of SCC: http://www.chiens-online.com/race-barbet-fiche-100.html
Some History: CLICK Here!
Short reminder on the Standard
The standard of a breed is the detailed physical description of what should be the perfect dog for this breed. This description is accompanied by a scale of points for each part of the body, fur or coat included. A standard is used in shows, in canine contests where the judges score the physical characteristics of the animals that are presented, according to a standard. They are very useful for the breeders who shall ensure that they do not reproduce the animals with features considered a defect for the breed.
The standards are written by the associations, with the approval of the judges and the breed clubs, and accordingly are not rigidly fixed, because the breeds are constantly evolving. For the barbet, the standards recognized by the FCI exist since 1954, and have been revised in 1965, 1987, 1999 and 2006.
Today, some breeders of barbet have grouped together to produce dogs corresponding to the Standard of the ‘barbet d’arrêt’ of 1894 ! It is what is behind the charter « old bloodlines ». But why ? What are the differences between this standard of the XIXth century and the one applied today?
First of all, at the end of the XIXth century, the breed were not at all fixed and the difference between a barbet or ‘barbet d’arrêt’ and a griffon or ‘griffon d’arrêt’ was not clear yet. Moreover, the « standard » established by M.de Coninck in 1894 cannot be considered as an official document, but rather as an information document on how the dogs looked like in this era.
The first real standard of the barbet dates back to 1954, here it is :
This time it is really an official document of the FCI.
Let’s compare these documents : are there big differences between them as the defendors of the « old Bloodlines » pretend ?
«Those of us who have signed the BREEDERS’ CHARTER for the AUTHENTIC BARBET believe in the 1894 standard written for a Griffon Barbet. “ … “some radical changes were made to the breed and its appearance and to the standard” E.fichter ( http://chiensdeau.free.fr/BarbetenBresse/)
No, the texts are almost the same, word after word. You only have to read them to realize this.
Here is now the standard applied since 2006 -
http://clubbarbetlagotto-chienseau.fr.gd/Standard.htm - and you will notice that it is much more detailed. However, there are no fundamental differences, it has been filled up with more explicit terms in order to be better understood by all. The barbet remains a dog with a long woolly and curly coat, with strong arm and neck, wide and well developed chest.
So where are then the big changes that some people are talking about? The only real change is about the height, because it was not specified in 1894. However the weight was specified: 30kg. We can then suppose that a dog of this weight was not too small. The height given today in the actual standard is of 58 cm to 65 cm for a male…
As we have explained beforehand, the standard follows the evolution of a breed, and the one of the barbet has known 5 versions. To compare, the standard of the german shepherd has been modified 7 times http://www.eleveurs-online.com/standard,chiens,berger-allemand.html
The standard of the barbet, between 1894 and today has then not been the subject of radical changes. It has filled up to follow the evolution of the breed and to be better understood by everyone. Why do the members of the « Old Bloodlines » pretend to follow the criterias of 1894 , and not those of today, if they are the same ?
Good question, we can only bring hypothesis. What is obvious is that it is better for one’s status and more ‘seller’ to pretend to produce dogs according to the standard of 1894 than according to the one of 2006. Marketing plan ? It is possible, but this plan can be destructive for a breed with so little numbers.
Here is a document quoted from the site of the « Barbets en Bresse » kennel (http://chiensdeau.free.fr/BarbetenBresse/), and the use the author makes of it !
What she says :
“Of course there were births...just like in any (rare) breed!!!!!!! Go tell the Braque St Germain that they don't exist! Or the famous Braque du Bourbonnais...
Of course, there's more where that came from. May 10th 1941. And yes, they reproduced. I was just keeping them for the right time. These dogs were all over France and did not all get exterminated during the war.”
The interpretation of the document imposes a few remarks :
1/ The serving document presented to us is dated May 1941. What does it tell us ? That Beseff de Floirac could have been served by a male X a 25/01 of a year Y. And that it’s owner, Mr. Le Houelleur put it down in writing in 1941. We can then deduce that Mr. Le Houelleur was well alive in 1941. Unfortunately, that’s about all. Indeed, this document is not presented completely, so we can not know when Beseff was served and by which male .
Moreover, this document was it validated by the SCC? If not, it does not have any official value. Breeders plan a lot of projects for their litters and can very well take notes, this does not mean they happened. These projects become official when they have been validated by the SCC, because it is answerable for the history of the barbet.
2/ In this document, normally, beside « pedigree » one shall write the name of the dog and beside « race » the breed of the dog. For the breed no problem: « Barbet ». But beside « pedigree » we can read Barbette. Is this the breed? It would be surprising, because it is stated below. The name of the dog ? Impossible because Beseff was born in 1927, the year of the « B » and Barbette starts with a « B ». Beseff would have had a daughter the year she was born and her breeder would have declared her 14 years later ? Unlikely...Maybe it is the usual name of the bitch « Barbette », but based on this document, we cannot assert it.
3/ The serving date is incomplete : the 25/01… but the year is illegible. But the year the document was signed is clear: May 1941. We know that Beseff was born on 19/08/1927, in 1941 she was then 14 years old. Would she have been served at 14 years old? Notably, at the SCC only two descendants of Beseff were registered : Iff de Floirac and Hourrie de Floirac. The last descendants of these registered dogs date from 1937. There were no barbets registered at the Société Centrale Canine between 1939 and 1966 !
4/The author explains why, acccording to her, these dogs were not officially registered at the SCC :
“Just because dogs weren't registered at the SCC, as we all know, after WWII, like any war, one may have wanted to save what little money you had to feed your family and not register dogs.”
The author speaks about the kennel Di Reiau de Prouvenco of Ms. Pêtre, from which the first dogs were born in 1983. But it is not mandatory to have a kennel name to produce dogs. The parents of these dogs born in 1983 are Treck and Joyeuse. Who are themselves offsprings from dogs registered as TI (titre initial), that is to say of which the origins are unknown. http://www.pawpeds.com/db/?a=p&id=784236&g=4&p=bar&date=iso&o=ajgrep
The registration of the most ancient of these dogs at the SCC dates from 1966, with Phebee/Dolly. So this is more than 20 years after the end of the war. It is true that the war was a tumultuous and difficult period, but if the descendants of these dogs really existed, did they have to wait so many years after the war to register them?
We always come back to the same point : the Barbet was an extinct breed between 1939 and 1966. The breed was rebuilt in the years 1970 by a few passionate people. No actual line of barbet can pretend being more ancient than another one.
Concerning other breeds like the Braque St-Germain or du Bourbonnais, our personal knowledge on the subject is not sufficient to allow any assertion. We prefer to leave this to the breeders of these breeds.
The « French Water Dog » charter: http://kula.ndl.pl/wp-content/uploads/Club-Barbet-Francais-International-multisignature-14_04_2010.pdf
This document has been signed by 20 persons, throughout the world. Of course, it is very few compared to all the barbetiers of the world, and everyone is free to marry his dogs as he wishes. But then , what are the problems that press us to oppose to this coalition?
1/ The text starts with « The Barbet Français is an old French breed threatened with extinction”. The term Barbet Français is a pleonasm : the standard of the Barbet is owned by France. According to this fact, all barbets are French. Why don’t they simply speak about barbets? And why all breeders did not accept to sign this charter?
Simply because the signatories of this chart do not pretend to stand up for all barbets but for only some of them.....Which ones? The French ones of course! This is to say the descendants of a ‘’pure’’ line, those of the kennel di Reiau de Prouvenco, or of the « Old Bloodlines ».
The signatories of this charter are convinced that Ms. Pêtre’s barbets are descendants of, among others, Hourrie de Floirac (1933). Indeed, a Hourri gave birth to puppies in 1995 and 1999 ! What an astounding longevity for a bitch: 62 years ! But sorry, no, miracles do not exist. There are two Hourri(s), a Hourri without an « e », and a Hourrie with an « e ».
The Hourrie of 1933 gave puppies in 1935 and 1937 ( kennel du Mas de la Chapelle), among which Joyeuse who gave puppies in 1936, but the line stops there. There has been no dogs registered between 1939 and 1966 at the Société Centrale Canine. This line stops clearly in 1937.
But here is how the defenders of the « Old bloodlines » resolved this ‘’litte problem’’, so that the theory could be credible:
The kennel Mas de la Chapelle’s owner was the father of Ms. Pêtre, and she would have continued the line between 1937 and 1992, without registering the dogs to the Livre des Origines Françaises (LOF)! A solved problem, and no more need for ‘’official papers’’! But how could we believe that this lady, who had been raised in the cynophylic culture, had seen her father register his dogs to the LOF, who knows she has the last official representatives of the breed, would have not registered her dogs to the LOF. This is a bit easy...... But let’s come back to the chart.
2/ The signatories commit themselves to « construct an accurate pedigree database of all known dogs , based on facts and known information. This database will only be used by the club members, and corrected only if acceptable proof can be given. This will help establish accurate inbreeding percentages. Communicate openly, honestly, and transparently about our dogs, breeding plans, etc. for the good of the breed.
A database based on serious documents? Good idea! This way, one could get all descendants from all barbets ! But this database already exists, follow this link: http://www.pawpeds.com/db/?p=bar&date=iso. Then why is it that the signatories of this chart don’t like it? Because it rests on OFFICIAL pedigrees, and that for them, all these pedigrees are false. True or false? It is not up to us to judge. What is certain, the SCC and FCI register the pedigrees declared by the breeders. And we shall confine ourselves to the official version. The official pedigrees of the SCC seem to us a serious base, very more so than hearsays.
We could ask on which database the signatories of the chart will build their database and what credibility can we give to it? Moreover, ‘’this database will only be used by the club members’’. At least, this way, there will be no opposition! Why keep it secret if it is so serious?
The database based on the pedigrees is, as for her, open and can be consulted by all. This is what we call transparency. For breeders who want to ‘’Communicate openly, honestly, and transparently about our dogs, breeding plans, etc. for the good of the breed’’ admit that it is quite ridiculous ! What a transparency! But the worst danger is not there...
3/In a breed at low numbers, to find ‘’good’’ dogs compatible with ours is not easy. We have to pay attention to hips (dysplasia), to the consanguinity rate and finally to epilepsy. So, if some breeders decide to refuse a breeding with this dog or this other one, because the breeder has not signed the chart, or because the dog is not of a ‘’pure’’ line, things get again more complicated.
It is unfortunately what we see today. Thus, the kennel du Bois des Buis has been refused two servings for their female Etta. The breeder of Compay II refused a serving with her male, and moreover she made pressure on the master of Caya so that she also refuses a serving. Motive : Etta is Swiss !
But why had Etta’s breeders chosen Compay and Caya, and why do we find it a pity that this breeding has failed ? Simply because it showed a very low consanguinity rate: 3,12 % on 4 generations, and less than 10% on all generations.
And why do we care so much about the consanguinity rate ?
We worry a lot about the consanguinity rate, because we work with a breed with very low numbers. And in this breed, like all others, there are health problems like epilepsy which is of genetic origin. When the consanguinity rate is increased, the risk of hereditary disease increases. « Sous l’effet de la consanguinité, la fréquence de l’affection augmente, car il existe de nombreux sujets porteurs dans la population » Prof Denis, Génétique et sélection chez le chien, p.120 , paragraphe : Anomalie autosomale récessive . (Translation : ‘’Under the effect of consanguinity, the frequency of ailment increases, because there are many carriers in the population’’) And this policy is totally opposed to what the signatories of this chart are advocating : « work on issues of the Barbet Français » ...
Be reassured, Etta has found a nice pretender with Eno Da Capo. The breeding shows a consanguinity rate of 4,69 % on 4 generations, and less than 10% for all generations.
On the other hand, in the Netherlands, the recent breeding between Ashley and Chouffe : http://www.barbetclub.com/ rubrique , « Dekmeldingen », of which the breeder is signatory of this chart show a consanguinity rate of 10,9% on 4 generations, and 21,1 % on all the generations. It is known that a crossing at 25% comes to marrying a half-brother to his half-sister, we are not very far from that. We hope that no hereditary diseases or coats outside of standard will emerge....
Our intervention is not motivated by personal reasons, even less because ‘’we do not like some dogs’’! We simply regret this chart because we believe that it is not good for a breed at low numbers to have a part of its representatives being cut back.
At the end, it is the breed who is loosing