Like Dee, I have been thinking about a forum post for a while and did not quite know how to get started... but not wanting to add a different theme to the serious problem of CSNB (Congenital Stationary Night Blindness) I've decided to start a separate discussion.
Much as I am worried about this new eye condition, my fear is that CSNB may lead to a certain narrow minded view within the breed, causing breeders, owners and breed clubs to concentrate on this one 'new' problem alone. After finding out about CLAD, and with swedish scientists discovering a DNA test for the condition, I feel we maybe like to be a bit complacent saying 'didn't we do well' in eradicating CLAD from the breed... (Sorry, that sounds a bit nasty I know). We like to put our breed to the fore by saying how good we were in addressing this one problem, whilst at the same time our breed has no reason to be complacent about hip dysplasia - but there is still no code of ethics for breeders requiring that all breeding stock should be x-rayed...
I recently had my dog Glen scored under the BVA/KC scheme. When I got the score sheet back I also received the list of the Breed Mean Sores (at 01/11/2008):
What shocked me was that in last 20 years (roughly, as no exact time scale is given) a total of only 1038 Irish Setters have been through the scheme, compared to English Setters 2'730 and Gordon Setters 2'293. Judging by these numbers one would assume that English and Gordon Setters are by far the more popular of the setter breeds... Comparable to the number of Irish Setters scored is the Italian Spinone, both easily beaten by the Weimaraner with 1836 scored dogs.
I feel breed clubs should take a much stricter stance when it comes to obligatory hip scoring for ALL breeding stock! There are many dogs out there suffering pain due to hip dysplasia and every year Irish Setters are put to sleep due to this painful condition.
It has also been brought to my attention that a breed mean score calculated over 20 years, enclosing ALL dogs of that one breed since the beginning of scoring, is not a very good method for showing any kind of improvement over the years. It would make more sense to calculate the breed mean score for every year. It would then be possible to compare Breed Mean Scores every year.
Looking forward to hearing your views on the subject.