Spurlaut in Dachshunds – Part 2

Jolanta Jeanneney (DCA Newsletter)

  

After the publication of the first part of Spurlaut in Dachshunds I received this letter from Diane Webb: “We've had a little discussion about spurlaut on the Obedient Dachshunds Yahoo list.  It sounds like performance breeders who would like to get spurlaut into their lines have a tough time finding conformation quality dogs with spurlaut. If the trait is to be bred back into more mainstream dachshund lines, these seem to be the people who would do it. Have you thought about writing about the need for performance/conformation and hunting breeders to work together in this regard?”

 

This question is certainly multidimensional and does not have a simple answer. First, let’s address the issue of possible sources of the spurlaut trait. The obvious source would be hunting bloodlines, but this is not the only source. Some dachshunds from American show bloodlines are spurlaut too. Spurlaut is inherited rather simply (it is a dominant trait), especially in comparison to numerous conformation characteristics, which are controlled by polygenes. For breeders whose first priority is type, it might make more sense to breed to spurlaut dogs, which come out of show background. There are not too many of these dogs but they do exist. It is our good fortune that spurlaut crops up occasionally in show lines, but it takes a wise breeder to recognize his/her luck and capitalize on it. I have seen many cases when breeders take their good luck for granted. They lose the trait in the next generation because they do not select for it. Only a well designed, focused breeding program, which incorporates selection for spurlaut will produce spurlaut dogs consistently, generation after generation.

 

Outcrossing to hunting bloodlines selected for many generations for hunting qualities, which include voicing ability, may produce faster results when it comes to spurlaut, but of course, a hunting dog is going to pass much more than just the spurlaut trait to his offspring. Some traits might not be desired by a breeder whose first priority is conformation.

 

There have been several examples of very successful outcrosses of American show lines to European hunting bloodlines. Currently, three standard smooth littermates are making their mark in the field - FC Qua-Linea Achates Tehuti  “Huti” – owned by Mary Ellen Jones and Judy Stephenson , FC Qua-Linea Appaloosa  "Loesje” owned by Sian Kwa, and FC Qua-Linea A Dutch Treat “Brinker” owned by Victoria Burton. They have been bred by Sian Kwa and are a result of a very successful union of the American sire  Von Bork’s Levi Straus  and German dam Gesha v. Meisterwurz. All three of them are spurlaut.

 

Another example of successful incorporation of spurlaut into a breeding program comes from Judy Gallamore, who bred her smooth Lili to Larry Gohlke’s Czar v Moosbach-Zuzelek for voice and biddability. Four puppies were born, all wires. Judy says: “All four of the pups open on game be it rabbit, deer, squirrel, possum, coon. Ana Maria finished her FC at a little under 4 months old with a first in a class of 51, Erika Miller finished at 9 months old with a first in 27 bitches. Rhody finished at 13 months. Now sister Kate has her first out of a class of 23 and is on her way.” This is an amazing accomplishment, but Judy is quick to recognize that some luck and good fortune was involved.

 

My own first litter of wires born in December 1991 was an outcross of French FC Fausto de la Grande Futaie to American FC Rivendells Ruby Tuesday, who came out of a show background. FC Zuzelek’s Gold-digging Gita and FC Zuzelek’s Globetrotter had strong, beautiful voice on rabbits and did very well at field trials.

 

However, outcrossing  a mute dog to a spurlaut dog does not guarantee success. If the spurlaut dog carries a recessive gene for muteness, theoretically only 50% of offspring will be spurlaut. Depending on the size of litter and a roll of genetic dice, a breeder may end up with none or very few spurlaut dogs, and of course he is not going to know it until the pups are ready to run rabbits.

 

I was curious how many spurlaut dogs are in list of 25 top field dachshunds all-time. I asked Cheri Faust and Lois Ballard for the list and to the best of our knowledge, based on observations at field trials and some input from dogs’ owners, we assigned one of the two categories to each dog – spurlaut or mute. Some spurlaut dogs on the list do not open consistently, but nevertheless they open on the hot scent of rabbit.

Rank

Registered Name

Call Name

Spurlaut

Coat

Lineage

1

FC Longtime's Oscar von Zimmer

 

Oscar

+

Smooth

Amer

2

DC CT Sadsack The Cupid Clone MW ME

 

Toad

+

Wire

Amer

3

FC Ilsa V Dorndorf L

 

Ilsa

+

Long

Amer

4

FC Zuzelek's Gold-Digging Gita SW

 

Gita

+

Wire

Europ/Amer

5

FC Hurricane Leonardo Da Franco CD

 

Leo

+

Smooth

Amer

6

DC Stardox Penny Lane V Melwyn

 

Littlest

+

Smooth

Amer

7

DC Pocketpack Voice Mail MW VCD1 TDX OA OAJ ME

 

Owen

-

Wire

Amer

8

FC Von Hohenwald Missy TD

 

Missy

+

Wire

Europ

9

FC Heidi C Of Rocky Knolls

 

Heidi

+

Wire

Europ

10

FC Kinder's Demure Gray Lady Ms ME

 

Demi

+

Smooth

Amer

11

FC Qua-Linea Achates Tehuti JE

 

Huti

+

Smooth

Europ/Amer

12

FC Underfoot Bolivar Bones Ms

 

Bolivar

-

Smooth

Amer

13

FC Ulrika Von Moosbach-Zuzelek JE

 

Lolly

+

Wire

Europ

14

FC Avignon Von Salix CD ME

 

Avi

+

Wire

Europ

15

FC Zuzelek's Globetrotter SW JE

 

Kuba

+

Wire

Europ/Amer

16

DC L And C Mayflower Madame L CDX TD ME

 

Maddie

+

Long

Amer

17

FC Whisper Hill's Dappled Zin M JE

 

Zin

+

Wire

Amer

18

FC Nelke Von Moosbach CD SE

 

Nelke

+

Wire

Europ

19

FC Czar V Moosbach-Zuzelek

 

Czar

+

Wire

Europ

19

FC Willagaye Eugene U Genius MW RN NAJ ME

 

Eugene

+

Wire

Amer

21

FC Karl Brink V Dorndorf L

 

Karl

+

Long

Amer

22

FC Windspirit's Navigator ML

 

Gator

+

Long

Europ/Amer

23

FC Bobkat's Masked Bandit ML

 

Bandit

-

Long

Amer

23

FC Dixie Bell XVII

 

Dixie

+

Smooth

Amer

25

FC Meika Von Den Schwirzheimer Bergen

 

Mickey

+

Wire

Europ

 

 

 

I was very surprised to see that of the 25 dogs only 3 are (were) mute. Even if the table includes spurlaut dogs whose owners were too generous in applying the spurlaut term to them, based on my own observations, at least 70% of dogs in the top 25 have been indeed strong spurlaut.  I know that this low percentage of mute dogs is not reflecting the current situation in the field, as a majority of field trailing dachshunds do not open. So what is the reason for this discrepancy? Are spurlaut dachshunds better rabbit trailers and is this why there are so many of them on this list? Is it possible that a mute dog can only be competitive with a spurlaut dog if his other qualities under judgment are truly excellent?

 

According to the field trials rules, “a proper use of voice” is a highly desirable quality while improper use of voice is considered a faulty action.

 

The exact wording is as follows:

 

“4-B Definitions - Desirable Qualities

 

Proper use of voice is the proclaiming of all finds of scent and announcing all forward progress on the scent line by giving tongue. The Dachshund should keep silent when not in contact with the scent line. Giving tongue on a sight chase is not a fault, but it is also not an indication of proper use of voice. Proper use of voice is a highly desirable trait in the Dachshund, but it should not be allowed to compensate for faulty work in other categories of performance. Judges may, at their discretion, place a silent Dachshund above an open trailer, provided that the silent Dachshund's performance was superior in other respects.

 

4-C Definitions - Faulty Actions

 

Babbling is excessive or unnecessary tonguing. The babbler often tongues the same trail over and over, or tongues from excitement when casting in attempting to regain the trail at losses.

 

Running mute is the failure to give tongue when making progress on the line.

Tightness of mouth is the failure to give sufficient tongue when making progress. This will often be evidenced by the Dachshund tightening up when pressed or when going away from a check.”

 

 

So perhaps the explanation for the high percentage of spurlaut dogs in the top 25 all time is that their proper use of voice in the field is awarded the way it should be. Well, here you go – one more incentive to breed for spurlaut.

 

Going back to the table, a close look shows that 14 of the 25 dachshunds come exclusively out of American breeding (with occasional British influence), while 11 go back to European hunting bloodlines. This high proportion of American dachshunds might surprise some, but it also proves that one can access this trait by working with American show breeding exclusively.

 

I would like to close this article with the question – how do you locate spurlaut dogs? Right now, you have to attend many field trials to check dogs by yourself or rely on other people’s opinions. To me this lack of the official record of spurlaut dogs is a weakness of our current field trialing system. Neither do we have an objective test to evaluate dachshunds for their voicing ability on a scent of live game.  Maybe the time has come to change this situation. It should not be that difficult to develop a simple, pass/fail, spurlaut test for dachshunds. Spurlaut individuals would receive a certificate of voicing on rabbit and their names would be listed in the DCA newsletter. I am certain that this would be of great help to breeders who would like to incorporate this trait into their breeding programs. And as we can see, there are more sources of the trait than we realize.