For the Dog
Registration based on Criteria:
In the beginning, Alexander and John McNab developed their ideal dog without DNA testing of any kind. Instead, their means was organic: to breed toward a set of criteria that met their needs. They were ultimately successful in creating a dog that not only fulfilled their needs but possesses a unique “essence” that set them apart from all other working/herding breeds. These traits have withstood the test of breeding over time and remain present in our McNabs today. We (TMSF) shall continue this format to the best of our ability, and in consideration of the natural changes that have occurred within the current era of McNab dogs. The end goal should always be for breeders to “breed up” for the purpose of preserving that essence and producing a distinct and widely recognized “purebred” McNab.
It will be the due process of TMSF to ensure the criteria is written in such a way that recognizes and aligns with the original McNab core traits. The criterion should be distinguishable to the general public so that there a reasonable level of understanding and clear expectation of the guidelines by which dogs are scored when applying for registration.
Scientific DNA testing:
Genetic Breed Marker
Fast forward to today, we have the benefit of DNA science. However, it is still young and under development thus, unreliable as a single source of breed identification. We see this in the inconsistencies of DNA results, both within the same lab and between different labs. We know this from discussions with scientists at various DNA labs who have been consistent in their explanation of how it works and what it takes to have a complete and reliable breed profile. The process of capturing and analyzing a sufficient amount of data takes many years and countless numbers of DNA contributions from a wide array of dogs who represent the various types and pedigrees within the breed – a process that will remain under development for some time yet. Therefore, we cannot base our registration on the DNA breed percentage because it is still a changing variable.
In consideration of the evolving nature of DNA science, TMSF must also be responsible for finding and facilitating the submission of as many McNab (or presumed McNab) dogs as possible. This is the only means by which the science will improve, and the lab can build an accurate breed profile. Together, with their members, TMSF should play a fundamental role in distinguishing the McNab breed consistently and reliably over the course of several years. TMSF needs to have a clearly defined working relationship with such a lab where the commitment is mutual and long-term in nature. The TMSF membership would need to remain educated on the status updates as the lab improves their process until finally declared to be a reliable source of breed identification.
Ultimately, the success of the TMSF mission, to conserve the McNab, rides on their ability to work collectively with members and geneticists in order to safeguard the above outlined specifications. By taking the time to develop the breed database through organic measures that mimic the origins of the breed, we can establish a large enough gene pool to support future generations while simultaneously supporting the science of identifying genetic breed markers. In this manner, we will have provided DNA labs with a truly broad scope of McNab DNA to study while building a record database, developed to support the foundation of this breed in a sustainable manner. Eventually, the DNA science will mature, and registration can migrate to a basis of historical records and DNA genetic marker testing.