Owners fighting for the dogs
A GROUP of passionate dog lovers is fighting to keep its breed of dog alive.
Proposed new laws have the Murray River Curly Coated Retriever Association worried its favourite breed may die out.
The breed is not recognised as a pure breed but often considered a "design breed" like a Labra-Doodle (Labrador-poodle cross).
"Because of dangerous dogs, (it's proposed) you can't keep a dog unless it's a member of a breed club and the club is recognised by the Australian Canine Council," dog owner Karen Bell said.
"We're applying for recognition as sporting breed, as a gun dog breed."
If the breed isn't recognised then under proposed legislation banning breeding of non-pure bred animals, the dogs will have to be de-sexed, which will dwindle the number of Murrays.
Currently about 114 are registered but the number needs to be near 500 for the ACC to consider recognising the breed.
"Registered breeds can't be neutered and can hunt. Then the breed can survive," Ms Bell said.
"If it's not recognised the dogs my family has for nearly 100 years could disappear."
Ms Bell said Murrays have been around in Australia for more than 150 years. They have aspects of the English curly retriever and the American water spaniel.
"The earliest record I can find of a brown coloured curly retriever is in 1844 in Hobart when one was lost," she said. "There photos from the 1860s and they have bred true to type since then."
Ms Bell said there are a number of theories on why the dog came to Australia.
"They were a common retriever for common people. Poachers used them to get ducks and rabbits," she said.
"The DNA testing we have done have shown they are a unique and diverse breed unlike any others."
For more information on the Murray River Curly Coated Retriever visit http://murraycurly.weebly.com or www.mrccr.org