Choosing a Stud Dog

Choosing a Stud Dog
 
    Choosing a sire for your litter is as important a decision as choosing
    your bitch was originally. You need to spend some time and effort on
    this decision. This is a good time to get some expert advice. If at
    all possible, you should consult with your bitch’s breeder and ask
    them to spend some time with you going over the various options so
    that you understand why one dog would be better for your bitch than
    another. If your breeder or another expert isn’t available to spend
    some time with you, then you’ll need to do the research on your own so
    you can make a knowledgeable decision.
   
    The first thing you’ll want to do is take the information you’ve
    gathered over the years about your bitch and analyze her strengths and
    weaknesses. Does she have a weak top line but a nice front? How is her
    rear angulation? What about her coat texture? Her temperament? You can
    see know why getting your dog out and showing and/or working her can
    be helpful in this process. If you don’t know what’s wrong with your
    bitch, you don’t know what you want to fix in a future generation.
    And, that’s really what you are trying to do — improve the breed by
    improving on your bitch. So be brutally honest with yourself. You know
    you love your bitch, that’s not in question here, but if you can’t be
    honest about her flaws, then you can’t fix them in a future
    generation. You’ll want to focus on one, maybe two, problems that
    you’d like to see improved and look for a stud dog who is strong in
    those areas without being too weak in some other area. It can become a
    delicate balancing act — of course, with no guarantee of success.
   
    There are two main theories in breeding that you’ll want to
    understand. The first one is probably the simplest: breeding like to
    like. This means that you take the overall look of the bitch and find
    a stud dog that physically compliments her look. The theory is that if
    you breed like to like, you’ll get like.
   
    The second way to approach a breeding is more complicated. It’s called
    line breeding. It involves analyzing the pedigrees of your bitch and
    the potential stud dogs to choose a good match. There are several ways
    to approach line breeding. First of all, you need to understand
    several terms.
   
    _Line breeding_ is similar to breeding like to like only instead of
    collecting physical similarities, you are collecting the genes of a
    particular dog. _Inbreeding_ is an extremely close line breeding. When
    you are starting out in breeding, you want to keep away from
    inbreeding as it is risky unless you are very sure of the pedigrees
    involved. The last type of pedigree-breeding is an outcross. An
    outcross breeding will have a pedigree where there are no, or at least
    very few, dogs in common. This often happens when you are breeding
    like to like. Most breeders practice some form of line breeding,
    generally focusing on one of the important studs in their breed.
   
    Of course, you want to make sure that the dog you are concentrating on
    is worthy of the honor. If you line breed on a mediocre dog — or a
    dog with a particular health problem — you’ll get what you asked for.
    This type of breeding is particularly tricky and you want to make sure
    that you have carefully researched the dogs in your bitch’s pedigree
    so that you know where you’d want to go with the line breeding.
   
    In practice, you’ll probably want to employ a combination of these two
    techniques. You’ll want to find a pedigree that is complimentary to
    your bitch and a dog that is physically compatible as well. Again,
    this is a really good time to seek the advice of knowledgeable
    breeders. Choosing a stud dog is also a really good reason to become
    active in the breed’s activities while your bitch is young. This will
    allow you to be familiar with various stud dogs before you bitch comes
    in season.
   
    Once you’ve narrowed your choices down to two or three likely
    candidates, you’ll want to call the stud dog owners and interview them
    about their dogs. Most stud dog owners will be honest with you about
    what their dogs are producing, their strengths and weaknesses, and
    what you can expect. If they aren’t forthcoming about the problems as
    well as the benefits of their dogs, you should probably steer clear of
    them.
   
    At some point in the process, you’ll have to make a decision about
    which dog will be best for your litter. No one can make this decision
    for you but if you’ve done your homework and been honest with yourself
    about your bitch, then you’ll probably find a compatible dog. Then you
    are ready to enter the genetic crap shoot and see what you get.
    Because we know so little about the complicated genetics behind our
    dogs, you really are making a shot in the dark. Even the most
    experienced breeder makes mistakes — this is why you want to be very
    careful and thorough in your research.
   
    Once your decision is made, you’ll want to notify the stud dog owner
    about when you expect your bitch to come in season so that they can
    make their own plans. You will probably want to get your bitch to the
    stud dog within the first week of her season so that she has time to
    adapt to her new surroundings before being bred.
      _________________________________________________________________

The Need For Record Keeping

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