written by Winnie Vogel
submitted with permission by Marj Brooks
with thanks to Kevin & Donna Frizzell of DeSaix St. Bernards for generously allowing us to use many of their superb array of articles
Once you have chosen the fault to be corrected in your bitch, you must now choose a stud who exhibits the virtue you are looking for, and who has proven, by his offspring, that he is pre-potent for that trait. The stud must also exhibit true ‘type,’ and not possess the same faults as your bitch. Never double up on faults as it makes it that much harder to eradicate them in succeeding generations.
Besides physically looking at the bitch and the stud dog, pedigrees must play a large part in any potential breeding program. Get to know your bitch’s pedigree and find, in the flesh or in pictures, as many of her ancestors as you can. By looking at the pedigree, you can tell if she has a common line of dogs in her background (line bred), or if she is a product of several out crosses (few common dogs, several kennel names). The more line bred a bitch is, the more predictable the outcome of the breeding will be, and if bred to a dog of the same line, the more consistent the litter will be.
This can be a curse as well as a blessing. It depends on what you are trying to improve on your bitch. If she is line bred and fits her pedigree (looks like dogs in her immediate background), she will usually have a strong influence on her get and if the fault you are trying to correct is commonly found in her background, you will have to out cross to a line where the virtue you are looking for is as prevalent. This form of breeding is more of a risk and it will be up to you to pick the puppy that shows the desired trait.
Stating what you are looking for and actually finding it are two different things. Here are some suggestions:
- Look in old breed magazines and annuals – look for the needed trait – look at sires.
- Go to specialty shows and look at the dogs that have what you are looking for – who is their sire??
- Look at the dam too – where did the desired trait come from?
- Call potential stud owners and ask specific questions and for their opinion on their dogs ‘siring’ ability.
- Ask if the stud has been bred to any bitches with lines similar to yours? – what were the results?
- See if any of your bitches litter mates have been bred. If yes, go and look at the offspring .
If your bitch is line bred, the fault you are trying to correct may require that you out cross because the said fault is common through out the line. Although we hate to write this it must be said. BITCH OWNER BEWARE! You have to ask specific questions that require specific answers from the stud owner – especially when it comes to genetic defects; those mentioned earlier in the bitch evaluation, and add these:
- Does the stud dog have any unseen problems, has he had anything altered
- What is the date of birth of the last litter he sired.
- Most breeders will not volunteer negative information about their dog.
- If you don’t ask you won’t know the answers and this could cause heartaches later on down the line.