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Selecting A Stud

by Theresa Mullen, Terrylane

I think that the search for a Stud is one of the most important skills that a breeder must master if they are going to be successful.  I find that I look at stud selection from a many sided approach.

The first thing that must happen is that you must evaluate your bitch—honestly, brutally and CORRECTLY!  This basically means picking her apart — physically and mentally — and know her health profile.  Know what her sire and dam produced and look for trends in both sire and dam’s families.

An example would be pasterns.  If this is a problem that occurs with very regular frequency in the background of the bitch in question then this is definitely something you would pay close attention to.  The most gorgeous, healthy, mentally sound sire in the world that has or throws weak pasterns consistently will NOT be in your list of possibilities, no matter how good a sire he is.  So the bottom line here is — know what faults your bitch has as well as the faults that show up consistently in her immediate family.

I am a firm believer that familial trends exist in all lines — some produce good top lines consistently — some bad heads consistently, and so on and so on.  Know and observe and ask — look at the magazines and learn.  Hopefully you have had some experience in knowing the prominent lines of our breed before you attempt to have a litter.

  1. First of all, observation is your greatest tool.  The National Specialty held every year is a superb learning forum because you can see hundreds of GOOD Dobermans in one place — and see them several times with the Specialties prior to it.
  2. Secondly, don’t get too involved with using one breeding method — such as line breeding, out crossing or incestuous inbreeding.  Select the sire for what he is himself and what he is producing.  This is very important to pay close attention to because there are dogs out there right now that look one way and throw something else.  Their genotype does not match their phenotype.   Stay clear of these dogs as they are not reliable in what they produce.
  3. Thirdly, I place great importance on siblings and progeny.  This is one reason I prefer to breed to a dog that has offspring old enough to see and how they are developing.  I need to see Star Producing power — theses are the sires that are doing more than just getting by and producing okay Champions.  I want to see that the sire has the capability within his producing power to throw a star.
  4. Last but not least by any means, I was told years ago by an old horseman that the way to look at breeding was to imagine that each sire and dam had within his gene pool a DECK OF GENE CARDS with Aces high — on down to the low numbers. A ‘GREAT’ Champion was produced when both sire and dam each contributed an ‘ACE’ from their gene deck.  The great sires and dams have predominately face cards (the superior qualities equals the face cards) instead of numerical cards (these gene cards are the mediocre to poor qualities).  So the great producers will statistically throw more face cards (Ace through Jack) to their offspring than the numbers (two through ten).  The mediocre producers may only have one Ace, a couple of Kings and Queens — but mostly middle to low cards so their chances of producing a truly superior offspring are very diminished.  The deck of card example is an easy way to see how statistically, producing truly good to superior animals consistently, is possible and the opposite is so common.  Try taking two decks of cards. Divide them so one has mostly face cards and a few mid-range cards.  Then take another pile that has only one Ace and a few face cards and the rest mid to low range numbers.  Now shuffle each deck and turn over one card from each deck and lay the cards side by side.  You can get a Queen and a six — -this would most likely fall in the above borderline show specimen range.

ACE = 14
KING = 13
QUEEN = 12
JACK = 11

The numbers left are from ten through two.  So the highest combination would be:

two ACES = 28
ACE & KING = 27
ACE & QUEEN = 26

and on down the quality scale. Mid-range would be a 14 which would be right on the fence of being okay to show but with many minor faults.

If you were to try to estimate what a sire or dams deck would contain, it would be pretty accurate to predict that most good producers would have as many face cards as numbers. The poor producers have more numbers than face cards –probably some have NO FACE cards in their decks.  The great producers have a majority of face cards to be able to produce good to superior offspring with a variety of decks, even ones with primarily mid range numbers.

I have never heard another ‘dog’ person describe genetics in this way but it was so logical to me as a young girl that I used to ‘load the decks’ to represent the gene package of one animal, and do the same for another deck to represent the dam, to see what the probability of producing a *star* was. It’s just another way to help you to understand just how difficult it is to breed good dogs generation after generation.

Take your time in looking for that ‘MR. WONDERFUL’ for your bitch.  That’s how we look at breeding and sire selection.

by Pam DeHetre, Pamelot Dobermans

Finding a stud is always a difficult decision.  There are several huge mistakes I have seen breeders make and some of those are

  1. to breed to the dog that is doing the most winning
  2. to breed to their own dogs
  3. to breed to the most popular stud dog at the time because after all he can fix all problems
  4. line breeding on a dog to the point where he is in the pedigree over and over in an attempt to get another one just like him.

This isn’t going to work.  Look at how that dog was produced and I will bet it wasn’t that way.  I believe that first of all you should have a picture in your mind of what the ideal looks like in whatever breed you have and know the good qualities and the faults (in that order) of your bitch.  You should look for a dog that has the same good qualities that your bitch has and that is correct where your bitch isn’t correct. Otherwise you are just setting yourself up for a ping pong game.  Let’s say your bitch is very strong in head but a weak rear so you breed to a dog that has a bad head but a good rear — now you may get a puppy with a really neat rear but “oh oh” we just lost the head. So in the next generation we are back trying to find a dog with a good head again. To eliminate all of that stress always try to breed to the correct!!!

Now having said that I will go forward with this concept. Some lines and types have a look unto themselves.  Lets say there is Look A and Look B. Breeding to Look A with Look B is not going to produce the ideal, it is only going to weaken the look of either A or B.  In my experience breed type to type for the best results.  If you want one of the other type, then buy it!

I did not mention pedigree as yet but obviously you should go out and get the strongest one you can of the type you like the best.

These are just some of my ideas based on the facts that I have bred well over one hundred champions, including Best in Show and Group winners, in several breeds.