Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by CatStina, Oct 17, 2012.
Shes now on http://rufflyspeaking.net/blog/
To me the difference lies in responsible breeding practices. Not what these people are breeding for.
If the person is breeding for great pets and has a clear goal in mind, like any responsible breeder, and health tests, and takes the dogs back if the person can't keep them at ANY TIME. Then frankly, I'm perfectly ok with it.
Then again, my opinion has cooled down A LOT these days lol I've also plainly accepted responsible designer breed/sports mix breeders.. why? Because at the end of the day, there is a market,they are doing it responsibly and honestly.. oh goodness here goes.. I think even the "responsible" breeder train has derailed a little bit.
When I was looking for a breeder, I did all the right things. I went through breed clubs, checked health testing etc.. but do you know how many COMPLETELY kennel blind breeders I went through? Breeders who barely cared about the temperaments they were creating? Working breeders with aggression problems, show breeders breeding merle/merle in the name of the blue ribbon, breeders when asked what kind of pets they hope to create were totally floored by the question.. like it wasn't a reasonable one to ask even though like or not, 95% of their litter was going to go on and become PETS.
They are the bad apples of the butch, admittedly.. but one day I just sat down and was like "Wouldn't this all be so much better if breeders just bred for what was REALLY important..health and temperament?" If showing and working were seen as what they are..something great to participate in but that VERY FEW of those puppies will go on to do and certainly not something that is worth putting two dogs together for solely.
and in pet breeders, good ones, not "Oh god fluffy is so sweet and we bred him to Booboo next door because he's sweet too!".. you find this peaceful oasis where temperament and health are back on a pedestal where they deserve to be. Because like it or not, MOST puppies that come out of these litters will be pets anyway.
I did manage to find a show breeder who had a perfect balance for what I was looking for. She does show, her dogs do participate in sports/activities.. but when it all clicked for me was when she told me that the temperament and health of her dogs were paramount, always. I didn't want a breeder that was breeding in the hope for blue ribbons.. I wanted one that was breeding to make great example of the breed, not just in the show world, but in the pet world as well.
I don't by any means mean that show breeders, working breeders, sport breeders, any breeder seen as 'worthy' and breeding towards a goal that isn't pets is 'bad'. Of course it isn't, there is a market and in the good ones case, they are doing so responsibly. And many do care about health and temperament A LOT.. I just mean that pet breeders certainly aren't bad for breeding towards a broader goal.. rather than working skills and show ribbons and agility times.. things like CGC, great with kids, great off switches etc..
I do wish there was a event like the "Great dog competition" where dogs show off their temperament with children, with meeting large groups of people, when being trained, played with, playing with other dogs, being left in a crate, their disposition towards strange noises, places, activities, having people around their food etc...
but there isn't. and I feel like if you trust your breeder to know these things, and to be breeder towards a dog that COULD rock that competition if it existed, and that competition represents traits you would HOPE your future dog would be able to excel at, given the existence of it..then I see nothing wrong with breeding towards it.
Very well said!
The issue with the argument that shelters are full of pets so you shouldn't breed for pets is a bit off base. It assume that people looking for pets are open to taking a dog of any type, any age. And that there are enough pet quality puppies from working/show/sport breeders in the popular breeds to meet the need of people looking for pets of a certain breed. I will use GSDs as an example. A person who just loves GSDs wants a nice puppy for a pet. They look into breeders in their area. They are turned off by the show breeders dogs because of the structure. They are turned off of the working bred dogs because of price and maybe are told those dogs would be too much for them. So what's left? Pet breeders and rescue/shelters. One could argue there are plenty of GSDs in rescue, so that would be the obvious choice. But there's not many GSD puppies in rescue and knowing if a puppy at a shelter is actually a GSD puppy or not can be tricky.
This is the person that pet breeding is for, not people like most who post on this forum. It is for a pet owner who likes a specific type of dog and wants a puppy. Not everyone can justify spending $1000-4000 on a puppy from the best of the best pedigree because having the best of the best pedigree doesn't matter to most pet owners. Even if they could, there just aren't enough pet quality dogs being produced by show/sport/working breeders. This is especially true in toy breeds, where 1-3 puppies is about all you get in a litter.
When I was a little kid, before getting into dogs my parents bought their dogs out of the newspaper and what we got depended on what was for sale and what sounded good. My parents got the puppy, then bought the breed book and read up on the breed. And such a story makes dog people cringe but really, my parents had pretty low expectations for behavior and were committed to the dog for life. And that went for any dog we got. When I got my own first dog, we went to the pound and picked out a Beagle mix because my parents didn't want another dog that would be too big. The Beagle mix grew up to be 85lbs and had fear reactivity/aggression issues for his first 3 years and still, he was never at risk of losing his home. My first purebred dog was a Collie my parents bought for me as a teen from a pet breeder for $150 (breeder did health test but didn't compete in anything and openly bred for pets) and he was a wonderful dog. I looked and looked at "good" breeders when he died to find another dog with as good of a temperament as he had but had no luck at all.
Also while it might not seem like it, ending all pet breeding of all breeds might not be the best thing for the breed because it will diminish the gene pool. I know of a group of breeders in one toy breed who went to a commercial breeder for dogs because it was found that this breeder had some of the only dogs left in the breed who were free of a popular sire, including many pet bred dogs. The dogs they got were not "low quality" either. They were able to finish at least one of the dogs and many of the puppies of the dogs were show quality. But even if they weren't show quality, it was a worthwhile project to preserve a line which would have otherwise been lost.
There is no one easy answer to the subject of who should breed, which dogs should be bred and where everyone should be getting their next dog or puppy.
This. and it worries me, and scares me. Breeders, good breeders, are being backed into a corner socially, by the anti-breeder feeling running rampant in the world. Theyre breeding less and less, and in the public eye becoming more and more ostracized and shut out. I dont know whos to blame, and frankly I dont care. it scares me and it needs to STOP. in 100 years we wont have ANY purposely bred quality dogs, just an entire planet full of "well fifi and fido were cute so we bred them"
The only solution at this point, without changing minds that wont be changed, is for GOOD breeders to kick it up a notch and start breeding like crazy. But with how the bias is and the flack they will get, Im not sure people are gonna have the courage to do that. Because anybody who breeds more than 1 litter every 10 years is A BAD BREEDER /sarcasm font
As someone with a lot of background in population genetics, I am very much in agreement with Aleron about breeding only the "best of the best" being terrible for the breed as a whole because it can quickly take almost all of the genetic diversity out of the breed. Most breeds currently exist in closed registry systems with no outcrossing permitted, so if that system is to continue in the long term then breeders need to be very careful about maintaining genetic diversity in the breed as a whole, especially in smaller breeds. And that means including as many different dogs in the population as parents as possible and not letting only a few dogs disproportionately sire a vast majority of offspring.
Breeding only the very best to the very best in each generation creates populations that are more and more inbred. Even aside from deleterious alleles of genes that cause diseases--which you are not going to wash out by inbreeding more, because there are too many of them accumulated and lurking in the genetic background--selection, even artificial selection like breeding dogs, works much better in a large gene pool than a small one. In small gene pools (which can be caused by either small numbers of outbred animals or large numbers of inbred ones), genetic drift has a much larger impact on the make-up of the population because chance has a lot more impact on which individuals breed and also which combinations of alleles selection can work on. In large population sizes with a lot of mixing, selection is more powerful than genetic drift because there are more individual combinations of different alleles to choose from and you can more easily select out some of the deleterious traits. Because there are more breeding individuals, chance also has a lot less impact on a large gene pool than a small one--if one individual acquires a deleterious mutation in a large gene pool, that mutation starts out being proportionately rarer in the large population than it would in a much smaller one.
Did you see the articles I posted earlier? They really explain this very thing:
What is WRONG with wanting JUST a pet???!!! MOST people who own dogs, just own pets.
I sometimes think the more you get involved in dogs, the less you enjoy them as dogs.
There is nothing wrong with wanting just a pet.
But I take a bit of offence at the last part. The more stuff I do with my dogs the more I get to know them, and the better I enjoy them for themselves. There is no way I could enjoy Dekka more as herself. Trust me on that one!
Not to really pass judgment, but to further this.. The Dekklets were bred to be more drivey than the average pet home wants. So when I was looking for homes for that litter I looked for sport homes. Not to say they weren't going to make fantastic pets for those looking for drivey small JRTs. Just that they were likely going to need a slightly more involved owner which typically comes with sport homes.
Now Seren's litter.. they should be decent sport dogs (OMG Quest already tugs!) but they should also be fairly easy dogs, making them good candidate for strictly pet homes. Ice is going to a strictly pet home. Quest is still a bit up in the air where she is going (what is it with having people disappear off waiting lists?) But ideally, yes I would like her to go to a sport home.
So perhaps the breeder in question breeds high drive dogs who tend to get returned when they go to your typical pet home.
I don't believe that to be the case at all. Sure there are some that view dogs as merely a means to compete. maybe some of these people are the ones you see or hear about more than others because they are so driven to compete and subsequently are winning or near the top a lot.
BUT the vast majority of the people i've trained with over the years, some rather successful with national championships and international competitions under their belts, and they all love their dogs because they are dogs. They're out swimming, running, rolling around in the grass, hikes in the woods, vacations, hotels, chilling on the deck with a beer type dog owners. I haven't come across too many people that could possibly love their dogs and enjoy them as much as most of these people do.
This is a very good point. Oh, and really, look at what happened with the Impressive lines in the horse world. One sire, 2300 direct offspring, and somewhere around 55,000 horses now come from his lines. At some point it was discovered he was carrying the chronic/degenerative genetic disease, HYPP, and it became a huge issue. Of course the dog world is on a smaller scale breed to breed, but this can certainly happen if a breed with a smaller population is being line bred pretty consistently.
Yuuup. I actually thought immediately of Impressive as well.
It's not inbreeding a small scale that concerns me. If your lines are inbred but the breed population is diverse, you have room to outcross.
When the whole population of a breed has the genetic diversity of 50 dogs... You're screwed. There's literally nowhere left to turn. When the same dog is in EVERY pedigree... what do you do then? Where do you go?
There are dogs that may not be anything to write home about physically born into litters that have near perfect hips and elbows. Or dogs that are on the lower side of drive but that have really excellent, moderate, sound structure. They are not "the best" but they aren't bad either, and could really get a breed out of a sticky situation. In fact, I'd argue that pet breeders maintaining health tested lines with good temperaments could be the salvation of many breeds, since pet breeders often have a separate and more diverse gene pool that either show or working bred dogs.
Actually, Ted Kerasote, who wrote Merle's Door, talked about this in an interview with Dr. Karen Becker, regarding his latest dog, a Lab named Pukka.
It's really inevitable that if we tightly restrict breeding to those dogs that show in conformation or work in a certain sport, we create a genetic bottleneck in that breed. And, what I fear most, is creating a bottleneck in the species as well. If that happens, tbh, we'll be glad there are so many intact stray dogs running around certain areas of the country and the world. lol
I'm not suggesting every pet owner run out and breed their dog (far from it), it's just... food for thought. When you look at the big picture, it's a far more complicated situation than "Breed the best, spay the rest." And the push from AR organizations to make breeding taboo, and to paint "responsible breeding" as this insanely impossible standard with all these ALWAYS and NEVER rules, likely has not helped the population of purebred dogs on a wide scale.
I do think there are some things one can do to help test "a good pet". Things like C.L.A.S.S., therapy dogs, etc. I do think a breeder should be doing these things at the bare minimum.
I was just thinking, too..it is, well, kind of difficult to get a dog from a reputable breeder...with intent to breed. Not to mention the financial aspect for 'breeding quality' (double, triple, quadruple the price), breeders often retain co-ownership, have contracts, have to approve the breeding. In some ways, yes, it does curb some of the irresponsible people...but if someone wants to breed, they want to breed. Is this not hurting the dog population? The BYBer is going to go to another BYB to get an intact dog.
I don't think creating a bottleneck in the species is too likely--all you really have to do is allow your purebreds to crossbreed again. Dogs have a ton of genetic diversity on the species level, even if you don't include wolves (which, remember, are the same species as dogs are). The problem is that the way dog breeding culture works doesn't allow most breeders to take advantage of that diversity by doing outcrosses now and again to keep inbreeding issues low. That said, that culture does need to change to make at least some crossbreeding acceptable again if that's going to happen.
Totally agree that the AR breeding taboo push is completely not helping any purebred breed stay genetically afloat, though. Keeping a completely closed studbook is a hard thing to do to a gene pool, and breeding only a few animals in every generation really exacerbates the negatives that come with that/
Is it okay to breed any breed as a pet or just those who're historically companion dogs?
We're used that theory, the genetic diversity, in considering breeding Backup actually. He has some amazing traits for the breed, he will not give up, he has more drive and energy than he knows what to do with, but he has a lot of issues as well, he's inconsistent in many ways, he's intolerant of touch and has a low bite threshold in every aspect of life. I guess you really have to trust you breeder and your knowledge of the dogs to weigh the good and the bad. He's not what I consider a well balanced dog but he sure looks amazing when he's working.
Genetic diversity of 50 dogs would be a vast improvement for some breeds. Tollers, for instance...this from the abstract to the 2010 research paper "Population structure and genetic diversity of worldwide Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever and Lancashire Heeler dog populations" by K. MÃ¤ki:
Don't tell me that, Shai.