Breeding for "Quality"

Discussion in 'The Breeding Ground' started by IliamnasQuest, Apr 27, 2006.

  1. IliamnasQuest

    IliamnasQuest Loves off-leash training!

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    I find the concept - or the variety of opinions on the concept - of "quality" in dogs to be interesting.

    First let me define what I mean by quality, so we're all working from the same idea. Quality would be a dog that has reliable and consistent breed characteristics, follows a set standard, is sound in temperament and health, and shows the instincts necessary to represent their breed.

    So let me break this down: "reliable and consistent breed characteristics, follows a set standard". By this I mean that a quality breeding dog is of an established breed, not a mix, and represents the breed properly as has been determined by the parent club of the breed. The reason I think this is so important is that we each have our chosen breeds and we choose them because of their characteristics. If a breed standard is not followed or mixed-breeding is all that takes place, then those characteristics will fade and become less distinct - and therefore a doberman will not truly be a doberman (for example). Only by strict adherence to the breed standard can each breed maintain and continue their unique set of characteristics.

    "Is sound in temperament and health". Any dog being bred should be determined to have a good solid temperament. This will vary according to the breed. A solid temperament in a lab may mean it is to be accepting and friendly to strangers, a solid temperament in a chow may mean it can be aloof and yet not aggressive. But each dog should have an impecable temperament for their particular breed. Yes, some temperamental traits can be changed/assisted through handling, but there are a number of traits that can and are passed on genetically. Temperament is absolutely important. As far as health goes - a concientious breeder always (let me repeat that, ALWAYS) tests their breeding stock for genetic diseases. To me there is NO excuse for not doing the proper health testing prior to breeding. Only by being diligent in this can we help to diminish and hopefully eradicate some of these devastating diseases in the various breeds.

    "Shows the instincts necessary to represent their breed". A dog is more than body shape and hair color. Each breed was develped for a particular purpose. Granted, some have more purpose than others! It's part of the breeders responsibility to make sure that each dog has the intelligence and instinctual ability to be a working dog in some way. This can be done through testing for instincts, showing in obedience and agility, being a therapy dog, etc. My belief is that no dog should be bred unless it has working ability. After all, what good is pretty without brains and ability?

    To me, only a dog of quality should be allowed to breed. This is our responsibility as humans - to control the aspects of breeding in those species that don't have a concept of restraint when it comes to reproduction. I know there are people that disagree with this. I'm not sure why they think mixes should be bred - but in all honesty, it's hard to argue with the temperament and health requirements and very few people breeding mixes (accidentally or on purpose) have done any sort of testing.

    If dogs are allowed to breed willy-nilly, then we'll have willy-nilly breeds. The sad fact is that there will always be irresponsible people breeding mixes, so there will always be a supply of those. We're a long ways from running out of mixed breed dogs! But those who enjoy certain traits that are associated with certain breeds should continue to work hard to provide quality dogs.

    This is in no way meant to put down anyone with a mixed breed or any dogs that didn't come from quality breedings. I've loved my mutts every bit as much as I've loved my purebreds. But the reality is that humans have an obligation to control the dog population, and the dogs that are produced should be produced for logical and sensible reasons. I've done the responsible thing - all of my mixed breed and "non-quality" (as per the above qualities) dogs have been spayed/neutered, and my potential breeding dogs have been carefully handled so as not to be bred accidentally. And in the case of my middle chow (who was not spayed until she was six) I decided she was not the type of dog that I wanted to breed after all. She has a lot of great qualities, and I could have sold pups and made money - but she didn't meet all of the standards that I think are important in the breed.

    Okay, I'll stop rambling now .. *L* .. I didn't get enough sleep last night and it's midnight now .. that's my excuse and I'm stickin' to it!

    Melanie and the gang in Alaska
     
  2. MomOf7

    MomOf7 Evil Kitty taco eater

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    I love your post. That was good to read and more people should have the opportunity to read something like that. The more we can educate the public the better off our pets!
    Thank you!
     
  3. Lexus

    Lexus New Member

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    I agree also! And thank you for taking the time and effort to post that! I also have a mutt and two purebreds. One is from a rescue and is an aussie although the worst example of an aussie I think I have ever seen, clearly a backyard breeder, or someone that just decided not to alter and let his dogs reproduce "willy nilly" as you say :))) Although the rescue I got her from was doing a good job helping dogs, they weren't a great rescue by any means, there was no talk of needing the dog neutered when we got him like there should have been. Because of bad breeding this boy is nervous, way too long in his back, oversize for the breed, bad coat, etc. I still love him dearly though:D

    I took it upon myself and got the boy clipped a week later. My doberman is also altered b/c I believe that allowing more lives to come into the world is a commitment that requires vigilance and dedication. And I'm not willing as of now to take the time, money, potential heartbreak, and lifelong responsibility on. I'll leave it to people that are willing to do that and do it responsibly, but at least I'm not adding to the people that breed irresponsibly or allow breeding haphazardly.

    I do believe it's possible for those who prefer an unaltered dog to live happily ever after too. I had my doberman for two years unaltered, I decided also that she wasn't good enough to pass on her genes, and was completely responsible with her, no accidents, or even near accidents. I believe that we should alter, but if someone choses not to and is responsible with their pets, then that is acceptable too, as they aren't adding to the "body count" in the dog world.
    Great post once again!
     
  4. JennSLK

    JennSLK F150 and a .30-06

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    Well said
     
  5. Mach1girl

    Mach1girl New Member

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    TRell me this *And this is in no way related to me personally* Just wondering YOUR opinions.

    FOR INSTANCE-My CHOCY(dont freak, hes not going to be bred, not going through this again!) But FOR INSTANCE. He has an aweful overbite. BUT, by age 2 he has acceled at obdeience, agility and any other sporst/competiton he is in, OMITTING conformation due to his overbite, but he has mastered and won all the rest.

    NOW, do you possibly breed him to pass the GREAT traits, his drive, intelligence, possibly creating offspring that can contribute to a wonderful pedigree and ribbons??Or do you not due to the simple overbite???Because the dog is obviously not perfect, but only due to a short bottem jaw.

    Just curious, and if you have anything negative to say save it, because this is all purely just a question, I am not breeding, so calm down before you get worked up!!!! Just a question in the back of my mind!

    Here is a pic of his overbite
    [​IMG]
     
  6. JennSLK

    JennSLK F150 and a .30-06

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    I wouldnt. Thats a serious fault. It could interfear with him doing bite work, if you wanted, or he could pass it on to his kids and they could have it worse.

    IMO I feal that no dog should be bred if it has a fault that interfears with the dog's proformace. IE: A sheperd with a horable bite
     
  7. Mach1girl

    Mach1girl New Member

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    all kidding aside though, isn't he precious with his overbite???Lol!

    We have tried to name him something "pitbullish" but cannot come up with anything manly enough due to this bite. So he's just "chocy" but looks like a nemo!!!

    Back on topic!
     
  8. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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    Great post, Melanie!

    Mach1: I personally would not breed a dog with a serious fault like an overbite, especially not in a breed like mine that requires a sound mouth for work. Chocy is adorable though!
     
  9. MomOf7

    MomOf7 Evil Kitty taco eater

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    That is quite an over bite.
    That could possibly interfere with retrieving in the hunt tests or field trials.
    Even if he was a FC or NAFC I wouldnt breed to him.
    But he is darn cute! And very smart too!
     
  10. Sheka

    Sheka New Member

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    hey, i have an overbite can i pass it it my children? lol jk, i have braces but no overbite. And well said
     
  11. Mach1girl

    Mach1girl New Member

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    But thats what Im saying, EXCEPT conformation. Suppose he became a champion at EVERYTHING else. Still not worth breeding even if he was bred to breed the gene out??

    Just trying to keep the subject open minded.

    TY, he is adorable!!Lo, Im gonna have him lick stamps for me at work.LOL
     
  12. anna84

    anna84 New Member

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    this was a really good post. I have had some amazing family dogs all came from backyard breeders or are were mixed accidental litters. My parents simply didnt know any better but none of our dogs have been bred. in the future i'll either pay for a properly bred dog or adopt from a rescue.
     
  13. IliamnasQuest

    IliamnasQuest Loves off-leash training!

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    Thanks, guys. As I said, it was just my opinion but I think that it's good sometimes to put out opinions so others have an idea of what can/should be considered "breeding quality" (I like that better than just "quality" .. because I think ALL of my dogs are quality, just not necessarily breeding quality).

    Mach1 - well, I wouldn't breed a dog with a fault such as that. In my way of thinking, your dog may be wonderful in a number of ways but there are others out there who are wonderful in those ways AND have a proper bite.

    My oldest chow has five obedience titles, four agility titles, a schutzhund BH and is an amazing herding dog (very natural instinct). She was the #1 chow in the US in obedience two years, with more than 100 points ahead of her nearest competitor the second time. She took numerous first places in open obedience competition (which is all off-leash, and requires retrieves and jumps) beating border collies, labs, goldens, etc. in classes of up to 25 dogs.

    And yet I wouldn't have every bred her. Conformationally she has flaws that don't meet the breed standard. Her temperament is wonderful, but she had entropion that had to be surgically fixed. Yes, I could have produced some awesome working pups, perhaps, but they would not have been the full spectrum of what I expect in a chow of good breeding.

    Now, if I could get Kylee's ability and longevity and overall health (she'll be 15 in October and has been relatively healthy) and combine it with the conformational standards, I'd have a perfect Chow! I'm hoping that Khana will fit that bill, but we'll see. She's not yet two and I haven't had x-rays done yet, nor have I done the thyroid testing and eye certification. But her temperament, conformation and intelligence are what I would expect.

    I wonder what she'll do when I get her out on sheep .. I'd love to see if she can herd. I just have to find the right sheep person. Some people automatically assume that a chow is going to have sheep for dinner .. *L*

    Melanie and the gang in Alaska
     
  14. corsomom

    corsomom New Member

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    Melanie, great post! I just wish that everyone had such high standards for breeding.
     
  15. Zoom

    Zoom Twin 2.0

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    I've had a similar question. Say you have a dog that is conformationally correct, is perfect on just about everything else, but has a mismarked coat. Would that be enough to keep it out of your breeding program?
     
  16. Mordy

    Mordy Quigleyfied

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    Exactly my thinking, Melanie - that's why I am such a huge advocate for the breeding system the way it is done in Germany, for example, with breed surveys, strict control from the breed club, breeder inspections by the breed steward and so on.

    Sadly much of that would be considered "infringing on people's personal freedom" here in the US. :rolleyes:
     
  17. Gempress

    Gempress Walks into Mordor

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    I'm not a breeder, but if I were, I think it would depend on the coat. If it were something fairly minor (like a patch in the wrong place or something), I would probably breed it. That dog could have beautiful puppies, provided the correct coat is inherited from the other parent. But I would have all mismarked puppies immediately spayed/neutered. A patch in the wrong place is completely harmless to the puppy, and it would still be a great pet. Now if it were a glaring fault (like a completely unacceptable color), I wouldn't breed.

    Mach, I wouldn't breed a dog with an overbite that severe. No matter how skilled the parent is in obedience, working, etc. While a mismarked coat is harmless, I think an overbite like that is a health issue. I wouldn't want to risk passing that on to any puppy, not even a simple pet.
     
  18. wolfsoul

    wolfsoul I Love My Belgian

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    I agree completely. I'll be breeding my dog, Visa, on her next heat. Her pups will definatly be wonderful examples of their breed.
     
  19. wolfsoul

    wolfsoul I Love My Belgian

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    I don't think a mismarked coat is a big deal, honestly. If the dog still has a good structure and working ability, and you can tell what breed it is, I think it's fine. I, myself, am going to breed my groenendael's son to a malinois -- this will create dogs that can't be shown. However, they can go on to be very valuable to a breeding program, and they still have the structure and wokring ability. I don't think you should be breeding FOR the colour specifically --- but if you breed a mismarked dog in order to improve your breeding program, I think it's perfectly legitimate.
     
  20. Zoom

    Zoom Twin 2.0

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    Out of curiosity, why are you going to mix? Why not just find a great match for your Groenendael?
     

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