Improving Your Breed

Discussion in 'The Breeding Ground' started by WorkofHeart, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. WorkofHeart

    WorkofHeart New Member

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    So I've been pondering something lately. What needs to be improved in your breed?

    For those with less common breeds: with little health problems, what is your goal - to preserve the breed? Do you feel there is enough responsible breeders in your breed or there can never be enough? Should a future breeder shift their focus to a breed that NEEDS improving?

    The reason I ask is because I am a future breeder. The puppy I am about to get is an Ibizan Hound (see siggy link) which is an uncommon breed. My other favorite breeds are Dobermans and Great Danes, but I had decided not to get into them because of their many health issues and short life. However, maybe that is a reason to help other breeders improve them? Ibizans are very healthy, but maybe breeders need help preserving them?

    Or maybe I should just get 1 of each then decide? LOL

    I don't know. Any thoughts?
     
  2. Zoom

    Zoom Twin 2.0

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    The biggest things that need to be bred out of Aussie are hip dysplasia, CEA and epilepsy. Epi has become more of a problem than it used to be, because it doesn't crop up until between 3 and 5 years of age, by which point many bitches have already had at least one litter and passed on the genes. Of course, there is the idiopathic epilepsy that happens as well, which is harder to weed out. CEA is less of an issue than it used to be since there is now a test for it.

    Otherwise, there needs to be a continued diligence to ensure that the brains and instincts that made this dog so indispensable to their owners doesn't get too watered down and bred out. These dogs are not soft, multicolored teddy bears. They have drive, they have energy, they have brains, they have guarding/protective instincts. They have a sense of duty combined with a sense of humor.

    All of this needs to be preserved in order to keep to the true form of the Aussie.
     
  3. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    The biggest issue I have seen in borzoi is:

    1. Poor temperaments

    2. Inability to work (hunt) due to incorrect conformation and lack of drive (and poor temperaments).

    One thing I have noticed in dogs where the standard describes their temperament as "aloof", is people often get kennel blind and interpret their fearful dog as being aloof.

    They are not the same thing!!! A dog who is afraid of strangers is not aloof. It is not correct. A dog like that could not catch and hold a wolf. To me it's very important to preserve, and in some cases restore, all the things a sight hound needs to be a successful hunter.
     
  4. Artfish

    Artfish Drivey and Intense

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    Not a breeder, but some thoughts coming from observing the German shepherd world....

    1) Remember the purpose of your breed, why it was developed and what makes it great. If you have a working type dog, please verify IT WORKS, and a rally title does not count. A spaniel that has no bird sense should be neutered on the spot regardless if it earns its "Ch" before 12 months of age.

    2) Always be aware that kennel blindness can strike- we always feel our dog is the best in the world and are very proud of our accomplishments. But how healthy is he? Are her ancestors overall sound in mind and body? Was there anything less than desirable that showed up while training, working, and living with the dog? Was everything truly earned and well deserved? Why should this dog be bred? Have other, objective experts in the breed weighed in on the merits and faults of the dog? ALL DOGS HAVE FAULTS; be honest.

    3) Be honest about your program, your dogs, and your lines to others in your breed. One of the biggest disservices to any breed is hiding genetic problems from other breeders and sweeping problems under the rug, so to speak. Be open, be truthful, be honest, work together in your chosen breed lest the breed end up being plagued with more health problems than merits.

    4) Just because a dog is titled does not mean it has earned that title. Train your OWN dog, work your OWN dog, and think about the total picture. Please don't mail your dog off to some other country and breed it when it comes back with titles..... this tells you nothing about the dog. Test it thoroughly, push the dog to its limits, find out what the dog is made of. Kind of fits with #2 and #3.

    I am very against any "improving" as that has resulted in the corruption of many breeds due to the show ring. Really, the only improvement we can do is to educate future breeders to place health and temperament above everything else, put function BEFORE form, and let the breeders who only care about looks fade away.

    In the GSD, health is in the pits. I tell people who are interested or who are new owners that this is not an overall healthy breed. Working ability is.... well, depends on the lines. First of all, we should have no breed split. IMO, if breeders are not putting working GSDs first, they are not breeding GSDs, period. Temperament is very spotty, sadly. There are a lot of spooks, overly soft dogs, dogs with no aggression (yes, there is GOOD aggression provided it is matched with sound temperament and clear mind), dogs that couldn't hope to do schutzhund. A good German shepherd should be able to be a police K9, be trusted around a roomful of schoolchildren, hang out in the living room with the family, and have herding instinct. There is no reason to breed for "just pets." In fact, a pet dog should probably have the most stellar, bombproof temperament of all!

    "Pedigree Dogs Exposed" is a good show to watch.
     
  5. Pops2

    Pops2 New Member

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    what he said
    if you truly learn the original purpose of the dog & how the dog accomplished that purpose, that will teach you far more than anything else how you SHOULD breed. unfortunately most people even if aware of their breeds original purpose don't understand how conformation affects performance because they are truly ignorant of the job.
    for example if english bulldog breeders truly understood catch work & bred toward the conformation to do the job, they would be large athletic & active dogs. instead they make up BS stories about the smooshed face allowing them to breath when caught on a bull (WHAAAAAT! they can barely breath when walking across the living room. how the heck would they breath doing something as physically demanding as catchwork?). and they couldn't run down a bull if it was paralyzed in the back end. GOOD JOB show breeders, NOT.
     
  6. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    Well papillons are a companion breed. My main concern is preserving their unique temperament and qualities as the breed that I have fallen in love with. I have been very blessed to have good specimens of the breed with the most outstanding temperaments I could ask for in relation to being a companion dog. I also desire to keep the breed's intelligence and athleticism front and center. They are very unique among toy dogs with their extremely high working intelligence and drive, and I want to keep it that way. They should be able to excel in a multitude of dog sports and even work as service dogs.

    Health testing is one thing that needs to be improved upon. Overall it's a fairly healthy breed but we need more breeders to push for health screening.

    There's a few conformation issues I have in mind. First for me is size and I know a lot of breeders are thinking about this as well. Even litters nowadays out of larger parents seem to be throwing smaller puppies. I would like to push the size back up because I think they are meant to be larger. Mine are all on the small size of my preferences. I don't want the added issues that come with breeding teeny dogs. I'd like to see more 8-10 lb papillons around.

    Another issue is type but not really type in a sense regarding showing. I like papillons to look like papillons but I am not terribly fond of some of the big winning dogs in the ring now. Too much angulation, too much coat, etc. I also see some with extreme almost chihuahua like heads, which I don't favor for a papillon. So I would like some more moderation in the breed overall.

    Also, I would love to preserve the phalene as they are not very common and are the original breed type. That might be more difficult because none of my breeders have phalenes so...

    Personally, papillons are the only breed I'd ever consider breeding. I like other breeds but they don't have my heart and soul like the papillons do. I think it is important to be able to see and love the breed as a whole and not just your individuals before breeding. I would not even consider getting into breeding unless I was wholly in love with the breed.
     
  7. MandyPug

    MandyPug Sport Model Pug

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    I'm not likely to get into breeding, especially with pugs considering the massive politics that happen within that breed alone, but if i did there's a few things I'd want to work on.

    1) The Nose/Snout (or lack there of). The exaggeration is getting way out of hand. There can still be a large nose wrinkle without having the snout so far pushed in that the wrinkle covers the nostrils or constricts them. The pug is becoming farther from being a dog every championship winner and becoming more of a piece of meat to parade around. You can still have a reasonably flat face and a large nose wrinkle with a slight snout and you'll also have a better chance of the dog being able to breathe.

    2) The extreme square body - These dogs are too short in the body. They're slightly too straight in the leg as well which brings about the knee issues that they're prone to and that weight issues exacerbate (not saying the leg should be extremely angled but it shouldn't be so stiff and straight that it's uncomfortable looking). I'd like to see this dog be able to walk and not waddle and to be able to run without fear of tearing a crutiate or popping a knee cap out. I'd also like to see actually fit dogs as the champion and poster dogs rather than the fat ones that are always out there. Yes, they ARE fatter for the ring.

    3) Size - The breed standard calls for 14-18lbs but we see lots of winners in the 20-30lb range. This breed is meant to be small and easy to carry, not so heavy your arm is gonna fall off while toting them around.

    There's just alot of issues with the breed. I love them and they'll always be fabulous dogs in my heart, but they're so messed up genetically that I'd never want to get into them especially since pug fanciers tend to think their dogs are better and healthier now than they ever were before.
     
  8. Pops2

    Pops2 New Member

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    actually back when the pug was used to "improve" the english bulldog they were commonly 30# + BUT they were this size and fit not fat.
     
  9. MandyPug

    MandyPug Sport Model Pug

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    I have no problem with a dog that's structured to be larger and be fit at that size (heck izzie weighs 17-18lbs usually in top condition due to all the exercise she gets which builds up her muscles), but as I'm sure you know with the show ring they're not usually fit or supposed to be built to weight that much (in ANY breed this happens, it's sad really).
     
  10. colliewog

    colliewog Collies&Terriers, Oh My!

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    For the Collies, in a Utopia:

    - Eliminate CEA or at least greatly reduce it so that 85% of the breed is not affected by it. Granted, in most cases vision is not affected, but it CAN be eradicated by breeding genetic normals.
    - Eliminate PRA (although not as common as CEA, it's always an issue when it occurs).
    - Eliminate MDR1 mutant gene (drug sensitivity) or at least reduce frequency of occurrence.
    - Eliminate temperament issues (timid and/or dog aggressive dogs ... neither is ever correct)
    - Change the standard to allow prick or tipped ears (like the BC) as long as they match. I personally don't agree that a prick eared dog can't show true expression - ears of the right size for the dog's head can still give you the unique Collie expression.
     
  11. Jynx

    Jynx New Member

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    In GSD's, the biggest problem I see is poor temperament.

    Health isn't the greatest, with alot of 'weird' things, allergies, immune system related problems, but I"d have to pick temperament above health issues
     
  12. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    JRTs..

    Stop the production of the crooked legged puds. If people want a short legged JRT the FCI JRT looks like a 'traditional' JRT just with slightly shorter legs.

    Eye issues, luxating patellas etc need to go.

    Breeders need to stop breeding for pet temperaments (so that they can get rid of the non conformation prospects) A drivey true JRT makes a great pet for the right people. Quit trying to change the breed to fit JQ Public.
     
  13. ~Tucker&Me~

    ~Tucker&Me~ and Spy.

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    This.

    In my opinion, someone falling in love with a breed should come before someone DECIDING they want to breed, then picking a breed...

    Otherwise, it just seems like they are breeding for the purpose of breeding, not because they truly love that type of dog so much that they want to preserve/improve the breed.

    Anyway, that's just my opinion.
     
  14. Artfish

    Artfish Drivey and Intense

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    Thank you, Dekka. Sooo glad the JRT folks won the AKC battle. AKC can keep their Parsons!

    I love the BC and JRT registries that denounce the conformation-minded registries. You folks rock. It is my wish that enough breeders band together to do this with the GSD.

    Folks, if you have an uncommon breed, remember that popularity is your worst nightmare. Keep your gems hidden from all but those who are willing to learn about and fully understand your breed. One of the worst things that can happen for a breed- especially a cute one- is full AKC recognition.
     
  15. colliewog

    colliewog Collies&Terriers, Oh My!

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    Semi-hijack but relates to this ...

    When I took my puppy coated AHT out, 3 different people (with hyper, monster kids) said "Oh, we have a Jack Russell Terrier *just* like that at home!". (They just gave me a blank stare when I said she wasn't a JRT). These were not what I would call 'terrier people' by any means and I really wonder what they had at home temperament-wise.
     
  16. Zoom

    Zoom Twin 2.0

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    The Aussie people had a HUGE fight when AKC recognition was brought to the table and held off until 1994, when the people who were more interested in showing than preserving the breed as it was meant to be *coughBayshorecough* picked up their skirts and flounced out of the ASCA and over to AKC and have been slowly ruining the breed ever since.
     
  17. colliewog

    colliewog Collies&Terriers, Oh My!

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    That's what happens. People want their breed to be AKC ... AKC doesn't steal their breed. But for many, AKC recognition does equal the ruination of the breed ... because some breeders lose sight of the big picture (the TOTAL dog) and do what it takes to win conformation shows and nothing else. :(

    That is one reason I dual-registered my dogs with UKC ... they reward the "Total Dog" philosophy and it is usually the working conditioned dog that wins vs the 'fluff' dog.
     
  18. Spiritwind

    Spiritwind New Member

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    Totally agree with most of this!

    However (IMO) not sure I would agree with changing the standard to allow prick ears. The standard has called for semi erect from pretty much the very beginning. I do not agree that prick eared dogs can have the same expression, personally (again, just my opinion)... and I have had my fair share of prick eared dogs.... though in the last several years I have been lucky to get good ears with very little effort! Taping until 6-7-8 months or so and never having to do it again...and still have correctly tipping ears.


    One other thing that I would add.... is for people to start realizing bloat is a problem in certain lines and they need to stop breeding dogs who have generation after generation after generation of bloat dogs behind them.... but instead they ignore it, or try to hide the fact that it's there! It really bothers me.

    I've seen it first hand. I personally feel a large percentage of it, is caused by genetics. I have pedigrees of various dogs saved on my computer that I know for a fact, have multiple dogs in several generations that have bloated behind them.. and people still breed them... often back to other dogs with a pedigree full of bloat dogs, and they think nothing of this!!.
     
  19. elegy

    elegy overdogged

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    the american pit bull terrier. i don't even know where to begin.

    health issues are the easiest. hip problems cripple too many dogs. closely followed by cardiac problems. elbow dysplasia is certainly not uncommon, and neither are severe skin problems/allergies (especially in blue dogs but not by any means limited to them), and hypothyroidism. the breed is way the heck up there in cruciate tears, but i'm not sure where that plays into a breeding program.

    but the biggest problem is temperament. followed closely by people breeding dogs who look absolutely nothing like american pit bull terriers.

    i see so many pit bulls who are shy and excessively soft. i think part of it goes along with what dekka said about JRTs and breeding for a "pet" dog (and the AKC people and their "our amstaffs aren't dog aggressive" mindset), but i imagine that most of it just goes along with breeding whatever dogs have working reproductive parts. pit bulls are not supposed to be shy, not one little bit, and shy dogs can easily get into trouble. these are supposed to be bold, in your face working dogs. not wilting flowers who piddle themselves (hi mushroom).

    and then there are the overdone, excessively large, excessively "bully" dogs who have completely lost sight of the small detail that pit bulls are supposed to be a medium-sized, moderate, athletic dog. ATHLETIC. not waddling. not 90 pounds with a giant head.

    this breed is a freaking disaster and it breaks my heart because the well bred pit bull is a thing of absolute beauty. solid, athletic, bold, and smiling.
     
  20. Artfish

    Artfish Drivey and Intense

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    Honest question, and this is coming from a breed whose ears are also make-or-break for the image: if a dog's ears must be taped for it to stand erect, and the breed standard calls for naturally erect (not requiring cropping) ears, would it be a better practice to stop breeding dogs that consistently produce dogs with weak ears/large ears/etc? I know we're talking a silly cosmetic issue when we have much bigger fish to fry in collies and GSDs, but it does irk me that these genes for large and heavy ears get passed on. GSDs are not supposed to have satellite dishes for ears, they shouldn't require taping, and, unless the dog would make von Stephanitz stand up from the grave in jubilant applause, it probably should not be bred.

    How are collie ears? Is taping just about mandatory to get the "collie look" or should the collie ears stand and tip without assistance? I've got my popcorn out and I am ready to learn.

    Zoom, I checked out Bayshore... I'd gladly eat my words if they do indeed prove their stock's working abilities but I would be willing to bet that most of their herders wouldn't know what to do with sheep if they were surrounded by them. I hope I am wrong and I still feel bad that the Aussie and BC were AKC recognized. I am VERY worried about what they will do to the Hovawart, Catahoula, Mudi, and the Munsterlander..... oh no, please not the Munsterlander.......... sigh. I hope they don't go the way of the setters and spaniels already recognized. :(

    I know it's not the AKC, it's the parent clubs that push for the AKC recognition and that value conformation above all else and even at the demise of all else.
     

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