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post #1 of 62 (permalink) Old 10-26-2017, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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Another Genetics question.

I know the Genetics vs environment thread was just locked, and i dont mean to begin another thread of bickering but the topic sparked a question in my mind...

My question is can does temperament water down if not practiced in a litters parents? also can environmental damage to a dogs temperament be passed down?

For example if there is a litter coming and the sire and dam are both just household pets, never been tested or used their drive to hone any skills. BUT both of the parents of the dam and sire are SCH3 titled and excellent temperament. Assuming they passed down a good set of nerves and temperament to the sire and dam, is it going to again be passed down to the litter, or will it be watered down a bit due to never having practiced it?

Another example is if a litter is coming from a sire and dam with SCH3 perfect temperament, but the dam was abused heavily later in life so she is now reactive/shy/aggressive. will these traits be passed down at all? If not, then when does genetics begin to go wrong? only with bad pairings for a litter?
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post #2 of 62 (permalink) Old 10-26-2017, 04:57 PM
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I know experiments have been done where the pups from a calm mother with good nerves were placed with a fearful mother with poor nerves, and as I recall, the pups became fearful too.

Need to check my facts on this, and find the actual study and details but don't have time. Maybe someone else can do that?
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post #3 of 62 (permalink) Old 10-26-2017, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Sunsilver View Post
I know experiments have been done where the pups from a calm mother with good nerves were placed with a fearful mother with poor nerves, and as I recall, the pups became fearful too.

Need to check my facts on this, and find the actual study and details but don't have time. Maybe someone else can do that?
I dont know if you're referencing my 'if the dam was abused' scenario, while what you said makes sense for sure, lets say the sire was the abused one mostly asking for the sake of how genetics are passed down. What you said does make sense though, im sure the first 6 weeks of the mother caring for her litter and the litter mates interacting are very crucial in a dogs development.
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post #4 of 62 (permalink) Old 10-26-2017, 05:27 PM
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Ronin, the pups learn from the mom. I f the sire were abused it would have zero effect.

And I still think the pups from the abused mom, who otherwise had solid genetics, would turn out better than pups from a genetically fearful mom!
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post #5 of 62 (permalink) Old 10-26-2017, 06:01 PM
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OK. Just to clarify before someone reads this thread and breeds their junk male. If a female is strong and has solid nerves. But, the sire is a complete nerve bag, the fathers bad nerves can be passed onto pups no matter how the mom cares for the newborn pups.

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post #6 of 62 (permalink) Old 10-26-2017, 06:15 PM
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It's not that the nerve strength gets diluted because the parents never got to develop their potential through training and trialing, it got diluted because without training and trialing the parents, the breeder can't make appropriate judgement as to wether the male and female should be bred.

You can breed two World-Level Sch dogs together, and get a litter of nothing but easy-going, low drive pets (I know a World level competitor who did this with his bitch, none of the pups had the energy level or drive to be suitable for SchH, not even club level - it can happen).

So the nerve strength dilution happens because let's say, someone looks at a pedigree of one of the pups from the littler above and thinks, "WOW!!! SchH III parents of World-Level potential - I can breed this pup and have police dogs, SAR dogs, PP dogs, Schutzhund dogs!" and they do, and advertise them as such, but dogs are really only suited to be couch warmers. But if they had take the time and effort to do things correctly, and see what the dogs in front of them bring to the breeding (as opposed to the just relying on the pedigree), and trained and (tried) to trial, they would have seen that, though a wonderful pet, the dog was not working dog material, and didn't have the nerve strength to stand up and deal with stressors that a training environment brings out.

Or someone can spend years working on getting a weak nerved dog titled, and one day, all their training pays off, and the dog earns a SchHI. Just because they have a SchH I doesn't magically make them strong nerved and breeding material. It is still a weak nerved dog with a log of training gone into it. Might look good on the outside, but it is the inside genetics that will get passed on if bred, not the owners training effort.

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post #7 of 62 (permalink) Old 10-26-2017, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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It's not that the nerve strength gets diluted because the parents never got to develop their potential through training and trialing, it got diluted because without training and trialing the parents, the breeder can't make appropriate judgement as to wether the male and female should be bred.

You can breed two World-Level Sch dogs together, and get a litter of nothing but easy-going, low drive pets (I know a World level competitor who did this with his bitch, none of the pups had the energy level or drive to be suitable for SchH, not even club level - it can happen).

So the nerve strength dilution happens because let's say, someone looks at a pedigree of one of the pups from the littler above and thinks, "WOW!!! SchH III parents of World-Level potential - I can breed this pup and have police dogs, SAR dogs, PP dogs, Schutzhund dogs!" and they do, and advertise them as such, but dogs are really only suited to be couch warmers. But if they had take the time and effort to do things correctly, and see what the dogs in front of them bring to the breeding (as opposed to the just relying on the pedigree), and trained and (tried) to trial, they would have seen that, though a wonderful pet, the dog was not working dog material, and didn't have the nerve strength to stand up and deal with stressors that a training environment brings out.

Or someone can spend years working on getting a weak nerved dog titled, and one day, all their training pays off, and the dog earns a SchHI. Just because they have a SchH I doesn't magically make them strong nerved and breeding material. It is still a weak nerved dog with a log of training gone into it. Might look good on the outside, but it is the inside genetics that will get passed on if bred, not the owners training effort.


awesome thanks for all the info. Though i feel like you really focused on the titling aspect of my question and how it can be misleading/how its used as a test to see whats worth breeding not to hone skills. MY fault for also focusing on that in my examples.

My overarching question im still a little unclear on. Do strong genetics ever water down or dilute over generations of just being a backyard dog/ or even as quick as one generation or two of something more severe than being a backyard dog like being abused?(i mean that last part in the sense of an otherwise strong genetically sire having nervous pups due to him being nervous later in life due to abuse) I know like you said even 2 world class dogs can supply a litter of couch potatoes, we'll say thats the floor of the genetic pool they were working with, does the cap/ceiling eventually lower though? Excuse me if i am repeating myself or if you feel you already answered this, maybe just re clarify. Im not saying this is the case im just genuinely curious if genes eventually lose quality over generations of just stagnation. I guess its not so much a question of genes vs environment in a single dog, but how environment effects genes over generations.

p.s. i feel like im repeating myself, if i am im sorry, im very uneducated about genes and reproducing in pups so forgive me and try not to get impatient i'm having a bit of trouble articulating my question properly.

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post #8 of 62 (permalink) Old 10-26-2017, 07:07 PM
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Learned behaviour cannot be inherited. So, if your dog is allowed to be a couch potato, its offspring will not inherit that.

However, as Castlemaid has said, not selecting for parents that can perform and get titles can weaken the gene pool, because you don't KNOW what you're breeding unless you TEST it through training. You don't necessarily have to get titles on the dog, but you do have to do enough with it to determine its strengths and weaknesses.

THEN you can make an informed decision as to whether there are enough strengths there to make the dog worth breeding.

I, too, have seen dogs from genetically good stock that really were only suited to be pets. Their owner didn't like to hear that when she tried to do schutzhund with them, but it was true!

In breeding you get what you select for. If you want dogs that can work, you select for that. If you only breed the dogs that do well in the show ring, of course, over time, the working ability is going to deteriorate because you aren't selecting for it.

Last edited by Sunsilver; 10-26-2017 at 07:11 PM.
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post #9 of 62 (permalink) Old 10-26-2017, 07:09 PM
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The genetics can disappear if they aren't watched because if the individual being bred. I'm going with a physical example. You have two excellent OFA scored dogs that are bred together. There is going to be a variety of factor in the pups just because the parents are excellent rated doesn't guarantee the parents will be. So somebody assumes since the parents are excellent the puppy will be. Let's say they choose a female puppy To breed, it's an OFA good, but they never x-ray her so they don't actually know her hip score. They breed her to a male also with good hips. Now they choose a puppy from the OFA good female, which they also don't x-ray. This puppy turns out to be an OFA poor. However since they don't x-ray this puppy they don't know she has poor hips.they just assume she has good pups, so they breed her and she has puppies with good and poor hips. And it's started declining with more puppies with poor hips if they keep not testing.

Sorry if this doesn't make a lot of sense. But basically, there is going to be a variety of puppies in a litter. It's nature, some will be 'better' that others. If you keep doing testing you will find the 'better' puppies and breed them. However if you stop testing you don't know if you're choosing 'better' puppies or 'poorer' puppies. Overtime without the testing since you aren't selecting for the best you'll most likely see a decline in 'quality'.

Breeding two superior specimens should produce superior offspring. But genetics can combine in weird ways and give different outcomes. Take two human siblings, same parents but the genetics combine differently in each child. Unless they're identical twins ect. So the kids will look different and probably like different things.
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post #10 of 62 (permalink) Old 10-26-2017, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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seriously thanks for all the replies folks, i got nothing more to ask or discuss. unless anyone has something new they wanna add. again thanks.
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