Thanks Robin! I love your signature... "....where breeding is still considered an art..."
Ironically many of my questions are posed, because I'm wondering that exact thing.. is breeding an art, or science? Both?
I know the technicalities, or science, of breeding, what all goes into it, how you try to stack the deck in your favor, the training, trialing, showing, koering, health clearances, choosing and checking out studs, the breeding, the whelping, the puppy rearing, the list goes on... and then what? If you aren't able to measure the success, what is the point really? How do you know where to go next, or what you're producing? And after all that, what if things don't go how you hoped, how many times will you try different crosses before you have to come to realize your bitch isn't producing, and my, what a disappointment!
So I'm wondering how many people measure this, or are ABLE to measure this, which I imagine is not always the easiest feat. I don't believe at 8 weeks you can really measure the success, maybe to an extent I suppose, but how many times have you sold a mediocre pup at 8 weeks, to see him again at 1-2 years, and he is a super super dog. How many times have you made the decision at 8 weeks on a pup being super, but turns out not so.
Especially to those who breed for the total package, temperament, health, working ability, structure... how often do ALL these cards fall into place?
I love seeing breeders who routinely keep back pups to grow out, I really think it's the best way to see what you have. Even if you don't have intentions of keeping all the pups you keep back, but how else do you measure your success? The next best thing, or maybe the best thing, is to get several into homes that will allow you to see their progress, and who will test them in some fashion. I'm sure that's not always easy either, but then again, I wouldn't say breeding was "easy" anyways.
I'm not a breeder, maybe someday, but I'd love to be able to keep back several pups from each litter (5 maybe?) to over a years age. Is that a reality or could it ever be? I don't know, at this point I would have to say no, but I know it's something I would love to do.