Measuring your the goals of your breeding program - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-27-2010, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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Measuring the goals of your breeding program

Some questions for the breeder's... They kind of run the rampant, sorry.

I'll assume everyone has a goal for what their hoping to produce with any given breeding.

So, how often do things turn out how you hoped, with the desired outcome of a litter?

How do you measure this? Are you able to keep back 1, 2 , or more of a litter to grow out to the point you are able to see how they develop (far, far older than 8 weeks)? Place several of a litter with people who are willing to work them?

How often is there uniformity of a litter? Is it often hard to measure this if you can't keep back several, or place with people who will work them?

Are there traits your bitches produce when crossed with different males?

Ever have a bad cross where undesired results were produced?

Ever had to retire a promising bitch because she didn't produce well, or what you'd hoped she would?

That's enough to start I think

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-28-2010, 12:45 AM
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OMG Kristi!...whew! lots of questions.....GOOD QUESTIONS!
EVERY litter we breed, we do with the complete intention of keeping a puppy for ourselves. We usually hold back a couple, possibly place one with a close friend, and grow them up.
We consider a breeding done well...when....it is very hard for us to make final choices. A litter that presents no challenge in "choice" for us.....I believe is not a great litter.
Don't take me wrong.....a litter with 1 super puppy is worth it's weight in gold, for a breeder.....BUT a litter of "uniformity", consisting of several very good puppies, IMO is a better "litter" & breeding all around.
A good breeding female should consistantly produce very good puppies in all her litters.
Yes,....ALL breeders have had a litter here and there, that has not produced what was expected.....you learn which dogs, from which parents, through what combinations, combine genetically best....and not.
And again....YES..to your last question....a promising dog, can produce less than promising offspring....that is why "homework" is a never ending job, for a good breeder.
I hope my post was somewhat informative?!
Robin

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....where breeding is still considered an art....
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-28-2010, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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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.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-28-2010, 11:05 AM
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Kristi,
Your impression on breeding is most refreshing......
"Breeding" is not hard.....it only takes 1 male & 1 female......
Being a good, ethical, responsible "breeder"...is the hard part.
I can honestly say that we have not sold a non promising puppy, that has turned out to be a super, breed worthy dog.......however;...we have sold or placed very good, promising puppies....as family companions, not being bred or shown.
I can not in good conscience, sell an "average potential" puppy to a home that wants to compete in the venues of German Conformation, or the sport of Schutzhund.
EVERY puppy that carries our Kennel name...represents us as a breeder.
It's our job & obligation....
I want the owners to do well.....therefore...WE do well.......understand??
Temperament & structure must go hand in hand.....
Sorry, that I post soooo long.....I could talk about breeding all day long...
thanks for indulging me!
Have a nice day!
Robin

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....where breeding is still considered an art....
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-28-2010, 09:46 PM
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Robin,

Is your web-site down????

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-28-2010, 10:25 PM
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Kristi,
These are some very good questions. I think that successful breeding is due primarily to knowledge, and the ability to convert that knowledge to application. But the knowledge must be tempered with experience because a lot of truisms today are based what's been read and not on what's been done.
I breed primarily for working function. The conformation or structure I seek is working or functional conformation. I usually have one dog that I have bred that I have in training for Law Enforcement work. I also have dogs in the club that I am a member of that gives me valuable information. Every dog that I currently own or coown has a V rated sire, but I breed for temperament first and the structure follows. By that I mean that I have basic good structural animals to start with, but my focus when I breed is for uniformity or consistency in temperament. The structure will vary from G to V and that's alright. I will breed a G rated female with temperament that I need for balance, but I won't breed a weaker tempered dog with excellent structure. That's just me. I have had dogs and litters that were better clicks than others, but the adaptability of my pups to their environment is what I seek therefore I shun extremes either physically or mentally. Hope this helps and isn't confusing.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-01-2010, 08:45 AM
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Yes...our website is down.
We want to have a working one back up in a month or so.......
Robin

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-01-2010, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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Robin, no apologies for being long winded, talk as much as you want, I'll listen! I appreciate your insights!

Another thought.. the better you know your lines or females, it's easier to make accurate assumptions about young puppies?

I know it will vary greatly from litter to litter, but on average... how many pups from your (anyone) litters will go to a working home (of any fashion)?

Cliff, that was helpful and does make sense. You made some very good points. Knowledge AND experience is paramount. I assume there are many things you will never know until you try, no matter how much you study. And yes, extremeness of any fashion is no good.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-01-2010, 10:46 PM
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Another good question Kristi,
For me I define working homes into three catergories. Sport/Law Enforcement/SAR and Obedience.
For me all my puppies should be able to do good obedience and SAR if they are in a committed home and good training. Dogs with good solid nerve should be responsive to good training and have no problems with those tasks.
Sport...some of the litters I breed may have five out of eight pups that can do sport work(Sch/SDA,etc). These dogs need good prey drive and with the good nerve to be adequate in these areas.
LE..maybe three out of eight pups may have the tools to be good Law Enforcement dogs to include Narcotic dogs. I tend to own lines and females that have good suspicion so that helps, but the nerve, fight commitment or hunt drive committment must be strong to meet the real life standards for success.
This is why I place a premium on temp. and nerve in particular. Your dogs have much better chance of ending up in homes that they will be worked thus enhancing their lives. And at the end of the day it should be about the dogs and not our egos.JMO
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-01-2010, 11:59 PM
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Cliff......as ALWAYS,...I enjoy your posts and "insight".
I think....although, we participate in different venues....our "goals" are similar.
Hey!...hows that "puppy" doing??? I'd love to see her!
Robin

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