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Advice?

I'm talking very small hobby breeding... I don't even like the label of "breeder". I'd prefer "guy who wishes to see good genetics survive from time to time when possible". Doubtful more than a litter per year if that, but something I could see myself thoroughly enjoying well into my retirement age (assuming I live this long of course). No expectation to be some sort of profitable enterprise, but it pains me to see the state of the breed at large and I feel I can contribute.

Breeders out there, any lessons you've learned "the hard way"? Anything you'd do different or advice you'd like to convey?
 

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I'm sort of going that direction, though I own a male so luckily I don't have the bulk of the work or expense dealing with the pregnancy and puppies, but even starting out with one male dog there is a lot to learn. I have a friend who has bred over 30 litters (different breed, but same species) and owns a stud dog and she is helping me with all the gory details. Also the first breeding my male is doing will be to a friend's female and my friend is also experience with breeding and owning a stud dog so she will show us the ropes. It's funny, I always thought the hardest part would be getting the dogs trained, titled, getting all the right health certs, and finding complimentary pedigrees to breed but there's a lot of other details that make it a ton of work (writing up a stud contract, deciding how often to test my dog for brucellosis, what is the time frame and type of bruc. testing I will accept from a dam, making sure my stud dog will mount a female, making sure he can be collected if needed for long distance, making sure he actually has viable sperm, making sure I have a good repro vet nearby for any sort of emergency and one that will do AI and ship chilled semen when requested). I've also been doing tournaments almost once a month and now I have to think about the requests I've had to use my male and whether I can make him "available" at a moment's notice based on the bitch's progesterone testing or whether I'd rather miss a breeding to keep competing (we never compete locally). I suppose it would be a LOT easier if you owned the male(s) and female(s) and did everything in house.
 

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Not a breeder but I would encourage you to interface with the LE and SAR and in your area to make sure those needs are considered as well as sport needs when breeding. I know NAPWDA normally has an annual workshop there that would be good networking if you are not already doing that.
 

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That is excellent advice, Nancy.

Lies, when I bred my C litter the stud dog and his owners were in TN on vacation. I drove to them and we did the breeding. We just found an out of the way spot. If the bitch owner is interested they will make the effort to come to you. One thing I do know, if I was standing a stud I would make the owners bring the bitch to me or we would be doing AI. I don't want to have to deal with boarding and handling unknown females.

Hunter, spend as much time as you can around as many GSD as you can. Get out of your area and see a LOT of dogs. Go to trials. Visit other clubs and watch the training and get a feel for the dogs in that environment too. Like Nancy points out talk to SAR and LE to get a feel for the types of dogs they need (I sort of learned this stuff along the way). Start with an exceptional female. She may have a few faults, but something about her needs to be exceptional. Then find males that compliment her both in phenotype (what she is) and genotype (the genetics behind her). Learn and understand genetics, how things in this breed are inhertied, etc. Get some very good books on whelping. Find a mentor. Have an excellent vet on call for emergencies. Find a vet that either has a great understanding of breeding or at least will work with you. Start with an exceptional female from exceptional female lines. :)
 

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Lies, when I bred my C litter the stud dog and his owners were in TN on vacation. I drove to them and we did the breeding. We just found an out of the way spot. If the bitch owner is interested they will make the effort to come to you. One thing I do know, if I was standing a stud I would make the owners bring the bitch to me or we would be doing AI. I don't want to have to deal with boarding and handling unknown females.
This is what I'm doing but it's still kind of a pain. I pay to enter tournaments about a month in advance and usually commit to them several months in advance. You can predict a heat cycle but the actual weekend or days of breedings depends on the progesterone testing and when that's done I've already paid my entry, setup a carpool, and reserved my hotel room. Luckily in the case of the upcoming tournament that might have interfered with a breeding, the breeding was postponed for a later heat cycle. I don't have space or resources to board bitches but even if they come to me I've got to actually be around (though I suppose they could just come to wherever I'm traveling, it's often 3 hours or more away). For AIs, luckily the only local place that will ship semen is about 20 minutes from my work, so I can use a lunch break to do that. It's all setup and paid for by the bitch owner. The clinic calls me and tells me to bring my dog in but it's basically the bitch owner that is the client (paying for everything and handling the shipping).
 

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Not a breeder but I would encourage you to interface with the LE and SAR and in your area to make sure those needs are considered as well as sport needs when breeding. I know NAPWDA normally has an annual workshop there that would be good networking if you are not already doing that.
I actually train with a local career K9 trainer/handler and am already engaged with them on that topic. I'd prefer/hope most of the dogs existing as a result of my choices, would end up in working roles rather than companion, or to a degree even sport homes. Working quality/needs would actually rank higher than sport, in my "vision"
 

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That is excellent advice, Nancy.

Lies, when I bred my C litter the stud dog and his owners were in TN on vacation. I drove to them and we did the breeding. We just found an out of the way spot. If the bitch owner is interested they will make the effort to come to you. One thing I do know, if I was standing a stud I would make the owners bring the bitch to me or we would be doing AI. I don't want to have to deal with boarding and handling unknown females.

Hunter, spend as much time as you can around as many GSD as you can. Get out of your area and see a LOT of dogs. Go to trials. Visit other clubs and watch the training and get a feel for the dogs in that environment too. Like Nancy points out talk to SAR and LE to get a feel for the types of dogs they need (I sort of learned this stuff along the way). Start with an exceptional female. She may have a few faults, but something about her needs to be exceptional. Then find males that compliment her both in phenotype (what she is) and genotype (the genetics behind her). Learn and understand genetics, how things in this breed are inhertied, etc. Get some very good books on whelping. Find a mentor. Have an excellent vet on call for emergencies. Find a vet that either has a great understanding of breeding or at least will work with you. Start with an exceptional female from exceptional female lines. :)
I have a club member who is both our vet, and a dobie breeder. I plan on leveraging her (to include having her present lol) for the breeding part.
 

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No more thoughts? Low response on my thread :-/ I was bracing for some level of "consult the flowchart", but is silence consent?
 

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You've got some good advice and you seem like you truly have a good head on your shoulder, there are a lot worse starts to have :)
 

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Hunter... we know you... we know that whatever you decide, you're not a BYB.
 

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Hunter, you are actively involved in working your dogs and probably have a good grasp on what you like to see in a working dog. I say if you want to be a breeder go for it. There is nothing wrong with people breeding dogs that they are actively involved with.

I know a guy who is a very small scale breeder. He has only a few dogs and his foundation female is a Sch3. Every year or so he will breed a litter, keep one back to see what he is producing and sell the rest. He puts a sign by the road when he has pups on the ground and sells them to who ever stops. He works what he breeds and is very active with our local Schutzhund club. He is nobody famous and does not even have a website. I don't think there is a thing wrong with what he is doing.
 
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