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Discussion Starter #1
I'm trying to find a good basic explanation of what professional breeders look for when deciding which GSD to breed to. Aside from the obvious such as breeding to the standard and good health, what do they look for?

For example, If a GSD has a weakness, maybe the body is a little long or the front legs a little too short - do they simply look for a mate with shorter front legs or shorter body? I know that they look back in the "lines" to see if the strong trait they are looking for is there and carries through. I also know there's got to be a lot more to it.

Can anyone refer me to an online site that has a basic explanation? I have a hard time getting into the deep genetic explanations with back crossings etc. Just something simple to start with would be great. Thanks!
 

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go to the top of page and find how to choose a breeder. might answer question. if not maybe some breeders on the forum will answer.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, I'll try that. I found some info on canismajor.com. Brief explanations from some vet/breeders.

Ultimately, I would love to find a site that shows images of a real pair selection, photos, reasons why, what pups looked like and what the adult pups looked like. A real one, so I could look at the pedigrees on the database and see what they saw in making their selections.

If this doesn't exist - it would be a great resource if a breeder had the ability and time to put something together that could walk the curious thru their thought process and have photos to show results.
 

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I am not a breeder, so don't fault me if I am off base, but if I had a female and wanted to breed her, I would look for a stable, healthy, good hips, good elbows male.. Size, color would be secondary.
 

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I think good breeders that work their dogs look first for pedigree matches that are complimentary(line breeding is a concern) then watch dogs that would compliment their females(yes, strength and weaknesses not only in conformation but work ability is just as important) to balance out what they see in training...thresholds, hunt drive, fight drive, biddability are all things that are important.
 

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It's an interesting question. I don't know that the phenotype will always express as a straight mix. I.e, if you breed a long backed male to a short backed female, I don't know if that phenotypically would show in the puppies as a correct length body. Phenotypically you may get a mix if long and short backed puppies.

Some genes don't express the same way. But I am not totally sure the genetics between all that stuff.

Would love some breeders to chime in about stuff like that.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the comments. I saw some stuff on Phenotype and Genotype. It sounds like an outcross could get you some pups with long backs and some with short backs but a breeding back in a "line" could get you a blend with a greater chance of attaining the goal.

To me, that could mean that if a pedigree was not known several generations back for both the sire and dam that it would always be a crap shoot with just going on what the sire and dam are like.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
One of the reasons I am wondering this is that I have a female (only 7 mos old). I have full registration. The breeder wanted to keep her for future breeding but has too many now. I told her that I would consider not spaying until after 2 years old to see if she has the health, temperament etc that would be an asset to the breed.

The pedigree on her sire's side is well document back 5 generations. The Dam's side - not so much I can't get much but AKC registrations on that side.

If outcrossing is a gamble and line breeding would be difficult because of the pedigree gaps on the dam's side, then I will probably not wait and have her spayed sometime after her first heat. If this is not necessarily true, then I will wait to have her spayed and we will see what's up when she is 2 1/2 or so.

In the mean time, I do want to soak up more knowledge on this topic so when the time comes, I can make a more informed decision.
 

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you should also be working her to see her strengths and weaknesses...how she handles pressure and stress. Pedigree is just a part of the equation.
 

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Not a breeder of shepherds, but with an animal line I work with, I look at my female and see what strengths she has and what weaknesses she has. Then I look for a mate who has strengths that will compliment her weaknesses so hopefully I can get a good show/breed prospect out of that mating. Then of course look at the pedigree to see if those lines are compatible with mine.

I would estimate that whatever breed/animal you are working with that would be an underlying thing you would look for.
 

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When buying (or considering to keep a pup if my male is used for breeding), I am looking for a pair that enhances the qualities I want. It's not as simple as one dog being to short and one being taller and them producing a correct height dog. You can't just expect each dog to make up for the other's shortcomings. IMO I'd rather look for breedings that are playing to the strengths of the combination and not trying to oversimplify correcting any faults. If I don't like a certain trait, I will only look for a puppy out of a breeding where neither parent shows that trait, not expect one to always balance out the other. For example, if I don't want a tall dog, then I look for litters where both parents are within standard and both are from lines that are a consistent size and produce a consistent size. If I want a lot of prey drive, I want that from both parents and the nerve to keep it in check. In some cases, the dogs will balance each other out but you can't assume that, you have to understand how their lines interact (or find a breeder who has this experience) to get what you want.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Onyx - Absolutely. I just found the "temperment" test online today and with the help of a couple of friends I think I can do most of the test with her except the firing of the gun (wouldn't go over well here in the city) LOL. I would think maybe a short air horn noise could replace that. I think I will eliminate the aggression/protection part of the test (with stranger threatening). I don't want her to experience that right now and maybe never.

From what I can see so far she will pass with flying colors. She is cautious initially to a new situation or noise but only takes a few seconds to begin a thorough investigation of the thing or place. She hasn't shied away from anything or anyone so far. She is calm and very focused in new situations. She doesn't look to me often for reassurance. Loud traffic, trash truck etc doesn't phase her nor did the Xmas fireworks.

We are just starting to work on some initial tracking stuff but it's hard right now because of the slushy wet snow and puddles we have the last couple of weeks. Also, her attention span needs to develop a bit more. Using this time to get her into good house habits and basic commands.
 

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I think that we try to evaluate our dogs, and where they are weak, we choose a dog who is correct on that trait. For example, if you breed a dog with extreme angulation to a dog with no angulation you will probably get everything, including worse than you started with. Instead, breed to a dog whose angulation is correct, and then choose the pup who is likely to have the most correct angulation and breed to another dog that is correct.

But dogs are not about one trait. You want to find a dog that complements your bitch. And, looking back in the lines, you might find that some dogs improve certain traits, and some tend to produce certain issues. What you want to do is to look at what the dogs produce as well as what the dog looks like.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you - I understand what you are explaining. It sounds as though you count very heavily on the parents strengths and the 2nd or 3rd gen or more back may not be of major concern as long as there is consistency in the strengths you are looking for and no major faults? This may a painfully stupid question but I'm trying to get a clue on the weight the line further back in time plays.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Seizer - All makes sense. As far as going back in the lines to see what traits are strong and what faults a line produces, how can the person who is not deeply immersed in the GSD breeding society ever hope to attain true facts on any problems or undesired quality in a line?

I looked at the German breeding comments and they leave a very thorough record of problems in a line and breeding recommendations. Is there any source that one can consult that carries similar information or do we have to take a breeders word for it?
 

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When breeders talk about testing their dogs, they are not talking about a basic temperament test. They are talking about years of training and working the dogs in various areas so as to learn as much about the character, nerves, drives, and physical soundness of their dogs or at least that is what they should be talking about.

As a breeder I look at my female (phenotype) and her pedigree (genotype) and find a male that compliments both, especially the latter. I look at the dogs' working ability, the drives needed for work, her nerve in all situations, etc, plus also want sound working GSD structure (after all I am breeding GSD).

For example, my current litter I have been working mom for 3.5 years. I know her very well. Worked her mother, worked her grandmother, working her 1/2 sister, worked her 1/2 brother, working her niece, trained with her full brother and several 1/2 siblings and her uncle. I also know her sire and his sister personally, her mother's sire and the parents of her grandmother. The male I bred her to I have known since he was a baby. Saw him trial, trained with him, trained with his mother and his full sister, several nieces and nephews and 1/2 siblings. I also know the lines well behind his sire even though I never met his sire.

My next litter is a 1/2 sister to the female above. I have been working her for almost 6 years and am working a daughter. The male I am considering I have trained with, but I don't know some of his lines as well so had to go to outside sources to get more information. I know his phenotype will fit very well with my bitch, but had to find out how his genotype will fit. This is what any breeder should be looking at.

BTW, most of the breeders on this site are hobbyist. Professional makes it sound like we are making a living off of our dogs. Far from it.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks Lisa - This is what I was originally thinking, that it's difficult average person not very immersed in the GSD world to make an educated decision about rather to breed their dog or not and if the pair is a good match. The breeder I got my female from wants to see her at 2+ years.

She also has 3 generations of one specific line she has been working with. She does not have experience beyond her dogs though. She breeds for family pets with focus on health and medium drive
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Our community is rural and 99% of the people here are looking for a pet, many would have problems with any high drive dog. Very few could ever afford to get involved in any of the competitions showing or training and they don't need that capacity in their pet. So, I was wanting to learn more so I could be informed enough to do what is in the best interest of my dog and the breed.

I know that there are some who feel that if you are not going to breed to achieve a litter that could compete or show with the best of them, than you should not breed at all. In my world, the family pet GSD is 99% of all ownerships I know.

My breeder has a special interest in my pup because she may not be able to carry on the bloodline otherwise. Her foundation male was injured in a horse accident and can no longer be used for breeding and the Dam is aging out. That is why I want to be extra careful on any decision. It will be what is best for my pup first.

The explanations have been helpful and a good start.
 

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Stonevintage - if you want to expose your pup to gun fire, you could take her to the AKC training facility. It's located next to the fire range off of Atlas and Kathleen in Coeur d'Alene. I was just there this afternoon. Very busy, even in the winter.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks neighbor! I'm in the process of deciding what Summer needs for her life with me.The post you picked up on about the gun thing was pertaining to the standard temperament test. This was for my inquiry of what breeders look for. The breeder I got my pup from expressed interest on breeding back (she was pick of the litter) and my vet says she is outstanding in type.

From the responses I've received so far, I will not be breeding her and will not need to "prove" her temperament (which is where the gun range came in).

Thank you for the info though. I didn't know where the AKC place was.
 
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