Committed to the improvement of the breed by breeding for health, temperament and better structure in dogs that have the ability to herd.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Decisions any breeder must make

The goal of any breeding program, whether with livestock, dogs, flowers or anything else is to improve upon the generation before. If you don't improve you try again, perhaps from a different angle. If something works, you have moved ahead. Then comes the task of deciding :Should I move forward with the offspring and that offspring in turn is replaced by its offspring? This would be the quickest way, in a perfect world, to move ahead with any goal or breeding program.

What if the dam is a real producer and you like the offspring, they are better than the dam, but want to take her a different route? Is it ok to do so? What if you don't get better offspring then? I think about this quite often now. All three litters I've had...the pups are better than their dams. Do I need to breed them again if I already have improvements on them? What if I want to go to a different line to bring in something different?

In my cattle I have one cow that I kept and bred for 9 calves. Each year I bred her to a different bull line, hoping to bring in VERY specific things from each line to blend with my cow genetics of this particular line. I had no problem repeating a breeding in the cow one year as you only get one calf per year, and I always want heifers as I can use frozen semen on bulls that are from all over the world.

In dogs I feel its a bit different. If I retain two puppies from a litter, I can go different directions with the pups, or I can go the same direction as each pup has different things I like about them. Do I move forward with the pups and hope I get something useful out the pups 'in a perfect world'? Or do I breed the dam again and breed her to a different line, bringing in something very specific that I didn't get in this breeding (or I want more of)?

Its just food for thought. I know everyone in the same situation would do it differently and that's ok. Just trying to think out loud. 4 is easier to manage than 6, but I'd hate to lose the opportunity to use the dams again if I was really pleased with the outcome.

This being on the mend stinks! Too much free time to think about other stuff! >:)


Emily said...

Had to smile at this post as I definitely have been in your situation before. Two thoughts for now (as I probably could write a book on this). First, I would definitely consider doing a second litter for the reasons you already state. Second, I usually set a limit to my dog household sometimes I am a bit over as I grow up some hopefuls, other times I am under as I don't have puppies. When I am over I try and evaluate what dogs will give me what I want and what dogs are just not making my grade. If I have a really great Cardi puppy...I am going to grow it up before I decide to let go of the dam. I have found there is too many factors in Cardigans that can go wrong even with the best puppy, so time and patience is definitely needed. Ok...could go on forever so going to stop there!

Kaye said...

Maybe you can find local co-ownerships for the two and borrow them back for a breeding, then you would be able to go back down to 4..I'm with Emily if they are producing well, you should consider another breeding.