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

Monday, January 23, 2012

Learning......always learning

I hope to some day have half as much knowledge about breeding dogs as my mentor Barb. . Just when I think I'm starting to figure it out, I'm brought back down to earth by a good talk, chat or email with my mentor Barb. She never tells me what I'm doing wrong, but really gets me to think about things. From many angles. Angles I hadn't thought about before. Things that I was fairly confident in, only to realize I have had no idea the entire time and need to rethink and reevaluate what the heck I'm doing. While this discussion was going several things came to mind:

1. There are people who line breed on pedigree alone. They do not realize that just because dog A is the grand sire on both sides, or whatever combination you can think of....does that make it a 'good' line breeding. Do the parents both have what you want to get from that line breeding on the grand sire? Or are you only breeding for whats on the piece of paper?? Not all line breeding is a good idea but people truly believe that if the g-g-g-grand sire was awesome, this progeny will be too because he is in the pedigree 8 times. Bad idea.

2. People breed for dogs to compliment each other. I've been guilty of this as well. But I REALLY want is a breeding to improve upon the bitch I have (since that's all I have in my home). If you are only complimenting each other, you are going to end up with average and mediocre dogs that do not have any huge faults, or any virtues either! Ho-hum dogs that are faultless, but also very boring and average.

3. Solidifying GOOD traits before going 'out' again. This was something I do in my pigeons, sheep and cattle. I hadn't really put it in to perspective in the dogs before. This hit home. I do not want to keep breeding to what I think are great dogs to improve my bitches but have no consistency in the litter because everything is out crossed.

4. Line breeding on dogs that are 4 or more generations back........Its highly unlikely that that dog 4 generations back will contribute the 6% of it that you really wanting from him, especially if his get don't have it. Enough said.

I am always so willing to explain my experiences in livestock and birds. But I never stop learning. Each day I find something new I didn't know about in regards to something animal related. I am amazed at the amount of people, who have been in dogs less than I have (or longer even), and have had no other knowledge with breeding anything....and think they know everything. Really? The day I stop learning is the day I die. I may have strong opinions on subjects (like what I'm talking about on my blog) but I don't expect anyone to listen to me. I may not be right, but in my experience with several species of livestock, those who know it all don't seem to last they are too proud or ignorant to ask for help.

 I'm not saying get it from me......but find a mentor who has left their mark on their breed (doesn't even have to be cardigans), ask tons of questions and don't always expect answers....because mine just ask me more......:) And I'm good with that, 'cuz I keep learning


Lybertygirl said...

You are so right, you never stop learning and you cannot trade the wisdom you can get from a good mentors!

Laurie in Alberta said...

Garrett: Really enjoy your thoughtful blog. I don't have show cardis, but love my 4 pets (3 of them U.S. bred) and am over the moon about the breed. My eldest (11) has dysplasia in one hip and is now on intensive management -- this dog was bred in the US several times before I adopted her as a pet at 5 yrs! Why???
There are no cardis where I live (near Calgary, Alberta), so I live vicariously through many of you U.S. bloggers -- thank you all for your dedication!
Laurie R.
Alberta, Canada