BREEDING (Photo examples below)
Books and lectures
on the theoretical application of genetics rarely appeal to the
hobby breeders who these days make up the majority of those breeding
for the show-ring. The large kennels with extensive record keeping
and the ability to carry out ‘test matings’ no longer
exist, and with the demise of large kennels comes the disappearance
of the ‘kennel man/woman’ who learnt about breeding
from their mentors. The hobby breeder wanting to breed occasionally,
is left without guidance as they have no opportunity to experience
the results of different breeding methods and techniques first hand.
Breeders may use
Phenotype – looks, and Genotype – paper breeding methods.
Some use luck, judgment and a gut feeling more than science and
complicated inbreeding co-efficients, and most hobby breeders usually
take a short term view of the effect of the breeding – ie
one litter, rather than the longer term impact of using a particular
sire/dam. With the recent increase in imports due to the Pet Passport
Scheme and potent sires making a huge impact on the breed, there
are new opportunities for using fresh bloodlines to maintain genetic
diversification and hybrid vigour.
In human society, the social taboo of relationships between close
members of the family illustrates the reasons for maintaining genetic
diversity in society in order to avoid a multiplication of undesirable
or unhealthy genes. In the Bible, Leviticus laid out a penalty of
‘unions’ between various relations. Unions between a
man and his mother or his daughter were prohibited by pain of death.
A union between a man and his sister or ½ sister is punishable
by banishment, and between a man and aunt generates no more than
a condemnation. Preventing incestuous relationships in small communities
maintains genetic variation and inhibits the increase of deleterious
In the wild any species with a small gene pool will eventually die
out. If they don’t evolve through natural selection and survival
of the fittest, subsequent offspring may become prone to disease
or infection from weakened immune systems, and over hundreds of
years would either devolve into a sub species or become extinct.
of these animals the only real hope of survival is captive breeding
programs. But the number of animals available in such captive breeding
programs, especially at a single zoo, is often limited. Biologists
are concerned that the resulting inbred populations would not have
all of the genes found in the wild populations, and thus lose some
flexibility in responding to change. In reaction to this threat
they have developed networks such that animals can be exchanged
among captive breeding poplulations in such a way as to minimize
the overall inbreeding of the captive population. The idea is to
select pairs in such a way that the inbreeding coefficient of the
offspring is kept as low as possible”. (Animal Genetics S.A.
largely hereditary (nature v nurture) and long term in breeding
may produces delicate, weak or unstable temperaments. Only the fittest
survive in the wild. Weak, unhealthy animals die and dominant males
overthrow the leading male of another pack at any opportunity, in
order to gather the fresh genes of breeding age females into their
pack. Packs naturally disperse, and individuals (usually young males)
establish their own packs for breeding thereby decreasing the risk
of a group becoming seriously affected by weak genes.
If consistency of type is required, it is necessary to inbreed or
line-breed to ‘double up’ and enhance the qualities
of a particularly good animal, but breeders who consistently try
to reproduce what they once had, will, by continual in breeding,
achieve poorer quality than their previous animals. If breeders
outcrossed followed by line or inbreeding, they would produce healthier
stock on which to found their quest for long lost ‘perfection’.
Breeding from a large gene pool produces animals of sounder, stronger
A dog has no more
effect than a bitch on progeny (although for the breed as a whole
the sire has more influence). Breeding a line-bred dog to an outcross
bitch will show more phenotype to the male, however, the genotype
remains at 50/50. If a stud dog or brood bitch is known to 'stamp
their mark' on their offspring, (perhaps because they are the product
of tight line-breeding) they are referred to as prepotent, and if
both parents are prepotent, the mating of the two animals should
produce a litter of even type puppies.
Knowing how a dog
or bitch is bred, is an important step in understanding the possible
resulting progeny’s likely physical, health and mental attributes.
Experienced breeders are able to read a pedigree and see what they
require, however, working out breeding co-efficients can help plan
possible matings if a breeder is trying to achieve a certain goal.
Our selection processes are contrary to what happens naturally;
we nurture the weak and occasionally breed from them; some breeders
use champions to ‘get a bit of red’ on the pedigree,
or use 'dogs of the day', but may disregard whether that dog will
benefit their bitches’ genotype or phenotype. Some only consider
the stud dog and one litter's worth of progeny without looking at
what strengths (or weaknesses) their own bitch or ‘lines’
Good breeders know their bitches’ qualities and faults, and
scrutinise both pedigrees and dogs in order to decide on the right
male for their bitch. Good breeders do not necessarily use Champions.
He may look good, but a) is he a producer or just a winner ~ ie
what type of puppies does he sire, does he 'stamp his mark on his
puppies'? b) does he 'tie in' by genotype with the bitch if looking
to produce 'type?' c) is he healthy? e) does he match the bitch
in phenotype (looks) if required? Good breeders don’t double
up on faults. Bloodlines, health and character are of equal importance
in maintaining a healthy species. Litter mates do not contain the
same genetic code. They may offer some similar characteristics,
but using a sibling rarely produces the quality of his top producing
Long term in breeding
produces genetic density which can result in weakness and lowered
immune systems. Long term out-crossing does not produce the ‘type’
a breeder may require, and long term line-breeding on one bloodline
alone will reduce the overall genetic diversity (for vigour, bone,
health). In order to perpetuate any species or breed, a blend of
different breeding techniques is the optimum method to maintain
health, vigour and type. There is considerable research to support
that long term inbreeding reduces fertility and vigour in a population.
Darwin stated that prolonged inbreeding brings about "loss
of size, constitutional vigor, and fertility"; it is referred
to as ‘inbreeding depression’.
“If the outcross comes from a home in which correct inbreeding
has been practiced it will be all the more valuable and less dangerous,
because it is more likely to be prepotent for its own good properties”.
Dr. James G. McCue, Jr
OF INBREEDING, LINE BREEDING, OUTBREEDING AND OUTCROSSING
Line breeding: denotes one or more common relatives within the first
3 generations of the pedigree. Line breeding is undertaken to ensure
that the careful breeding that has resulted in a particularly good
animal is maintained, and enables a breeder to retain the strengths
of one particular animal in the pedigree while introducing fresh
blood to prevent stagnation of the gene pool. Eg if a bitch has
qualities a breeder wants to retain, they may look for a dog of
similar breeding or one who has a common ancestor within the bitch’s
first three generations, to retain the 'type'. However, line-breeding
can ‘double up’ on the qualities of the animals mated
but also doubles up on the faults. Experienced breeders are aware
of the genetics behind each animal they consider breeding from,
and benefit from the qualities whilst avoiding the faults. There
is no point in line breeding for the sake of it, if the animals
on which the pedigree pivots, are undesirable or carry a fault a
breeder may wish to eradicate.
True line breeding
is using a pivot of one particularly important ancestor in the dogs’
background. Breeders use terms such as “line breeding ON ‘Demetrius’”
referring to Demetrius appearing frequently in that animals pedigree,
however, Demetrius must have been an outstanding example of the
breed; the danger comes when doubling up on a mediocre dog. Embedding
detrimental traits is a retrograde step and it is very difficult
to eradicate those embedded genes. Genes remain locked permanently,
often not seen for many generations, but it is only when a matching
gene pair is introduced that the effects of the union will be seen.
Eg, it is estimated that it takes 6 generations to eliminate Hip
Dysplasia from an dog. Continuous line breeding on that dog or its’
parents, will embed the gene further and make it more difficult
the mating of two very closely related animals, ie Father to Daughter,
sibling to sibling. Inbreeding is line breeding in its’ most
extreme form. Only very experienced breeders with extensive knowledge
of the qualities and faults lying in the background of their dogs
(sometimes unseen on the pedigree) should in-breed their animals.
If a breeder has outstanding specimens of the breed, they may undertake
an in-breed to ‘set’ the type. Once that gene is ‘embedded’
it can provide the experienced breeder with potent progeny able
to pass on specific traits to subsequent generations. In addition
to concentrating good qualities, the genes for various hereditary
weaknesses are also being concentrated.
Malcolm Willis states that ‘One cannot define inbreeding as
simply mating relatives. The true definition is the mating of individuals
more closely related than the average of the population from which
‘Grading up’ is a term used when an inferior female
is mated to a top quality male, and the resulting female progeny
are mated back to their sire rather than to other members of the
original family. Often used in livestock breeding to enable a farmer
to rapidly upgrade the quality of his herd. The concentration of
genes is on the paternal rather than the maternal side.
the dog and bitch have no common relatives in the first 3 generations
and they themselves are results of out-breeding. There may be common
ancestors further back in the pedigree, but beyond the 5th generation
has little effect on the type of puppy. It may beneficial to use
a stud dog with known pre-potency to correct a fault on a bitch
or if the intention is to closely inbreed later on. Outbreeding
can be useful if a bitch has been very tightly line or in bred,
where further tight breeding may be detrimental. Outcrossing: differs
only to outbreeding in that both sire and dam are line bred. This
combination is useful to introduce fresh genes into stock and combines
genes from two line bred animals to retain type. Following an outcross
or outbreed mating, the breeder will then consider whether they
continue to outcross/outbreed, or return to line breeding from those
progeny. The breeder may wish to introduce genetic diversity, then
return after further outcrossing to regain the type they require,
albeit with fresh genetic material to maintain vigour. Some maintain
that “a little drop of outcross makes a big splash”,
but ultimately each breeder will decide on the degree of fresh genetic
‘material’ they require for their particular bloodlines.
Returning to the original family, is the opposite of grading up,
and assumes the breeder wished to retain the type and quality of
Raymond H. Oppenheimer
1. Remember that the animals you select for breeding today will
have an impact on the breed for many years to come. Keep that thought
firmly in mind when you choose breeding stock.
2. You can choose only two individuals per generation. Choose only
the best, because you will have to wait for another generation to
improve what you start with. Breed only if you expect the progeny
to be better than both parents.
3. You cannot expect statistical predictions to hold true in a small
number of animals (as in one litter of puppies). Statistics only
apply to large populations.
4. A pedigree is a tool to help you learn the good and bad attributes
that your dog is likely to exhibit or reproduce. A pedigree is only
as good as the dog it represents.
5. Breed for a total dog, not just one or two characteristics. Don't
follow fads in your breed, because they are usually meant to emphasize
one or two features of the dog at the expense of the soundness and
function of the whole.
6. Quality does not mean quantity. Quality is produced by careful
study, having a good mental picture of what you are trying to achieve,
having patience to wait until the right breeding stock is available
and to evaluate what you have already produced, and above all, having
a breeding plan that is at least three generations ahead of the
breeding you do today.
8. Don't bother with a good dog that cannot produce well. Enjoy
him (or her) for the beauty that he represents but don't use him
in a breeding program.
9. Use out-crosses sparingly. For each desirable characteristic
you acquire, you will get many bad traits that you will have to
eliminate in succeeding generations.
10. Inbreeding is a valuable tool, being the fastest method to set
good characteristics and type. It brings to light hidden traits
that need to be eliminated from the breed.
11. Breeding does not "create" anything. What you get
is what was there to begin with. It may have been hidden for many
generations, but it was there.
12. Discard the old cliché about the littermate of that great
producer being just as good to breed to. Littermates seldom have
the same genetic make-up.
13. Be honest with yourself. There are no perfect dogs (or bitches)
nor are there perfect producers. You cannot do a competent job of
breeding if you cannot recognise the faults and virtues of the dogs
you plan to breed.
14. Hereditary traits are inherited equally from both parents. Do
not expect to solve all of your problems in one generation.
15. If the worst puppy in your last litter is no better than the
worst puppy in your first litter, you are not making progress. Your
last litter should be your last litter.
16. If the best puppy in your last litter is no better than the
best puppy in your first litter, you are not making progress. Your
last litter should be your last litter.
17. Do not choose a breeding animal by either the best or the worst
that he (or she) has produced. Evaluate the total get by the attributes
of the majority.
18. Keep in mind that quality is a combination of soundness and
function. It is not merely the lack of faults, but the positive
presence of virtues. It is the whole dog that counts.
19. Don't allow personal feelings to influence your choice of breeding
stock. The right dog for your breeding program is the right dog,
whoever owns it. Don't ever decry a good dog; they are too rare
and wonderful to be demeaned by pettiness.
20. Don't be satisfied with anything but the best. The second best
is never good enough.
Thanks to Dr Mark Ladd for his advice.
www.dogstuff.info/behavioral_genetics_grandin_deesing.html - articles
on most dog related subjects – behaviour, construction, movement
We have been extremely
fortunate in having Crislea Centrefold of Aritaur 'Juno' as the
foundation of our breeding lines. She is so tightly bred (a triple
Ch Holtzburg Mayhem daughter)
that she passes her very strong qualities down to whoever she is
mated. We place equal emphasis on health, beauty and character.
No-one wants an ugly dog with brains any more than a beautiful unhealthy
dog. To ignore any of the above is not breeding the 'total Dobermann'.We
are also not kennel-blind and this enables us to consistently place
quality Dobermanns in the ring and win.
An example of consistent
line-breeding, the below litter of Ch Miendy's Soba Up (line bred
although not as tightly line-bred as Juno, produced a litter who
are all very similar to each other and who share many of the same
Phenotypes (physical appearance) of each of their parents. Pictured
at 7 weeks.
Litter below by Ch Miendy's Soba Up JW
X Crislea Centrefold of Aritaur at 7 weeks