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 genes.
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.

“For some 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. Bowling)

Temperament is 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 temperaments.

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’ carry.
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 brother.

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

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 to eradicate.

Inbreeding: 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 they come’.
‘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.

Out-breeding: 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 the female.

Raymond H. Oppenheimer wrote:
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.

Jay Kershaw
Thanks to Dr Mark Ladd for his advice.

Reference websites behaviour, nature/nurture - 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


5 of this litter qualified for Crufts first or second time out at Ch shows.The 4 remaining one's shown, all achieved their stud book numbers (lifetime qualification for Crufts) between 13 months and 2 years of age. Two are UK Champions. To see how they have progressed in the showring, click HERE

Pictured below ~ Puppies from Drusus v Adlercrest at Heimdall X Aritaur Sweetest Taboo's 2001 litter pictured at 6.5 weeks.
This litter was the result of an outcross mating; consistency like this may not be achieved, but the (P) Grandsire - Gino Gomez del Citone, was the result of a brotherXsister (incest) mating, so type was stamped. This litter were bred to produce high drive working puppies; one dog is working to his Schutzhund BH test, one is currently competing in obedience, one is in film work and one competes in agility.
Litter below by Drusus Vom Adlercrest at Heimdall X Aritaur Sweetest Taboo

All text and images Copyright Aritaur Dobermanns.