Dog breeding explained

The mark to be aimed at in dog breeding is improvement – improvement of your own stock, improvement in the quality of the puppies which you raise, and finally, improvement of the breed itself.

Many owners argue against the purebred dog. They maintain that mongrels must be smarter than thoroughbred specimens, because performing dogs are practically always mixed breeds. This is true, of course, but the average vaudeville performer who trains these animals is like the rest of us in that he would find it rather expensive to finance the establishment of a troupe of thoroughbreds.

I think that is a lot more likely to be the reason for the performing mutts than any greater degree of intelligence on their part. As a matter of fact, I have trained both thoroughbreds and mixed breeds, and I have no hesitation in saying that the purebred dog showed more sagacity and was more amenable to discipline.

A good point to remember is never to breed dogs which have an hereditary fault, unless it is a minor one and is more than balanced by his outstanding good points. Some people claim that a dog with a fault should never under any circumstances be bred, but I am of the opinion that conditions sometimes alter cases.

Suppose a sire throws pups which come quite close to the standard in every respect but one, and that one fault shows through several litters. It stands to reason that a pup from such a sire will never go to the top in the show ring, but it may be a valuable link in obtaining something better when bred to the right specimen of the opposite sex with the object of overcoming the fault. If the fault is a major one, however, I would advise against breeding the dog.

An important aspect to consider will be the pup’s coat. This is just as hereditary as the bone structure, the disposition, or the occlusion of the teeth.

Some blood lines produce better coats than others. Since it is hereditary, a poor natural coat cannot be improved, and all the attention in the world will not change it into a glistening, luxuriant growth. The best that can be done for a poor-coated dog is to keep what he has in as good condition as possible and breed for better coats in the next generation.

When breeding, the most important thing to remember is to keep to the correct type unless you know that you can improve it. A cross-breed from some back alley may be sound in body. He may even move well, but he lacks type – that blending of the characteristics of his breed which marks the thoroughbred. We all hope some day to breed the perfect specimen, but there are other things to consider than skeletons and the coats which cover them. It would not be much satisfaction to breed a beautiful specimen with a nervous or ugly disposition.

Dogs have to be useful as well as ornamental in order to survive. From the smallest toy to the largest working dog, they should not know the meaning of fear but should always be ready to stand up for their rights. Nervous, high-strung dogs whose only redeeming feature is their adherence to good type, are often refused recognition in the ring because of these faults.

If either the dog or the bitch is only a fair specimen, inbreeding should not be attempted. The object of inbreeding is not to reproduce all the family characteristics, but just the outstanding good points which the dog or bitch possesses. The brother-sister, mother-son, or father-daughter cross should be carefully thought out, and in each case, both dogs should be of exceptionally high quality.

Never breed shy, weak, or nervous bitches, and do not breed any bitch until she has attained her full development. Unless she is exceptionally late in coming into her first heat, it is better to give her the extra time for development rather than to breed her.

Much more can be said about breeding dogs, but these are some useful; points to get you thinking. You are on your way!