by Felicia Luburich, Srigo Rottweilers
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People who only breed occasionally can NOT have a breeding program and have little chance of having that knockout producer which is what keeps a breed progressing.
The duty of the breeder is NOT to provide nice pets but to breed for the continued improvement of that breed. To make a positive impact on a breed, it is a numbers game. It takes 36 puppies to produce 1 male and 2 females that will make a positive influence on a Breeding Program which is very different than breeding-for-fun, ego, or for money.
Dogs produce according to their pedigree and the quality of their littermates which often indicates genes that do not show in the stud but he is likely carrying. I did my homework and bred to the right dog for my bitches; not just to the winning dogs. That was then, this is now. Nothing has changed.
Develop Your Breeding Plan
The closest to ideal dog breeding program is in Germany where there is mandatory quality control. German dogs are in great demand around the world. In Rotties the 2006 Club Champion sold for 100,000 Euros. I’ve never seen the awful quality in Germany that is routine in the USA.
Here there are few people who can breed dogs and continually make substantially less when selling a puppy than it costs to produce it. In Germany the stud and puppy fees are fixed. NO PAPER WORK (i.e. registration) is given unless the parents have passed all health checks, have passed a breeding approval test and at least one of the parents must have a working degree. All litters are listed in the club magazine and graded according to the show, working and breeding titles of the parents.
Human nature being what it is none of our doggy problems are surprising. I was a Pro handler for a short time. I put titles on almost 50 dogs and never made much of a profit. It also impacted my breeding plans because few breeders would buy from me or breed to my dogs as I won so steadily that they were insanely jealous. Plus most potential buyers did not appreciate the dedication and the quality dogs I had on offer and so I sold many very good show quality dogs as pets.
In the 1990′s I stopped breeding regularly and sold my property in the early 2000′s. I had my 16th generation in 2012 and only sold 2 of 6 pups (to previous owners) at a price I charged 15 years ago. The reason is that the public doesn’t understand quality. They are buying pet shop and back yard breeder dogs. EDUCATION is the key. (Good Luck!)
I think most people who buy the poor quality pet-bred “purebred” dogs should get shelter mutts, as in many cases they are getting no better a dog. They can even get a “pure” bred there because all humane societies and shelters want to stay in business to keep their jobs. Many of them buy pet-bred purebreds so they can charge more.
Take Time To Learn Genetics
Depending on the breed, color can be linked to other characteristics, both visible and some you can’t see. Blue was not a favored color but I did show them.
I bred one of the best Doberman bitches ever, Ch. Srigo's Kase Kuchen "Cheese Cake" and her blue brother, Can Am Ch. Srigo's Kimmel, who had 3 all breed BIS wins. No other blue has ever won even one Best In Show. My Ch. Srigo's Kimmel was indeed “special”. Blues from the v. Ahrtal lines could have REAL coat problems. I've been told that blues from Peggy Adamson’s line (Damasyn) did not have coat problems.
Use all the genetic tools available but always know your own dogs well. Sometimes you may go against the conventional position but if you are sure of your dog, show it. My Ch. Srigo's Madchen von Kurtz (left) was sound until the day she died and could out-move ANY other Rottweiler.
The CRC (Colonial Rottweiler Club) was ready to cancel my membership for breeding her but I resigned before they acted. A Rottie breeder of some repute told me that she wished she had had the nerve to breed her non-OFA bitch that had been a considerable winner. She said I did the right thing. Some people may have but I NEVER used the x-ray of another dog of mine to get an OFA number on one that did not pass. Madchen became the top Register Of Merit dam and her progeny was sound.
I also bred some fantastic Filas, including at least 3 BIS, one was over all breeds, AKC breeds. I had a Spanish Mastiff that had 2 BIS at Rare Breeds at 2 years of age. He was a mover of incredible ability. My Fila and Spanish Mastiffs were featured in a rare breed book.
When I was showing yes, I did get beaten by some handlers but I had “Magic Hands” and could get 150% out of the dogs I showed. There is an important place in the dog sport for handlers. Not everyone can travel to the best shows for their dog or do the running needed for large strong moving dogs.
In Germany, all judges must have bred the breed they judge (except for very rare breeds or breeds from other countries) and have trained a dog to an obedience or working degree. It is after all, the BREED that counts!! Most people wing it in the U.S. In Germany there are Breed Wardens and among their duties, is to guide the new breeders in choosing a stud dog. All puppies are inspected before sale and the Breed Wardens can see at shows what various studs are producing with various bitches.
Politics And Education In The Dog Sport
Again, EDUCATION is the key. This is a very complicated subject and can’t be covered in posts on the web. Breeders should be licensed and be apprenticed to a long term successful breeder to begin their learning process before they breed. In Germany if you are to be a butcher you spend 2 years working with and for a licensed butcher. If he says you are a butcher you get your license and a sum from the government. There are GOOD reasons Germany is in excellent financial position while the rest of Europe is in the pits.
No system is perfect but there is much to learn from any really successful breeding program, which should be based on genetics, not how many wins a good handler can put on that dog. I don’t have all the answers. However I don’t think most people “in” dogs are involved enough in the inner workings of the dog sport. As in “real life” when you leave it to the politicians they will work to advance themselves. Join a political party and you will help to decide who runs for office.
Join a parent breed club AND a local breed and obedience club. If dog breeders do this, they can decided who in the entrenched dog sports hierarchy can run for office. Here in America dog breeders and dog sport enthusiasts have great influence if they would but use it! Democracy takes involvement. Boycotting the products of those aiding and abetting groups such as the HSUS and others of their ilk is also an excellent strategy. You can also get on committees relating to legislation and licensing to deny such to all shops that sell puppies. There is more than 1 way to skin a cat.
Get together and work for your BREED and in your state, for your right to own and breed the dog breed of your choice. The dog field and all the wonderful things connected with the sport of dogs did not get in this shape overnight but if enough dog people get involved it could improve overnight!
I am happy to share some of what I’ve learned but I would say only a tiny number of people will understand and benefit from this. People today have more tools than ever but they won’t work hard enough, they won’t sacrifice enough, they don’t have the "eye" to properly assess dogs, they get sucked into politics, they breed to the winning dog to get quicker sales and higher prices, etc.
But if a SMALL number improve their practices that could be enough to keep at least some of the Rotties on the right track. The last time I had a connection to a Rottie person of some standing I said I'd go to CRC Specialty if I thought I would see some REALLY good ones. He agreed but said he did not hold out much hope for that considering what he had lately seen in the ring. He has done some judging and turns out, he was right.
What with my severe scoliosis and a tremor after car accident 2 years ago, everything takes a LLLOOOONNNNNGG time to accomplish. I still have two Rottie girls from an A litter, the 16th generation of my own breeding.
AH! The good old days. Gone but not forgotten, not by me. At 81 I sit on my laurels.
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