The Sense of Breeding

©
Doris Duewel / Komi, Finland / December 2009

photo by Karin Saenger / kennel WindDrover

What motivates an ACD owner to breed his bitch? Did he taste blood, when
he met the breeder of his bitch puppy? Did he fancy playing with pups or
look how they are sleeping on their backs with little milk tummies up?

Has he got a slight idea, how much work at day and night a breeder has,
before he can enjoy watching puppies playing? Does he imagine how many little
shits such a puppy pack is making ? Does he realize how many rolls of newspaper
he is decorating in his kitchen, with the only purpose to roll it immediately
again with lots of little shits? Nothing is inducing little puppy bowels
more than clean newspaper… What is about worming puppies? Nearly all
puppies have to get regularly worming pasta. The “success” is
appearing when you just might try to eat your spaghetties… Did our
future breeder already go in for breeding matters for (hopefully) a long
time? Does he concentrate in reading ALL yearbooks of the club? Is he studying
pedigrees carefully? Reading books about genetics?

Did our future breeder already concentrate on as many pedigrees as possible,
in books dealing with the genetics of dogs, read all stud books of his ACD
club, asked his breeder for all kind of aspects in the breed? Did he not
only buy, but worked over the standard books about the Australian Cattle
Dog?

Does he know the pheno- and genotypical characteristics of his puppy bitch
he is going to buy? And what is about a future stud? Does he know, if the
blood line of dam and sire fit together? It might be a big fault just to
choose a stud for his success in the ring. Has he a tendency to line breeding
or rather to outcross? And why? Finally, does he know the standard like
a priest his bible? Let us asssume, he knows all that – then still he needs
something very important: a good portion of luck!

To give newcomers an impression about the standard, I accompanied words
by pictures in my homepage (http://www.acdservice.webs.com)
If a breeder has one or two outstanding puppies with champion qualities
in his litter in big international shows, he starts to realize what the
proverb means: Fortune Favours the Brave.

Every breed has its special illnesses, which are mostly passed on recessively.
To avoid this is one of the most difficult tasks of a breeder. Unfortunately,
backlashes happen even after most precise considerations, just because faults
are inherited recessively. Suddenly two mating partners have the same genetic
disposition for a certain fault and pass it on to some of their offspring.
This is bad luck and the breeder learns his lesson what to avoid in .the
future. Only, that breeder who accepts negative inheritance features because
he hopes for the one big champion in this litter, commits a sin to the breed.
We know, there is deafness in the breed, also cryptorchism*, PRA””
used to be another flagellum, but can be controlled by a gene test. Cataract
is a strong reason not to breed. In many breed orders it is forbidden to
breed affected dogs. The same can be considered for severe HD (hip dysplasia)
specifications. Epilepsy seems to be on a rise and must be watched. NCL
(Neural Ceroid Lipofuscinosis) is very seldom so far. I personally make
a difference between painful or even shortening the lifespan illnesses and
so called “beauty” faults, who exclude this ACD from being bred,
like colour faults, dwarfism, missing teeth, hanging ears, etc.

The gene pool of the Australian Cattle Dog is rather small and should not
be minorized by a too strong inbreeding. The tendency of many breeders to
use only dogs which are PRA free (A), runs at least the risk to shorten
the gene pool in a dramatic way. Already when breeders took PRA C (affected)
dogs out of breeding, they shortened the gene pool by 1/3. Meanwhile dogs
with PRA B (Carriers), who will never have PRA by themselves, but can pass
on the illness in certain avoidable combinations, are not wanted by breeders,
as they limit their possibilities in breeding. We do need those ACDs who
are only carriers, for keeping at least the gene pool we have now. If the
variety in breeding animals gets lost, it will lead compulsorily to a more
or less randomly inbreeding. There will be no excellent dogs in the breed
anymore, who are not more or less related to each other. This no breed can
afford..
Last but not least the care for the typical temperament is of great importance
.It must be self understood that both breeding partners are self sure. ACDs
which are biting because of fear do not belong into breeding!

One problem I see in many countries, where breeding ACDs is still quite
young, that unexperienced breeders should have a mentor, who is ready to
help in all upcoming questions. But very often, there are not such mentors,
who collected experience during at least 15 litters, paid many visits to
international shows at home and abroad. ACD breeding is in many countries
still in its infancy. It is nearly impossible to build up alone a considerate
and predominant kennel. To this belongs also to be humble and ready to learn
all the time – even from others.

Every breeder should consider that in many years ahead new breeders have
to build up their line by using his offspring. All faults, which then become
evident trace back to your breeding as most of the characteristics are recessively
carried along. Should this imagination not shock and lead to he necessary
alertness, consideration and carefulness in breeding? Every breeder has
an important responsibility for the further welfare and maintenance of this
wonderful breed..

I admire every future breeder, as he does not even guess how many setbacks
are waiting for him, apart from the feeling of being content, proud or even
happy. Perhaps the most important characteristic is persistence on his way
to a good breeder. He should shake himself like a dog when back slashes
are hitting him and then go on, never loosing his aim out of eye sight,
to be a devoted servant of the breed.

In the currency of years, I heard many reasons, why somebody wanted to start
breeding. For example:” The kids shall enjoy the puppies or see once
a birth”. They are not really suitable reasons as kids are loosing
quickly the interest in puppies, if they are always there and especially
if they are causing work. Most bitches want to be with only the one person,
they love, when in labour. If kids are talking loudly or permanently banging
the door when running out of the room, the bitch might stop her labour.
This can lead to severe difficulties in giving birth. My three daughters
were only allowed to watch silently the birth of one single pup.

The idea to earn money with breeding is absolutely wrong! I did not earn
a single penny in 30 years of breeding. Old breeders can confirm this. Breeding
dogs is most probably one of the most expensive and time taking hobby. But
it is also the most wonderful one! copyright
© Doris Duewel, all rights reserved

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