This is the same post as in Julie's original post but I thought this really needed clarifying
I know this is very hard for people to understand and it takes a while to wrap your head around how clearances are used. Let me share with you how I arrived at choosing my latest stud and you can decide for yourselves if breeding is as easy as breeding clear dogs when a clear dog doesn't exist.
First, I looked at 100 or so dogs trying to find proper turn of stifle, correct feet, correct shoulders and upper arms, proper temperament, and pedigrees that aren't dirty, etc., and by the time I do that, I have narrowed it down to six or so dogs. You may not think this important, but I have seen too many dogs suffer from lameness without proper structure and feet so it must start there.
So now I have six dogs....these are the best of the best. They have pedigrees that don't make me run because they are so dirty (and believe me, there are a lot of dogs like that), and they are good representatives of the breed. Of those six dogs, Dog #1 has a dam who doesn't have an elbow clearnanceand his OFA's are suspicious (I won't go into details). I do some digging and the grapevine tells me she didn't pass her elbows. Scratch him. Dog #2 was very popular but doesn't seem to be so much now...do a little digging and find out he is producing some ortho issues which isn't a surprise because his sire didn't pass his elbows. This was hard to do as most of his get are not old enough for OFAs yet, but thank goodness I have a good network. I can look at his son who is very nice and very widely used, but his bitch line also has ortho issues and they seem to have doubled up on that, so he is out too, and even though I really don't have any ortho issues in my line, I don't want to start. Dog #3 is lovely but has TVD producers within 3 generations on both sides of his pedigree. Scratch him. Dog #4 is a lovely dog with a relatively safe pedigree but alas, when I contact the stud dog owner she is kind enough to be truthful and let me know that he has produced bad bites. Because my bitch has also, he is out. Dog #5 is very nice and I come very close to using him. However, he is an import and it is hard to do the research on him. He comes from a very fine, well-known kennel but not many people know that they do very, very little in the way of clearances and I decide it is just too risky to use him. Dog #6
is a lovely, sound dog with a LOT of get on the ground but he has a TVD producer 4 generations back. Well, at least I know it is there, I know what else is behind him and he is as clean as I can get...no epilepsy, has produced some ortho issues but he has a lot of get on the ground. Do I care if he carries EIC after all that? Not a bit. Why? Because if I were to rule him out and try to find a dog clear of EIC, I would likely have to go to a field pedigree where I have no idea what is lurking behind those dogs and although I would very well avoid EIC, I could introduce MUCH worse problems such as HD, ED, epilepsy, etc. Or, I would have to go to a very mediocre dog and if I am breeding to mediocre dogs, then IMO, I have no business breeding as I am repsonsible for a potential loss of temperament and structure which also greatly influence a dog's ability to be happy and healthy.
Breeding is not as simple as avoiding dogs with health problems because every dog has at least one behind him. What we need to do as breeders is damage control...limit the both the risk and the severity of issues we could produce and in all honestly, I do not see EIC as a severe issue, compared to many, many others.
I live with a dog who is going blind from PRA and one who suffers from severe ED, and my dogs all live with me in the house as pets first and foremost (as do Peggy's Sharon's and Laura's). Believe me, we love our dogs just as much as you do and we breed for ourselves...why on earth would we want to produce a puppy for ourselves that had problems ??? We do not go looking for problems, but we can not avoid them altogether so we only hope that we make a small dent with every generation and at the same time, breed structuarally and temperamentally sound dogs.
Honestly, when I hear breeders talk about breeding to clearances, I think that they do not know enough about pedigrees and what is really behind their dogs. Believe me, I am so thankful that I have a network of reliable friends and mentors with a great deal of knowledge about the dogs. You have to be involved and know the right people to really know what it is behind a dog because in most circumstances, you will not hear it from the owners...or worse yet, you hear about it AFTER you have bred to that dog
Anyway, I hope some of you understand after reading this, why we make some of the decisions we do, and that most importantly, we are breeding for ourselves, not the pet buying public. I believe that many breeders will breed dogs with dirty pedigrees because they breed only to win and so simply sell them off if they don't turn out. It absolutely happens. But I think you need to give the breeders on this board a little more credit because I know some of these breeders and like myself, they have to live with their mistakes and suffer the financial and emotional burden of producing a puppy with a problem. I think you also have to understand that any breeder that tells you their lines are clean are either lying or don't know what is behind their lines. How do you know who is who? Well, that is a good question to which I don't have the answer. But when we lay ourselves on the line to help you understand why certain breeding decisions are made, please don't be so quick to judge and try to understand why clearances alone do not produce sound dogs.
As Peggy said, Merry Christmas all
Disclaimer: I do not want to imply that stud dogs are to blame for health problems with this post as that is certainly not the case
To err is human:To forgive, canine."
I think I understand this (I've heard others say similar things), but I assume you'd want the bitch to be free of the problems the stud might have, making it impossible to produce anything worse than a carrier? Or are there certain cases where it is worth the risk of producing a dog that is affected (with something - not EIC in particular).
I'm obviously not a breeder (nor do I have the intention of becoming one), but I'd be interested in hearing the logic behind evaluating the lesser evil, in terms of which risk is worse?
Zeke RN, agility miscreant and CGC failure
Sorry to sound dumb, ??? but what do you mean by a "dirty pedigree"? It's not a term I have heard before.
Thank you for posting this Dana. I agree with most everything you said, and you put it so easy to read.
I had one more qualification when chosing a stud dog. I want one who is healthy as an OLD dog, with not so many get on the ground to make my puppies the same thing as everyone else has. I think going to older dogs who have lived active lives proves more then some of the clearances.
I also want to make sure that all of my business is clear in my own yard. My dog has all of her clearances (we went to MSU two weeks before she was in season and had her hips and elbows shot again...obsessive? Maybe).
I am also a firm believer in practicing what you preach. My girl's temperment is rock solid. If it weren't she wouldn't be bred PERIOD. She's never so much as snarled or snapped. She does let out a growl when other dogs jump all over her, but it takes a lot. I was rudely awakened to temperment issues at the LOC specialty, when entering the specials ring, the girl in front of us nearly took Ruby's head off as she exited the ring. NOT TYPICAL lab behaviour. But this breeder says they breed for temperment. There is also another breeder whose poor bitch is always in season, everytime I have seen this dog, Ruby isn't allowed to say hello because she's in season and gets 'ornery'. This to me is hiding poor temperment.
What am I getting at? We have to have a clear picture of what we are willing to live with, both health and temperment. And I still wanted that willy feeling when looking at the dog I chose. I didnt want it to be all about the clearances.
Since the dog I chose for Ruby I had only seen once, quite some time ago (before Ruby was ever dreamed of)...he stayed with me.
Only time will tell if I have made a good decision or not.
A dirty pedigree is one that has a known producer of a major problem such as epilepsy or TVD very close up.Sorry to sound dumb, but what do you mean by a "dirty pedigree"? It's not a term I have heard beforeI'm not sure that dog shows are the place for dogs to 'say hello'. There are many dogs who are very much out of their element at dog shows for a variety of reasons and just feel too much pressure to tolerate dogs saying 'hello' to them. Some dogs can also be demons in their crates but otherwise very kind and patient dogs in all other situations. Sometimes one bad experience for a puppy can make an otherwise happy and well adjusted dog become nervous and edgy at a dog show. I like to watch a dog's temperament both at a very artificial show venue, and outside the show where he is more at home and where you can better watch him interact with other dogs. This is why it is so nice when you find a dog that you like who belongs to a friend...you REALLY know what that dog's temperament is about. I love show and tells on the night before the specialty when everybody is setting up and we all pull our dogs out for each other to see...that is when everything is relaxed including the handler and you can better see any personality warts.Ruby isn't allowed to say hello because she's in season and gets 'ornery'. This to me is hiding poor temperment.
Having said that, I've neutered a dog for a crappy temperament as he was a real jerk at dog shows and at home. He certainly didn't need to add to the gene pool but he's a lovely guy and a great bed warmer
To err is human:To forgive, canine."
Good post Dana. Merry Christmas to you and yours.
♣ Laura ♣
Thanks, and Merry Christmas to you all from sunny but snowy SW France :-*
I learned alot from your post ......... I too don't breed but follow what you (others included, too) breed for and hope for in a litter. Thank you.
"In moments of joy all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag." W. H. Auden
Linda, Kona and Bo
While I agree that dog shows aren't the best place to see temperment, the not allowing anyone close started at 6 months old.
The other bitch that went for Ruby coming out of the ring was completely unprovoked, Ruby was on her lead and quite a distance from the nasty girl. Leaves a bad taste in my mouth all together. I've heard other stories about that particular person's dogs too.
So along with clearances, I say the temperment of the dog is priority. No nice temperment, no breeding. Period. More important to me than a TVD carrier 4 generations back.
Yup, I'd have to agree on that one too! I've seen some horrendous temperaments displayed both in show and field lines lately and you won't catch me touching that stuff with a 10' pole. What is interesting is that even judges seem to be blind to it, sometimes putting the nasty/grumbly dog up as winners.Originally Posted by luvmydogz2much
Most of us are (relatively) young, and can afford to take our time breeding the "perfect" dog. If that means taking another couple generations to breed around genetic or structural issues, so be it. Let's remember that the majority of our puppies are STILL placed in pet/companion homes. Those pet owners really don't know or care if their pup is slightly off balanced front to rear, has a lower than desired tailset, less coat, etc. But they do know and care about temperament and health problems! Once you lose the temperament and health, your lines are done, doesn't matter how big of a winner you once were. JMO. -Anne
WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014