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Old 01-08-2010, 08:39 PM
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WorkofHeart WorkofHeart is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Edmond, OK
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Default Improving Your Breed

So I've been pondering something lately. What needs to be improved in your breed?

For those with less common breeds: with little health problems, what is your goal - to preserve the breed? Do you feel there is enough responsible breeders in your breed or there can never be enough? Should a future breeder shift their focus to a breed that NEEDS improving?

The reason I ask is because I am a future breeder. The puppy I am about to get is an Ibizan Hound (see siggy link) which is an uncommon breed. My other favorite breeds are Dobermans and Great Danes, but I had decided not to get into them because of their many health issues and short life. However, maybe that is a reason to help other breeders improve them? Ibizans are very healthy, but maybe breeders need help preserving them?

Or maybe I should just get 1 of each then decide? LOL

I don't know. Any thoughts?
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:11 PM
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Zoom Zoom is offline
Twin 2.0
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 40,739

The biggest things that need to be bred out of Aussie are hip dysplasia, CEA and epilepsy. Epi has become more of a problem than it used to be, because it doesn't crop up until between 3 and 5 years of age, by which point many bitches have already had at least one litter and passed on the genes. Of course, there is the idiopathic epilepsy that happens as well, which is harder to weed out. CEA is less of an issue than it used to be since there is now a test for it.

Otherwise, there needs to be a continued diligence to ensure that the brains and instincts that made this dog so indispensable to their owners doesn't get too watered down and bred out. These dogs are not soft, multicolored teddy bears. They have drive, they have energy, they have brains, they have guarding/protective instincts. They have a sense of duty combined with a sense of humor.

All of this needs to be preserved in order to keep to the true form of the Aussie.
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:19 PM
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Romy Romy is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Olympia, WA
Posts: 10,234

The biggest issue I have seen in borzoi is:

1. Poor temperaments

2. Inability to work (hunt) due to incorrect conformation and lack of drive (and poor temperaments).

One thing I have noticed in dogs where the standard describes their temperament as "aloof", is people often get kennel blind and interpret their fearful dog as being aloof.

They are not the same thing!!! A dog who is afraid of strangers is not aloof. It is not correct. A dog like that could not catch and hold a wolf. To me it's very important to preserve, and in some cases restore, all the things a sight hound needs to be a successful hunter.
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:32 PM
Artfish Artfish is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 102

Not a breeder, but some thoughts coming from observing the German shepherd world....

1) Remember the purpose of your breed, why it was developed and what makes it great. If you have a working type dog, please verify IT WORKS, and a rally title does not count. A spaniel that has no bird sense should be neutered on the spot regardless if it earns its "Ch" before 12 months of age.

2) Always be aware that kennel blindness can strike- we always feel our dog is the best in the world and are very proud of our accomplishments. But how healthy is he? Are her ancestors overall sound in mind and body? Was there anything less than desirable that showed up while training, working, and living with the dog? Was everything truly earned and well deserved? Why should this dog be bred? Have other, objective experts in the breed weighed in on the merits and faults of the dog? ALL DOGS HAVE FAULTS; be honest.

3) Be honest about your program, your dogs, and your lines to others in your breed. One of the biggest disservices to any breed is hiding genetic problems from other breeders and sweeping problems under the rug, so to speak. Be open, be truthful, be honest, work together in your chosen breed lest the breed end up being plagued with more health problems than merits.

4) Just because a dog is titled does not mean it has earned that title. Train your OWN dog, work your OWN dog, and think about the total picture. Please don't mail your dog off to some other country and breed it when it comes back with titles..... this tells you nothing about the dog. Test it thoroughly, push the dog to its limits, find out what the dog is made of. Kind of fits with #2 and #3.

I am very against any "improving" as that has resulted in the corruption of many breeds due to the show ring. Really, the only improvement we can do is to educate future breeders to place health and temperament above everything else, put function BEFORE form, and let the breeders who only care about looks fade away.

In the GSD, health is in the pits. I tell people who are interested or who are new owners that this is not an overall healthy breed. Working ability is.... well, depends on the lines. First of all, we should have no breed split. IMO, if breeders are not putting working GSDs first, they are not breeding GSDs, period. Temperament is very spotty, sadly. There are a lot of spooks, overly soft dogs, dogs with no aggression (yes, there is GOOD aggression provided it is matched with sound temperament and clear mind), dogs that couldn't hope to do schutzhund. A good German shepherd should be able to be a police K9, be trusted around a roomful of schoolchildren, hang out in the living room with the family, and have herding instinct. There is no reason to breed for "just pets." In fact, a pet dog should probably have the most stellar, bombproof temperament of all!

"Pedigree Dogs Exposed" is a good show to watch.
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Old 01-08-2010, 10:31 PM
Pops2 Pops2 is offline
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what he said
if you truly learn the original purpose of the dog & how the dog accomplished that purpose, that will teach you far more than anything else how you SHOULD breed. unfortunately most people even if aware of their breeds original purpose don't understand how conformation affects performance because they are truly ignorant of the job.
for example if english bulldog breeders truly understood catch work & bred toward the conformation to do the job, they would be large athletic & active dogs. instead they make up BS stories about the smooshed face allowing them to breath when caught on a bull (WHAAAAAT! they can barely breath when walking across the living room. how the heck would they breath doing something as physically demanding as catchwork?). and they couldn't run down a bull if it was paralyzed in the back end. GOOD JOB show breeders, NOT.
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Old 01-08-2010, 11:10 PM
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Laurelin Laurelin is offline
I'm All Ears
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Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 30,963

Well papillons are a companion breed. My main concern is preserving their unique temperament and qualities as the breed that I have fallen in love with. I have been very blessed to have good specimens of the breed with the most outstanding temperaments I could ask for in relation to being a companion dog. I also desire to keep the breed's intelligence and athleticism front and center. They are very unique among toy dogs with their extremely high working intelligence and drive, and I want to keep it that way. They should be able to excel in a multitude of dog sports and even work as service dogs.

Health testing is one thing that needs to be improved upon. Overall it's a fairly healthy breed but we need more breeders to push for health screening.

There's a few conformation issues I have in mind. First for me is size and I know a lot of breeders are thinking about this as well. Even litters nowadays out of larger parents seem to be throwing smaller puppies. I would like to push the size back up because I think they are meant to be larger. Mine are all on the small size of my preferences. I don't want the added issues that come with breeding teeny dogs. I'd like to see more 8-10 lb papillons around.

Another issue is type but not really type in a sense regarding showing. I like papillons to look like papillons but I am not terribly fond of some of the big winning dogs in the ring now. Too much angulation, too much coat, etc. I also see some with extreme almost chihuahua like heads, which I don't favor for a papillon. So I would like some more moderation in the breed overall.

Also, I would love to preserve the phalene as they are not very common and are the original breed type. That might be more difficult because none of my breeders have phalenes so...

Personally, papillons are the only breed I'd ever consider breeding. I like other breeds but they don't have my heart and soul like the papillons do. I think it is important to be able to see and love the breed as a whole and not just your individuals before breeding. I would not even consider getting into breeding unless I was wholly in love with the breed.

Hank CA - (approx. 1 1/2 year old Spotty Dog)
Mia CGC - (6 1/2 year old Papillon)
Summer TG3 TIAD - (11 year old Papillon)
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Old 01-09-2010, 01:10 AM
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MandyPug MandyPug is offline
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Location: Southern Alberta
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I'm not likely to get into breeding, especially with pugs considering the massive politics that happen within that breed alone, but if i did there's a few things I'd want to work on.

1) The Nose/Snout (or lack there of). The exaggeration is getting way out of hand. There can still be a large nose wrinkle without having the snout so far pushed in that the wrinkle covers the nostrils or constricts them. The pug is becoming farther from being a dog every championship winner and becoming more of a piece of meat to parade around. You can still have a reasonably flat face and a large nose wrinkle with a slight snout and you'll also have a better chance of the dog being able to breathe.

2) The extreme square body - These dogs are too short in the body. They're slightly too straight in the leg as well which brings about the knee issues that they're prone to and that weight issues exacerbate (not saying the leg should be extremely angled but it shouldn't be so stiff and straight that it's uncomfortable looking). I'd like to see this dog be able to walk and not waddle and to be able to run without fear of tearing a crutiate or popping a knee cap out. I'd also like to see actually fit dogs as the champion and poster dogs rather than the fat ones that are always out there. Yes, they ARE fatter for the ring.

3) Size - The breed standard calls for 14-18lbs but we see lots of winners in the 20-30lb range. This breed is meant to be small and easy to carry, not so heavy your arm is gonna fall off while toting them around.

There's just alot of issues with the breed. I love them and they'll always be fabulous dogs in my heart, but they're so messed up genetically that I'd never want to get into them especially since pug fanciers tend to think their dogs are better and healthier now than they ever were before.
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Old 01-09-2010, 01:44 PM
Pops2 Pops2 is offline
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actually back when the pug was used to "improve" the english bulldog they were commonly 30# + BUT they were this size and fit not fat.
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Old 01-09-2010, 01:48 PM
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MandyPug MandyPug is offline
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Location: Southern Alberta
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Originally Posted by Pops2 View Post
actually back when the pug was used to "improve" the english bulldog they were commonly 30# + BUT they were this size and fit not fat.
I have no problem with a dog that's structured to be larger and be fit at that size (heck izzie weighs 17-18lbs usually in top condition due to all the exercise she gets which builds up her muscles), but as I'm sure you know with the show ring they're not usually fit or supposed to be built to weight that much (in ANY breed this happens, it's sad really).
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Old 01-09-2010, 02:13 PM
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colliewog colliewog is offline
Collies&Terriers, Oh My!
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 2,297

For the Collies, in a Utopia:

- Eliminate CEA or at least greatly reduce it so that 85% of the breed is not affected by it. Granted, in most cases vision is not affected, but it CAN be eradicated by breeding genetic normals.
- Eliminate PRA (although not as common as CEA, it's always an issue when it occurs).
- Eliminate MDR1 mutant gene (drug sensitivity) or at least reduce frequency of occurrence.
- Eliminate temperament issues (timid and/or dog aggressive dogs ... neither is ever correct)
- Change the standard to allow prick or tipped ears (like the BC) as long as they match. I personally don't agree that a prick eared dog can't show true expression - ears of the right size for the dog's head can still give you the unique Collie expression.
Katie + the Workin' Girls

~Smooth Collies~

URO1 CH "Smidgen" RA,WW-RN,CGC,TT,HIC,VC (2/3 CA)
URO2 CH "Dora" RN,CGC,TT,HIC,VC (2/3 CA)

~American Hairless Terriers (coated)~
UFR USR GRCH 'PR' "OE" TT (UKC Total Dog Award winner)
UFR USR GRCH 'PR' "Spud" TT (UKC Total Dog Award winner)
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