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Old 10-10-2012, 12:51 AM
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Default Philosophical question related to breeding

I may be breaking the rules by posting this here instead of in the breeding forum, but I wanted a lot of people to see it.

DISCLAIMER: This has NOTHING to do with my own breeding program. This is merely a question and a discussion. I also don't want this to turn into attacks on anyone's breeding program. Please answer this question as "What would you do" only.


Alright. Say you have a small breeding program, maybe had less than 10 litters over your lifetime total, and don't keep a lot of dogs. All of your dogs are from similar lines (not too closely related, but definitely all related in some way). You have healthy dogs, you've done your homework and you know what problems are in your lines. Your litters haven't had issues, but people who have used similar dogs in their breeding program have. Some cases of the sickness or temperament issues or whatever are confirmed, others are just "heard it through the grapevine".

Here are my questions:
Do you continue using those lines even if other people have experienced health or temperament issues with similar pedigrees?

When do you "Scrap" a line? Do you try and bring in new blood, possibly compromising the type you like, or do you just scrap the whole breeding program?

Would you start to worry if others were having issues with the lines you use, even if you're not?

I hope that all makes sense. I might add more questions later.
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Old 10-10-2012, 01:04 AM
Saeleofu Saeleofu is offline
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I would be at least a little concerned about it, but it would depend on a LOT of factors as to whether I kept with the same lines or not. There are SO many genetic issues that can be just a couple dogs in a line causing problems - and if those dogs aren't ones you use, then you don't get those problems.

So, without knowing too much more detail, I think I would stick with the lines so long as my dogs continued to be problem-free. I would likely breed for temperament and health first if I were to breed dogs, so those two would be my biggest concerns.
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Old 10-10-2012, 01:56 AM
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I would do more thorough research on the dogs said to have issues from said lines. Maybe it was a certain dog in the pedigree, maybe it was a certain outcross or something else. I would look at that first, before all else.

As long as my lines were problem-free, I would keep them. I would scrap a line before compromising what I want. Mostly because what I want is temperament, health, and work ethic. I wouldn't sacrifice any of those things because I know "desired type" would be secondary to all of that.

However, if new blood would bring a certain perk, such as dogs with hard work ethic and plenty of energy BUT an awesome off button, I would take advantage of that too. As long as it didn't sacrifice something like health.
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Old 10-10-2012, 03:12 AM
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Depends on the problem and depends on the line, and the frequency of said issue.

There's no such thing as a 100% health problem free line. There just isn't. Anybody that claims there is doesn't know their lines as well as they think, or they're lying.

If there was close osteo or bloat (like within the last couple of generations) I'd look really hard at not using dogs from the breeding that produced it. If I did decide it was worth the risk, I'd do at least one generation of phenotypic outcross to something that didn't have a history of that issue before breeding back to those lines (by breeding back I mean 2nd-4th-ish cousins out of the line, and those cousins would preferably have been outcrossed to other nice stuff in the mean time, and hopefully there wouldn't be any new health issues brought in by those lines... lol)

It's hard to know, and weigh things out without really knowing the history, the particular ailment, etc. Like, I would never ever breed a dog that bloated or got cancer or had epilepsy. But depending on the history of the line might possibly consider a close relative (like a half sibling, especially if all signs pointed to the unrelated parent being the source of illness).
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Old 10-10-2012, 03:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyzelle View Post
As long as my lines were problem-free, I would keep them. I would scrap a line before compromising what I want. Mostly because what I want is temperament, health, and work ethic. I wouldn't sacrifice any of those things because I know "desired type" would be secondary to all of that.
Out of curiosity, if you were working with lines that had the temperament and work ethic, would you scrap it for health issues or would you try improving through outcross? I'm not talking about joint issues or anything debilitating. Like, if the lines were known to produce an occasional epileptic dog or a random dog with autoimmune issues or allergies here and there. Maybe once every couple of generations, so a good chance there wouldn't be one in every litter.
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Old 10-10-2012, 03:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Romy View Post
Out of curiosity, if you were working with lines that had the temperament and work ethic, would you scrap it for health issues or would you try improving through outcross? I'm not talking about joint issues or anything debilitating. Like, if the lines were known to produce an occasional epileptic dog or a random dog with autoimmune issues or allergies here and there. Maybe once every couple of generations, so a good chance there wouldn't be one in every litter.
Nope. Health (physical and mental) trumps all. Are some problems more serious than others? Sure, and that would go into the decision process. But I would be MORE willing to search 20 years to find the dog I want than breed something that was not to my personal standards and risk unhealthy or unstable dogs.

Work ethic and temperament comes after, mostly because not everyone will want the same in a dog. I personally like more stubborn, smarter dogs. Not everyone does. I personally like dogs that will get me off my butt every day. Others prefer a really nice off switch. So that might vary depending on what I was breeding for and what market I was aiming it at (if any other than my own personal use).

But this is why I'm not a breeder. I'm too **** picky and want perfection.

One of the major issues I see is that dogs' pedigrees become diluted very quickly. It's not always easy to see what health issues came from where. When you have, say, 10 pups in a litter and 5 out of that litter are bred to 5 different lines...then 3 of those subsequent litters have health issues, you're stuck trying to figure out if it was YOUR lines, or if the problems came from one of the 2 generations(parents/grandparents) in all three of those outcrosses. Particularly if any of those 3 outcrosses had any of the same ancestors.

That is a LOT of research. Which is why I don't envy reputable breeders at all.
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Old 10-10-2012, 03:46 AM
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Ok, so my standpoint on it is that it would take a lot for me to scrap a line- but if my breeding program did start producing problems, I would. I would rather give up breeding BCs all together than go to lines that aren't what I love. I mean, I am 100% honest- Riot has some temperament issues, and I am 80% sure I am not breeding her. If I did, it would be a very specific situation, finding homes that were absolutely prepared for a high energy dog with some reactivity, and I would find the most laid back non reactive dog I could possibly find within my type. But, even then its a VERY slim chance. Sucks, because I personally love her personality, drive, work ethic and she is sooooo beautiful, and I would LOVE to have a puppy out of her. Unfortunately you can't make a bitch only have one puppy

Anyways, I agree with Lyzelle that health comes first. It does for me too, its just I couldn't in good conscience sacrifice everything I've worked for if some random dog that is out of similar lines as mine comes up with epilepsy. What *would* make me scrap my line is if *I* started producing it...

I mean, is it worrisome that a dog who is a half sibling on one side and on the other has some similar ancestors, but is heavily linebred on one dog who has been reported to produce epilepsy, comes up as epileptic when they're 6? I don't know. Studies have shown that if epilepsy develops after the age of 5 that it is statistically incredibly unlikely to be genetic... but even then since they haven't pinpointed a gene and offered a test for it... ARGH. Its so hard! (alright. This one IS about my breeding program but I seriously do NOT want this to turn into a debate about my dogs)
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:04 AM
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It'd take a lot for me. I personally have close friends who have scrapped an entire line out of necessity, and some bad luck. I have scrapped my line, which is why I currently only have one intact male and one spayed bitch.

After breeding one litter my bitch developed hypothyroidism and started having seizures. I notified everyone I could think of. The stud dog owner, the puppy buyers, her breeder, the owner of her father, anyone who owned siblings of hers. I scrapped my entire line, spayed her and the puppy I kept from the litter (who is now 7, normal thyroid, no seizures). No one else did anything, said "thanks for the info", and kept right on breeding. To my knowledge, no one else has had a single issue.
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:15 AM
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This is going to happen to anyone who is breeding. There are always going to be some relatives of your dogs who have produced some issues in health temperament or structure. Your dogs will also sometimes produce issues. No litter is going to be ideal in every way. There are no "problem free lines" in any breed.

I did pretty much scrap my breeding plans and start over. My first litter was an accidental breeding of Loki and Jagger. The litter was overall nice but there were some concerns. Zette that I kept from the litter wouldn't stand for breeding so no breedings were done with her anyway. The second litter was out of Belle and Loki's mom's littermate the litter Cherry came from. The third litter was also out of Belle and Loki's brother. Belle developed atypical Pannus after the second litter and some of her kids have developed it too. So there went those breeding plans (although there was an accidental litter involving Cherry's sister, none are in breeding homes). Fourth litter was Loki and Jagger's half brother Dante, which resulted in two nice, healthy puppies but neither went to breeding homes. So back to square one...

It's really easy for something like that to happen. There was absolutely no way anyone could have predicted the Pannus issue with Belle but it happened and it meant two litters of otherwise quality dogs were not going to be used for breeding. In terms of accomplishments, Belle's first litter was outstanding. Multiple puppies finished, one GrCH and one ranked in the top 20 while being campaigned, multiple mid to high level performance titles, good herding ability in the ones who have been worked and just all around nice dogs. I think the ones who were OFA'd were all excellent hips too. So yeah...breeding quality dogs isn't as easy as it seems. Loki's first litter all went to pet homes mostly because it was an oops and neither parent was finished at the time and only had low level performance titles. Her second litter one went to a serious obedience/performance home who didn't want to keep her intact and the other went to a pet home who had a puppy from Loki's first litter. Their first puppy jumped on the front door to follow them across the street one day and was hit by a car. They were and still are heartbroken over it. I promised them a puppy if I ever bred Loki again and...well I couldn't really tell them no because there are just two. I co-bred the litter with Loki's breeder and she wanted a male and didn't want to tell the serious competition home no, figuring we'd breed Zette. So neither of us kept a puppy. Just weird how things work out sometimes.
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:31 AM
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Overall, direct relatives would make me pause a heck of a lot more than distant ones. Health issues I'd be more cautious with, especially if they were known to be genetically based. Temperament would be harder to determine if it was genetically or environmentally influenced and thus would require further research.

Scrapping would happen if I produced the problems myself in my lines and/or if it became obvious that one of the sources of the issue was heavily present in my lines (a specific cross with obvious inheritance patterns). Otherwise I'd take things on a case by case basis.
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