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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Years ago I used to be extremely strict, what came to hips and elbows. Only dogs with spotless scores should be used for breeding. Well, as years passed by I have come to realise that there are so many other aspects we need to think carefully as well. Still, I think we should definitely prefer using the dogs, who have perfect scores themselves, so called healthy in paper –dogs. But as we have to think from so many angles, sometimes we just have to compromise. And as always, each breeder will put weight on things she or he feels has most importance.

Well, to start with, we all wish to use healthy dogs with excellent pedigree, beautiful looks, still does the work Labradors are bred to do, wonderful temperament, able to conceive offspring and otherwise as vital as ever. And when you cannot find such a dog, you have two choices: to change your hobby into collecting stamps for instance OR diminish your demands.

One truth about breeding is this: no dog is perfect, nor can you find a dog with no faults at all. If a breeder claims to have a perfect and completely faultless dog, he/she is either unable to see the truth or is equipped with an IQ lower than an average shoe-size. Every dog, even the dearest one to you has its downsides and faults. But how much weight you give to those “not so good sides”, when thinking specifically of breeding and a certain combination - that is up to us breeders.

Another important thing, which needs to be reminded is this: each stud dog is only as valuable as its offspring. If a stud dog himself is, well, a bit less marvellous at some area, BUT has left significantly skilful offspring, then that particular dog is an excellent stud. On the other hand, if he leaves just… errr… rubbish, how good a stud dog can he then be? Regardless how fabulous achievements he himself has.

Then to my actual point on how difficult it sometimes can be to find a decent stud dog to your bitch. This may give an insight to those, who haven’t bred litters themselves. It just tells you, how frustrating the process can be in its worst. You have, of course, visited various field trials, shows and other occasions, where you can meet potential dogs. And luckily, in Finland we have a splendid Dog Database, where every one of our registered pure-bred dogs can be found. There can be seen everything you need to know about the dog, in paper and it’s absolutely free of charge for everyone to use. Thanks Finnish Kennel Club!

The conclusions:

Stud Nr 1: He seems to have all the possible results and titles you can find between earth and moon. He seems so excellent in every way. And the best part: he has got the most wonderful temperament you can ever wish for, his pedigree is interesting and happens to suit to your bitch as well. I almost call the owner to ask the dog for breeding, but then a friend of mine tells me that the dog in question suffers from terrible allergies. As does all his close relatives. What a pleasant surprise, I have to say. He is all healthy in paper, as are his relatives too. Should I use him anyway? Well, allergies cannot be seen in any statistics, so who would know? The combination looks nice – on paper. Whooh, no, no I won’t use him. I don’t want to pass on any more allergies.

Stud Nr 2: Again I have found a dog with excellent pedigree, healthy and very suitable match to my bitch. His pedigree looks astonishing: there are so many champions in there that I almost catch a migraine, when trying to distinguish all the letters from each other. His own achievements are not to feel ashamed of and I have seen him in trials myself, too. I am almost grabbing my phone again, but then I have another friend to tell me that the dog is rotten between his ears. He tries to eat everyone alive and the only thing stopping him from doing it, is his agile owner. But should I use him? This combination looks ever fancier on paper than the previous one, having all the champions in the pedigree. No, no and no. I will never use a dog for breeding, if he doesn’t have all the bricks at the right position. Who wants to produce puppies with possible tendency to get aggressive?

Stud Nr 3: Yippee, now I have found my dream partner! Marvellous wins on field trials, definitely healthy, good pedigree and again suitable to my bitch. He doesn’t even look like a monster, his offspring has also very nice statistics. Until I take a closer look: he seems to have had exceptionally small litter, which to me looks odd. One friend knows that the bitch line behind him has massive problems in getting even pregnant and they always need a section, because they can’t give birth normally. On top of this, the dog himself is not very eager to mate. Great, this is certainly not anything I wish to add to my bitch line. On top of all the other problems, I am not interested in weak vitality and reproducing problems. A stud dog must always be able to breed normally!

Stud Nr 4: This one I have seen in trials, he performed an excellent work. He is handsome, well-mannered and according to his owner, hasn’t ever needed a vet except vaccinations. My friends didn’t have anything negative to say about this fella. This is it, this one I will use – until back home I open the Dognet and discover the harsh truth: the dog is a half-brother to my own bitch. So, another choice down the toilet, I am not keen on too high inbreeding numbers. Bye-bye, best choice!

Stud Nr 5: What if I turn to that same stud dog everyone else is using at the moment? I don’t even try to find anything different from the bulk. It must be a good dog, as seemingly every soul on this planet is using him, too. Why should I care, if he already has 5000 puppies around the world. Let’s follow the trend, even if one whole generation is soon produced by this same sire. Nope, this path has never been for me. I do have brains of my own and I am capable of using them.


Stud Nr 6: Then what about this guy? Different pedigree, but he hasn’t got any results whatsoever from any competitions. Wasn’t it the truth that every dog is a potential field trial winner or show king, until proven otherwise? Perhaps not this boy anyway. How can I explain my choice to my puppy buyers: Yes, this is a superb dog with lots of potential, a great hunter and also beautiful. He just happens to have a very lazy owner. Who would buy this story?

Stud Nr 7: Now, there it is. A gorgeous dog, as a bonus he happens to live in my country. I have seen this boy in trials and shows, he is healthy as well. I am about to pick up my phone once more, when I decide to take a look at his background. Oh no, all the close relatives have the worst possible hips and elbows and as a bonus, one littermate has also an eye cataract. And the final look at the dog’s offspring will inevitably raise my, whatever there is left, hair straight up in the air. As an individual this dog will look wonderful, healthy as ever. But why is he having so miserable statistics? Could it be that he happens to carry dysplasia in his genes? Again, my bitch combined to this dog would produce exceptional puppies, and they would look as appeling as a packet of candies. But what was one of the basic rules in breeding? A stud dog is only as good stud dog as his offspring is. Forget about him!

Stud Nr 8: Here I can find a nice dog. He seems to be having results from almost eight different trials, his littermates are healthy and his mother has left many superb litters as a whole. Also his pedigree would match. Until I am told that he has a severe “dry-nose”, which he has left to a couple of his offspring. This cannot be real anymore! Would I dare to use him knowing he has this nasal condition? I don’t know. I am just not willing to add that fault to my line as well, because that is something that hasn’t ever popped out in this family. That disease is an auto-immune disease and may carry some other, more serious conditions along with it. *sigh* I have to erase this dog as well.

Stud Nr 9: Okay, let’s take a look outside my own country. I am destined to find a wonderful dog with great results, a handsome fella, who is healthy allover. His owner is praising him, as if he was talking about God or something. Nobody has seen this dog live and all you know about the overall health of his relatives, is what you can find in the internet or are told by the owner. This dog could be a good choice, who knows, it is a bit hard to get rock-solid information on these foreign dogs. To use this dog will leave me more behind the curtains than when using a dog I know fairly well with all his benefits and downsides.

Stud Nr 10: Could I imagine using one domestic dog with a minor hip condition? I don’t say dysplasia, but not perfect hips. He has been all-healthy all his life, his family is free from hip dysplasia for as far as you can find anything in the databases. He already has a few litters with no obvious skeletons behind the doors. He is a gentleman, works well both in trials and in hunting, he is good-looking and he hasn’t even had a single ear-infection despite swimming sometimes in very suspicious waters. His only fault seems to be having slightly loose hips. My bitch doesn’t widely have this problem behind her. What about him?

Stud Nr 11: After sweaty (and sweary) moments spent on finding a suitable dog, I have finally come across an excellent dog. No more nail-biting, here we go! Just that a week before I am about to use him, he is tested to be EIC-affected and PRA-affected. I could well have used a carrier, because my bitch is tested clear on both conditions. But affected is more complicated. In my opinion, if a dog is affected, it can be used for breeding, IF he is otherwise of exceptionally high quality. That it would cause more "damage" to the genepole not to use him than use him knowing all the pups will be carriers. Oh no, this is getting hard, now I surely will jump down the cliff...

.... Stud Nr XXX: The guinea pig of my neighbour is my final choice. I will get stripy, small Labradors, who can eat grass and seeds. It will become cheaper than all the meat-based meals I am forced to feed my Full-Labradors with. Also, these Guinea Pigedors won’t ever have the same hereditary problems I have to tackle at the moment. They will develop something we haven’t ever seen before. I’m excited!
 

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What a wonderful post! Really puts the other side across to me.

All I want, of course, is the perfect bitch to come to my perfect dogs in order that I can keep the perfect puppy!!!
:lol: :lol: :lol:

(Joking - cant have any more dogs!!)

Katy
 

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I can only echo Katy and say what a tremendous wonderful post with tons of thought and tons for us to think about! Amazed it hasn't created much debate! Loving the descriptions and your english, can I say, is beyond superb! The idea of being able to write, with humour, is incrediable to me in a language which is not your first!

The other thing which made me suddenly realise how utterly lucky we really are here in the UK is this:

" Stud Nr 7: Now, there it is. A gorgeous dog, as a bonus he happens to live in my country. "

... wow! We just never think how lucky we are to have this huge diverse gene pool never more than 6 hours drive from any end of the country (if you avoid the M25!) ;-)

Your considerations, of course, as examples, are brilliant. I disagree with ruling out some of the dogs you 'kind of' did, based on words from a friend on allergies, or temperament, but it creates that huge debate that if you ASKED the owner yourself rather than took gossip, would they actually TELL you the truth? One persons poor temperament is another persons 'acceptable because he was attacked as a puppy/just doesn't like entire males/gets aggitaed if dogs sniff his backside...etc'.... so very tricky! Ditto allergies. One persons 'bit of a itch now and then' is anothers persons 'severe allergies'....

What a difficult path we walk. And you talk only of working dogs. Now factor in trying to find genuinely dual purpose dogs to use on your girls with the above catagories and even living in this huge gene pool you find the folder marked 'potential husbands' rather thin!

;-)

Di
 

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Thank you for a great post.
As someone who is currently looking at stud dogs I have lost count of the number of times I've been tempted to forget it and buy a pup in :wink:
 

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What a fabulous, interesting post. Thank you. :D :D

Hayley
 

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Great post! Really enjoyed reading it. Good luck with your future breeding plans.
 

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Wow, what a great read. A real eye opener!


This had me nearly falling on my seat laughing! :lol:
Darkwaters said:
.... Stud Nr XXX: The guinea pig of my neighbour is my final choice. I will get stripy, small Labradors, who can eat grass and seeds. It will become cheaper than all the meat-based meals I am forced to feed my Full-Labradors with. Also, these Guinea Pigedors won’t ever have the same hereditary problems I have to tackle at the moment. They will develop something we haven’t ever seen before. I’m excited!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for everyone, I am almost blushing for all this praise :oops: ...

I think you lifted up one very important thing, Di, when you warned about trusting rumours. I personally have a huge difference between "friends" and "acquintances". A friend to me means really a true, reliable person, whom I have known from the Stone Age. We can fully trust each other. There are only a few true friends in my life. Then there are lots and lots of people, whom I sincerely like and find their company nice. But they are more or less acquintances, and this means no offence to anyone. I perhaps don't know them well enough to be able to trust them, or for whatever reason.

I never believe in obscure rumours, because you can never tell, who has started them and most importantly, why. But if one of my trusted friends tells me some information about a dog they know, I do believe it. But if I hear something from around, I tend not to let that affect my choices. In my text I only meant reliable sources, when I pointed out hearing something from my friends.

I have to tell you one nasty rumour I heard of my own dog. It was almost three years ago, when I was planning to mate my elder bitch for the first time. I was looking for a male then and found one in Denmark. When I finally had the litter, fourteen black and chocolate pups sired by the Danish then 11-years-old male, I received a rude PM via Finnish Retriever Forum. I was told off by an anonymous writer, when she really poured all kind of accusations right to my face. She was "shocked and amazed", how I dared to use such a bitch to breeding. According to her sources my bitch was a descendant to an epilectic dog.

Whaaaat the f*** is this crap, I replied to her (being angry that she couldn't even tell her real name). I said that I had never heard my bitch having such a background. Even if I knew this rumour being just made up by some jealous people, I called the breeder of my bitch. She was angry too, hearing those fairytales. The truth? The grandsire owned by the breeder herself had some kind of infection in his liver and he had to eat special food for some time. But he recovered fully showing never any signs of illness and died five years later at the age of 11 after falling down the stairs (a sad accident).

So no, I really don't buy just anything I hear around :roll: ...
 

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Fantastic post and very very true, really enjoyed reading it and certainly points out how hard it is to find the right dog.
 
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