Showsight November 2022


often familiar with the various lines of dogs and what they can be expected to produce when bred from. This knowledge of how phenotype is the expression of genotype within families of dogs, or through prepotent near ancestors or an ancestor that is the focus of line-breeding or in-breeding, is built up over time and exposure to many examples of the breed as well as following the

Have you been well informed, by whatever means, of the strengths, weaknesses, and prepotency of the three generations of ancestors behind each prospective sire and dam? Some sires and dams are dominant for certain traits—good and bad. Which are the prepotent ancestors in the prospective mating and what traits were they dominant for (good and bad)? Is the prospective sire or dam from a long line of phenotypically predictable dogs? What are the genetic health indicators in the breed? What are the genetic health testing results of the ancestors? If some results are not known, has the ancestor ever produced an affected dog with a health issue of concern? Where genetic tests are unavail- able, think of those diseases/conditions likely to be polygenic (produced from the cumulative effects of many genes), i.e., hip dysplasia. Have ancestors been evaluated by qualified veterinary specialists? What are the results? Are those results in a publicly available health database? For those diseases where there is no public database, i.e., bloat, cancer, what is the history of the ancestors and their progeny? Have you asked your mentor(s) which male they would breed to your prospective dam? Or conversely, if you own the prospective sire, would they breed a particular female to your male? Those who have long and deep experience in a breed are

offspring of matings. EXPECTATIONS

Temper your expectations with a heavy dose of reality. Not all breedings result in a genotypic “nick” to produce phenotyp- ic excellence. Even within the same litter, there may be a wide variability of quality (structure, movement, and health). This is certainly the case within my own breed, one that is often said to not breed true. Once the offspring are old enough to be prop- erly evaluated by experienced evaluators (the age ranges will vary according to breed), only those that have met the goals defined for that breeding and that fit within the plan to advance the breed should be retained to grow out. Your next question, and possibly one for a future column, should be: “Is this grown-out pick puppy worth keeping? Is it worth breeding from?” The cycle of questions will start again. Good luck!

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