BREEDING THE CHIHUAHUA FOR THE SHOW RING by Virginia (Jenny) Hauber
Photo of WynJyn Isadora, aka IZZY, the Iron Dog .
“P eople are creators. But I doubt that many realize this. We are not meant to go out into the world and find flawless things, we are not meant to sit down and have flawless things fall in our laps. But we are creators. We can create a beauti- ful thing out of what we have. The problem with idealistic people is that they see themselves as receivers and instead of creators they end up hunt- ing for the flaw in everything in order to measure it up to their ideals. Now when you see yourself as a creator, you can look at a chunk of marble and see an angel in it. Then you carve until you have set that angel free.” —C. JoyBell C. IDEALISM VS. REALISM We all know that statement, “There is no perfect dog.” If we believe this, why do we expect to breed our per- fect dog? Idealism is the behavior or thought based on a conception of things as they should be, or as they wish them to be, with a tendency to be imaginary or visionary. Whereas, re- alism is the behavior or thought based on a conception of things as they are, regardless of how one wants them to be with the tendency to be practical or pragmatic. Many new to the breeding process suffer from idealism. Although this is not a bad thing, one must have some realistic expectations when dealing with possibilities beyond our control. The genetics of dogs can be a huge handicap. Humans have 46 chromo- somes (23 pairs), versus a dog’s 78 (39 pairs). The arrangement or se- quence of the genes of chromosomes is astounding. So, when dealing with
living beings, we are at the mercy of genetics. Awareness of the intricate patters of heredity is a good way to begin to re- alize why traits don’t always fall into predictable patterns. The varying de- gree of dominant and recessive genes, as well as environment, will affect the outcome of your planned breeding. Just ask those who have been success- fully breeding for years and they will tell you of their early idealism and the puppy or puppies they wish they had kept. Their idealism got in the way and set their breeding program back another year or more. To ac- complish one’s goal in one generation is unrealistic. We also need to realize that there is an element of art to dog breeding. Successful breeders have honed their skills by experience, study and obser- vations. A little intuition doesn’t hurt either. The best genetics in the world can’t predict what will happen when two dogs are mated no matter how hard we strive for genetic reliability and consistency. Every generation is different. There truly is no set for- mula for success so sprinkle your ide- alism with a little realism and carve We all start at the same level but soon we think we know everything we need to produce our perfect dog. Eventu- ally we have to admit to ourselves that this probably is not the case and begin again. This is the point whenwe really begin to learn. It is natural to learn only our immedi- ate interests. As breeders, we need to until you set your angel free. NO SUBSTITUTE FOR GOOD BREEDING
broaden our boundaries. A champion- ship title does not guarantee perfec- tion. We must know and understand our Breed Standard, along with the anatomy of a dog, animal husbandry and genetics. Once we feel comfort- able with these aspects, we can begin our breeding program. It is always good to make it a habit to look at “virtues” first and “faults” last. Fault finders will override the total perspective of their dog which leaves a lingering impression. Compare the faults to the virtues. Do the virtues outweigh the faults? A true breeder must be willing to take a gamble with Mother Nature and take the worst along with the best. We must realize that each puppy is actually two different beings. We all understand there is no perfect dog so don’t be in a hurry for that great one. It is far better for a breeder to move slowly toward their goal by collect- ing virtues and discarding faults and tackling one problem at a time. The “overall” dog must be kept in mind. The best package has the best chance in the show ring. Most of us know that faults are about the construction of the the dog and failings are more about cosmetics. A dogs construction or “conformation” is the most important part of any animal. If a dog is not constructed properly, it isn’t moving properly and therefore cannot do the job it was cre- ated for.When you hear of a judge that likes “good movement”, it means they like a well constructed dog. They go hand in hand. We rarely see a fault such as a poor front or unleveled topline on a >
32 • T op N otch T oys , M arch 2020
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