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Enhancing an Educated Crapshoot

By Sandy Weaver

Let’s start with this premise: breeding is an educated crapshoot.

If you’ve bred more than four litters, chances are at least one of them really surprised you. Maybe they were better than you’d hoped for, or maybe the litter was mediocre at best. If you breed long enough, you’ll have the mediocre litter at least once. It’s no shame to admit it, because breeding is an educated crapshoot.

Many breeders do a good job at pedigree research, and at learning structure and gait and the many important aspects of their breed’s type in order to produce puppies that are better than their parents. They wait until the animals are mature before breeding them. They do the breed-specific genetic testing and they vet the puppies’ owners thoroughly before placing the puppies they don’t keep. That’s the ideal that responsible breeders strive for and most show breeders hit that ideal admirably.

Where a lot of responsible breeders fail is in the ability to be unbiased in their assessment of the litter. And that inability to honestly see what they produced will tank their breeding program if they don’t lose their “kennel blinders” quickly.

It’s common for people who’ve only had a litter or two to think that every puppy is amazing and deserving of ring time and a Championship. They put a lot of work into the litter, spending a lot of time playing with, cuddling and bonding with every puppy. It’s easy for them to confuse their dreams of what the puppies could be with the reality of what the puppies are. They can be forgiven for not being the most objective person. Breeders who’ve been at it for years, however, should learn a sense of balance and objectivity where their puppies are concerned. Sadly, many don’t, and it shows in the animals they take into the ring.

One of the things I most love to do is evaluate litters. I’ve been called on for many years to take what I’ve learned from mentors like the late Quentin LaHam, Pat Hastings, Audrey Lycan, Joy Graeme Messenger, Pat Trotter, the late Kathleen Kanzler and Damara Bolté and apply it to help breeders see what they have, and make the right choice when keeping and placing puppies.

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62 – June, 2020

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Posted by on May 30 2023. Filed under Current Articles, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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