dog breeding questions

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by ninny, May 10, 2011.

  1. ninny

    ninny Songster

    Jul 1, 2007
    IL side of the QCA
    I have questions for all you dog breeders. We are having a hard time find good labs in our area. So i have started thinking about how genes in dogs work. I need a lab who can work as hard and long as i need it to then hang out the rest of the day. Its really hard to find that. Our choices are hunting lines and they just can't find their off button. Or show lines and they cant find their on button. So if you blended the lines would you get a more useful dog?

    So say have your male be solid hunting and your female show. Im guessing you would get some dogs that are one of each and some blended. Then what would you breed the blended ones too? Bred back to a hunting then to show again?

    Also does anyone know why if theres a standard do the lines look so different? A show lab looks like a different breed then the hunting and then you have the English types too. I thought standards were to keep the dog in the original form. But you can't take a show dog hunting. It cant do the job it was originally bred for. So why is that what judges are looking for? Why have looks overruled function in dogs? [​IMG]

    Any hoos i sure ill come up with more questions later. Thanks!

  2. emptynester

    emptynester Songster

    Mar 23, 2011
    Beaufort, SC
    Quote:If you are looking for a quality lab, you should start your search looking for a GOOD breeder. By good breeder I mean, someone who both shows for conformation- in the show ring, and someone who also competes in field trials- working dogs. A GOOD breeder also has genetic testing done for breed specific health problems. For labs they should have proof of testing for hip displasia, elbow displasia, and Eye diseases( CERF) . Two other new test for labs are Centronuclear myopathy and exercise induced collapse.
    The breeder Should have copies of the results of all test on both the Dam and the Sire. A GOOD breeder will have a lifetime health guarantee, make you sign a spay/neuter contract and will be in contact with you for the life of the dog. If not, don't waste your money and go on to a different breeder. Also, a GOOD breeder will not breed their females before the age of 2, when they are fully mature. When it comes to dogs- You get what you pay for generally.

    Standards were made for the sake of breeding stock. The standard is a theoretical 'perfect' dog of a particular breed. In dog shows, dogs do not compete against each other but against that theoretical "perfect" dog. The dog closest to that ideal picture wins.
    As there is no "perfect" dog. The standard does give a bit of leeway in interpretation. Some people like a blockier type head, or a square but more streamlined body. As such, breeders tend to breed to get the look of their own idea of 'perfect' keeping within the standards.

    Just as there are those that like to show, but don't hunt. And those that love to hunt and not show. But if you want a dog that does it all, then you need to find a breeder who does as well. Expect to pay quite a bit of money for quality stock. Most reputable breeders loose money due to the expenses incurred for vet visits, health screening and genetic testing, training, showing, food, etc.

    You Can take a show dog hunting, and you CAN take a hunting dog to a show. It will take diligent research on your part, but in the end it's worth it for a lifelong companion.
  3. rodriguezpoultry

    rodriguezpoultry Langshan Lover

    Jan 4, 2009
    Claremore, OK
    This is an awful answer to your question but my dog was free from a BYB. His mother and father were lean but very large chested. Face was that gorgeous block. He was 4 months old and bless him ugly as sin. He grew into a gorgeous lab that was happy running the fields all day, fetching from the water or flushing birds from a field. He would go forever! If you wanted to take a weekend off he'd happily sleep on your feet. I could never train him to fetch a toy but you get a bird or squirrel down, he'd fetch like he'd been trained like a pro. He'd bring back birds still alive...I considered myself a "big hunter" because I actually killed the birds that Dad wounded from the bird shot. Man I miss my Thunder... [​IMG] won't ever be another like him. Perhaps looking in a shelter would be an idea? Sometimes there are gems in there.
  4. ninny

    ninny Songster

    Jul 1, 2007
    IL side of the QCA
    Okay i guess i didn't make myself clear. I am curious as to how genes affect behavior and drive in dogs. Not how to pick a breeder or find a dog. Im sorry if i wasn't clear enough. I used labs as an example as they are a breed i have now.
  5. Jamie_Dog_Trainer

    Jamie_Dog_Trainer Songster

    Jul 8, 2008
    Washington State
    Quote:Genes are everything really, they affect everything the dog does. Training supports, encourages, exaggerates, or discorages the genetic behavior tendancies. These genetic predispositions include all drives: prey drive, sex drive, pack drive. Most other drives are off-shoots of these main three.

    In training you are either trying to exaggerate a drive, or discourage it. Thats the bare bones of training. Some dogs have little of one drive and more of another. For instance, take a Field bred Lab. They have a high prey drive and usually a high pack drive. The more specificly encouraged drives involved in a hunting Lab are the drive to chase prey, the drive to catch the prey, the drive to bring the prey back to the pack. This "pack drive" is important in working dogs. It gives the dog the desire to be with and work with the owner. The drives discoraged in a hunting Lab are: shake and kill drive, the drive to eat what is caught, and the drive for independant work ethic.

    In Border Collies their exaggerated drives are the stalking and chase drives, as well as pack drive. Their discouraged drives are shake-kill-eat drives. This is of course a very simplified version of how deep you can go into describing drives LOL.

    I hope this helps. [​IMG]

  6. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    Quote:VERY good questions!
  7. carolinagirl58

    carolinagirl58 Songster

    Mar 30, 2011
    Lugoff, SC
    emptynester's answer was perfect. In short, you can't get an even blend of genes by mixing two dogs. for example...if you cross a white poodle with a black poodle, you don't get gray will probably get some black, some white and some black and white. The best way to get what you are looking for is to find an outstanding breeder as emptynester suggests.
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    No experience breeding dogs, but I can tell you that in horses it doesn't work that way at all with temperament. And in my more limited experience with other livestock and with cats, it doesn't seem to either. So I would not hold my breath for dogs to be different, on general principle.

    If it were all that easy, everyone would be doing it [​IMG] Seriously. (And, I mean, who DOESN'T want a dog that is full-on when you want but asleep-on-rug when you would prefer that? So it's not like something nobody would be interested in producing)

    Breeding is different than bartending, you don't just mix 1 jigger of this and 3 jiggers of that and get something that is 75% whatever.

    If there is a specific list of things you want, it would generally take a long large expensive breeding program over decades and decades to produce that.... or, you could snout around really hard and find that there are a few people out there who are already producing pretty much what you want, and pony up whatever it takes to get a dog or two from them, and there ya go.

    Finding that person who's already done all the hard work for you and buying a pup from themwon't be quick or cheap; but it will be MASSIVELY quicker or cheaper than starting from scratch.

    If this is to breed on from, btw, be cautious about buying an unusual animal who is maybe everything you're looking for BUT most of his sibs and pedigree are pretty far from what you want. It is not impossible for that individual to be unusually prepotent and produce a line of offspring strongly like his/herself... but it is much more common for that NOT to happen, for the offspring to be more representative of his/her relatives rather than the 'oddball' parent. Not to say you can't try it if you come across the right circumstances and are ok with teh gamble, but it is far riskier than hunting for a dog who not only him/herself but ALSO sibs/ancestors are really what you're looking for.

    JMHO, good luck, have fun,

    Last edited: May 11, 2011
  9. Annie84

    Annie84 In the Brooder

    May 2, 2011
    Columbus, MN
    a good, reputable breeder would be able to help you find what of their dogs you are looking for, if any. There will be pups in a litter that have more drive and energy than others. Some will excel at working, some show, and some are pet quality. The best dogs will be both working and show, as IMO a dog should be able to perform it's task, and look good in the show ring. With my own dogs, a dog has to both do well in conformation and has to work, in addition has to pass the health tests that we do. If a dog does not meet my standards in all three, they will not be bred.

    You also need to look at what you want the dog for. If you want a dog that is going to hunt, then pick a breed that, at least somewhat was bred for hunting. If you don't want a dog that will try to herd everything, don't pick a breed bred for herding. A breed that has been bred for a task for so long will not be bred away from it, and those tasks are instincts, to that particular breed. You need to look at what you want in a dog, what you want it for, and start deciding which breeds would fit into that lifestyle. A problem a lot of people have is picking a breed, then trying to mold it to their lifestyle, then wondering why they have issues. Between that and some people thinking they don't need to train their dog, or the dog should train itself, we've just located the problems 99% of people have with dogs. (then you have the occasional dog that just isn't right, which can happen in any breed)

    A good breeder is going to try to get to know you a bit before they even put you on their waiting list, and once you do get a dog from them, they will most likely have strict contracts.

    Genetics can be a complex thing to discuss, but like others have said, you can't mix two dogs and hope for something in the middle. You breed two dogs and hope for the best of both worlds, but you also have to be prepared for what happens if you get all the genes you didn't want, which is where culling comes in. There are two ways of culling with dogs, there is the "spay/neuter and place in pet home" where you are just removing the dog from the gene pool, and there is where most people think of culling where the dog is put down. Both have their time and place. Some breeders use one method over the other, some use both. I'll put a dog down if their temperament is not 100% perfect with humans in every aspect. If I have a good home lined up, I'll spay/neuter a dog that does not meet my standards and place in an approved pet home. If I can't find an approved pet home, well, then the dogs fate is the same as that with an unstable temperament. No dog, ever in my possession will ever end up with a rescue, and I have strict contracts with every dog I place.

  10. FourPawz

    FourPawz Songster

    Apr 2, 2010
    Quote:Think of a dog's genes as a pack of playing cards. In each pup, the cards are tossed up in the air, randomly pairing to create that particular pup. Sadly, labs, like german shepherds, have morphed into two (or more) subtypes of the same breed. The show breeder has chosen for temperament, because a biter will be disqualified. He or she just hasn't chosen for the extreme prey drive and dogged determination. The field trialers have gone to the other extreme. Long-legged, lean dogs that diverge from the breed standard in their hyper-active temperaments and in their conformation. You cannot make a pet out of a field champion, because of this over-the-top drive to work which MUST be channeled into some sort of activity. You find the same thing in working line shepherds, malinois and in border collies.

    If a person wants a weekend hunter, one that can hang out with him during the week and then fill his limit of ducks on the weekends, then he may not want a dog from top-winning field lines because that dog may drive him insane with its extreme drives. There are middle of the road labradors, one just has to research, see adult dogs working and sift through the hype.
    Last edited: May 11, 2011

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