Amanda Kelly, Fwaggle Toy Manchester Terriers, joins host Laura Reeves for a conversation about dog breeding when you plan ahead, do your research and then the results don’t match the expectations.
Amanda and Laura swap stories about all of the times a breeding looked great on paper and was a disaster on the ground in one way or another. The takeaway? Breeding dogs will keep you perpetually humble and learning.
Unexpected markings. Dual sired litter rabbit holes. Repeat breeding pros and cons. And permission to fail.
A sense of humor helps keep it all in perspective. Keeping temperament and health as top priorities in a breeding program means that even if the pups in a litter don’t meet your expectations for the show ring, they will still live long, healthy lives as beloved companions.
“What I love about (dog breeding) is that there's not clear answers,” Amanda noted. “We can ponder the theories and the different ideas and we can try new things if we give herself permission to do it. I hope when breeders have been around for a long time and are helping others that, I hope, is the gift that they're giving them. Permission to try things, to try something new and different. What's the worst thing that happens? They had some pets. The pet people are pretty happy about that.
“There's not a right or wrong way to do this. If I've learned anything from doing this for many years and watching different breeders, there are 1000 different ways to do this. None of them are right or wrong, as long as we have the welfare of our dogs at heart. And we will learn something new every time.
“Every breeding that you do has value. You said it earlier, you learn something. You learn about what not to do, you learn about how your line is producing. So when that best in show dog winds up neutered because you made a bad choice in your puppy evaluation, you have to let it go.
“You need to be able to make a decision and live with it in the planning of a breeding and the evaluation of puppies. So allowing yourself to fail without feeling like a failure is the greatest freedom that you will give yourself as a breeder. I think sometimes we just get so wrapped up in the breeding that's in front of us that we won't allow ourselves to fail, we won't allow ourselves to say ‘you know what, there's nothing in here that I want to keep and so I'm going to let them go (to pet homes).”