Amanda Kelly, Fwaggle Toy Manchester Terriers, joins host Laura Reeves to talk about their favorite thing, shopping! Not for shoes but for stud dogs. Finding the right dog for your specific bitch, your breeding program as a whole and the breed in general, is a process that takes time and effort.
“When you've been breeding for a long time, you don't really stop and think about what that process is,” Kelly said. “I think that there's a couple of foundational pieces that go into choosing a stud dog. They may not seem like they're directly related, but they really are so important.
“I think the first step is to look at your own bitch and your own breeding program and what you want to accomplish with a given breeding. One of the things that I keep coming back to is that you have to think about what your priorities are in a breeding. Before you start looking at any stud dogs or what anybody else has or what might be available or what might be possible, the very first thing to do is to really sit down and look at the bitch that you want to breed. What are her strengths? What are her weaknesses? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the family of dogs that she comes from.
“This whole process is really about research. You're going to research a stud dog but you also are going to look really carefully at your family of dogs that you're working with. You can learn so much about what will be or might be produced by looking at what has been produced. When we start out you kind of feel like you're at a disadvantage because XYZ breeder has been breeding for 25 years and they know all of these dogs. That's true. They have seen them over time, collected information, but some of that information really is available to everybody.
“Look at your bitch and think to yourself, ‘OK, were any of her littermates bred? What about dogs that are out of the same mother. Have they been bred? What about this bitch’s mother? Strong bitches are the cornerstone of any breeding program. What did the mother produce? What has the sire of my bitch produced?
“All of that information is going to fit together like pieces of a puzzle and give you a really clear idea of not only the strengths and weaknesses of your individual bitch but of perhaps the bloodline and what it's producing.
“You can ask 25 breeders and you will get 25 different opinions of the relative merits of any approach to breeding and none of them are wrong. So the experience of your breed mentors, particularly folks who are working in the same group of dogs that you are within your breed, are really invaluable.
“There's a longer term plan rather than 100% just the breeding that's in front of you. I also like to think about what the priorities are for my breed. Coming from a small breed, there's some elements I think of gene pool management. As a breeder in a small breed this is something that's top of mind for me quite often in that there's some gene pool management pieces that I think are important for me to consider as far as what's the best for my breed’s diversity.”