A beautiful dog never results from impulsive, short-term actions, it requires a carefully conceived plan. The final product is the evolution of a lengthy creative process of inspiration, vision, experimentation, revisions and finally, the production of a finished work.
To become a top kennel, behind it, must be the personality of the breeder, and that personality is the vision the breeder saw in his minds eye, persistently and consistently pursued.
Breeding is a vision, and a breeder must be an artist using all of his abilities, knowledge, experience and patience to express his vision in a concrete form.
Intuition does not disregard logical thinking, rather it allows us to transcend its limitations.
A moment of insight is very often the product of a lifetime experience.
The habit of looking for unity of form will ensure that you never fall into the infortunate habit of fault judging. And that sort of warped perception can be fatal to a breeder.
When your eye becomes conditioned to seek balance, you will always evaluate the entire dog and never be drawn to any detail at the expense of the overall picture.
How much time do you spend with your dogs that is not focused on either reviewing the past or contemplating the future? Regularly set aside time to just look at them.
If you have already developed your line to some extent, you should be able to find many points of similarity between the various family members. What are these? Just as important, in which traits do the dogs deviate from each other? How closely does the overall group conform to the standard? Can you mentally trace an evolution of type within your family of dogs?
As a breeder, you must be able to recognise the true source of the fault, if you are to have any hopes of correcting it. Selecting for better toplines will not solve the problem, if it is caused by bad stifles.
Dog breeding is a very humbling experience. There will always be many factors beyond your control, and it is vital to maintain perspective. Todays success can vanish in tomorrows disaster.
A skilled breeder, like an artist, recognises the need for constructive criticism, and makes a regular practice of seeking critical advice from informed sources.
To effectively read your pedigrees, you must develop sufficient familiarity with the dogs to be able to mentally access both their phenotype and genotype. Disregard superfluous information about show records. These are a source of ego gratification, but useless for evaluation of bloodlines.
Comprehending a breed standard involves more than merely reading it, or an ability to recite it. Most of all, it means grasping its basic intent. Even if you have some confusion about the rest, it is vital to have a clear idea of what is specified by the general appearance.
BREED FOR IMPROVEMENT NOT WINNERS
It is easy to become lost in the purpose of breeding quality dogs. For some, the attraction of the bright lights, the glamour and the glitz cause them to stray from the path.
Developing a bloodline that is well considered and that is a positive influence for the breed, takes considerable discipline.
Too often, the seemingly slow and carefully orchestrated effort to improve a breed is crossed up with the immediate desire to breed that one big winner and to become famous.
The breeder’s pledge must be to harbor and safeguard the breed. No breed is in perfect shape when the breeder happens upon it and none shall be perfect when they leave. But to leave a breed in better shape than it was when you came upon it, is the greatest compliment.
To improve type, movement, temperament and health, must be the bottom line for every committed breeder.
Such accomplishment takes a long-range plan that is carefully thought through. It requires dedication and purpose.
All too often, we are sidetracked by our desire to breed to the latest big winner, and then to the next and the next.
Before long the pedigree is a long list of “who’s who” that have no relationship to each other, other than they found success in the ring. What is the key to learn (and to believe), is not the success in the ring as not an automatic indication of the dog’s true quality. We all wish one indicated the other, but that would be too easy. It would require the removal of human fallacy to be accomplished!
Dogs do not excel for all the same reasons. Consequently, you can’t simply breed one big winner to another and produce more big winners.
Every feature and their nature of inheritance must be studied and understood before you can “manage” the inheritance variables.