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Thread: Entering into breeding and want every scrap of advice

  1. #1
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    Arrow Entering into breeding and want every scrap of advice

    Hi everyone,
    Well here we are. Bit the bullet at last and asked it (been ripped to pieces on some other forums for even asking). I've been planning to breed Bonnie since before I got her, and that was almost 4 years ago. I hadn't been in the financial situation to fund a litter any time in the past 4 years, and I wanted to give myself plenty of time to learn all about breeding, hence why she hasn't been bred before now. Rebel will be the father, but not for a while yet I think as he's 11 months old and when she's 'on', they're kept apart.
    So. Rebel is registered, from a breeder with papers (full name: Truckaluck I Am Rebel), and he's on a mains register. Looking back on his lineage there's: Bojak, Wottapud, Jeszaicia, Sarasota, Gateacre, Faithet, Kelindaholm, Metaris and Jakarra with a few backcrosses. So a fair few, considering his limited pedigree. I'm only familiar with a couple of those, mainly Bojak and Wottapud, with both looking like they're competition homes (agility, obedience, pets, etc).
    Bonnie isn't papered, but I'm 100% sure she's purebred from both her behaviour, looks and littermates (had a pic of parents somewhere but lost it). She's off a working farm down in Tamworth, so she has a very strong prey drive. Rebel does too but to a lesser extent.

    Before I do anything with either of them I'll be having them both cleared for hip and eye problems, as I don't want any prospective disorders passed on. This is something I fully intend to chase after, and I'll be continuing the Bonnie/Rebel line if all goes well, so I can work up my own 'pedigree'. I intend to breed dogs in the future too, so I want to get all 'this' out of the way early, hence why I've spent so much time looking into it in the past.

    I won't be breeding for profit as that's not my thing, and it's irresponsible. I'm often seeing articles where people say they're lucky to break even when raising pups, which I don't mind. I'll be breeding for health, colour and temperament. As for the puppies 'occupations', it will be showing, but not conformation showing (instead it'll be agility, obedience, pets, any other career that isn't conformation - you'll find out why in a minute). Both of my dogs have very nice natures, and have never shown unwarranted aggression.

    Rebel's heritage has a lot of chocolate. You can even see that from the wottapud side of it - he has chocolate going a fair way back.
    Bonnie is a mix - her litteramates were very colourful. She is black and white, there were chocolates, choc merles, tricolours, choc tries and a wheaten. So she is a genetic rainbow, I'm sure.

    I asked the breeder for some advice on breeding as, you know, she obviously knows her stuff. She knew Rebel was to breed, so she allowed him to be on a mains register with no extra cost, which was very generous of her, and as far as breeding goes she advised to put him with a female with little white on her face (Bonnie has a thin blaze, tapering to almost nothing on the stop), so that pairing should get some nice markings (because, if you're unfamiliar with Rebel, he has a half face - half white, half chocolate). So, providing they're healthy and good natured, the markings should be very 'classic'. And even if not, no pressure. Health/Temp > markings.

    Now, conformation breeding and why I'm against it: Most breeders I've come into contact with who breed for conformation backcross. I cannot STAND backcrossing, and I will never do it. It's sacrificing the dog's health for shape, which in my opinion is downright irresponsible. I'm also morally against it, cos father x daughter and mother x son. Ew. Nobody wants to know about that. Plus I've seen some atrocious deformities arise from a lot of back-crossing, like dogs that can't walk or breathe properly, or whose hips splay out once they reach 5 years old, or eye problems from just two years. Nope. Not my thing. I'm all for breeding for certain traits, but only if it's done right.

    Bonnie.jpg rebel.jpg

    There. Bonnie and Rebel, to let you get a better idea. I only intend to breed one litter from Bonnie - that may change, but that's the plan at the moment. Rebel, however, will remain entire and will be 'studded out'. Then, even when Bonnie is past breeding age, I'll still have some of the parents' offspring, in a pick of the litter deal. I already know several homes that would be willing to take in a border collie puppy in a year or two, so I have homes pre-sorted in the event of a litter.

    So. This obviously isn't all the information I know, as it'd take ages to write it all out, but what do you think? Who has good advice to give me?

  2. #2
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    I have no doubt that you have 2 wonderful dogs, but I've read your post twice and I still don't understand why you want to start a breeding line with a bitch who isn't papered and for whom the ancestors health is unknown

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    I don't want to start with a papered bitch because of all the back crossings there are in papered dogs. I'm going to spend more on getting as many health tests on Bonnie than Rebel, even though I'm going to do them both, precisely because of that reason. However, I hate how limited the gene pool is for papered purebreds nowadays - there's such a tiny amount of genetic variation compared to the vast pool of DNA non-papered dogs supply, and it decreases their health. Obviously if I find the slightest flaw in her health I won't risk it, and I'll start the line through Rebel alone (well..Rebel and another bitch, haha :P). But I want to start a breeding line with her precisely because she's not papered - papers don't matter to me (as long as it's clear they're a purebred), it's the health that does. All dogs carry some risk of hereditary disease, and I know that, but it's possible there's a recessive gene for a disease in papered dogs too - sometimes it won't come up for many, many generations, but it's impossible to eradicate illness entirely. The best we can do is test, test, and test again, and that I plan to do. There's a chance of a recessive eye defect, say, cropping up in a papered dog than an unpapered one - I'd say, in general, more, because of the backbreeding that occurs. There's more chance due to the condensed genetics. Even in Rebel's lineage there's backbreeding, but papered seems to be the popular thing, so I'm starting with at least one papered dog.

    Also, breeds started out without papers - every foundation dog was a mongrel. I don't see that it's so bad to start unpapered especially when I'm not going for conformation, I'm going for pet qualities - intelligence, health, looks and ability. I'm going for more a practical dog, so papers are more or less irrelevant in that regard - they only serve to limit the gene pool imo. As long as she's healthy , I don't see the problem with unpapered, but since I'm here to learn, please enlighten? I really do want the best from them, and if that means using Rebel with another bitch then so be it - but it looks to me like she'll be fine so long as she's cleared for health.

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    People probably wont like me saying this, but i think you are making all the right decisions! As long as you are doing all the health tests to ensure that your dogs are healthy and will produce healthy pups, which you have said you are! So i say, good luck to you for this adventure you are taking on!

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    You have no proof your bitch is not backcrossed. As for all pedigree dogs being backcrossed I think you need to go back and have a good research because it's not true. The fact she's from a myriad of colours including recessive colours probably means she's already from a close mating or dogs that carry very similar genetic profiles.

    or whose hips splay out once they reach 5 years old
    What genetic deformity waited 5 years to be expressed? I'm curious?

    You cannot do close matings anymore when you are a registered breeder unless you ask for special permission and you have a very valid reason. It can be extremely good in some circumstances, it's not the close mating that creates problems out of thin air its the fact these dogs carry these genes and due to limited variability in the puppies (ie, introduction of dominant or only one copy in the pups of a gene) they have nowhere to hide. It can also cement and uncover fabulous traits such as temperament or amplify them to then give you a greater chance of passing them off in the offspring.

    I hate how limited the gene pool is for papered purebreds nowadays - there's such a tiny amount of genetic variation compared to the vast pool of DNA non-papered dogs supply, and it decreases their health.
    You have an extremely common and popular breed so for you a limited genepool in this country is not true. Many people import dogs and semen so you can easily mate with dogs that are complimentary to yours to produce sound personality and type, but are totally unrelated.

    As for Bonnie she is far from true to type and personally I don't find her a good match from the photo to your dog. Her head is not typical, her eyes are high set and frankly for a 4 year old she looks like a 5 month old. What does it matter you say? Type is also there for a reason - function and form are intertwined if you breed properly. The third eyelid shows too which is not meant to be so prevalent in your breed too. If she is properly pure, she's not a good example but I would say that she is not from her head shape at the very least.

    every foundation dog was a mongrel
    That is very far from the truth. A FEW breeds started off as purposeful crosses BUT then the outliers in the phenotype expression were culled out of the breeding pool to create a true breeding type. Pedigree registries were created so people could keep truthful records to preserve a breeds integrity and see who suited who, what lines throw what type, where problems occur etc. It gave you a way to look back in order to look forward with education. Many breeds have been naturally in existence for hundreds of years, geography in particular moulded the regional dogs to a more standardised form. Plenty of livestock guardian dogs, sighthounds, pariahs etc were not 'mongrels' but a slow evolution to modern form without the introduction of a totally different breed of dog. Breeds can change without crossbreeding.

    Before I do anything with either of them I'll be having them both cleared for hip and eye problems, as I don't want any prospective disorders passed on.
    All you can test is your dogs current physical status, not what they will pass on to the puppies. That is what researching pedigrees will help with. Current eye/joint tests will tell you your dogs physical condition and the best you hope for is that your dogs health status is a baseline, not a one off lucky strike you got the better of the pick. Your bitch can pass all the health tests in the world, but you cannot put your hand on your heart if a pup comes out severely HD/ED and say you tried everything you could to prevent it. As for drive and temperament, again, whats to say that they're not carrying uncomplementary personalities or produce a pup or 3 that are too much for a person to handle and are bad sport dogs?

    but papered seems to be the popular thing, so I'm starting with at least one papered dog.
    So is what you're saying is that you really don't care that much about genetics and pedigrees and their use, you've already made your mind up? Do you know there are hundreds of unwanted and ill thought out border collies bred with good intentions out there that have no place? Working lines need to work, a few hours a week with dog sports is nowhere near enough for them. Mix working line with show/pet line that do not necessarily have the same drive or hardness so they make poor workers for farmers, but also make bad pets - so they end up dumped or euthanised when they snap at someone or develop OCD.

    Come up with a firm plan of what you want from your dogs. Do your dogs and their lines prove their potential - can your own dogs achieve agility/obedience/herding etc titles? Can you prove they have the nerve to handle trialing situations and will they train under distraction/pressure or does their genetic nerve make it extremely difficult. Without working with what you have and what they have come from you cannot possibly know what your pups are suitable for PLUS chose which pups go to which homes. From the minute they open their eyes you need to work with them, socialise them, take them out and expose them to light, loud noises, children, cars, crates, separate them off and see how the pups react. By 8 weeks you should confidently be able to predict what the genetic potential is that is in that pup and who is best suited to bring it out constructively.

    Not having pedigree papers either is limiting your puppies potential. If you do produce a fabulous pup it has no way to contribute to the gene pool - you might as well desex the lot because all they're good for is backyard breeding which leads absolutely nowhere genetically. You can put the best pedigree dog in the word to your backyard bitches but it's all for nothing if they can't be used productively in the genetic sense.

    I'm into Malinois. It's what I will be breeding and I have been researching pedigrees like you would not believe. There are good dogs on face value, fabulous dogs, but if I put them over my bitch it would be a bloody disaster genetically. It would be almost a guarenteed doomed litter temperament wise and then what - I can either keep dogs that are over nervy, too sharp and over reactive myself in runs for the sake of it or they go to the vet because they become a liability.

    That is also your risk as a breeder. People will tell you a lot and have good intentions, but not a great majority carry them out. You want to be responsible, you will take them back. What happens if the pup you have sold has a shoddy temperament you can't fix? Or a massive health problem? What happens if half the litter is returned, or more? (And don't think it has not happened before) Or what happens if they dont even return it and you find out it's on it's 4th home out chained up to a washing line every day - will you spend money to get it back? What happens if someone finds your dog at the pound? Will you fight to get it and retrain/rehome or will you let someone else deal with it? It's far from sunshine and roses, I have seen people heartbroken due to other people's actions and that is what you have to consider. When you breed it should be for YOURSELF first, not for the benefit of the proverbial mankind. You should have the plan that you will always end up with more dogs then just the dogs you have due to whatever circumstance, especially since you have an extremely popular and over bred breed of dog already. You want them to sell and stay put in their homes you need to outshine the low to above average breeders already out there.
    Last edited by Nekhbet; 05-19-2013 at 06:33 PM.

  6. #6
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    If your bitch isn't papered I wouldn't bother.

    There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nekhbet View Post
    1- You have no proof your bitch is not backcrossed. As for all pedigree dogs being backcrossed I think you need to go back and have a good research because it's not true. The fact she's from a myriad of colours including recessive colours probably means she's already from a close mating or dogs that carry very similar genetic profiles.

    2 - What genetic deformity waited 5 years to be expressed? I'm curious?

    3 -You cannot do close matings anymore when you are a registered breeder unless you ask for special permission and you have a very valid reason.

    4 - It can be extremely good in some circumstances, it's not the close mating that creates problems out of thin air its the fact these dogs carry these genes and due to limited variability in the puppies (ie, introduction of dominant or only one copy in the pups of a gene) they have nowhere to hide. It can also cement and uncover fabulous traits such as temperament or amplify them to then give you a greater chance of passing them off in the offspring.

    5 - As for Bonnie she is far from true to type and personally I don't find her a good match from the photo to your dog. Her head is not typical, her eyes are high set and frankly for a 4 year old she looks like a 5 month old. What does it matter you say? Type is also there for a reason - function and form are intertwined if you breed properly. The third eyelid shows too which is not meant to be so prevalent in your breed too. If she is properly pure, she's not a good example but I would say that she is not from her head shape at the very least.

    6 - That is very far from the truth. A FEW breeds started off as purposeful crosses BUT then the outliers in the phenotype expression were culled out of the breeding pool to create a true breeding type.

    7 - All you can test is your dogs current physical status, not what they will pass on to the puppies. That is what researching pedigrees will help with. Current eye/joint tests will tell you your dogs physical condition and the best you hope for is that your dogs health status is a baseline, not a one off lucky strike you got the better of the pick. Your bitch can pass all the health tests in the world, but you cannot put your hand on your heart if a pup comes out severely HD/ED and say you tried everything you could to prevent it.

    8 - So is what you're saying is that you really don't care that much about genetics and pedigrees and their use, you've already made your mind up?

    9 - Come up with a firm plan of what you want from your dogs. Do your dogs and their lines prove their potential - can your own dogs achieve agility/obedience/herding etc titles? Can you prove they have the nerve to handle trialing situations and will they train under distraction/pressure or does their genetic nerve make it extremely difficult. Without working with what you have and what they have come from you cannot possibly know what your pups are suitable for PLUS chose which pups go to which homes.

    10 - Not having pedigree papers either is limiting your puppies potential. If you do produce a fabulous pup it has no way to contribute to the gene pool - you might as well desex the lot because all they're good for is backyard breeding which leads absolutely nowhere genetically. You can put the best pedigree dog in the word to your backyard bitches but it's all for nothing if they can't be used productively in the genetic sense.
    .
    You hold a few very valid points, but there are a few others I'm not so sure about. I'll go through them in a list now (numbers relating to above):

    1. That is a valid point, I don't have proof, and if I said all pedigrees were backcrossed, I meant most. Pretty much every breeder's dogs in QLD I've seen have some substantial backcrossing though, looking at their pedigrees. Maybe I'm going to the wrong ones, but the big ones seem to do it all over the place. I looked in a few other states as well and it seems like it's pretty much standard.

    2. Hip dysplasia, definitely.
    Hip Dysplasia in dogs, treatment, diagnosis, care, prevention | Vetwest Animal Hospitals
    (That's not the only source I've found, but I can't actually find the rest at this point. A few were in books). The signals for that may not come out until 5 - 10 yrs old, where it causes chronic pain.

    3. See 1

    4. In some circumstances, yes - temperament and 'points' for example - but I am not (and never will be) a fan of back-crossing. Once it gets to a certain point it stops doing good and just backfires. You might get a pretty dog but you've halved the genepool, if not more (depending on how many x's etc).

    5. I still don't see why type is important for a non-conformation dog? As long as there's not minor deformations going on like perhaps, an overly-long back or short legs, which might hinder a working BC, I can't see that it'd make that much difference as to their conformation. I will attach another photo of her at the end of this post - I don't know that it will change your opinion, it might be that it'll just solidify it, but we'll see anyway.

    6. Yes, but all breeds originated from crosses. The founding dogs didn't just 'start' as border collies, they had older english collie breeds, and Irish, and Scottish. They were a mixture of everything, until someone said 'Let's make it a breed', THAT'S when it began to be a breed - when people started breeding for specific traits etc.

    7. Isn't that something every breeder deals with? Recessive genes can take multiple, and I mean a lot of generations to show up, since they need perfect pairing. A breeder who knows the pedigree of their dog, such as Rebel, might not know the pedigree of the foundation dogs, and even if they did, it'd be downright impossible to determine what genes are floating around until it shows up, by which time it's too late and the dog/bitch is excluded from the breeding program. But even then, the damage has been done, and they genuinely did do the best they could have given the circumstances imo.

    8. Uhm..I don't really know why you think that, since I specifically stated I'd be breeding for health and temperament, then colour. I didn't buy a papered female pup (before I got Bonnie) because a) Hardly anyone would let me have a female on a mains register, and b) the back-crossing from the breeds I saw was absolutely shocking. I didn't want to go down that road. But, as this thread proves, papered IS the thing, even though there are plenty of crossbreds that are healthier than purebreds for that exact reason. So that's why I picked Rebel as a papered pup, rather than another farm dog.

    9. This is also a valid point. I still am unclear on the conformation thing, and I won't be breeding for show conformation (mind, I won't be breeding with total lack of regard, so I get sloppy backs and overly short necks and so on), but that's NOT my main goal. My goal(s) as I have 3 of them, in order of importance. Health, Temperament and Colour.

    10. Why is this? Maybe it won't be contributing to the conformation showing gene pool, but there's no reason it can't contribute to the less strict areas like agility and obedience. I toyed with the idea of having them all desexed before going on to their new homes anyway, in the likely case they simply go to a pet home (especially the females). I don't understand what you mean by the 'genetic sense'.

    Every breeder starts out with foundation dogs. That is just common sense. A lot, I've noticed, didn't have pedigrees - so where did they come from? What do they have to contribute to the gene pool? They must have been backyard dogs, of high quality I'm sure, but there'd be no other reason for them to lack pedigrees. A breeder must start somewhere - if not pedigree dogs, where did theirs come from? There's a first for everything, and they must have started somewhere that definitely wasn't papered.

    I'm only trying to get answers. If not Bonnie, then all is not lost because I have Rebel, who is rego'd and papered. I can put him with someone else's bitch if it proves Bonnie is...ahem..unworthy.
    Bonnie2.jpg

  8. #8
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    With only 1 papered parent, can the puppies be registered/papered? (genuine question- I've never owned a purebred dog). If the answer is no, then I wouldn't bother either. Your heart is in the right place with wanting to do all the health testing etc. but what purpose do unregistered/unpapered puppies have?

    There are so many unwanted dogs in shelters around Australia and an unbelievable amount being PTS every year (something like half a million just by the RSPCA in 2012) so I wouldn't be wanting to bring any more into this world...

  9. #9
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    Hi Striker

    I guess only you can make this decision... but you might like to read these threads that include some other people's experiences. I guess I have two main concerns - that you do have homes for all the potential puppies lined up and you're willing to take back any puppy that doesn't work out (maybe with a full refund if that happens early like the first two weeks). That you aren't setting up any future owners with ugly but avoidable vet bills. You wrote somewhere that you can't plan for genetics but these days - you can do a fair bit - ie dna tests and then checking for potential diseases in that and making sure that both your potential parents are not carriers.

    I'm not sure about Rebel's breeder thinking mixing two funny faces will get nice faces - I think you're more likely to get variations one way or the other of the funny faces depending a bit on what each dog's parents look like - cos you will get some of that too. it's a bit like crossing a poodle and a lab and thinking you will get a non-shedding coat when you could just as easily get a lab coat super shedder. If both Rebel and Bonnie have at least one regular BC face in their parentage - then you will likely get some regular faced puppies but if all four (potential) grand parents had funny faces - that's what you're most likely to get in the puppies.

    http://www.dogforum.com.au/general-d...may-arise.html

    http://www.dogforum.com.au/general-d...you-breed.html

    http://www.dogforum.com.au/general-d...st-season.html

    And while I have mixed feelings about the RSPCA - I do think this a good list of things a responsible breeder should be aiming for.
    What is a responsible companion animal breeder? - RSPCA Australia knowledgebase

    Have you thought about the things that could go wrong for Bonnie and are you willing to take that risk with her? If you know her mother - then you can find out how having puppies was for her and be more informed about it.

    Have you thought about what kinds of homes you want for the puppies - and whether people with those kinds of homes - would want your puppies? Would they want some history of excellent sheep herding? Family pet? agility dog? Is either Rebel or Bonnie good at these things in a way that your ideal homes would know about?

    Breeding isn't something I ever want to do - it's messy and can be dangerous and also very sad if things go wrong (for mother or puppies - did you know about swimmer pups?)... but if you have the support of another breeder (eg Rebel's breeder) that would be a good start.

    I'm not sure about all this truncated history in the border collie pedigrees you talk about. I imagine the ones they let onto the register have the farmer kept registry. Ie most of the farmers I know (about half my family), keep records of what breeding they do so they can measure whether that breeder delivers what they want and whether they want to go there again... So I imagine (I don't acutally know) that border collies that are pedigree without a long ancestry of pedigree in both parents behind them would come from farmers who kept good records...

    I do believe for some breeds there is also what is known as "working lines" but in border collies - that would mean the dog is doing a lot of sheep herding and is good at it...

  10. #10
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    I too have mixed feelings about the RSPCA, but I love the RSPCA tips especially - they seem like they're good tips. I know there are loads of things that could go wrong, I've bred a million other types of animals, including cats and guinea pigs (my main point being they're mammals and subject to similar problems in relation to birthing etc)
    One thing I heard of was having a contract drawn up. I love that idea, since it concretely sets the idea of responsibility in the new owner's mind and lays out a bunch of..not rules, but still rules at the same time. An agreement, if you will. A lot of people I know have had some experience with raising dogs and have had BC's before, which is good news.

    I DO want to breed, as animal management is on par with art for my favourite things to do. If I couldn't pick a career in art, I'd pick one in animal management and breeding, and I might anyway do both. I believe Bonnie's parents were classically marked, and I know at least Rebel's dad was too (was present for viewing - absolutely magnificent dog, and a credit to his breeder).

    Bonnie's parents were born and bred working sheep dogs, Bonnie has a prey drive but she can be called out of it. I heard somewhere that herding dogs learn more from their parents than from the shepherd, which is interesting to say the least.
    Both of them have amazing personalities imo - biased, since they're my dogs, but putting that aside I'd safely say they do. I'm guessing they'd go into family pet 95% of the time, with agility close after (both are super athletic and smart, so I think they'd achieve well in agility - thought about putting Rebel through agility at some point, as he can jump 4-5 high from a standstill and up to 10ft long when he's got a runup, and he's really fit - he will literally run forever). Would give some extra credence to him as well if he has some competition background.

    I am keen to breed these guys. I know some people will have two dogs, not even necessarily pure's, but go ahead and breed without doing any research. I'm trying to do the best I can, and I intend to persevere, because it's really an area that I am keen on. I actually want to build up a kennel at some point, in the far future when I have my own place, and if all goes well that stock will be from these two - health permitting.

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