Top Notch Toys December 2018


I recently read a series of articles penned by a fairly well-known dog authority, in which he gave the bitches in a kennel credit for every- thing short of getting themselves in whelp. He stated that bitches are re- sponsible for at least 75% of the qual- ity of a litter, does his breeding strict- ly based on the lines of great bitches (mostly his own) and “I don’t care much about the dog.” He topped it off by stating that bitches are the “es- sence” of breed type because “males must be stronger, more robust, and heavier... This in itself strays from the picture of ‘classic beauty’ that most of us have in mind.” Horsefeathers. Although this inter- view went further out of the ballpark than most, I still found it to follow the fashionable trend of stressing the bitch in the kennel and reduc- ing the value of the stud dog that services her. Over the years I have heard people wax lyrical over the importance of the quality of the bitch in a breeding program. I don’t disagree. But 50% of her came from her father (that was probably a better specimen than her mother) and 50% of her pups’ genetic background will come from their sire (that hopefully will be a better speci- men than their mother). I happen to hold a very unfashion- able opinion about dog breeding. If I was offered my choice between an outstanding bitch that is a top pro- ducer, or a dog of the same caliber and talent, I would not hesitate an

instant in selecting the dog. Why? Because although the bitch might inf luence my own kennel’s record, a good stud would have an even stron- ger impact over a longer period of time. And studs inf luence the breed as a whole, unlike a bitch that’s im- pact is far more limited. Now, before someone starts a debate of chicken-and-egg variety (‘He also had a mother!’), I ask you to quickly name a bitch that had a wide inf lu- ence on the course of the breed... now name a stud dog, or dogs, that did the same. The simple truth is that the bitches that have had the greatest inf luence in a breed happened to be the dams of the greatest stud dogs. And in all likelihood, nice though she might have been, these dams were prob- ably put to sires that were superior examples of the breed when com- pared to her! I know there are many breeders (and judges) who consider it a healthy state of affairs when the quality of the bitches in the ring outstrips that of the dogs. Myself, I wonder

just whom all these outstanding young ladies are going to get mar- ried off to when the time comes? The inferior dogs? Get real! I was told early on that the best way to improve was to always breed up. Put your bitches to the best possible dog available. You never take a bitch to a dog that is inferior in quality to her. That’s not how you improve a breed and we all know it! I’ll even go so far as to state that I consider it kind of a waste when I see a really outstand- ing bitch. As a friend of mine once commented while we were viewing a stunning bitch that was racking up a tremendous record, “Too bad she’s not a dog. I’d put every bitch in my kennel to her if she were.” So, are the bitches in your kennel im- portant to your success? Undeniably so. Are the stud dogs they are bred to important? Overwhelmingly so! And this is because a breed tends to be as strong as the stud dogs available to it. We all know that it takes two to tango but keep in mind that it’s the fellows that lead!

64 • T op N otch T oys , D ecember 2018

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