I breed healthy, high-quality, closely-related animals, hoping to enhance their good points in their offspring. I “linebreed,” in that I’ve chosen dogs to start with which are either direct descendants or otherwise closely related to the great sire Ch Kirkwood Top Brass. Thus my typical pedigree shows many repeated ancestors on both the sire’s and dam’s sides.
Linebreeding works beautifully to improve dogs’ quality, as long as the breeding animals chosen are healthy and have not exhibited genetic problems in the past. It’s not foolproof, because concentrating the genetic base means concentrating both good and bad. Thus it’s important to start with as little in the way of “bad” genetics as possible.
Any kind of breeding using closely-related dogs (like Linebreeding) is technically “inbreeding.” However, when breeders use the term , they mean very close breeding, as in father – daughter, mother - son or, closest of all, brother-sister. I’ve never done this, but I wouldn’t rule it out absolutely. Inbreeding can be a very powerful tool if used with care.
Very close breeding can expose genetic defects quickly by eliminating the variety that enters with breedings to unrelated dogs and is sometimes used in “test breedings” for this purpose. Of course, when all the good genes in both animals “line up,” as it were, inbreeding can produce an animal as close to perfection as his genes allow. As you can see, both risks and rewards can be significant.
Often pet owners speak of an unsatisfactory dog as being “too inbred.” What they usually mean is “carelessly bred” -- bred by someone without the knowledge or interest to improve this dogs, breeding to the “dog next door” only to produce purebred puppies, puppies with all kinds of problems. Some actual “inbreeding” may happen in careless breeding, especially in puppy mills, but the casual backyard breeder’s choice of sire and dam is almost random. Obviously not the way to produce decent dogs.
When I’ve bred a couple of generations with no outside blood, all my dogs are close cousins or half-siblings. To retain the vigor and qualities I want, I find a sire to breed to who is not related to my dogs. “Unrelated,” however, is not all I want in an outcross sire. He must be a good individual in his own right and be closely linebred, as my dogs are – but to dogs of a different line.
An outcross breeding should add qualities that are wanting in my existing dogs and enhance good things that are already there. The first-generation puppies from such a breeding probably won’t be as uniform as my normal litter, since their genetic heritage will be much more diverse. However, such puppies typically exhibit “hybrid vigor” because of the addition of new genes, and the best ones will be very good, since they will show the best of both lines. To “set” the good characteristics an outcross produces, I will breed these first-generation outcross animals back to my original line.
Dog-Next-Door or Big-Winner Breeding
I don’t do this. Just because a sire is nearby, that doesn’t mean he has anything I need in my dogs. Even a good dog, a big show winner, won’t necessarily be a good choice for a sire. I depend greatly on pedigree, not just appearance, to choose sires. I’m not breeding just to get purebred puppies; for that any Welsh Terrier male would do.
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