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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have no plans to ever become a breeder, but am very interested in how you breeders figure out who you are going to breed to whom. I read all the articles I can get my hands on, but except for MB Willis' book, don't have any good books on genetics. How much of it is scientific & how much of it is 'gut feeling' or experience?
 

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There's more approaches to breeding than breeders for sure. Each breeder has differing goals, priorities, tastes, resources, knowledge base, and market venue. There's waaaaay to many ways to answer that one.

Edit: From a genetic perspective?

A breeder doesn't always select with the same goals in mind with each mating. The intended purpose of the breeding might be to lock-in desired traits or characteristics with a linebreeding, as opposed to an outcross for hybrid vigor. Opposite swings of the same pendulum, the goal direction depending on the current state of the selectable breeding stock.

Breeding like-to-like, by phenotype, was perhaps the 'only way' before the works of Mendel and field of modern molecular genetics, where genotype could be considered. Some breeders don't hardly consider the actual dogs they select (cough, cough) and simply try to place the most/best names on the produced litter's pedigree (the Melting-pot method?).

Reproductive isolation of bloodlines create distinct "gene pools," almost separate breeds. The west-working, "DDR", and czech gsd lines are nearly such, and crossing them (with careful consideration) produces higher levels of heterosis (hybrid vigor) than would crossing a pair from a genetically common population (because of prolific sires). Dogs of higher levels of heterosis are often the better "performers", while linebred ones are better producers because of homogenous locked-in traits that empower the breeder with better control of what is being produced.

Or, are you simply looking for good reading referals? There's not a 'single' how-to approach; you just have to incorporate everything you know into all that you have available to you to produce the best you can. Learn from that, and how you can do even better the next time. Essential ingredients: inquisitive nature, strong imagination, bold decision making, good manners, thick skin.... and maybe some sleeping pills.
 

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Other essential ingredients...

1) Proper research and knowledge of the dogs you're in/linebreeding on.

...There has to be consistent manifestation of the trait(s) you're looking for in the breeding pair, AND the dogs you're inbreeding/linebreeding on.

In other words, the traits you seek must be present in the dogs you're in/linebreeding on AND in the breeding pair.

2) Dispassionate focus.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both for your informative posts. If anything this has cemented the fact that I will never know enough to be a breeder, but I sure like learning from y'all.
 

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"Dispassionate focus"
A really big one, but often overlooked or not mentioned. A breeder's gotta be honest with himself in the evaluation of the breeding pair, and in the evaluation of what results are produced.

"the traits you seek must be present in the ... breeding pair"
The only theoretical exception to this, is if the pair have desireable recessives that you would want to surface, i.e. to produce a black colored dog from two sable parents that are carriers. Not many recessives could be all that desireable though, and genotypes are more complicated when considering complex polygenic traits. It's just safer or better odds to get what you want by examination of phenotypes, and breeding for homogenosity thereafter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
dispassiontate focus = not kennel blind?

So it seems like there are so many variables to consider, not just some math formula.
 

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I think much of it is experience, doing very good research on the dogs, bloodlines, etc. Like Andres said, you need to know your breeding pair really well, strengths, weaknesses of each dog(which means being objective), what you want to improve upon, what your goal is for that breeding, if it's a linebreeding-knowing those dogs, etc. I also really look at combinations that have been successful in the past; lines that click well.
 

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I also really look at combinations that have been successful in the past; lines that click well.
Bloodlines in genral, or the targeted use of prolific sires? Popular sire syndrome has its effects on the general gene pool of a given population "as a whole" later down the road, at least if there's no cross-alternatives producing equally as well. Ever notice buyers looking for lines free of Mink or Fero? This might not be necessarily bad, for linebreeding on a popular well known producer, it may be better to have him four times in the fourth generation than two times in the third. It's the same percentage of genetic contribution, but with higher levels of heterosis in the remaining portion. Not saying what's best, but something to consider.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Trishs' post reminds me of something I used to hear a lot, but never understood. I remember some old time breeders talking about how they didn't like to repeat even a very successful breeding!???!! Has anyone heard this before, & if so what the heck is the logic behind it?
 

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susan tuck said:
Trishs' post reminds me of something I used to hear a lot, but never understood. I remember some old time breeders talking about how they didn't like to repeat even a very successful breeding!???!! Has anyone heard this before, & if so what the heck is the logic behind it?
I have heard this, too, also from long-time breeders, expressed as: Repeat breedings can be risky because it can take several years to find out what health problems (if any) a litter has; it's risky to breed the same two animals together before you can see how their first litter turned out.

This has not made sense to me, because why would it be any riskier than a non-repeat breeding? There's something I don't get in that argument.

But I don't know anything about it.

Maybe someone here knows?
 

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To clarify, when I said combinations of bloodlines; I mean breeding combinations of certain lines that have been successful. If we use an example and look at a prolific sire ;) who had 900 breedings, then look at those litters he produced-which litters really were successful? Dogs that went on to be not only great competitors but also excellent producers, males and females. Then look at it further to see how the dogs pedigrees combined. I think then you see certain combinations that are really successful-lines that click well. So I didn't mean to imply repeat breedings.

I do know what you mean Connie and Susan. Repeat breedings are done. I wouldn't have a problem doing a repeat breeding if the litter was very promising and you allowed enough time for that litter to mature to really know the health of the dogs also. As you said, a different breeding can have negatives also.
 

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This reminds me of the so-called "Magic Cross" I've seen, referring to the Czech-breedings of Titus over Car. How well did that combination really work, where's the proof? I've seen examples of this that didn't impress me too much. There's trends for sure, but you can't just take any of the progeny out of the two to combine them and expect great results. Titus and Car must first "produce themselves" into the breeding match. In west workinglines, trends I like to see are Tom van't Leefdaalhof or Nick vom Heiligenbösch, bred over Yoschy von der Döllenwiese in the pedigree. So yes, I look at this aspect too. But in the end, we draw from all of our knowledge and records of past breeding, our instincts and perceptions from current trends, and our foresight and imagination for the next planned generation of breeding. There's no simple magic formula that can be used over and over. You can use the KISS method, and many do. But it won't set you apart from the rest.
 

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you can't just take any of the progeny out of the two to combine them and expect great results
I don't believe I said that Daryl...the OP asked what others opinions were in how they made their breeding selections which I gave. I don't think there is much you and I will agree on, so I'll move on and leave this topic to you.
 

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i know NOTHING about breeding and find this conversation fascinating (even i don't understand all the genetic terms). it's obviously not an exact science which is what is so fascinating about it. why certain dogs produce so well. why some great dogs don't. in the dutchie lines tommy (from selena's lines) is just about the most prolific and best producing males out there and in mals, i see a lot of duco (no coincidence that duco is in tommy's pedigree). to someone like me who knows nothing about this stuff, it is interesting to see. to someone who tries to breed, i can see it being very frustrating...
 

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Even when the pedigrees are identical, there can be some important differences. For example, the littermates of Eros vd Mohnwiese and Ellute vd Mohnwiese. Both are fantastic dogs, and while one is perhaps a better performer, the other would be my choice as a producer.

There could be better examples to illustrate, but here is a breeding match (the top 2)that produced 8 dogs, appearing very different from each other...


A breeder often likes to see uniformity in the litters produced, but on the other side of the coin, if the parents are different you just might get the best qualities of both the parents, and none of the faults in a portion of the litter. In an outcross breeding, the 80-20 rule might apply, with a few great results, and the rest unsuitable for continuance of the line.
 
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