by Lloyd C.
This is a compilation of the articles Mr. Brackett wrote
for Dog World Magazine and
which won for him the Dog Writers’ Association Award as the best
non-professional work in the dog press for 1960.
One of the fathers of the German
Shepherd in this country and the oldest living continuous fancier of the
breed in America (since 1912) his theories on breeding have been more
than proven in his Long-Worth Kennels where he established his own
strain in the breed and produced more than 90 champions in only 12 years
—a world’s record for any breed. Known affectionately as "Mr. German
Shepherd" he has proven beyond doubt the soundness of his breeding
Whenever two or three dog fanciers
get together there is almost sure to be talk about line breeding. The
term may be used without any one of them having a real understanding of
what it means. There seems to be much confusion, even in the minds of
experienced dog breeders, about the actual meaning of the terms
inbreeding and line breeding and how to differentiate between them. The
prime purpose of this article will therefore be to try to explain, as
simply as possible, these two methods of breeding, as well as why they
are used and what should be expected from them. In covering these types
of breeding, the subject of out-crossing must of necessity enter the
picture. We should know exactly what we mean when we talk of inbreeding,
line breeding and out-crossing. Few breeders have a clear conception of
just where one leaves off and the other begins.
Prior to supplying a greater
definitiveness as to what is meant by the above systems of breeding, the
following short explanations are given. In the broadest sense they
contain the gist of the whole subject.
Line breeding is mating animals
who are closely related to the same ancestor, preferably one whose type
it is desired to obtain in the resultant progeny. In other words, it is
accomplished by using for parents dogs who are closely related to that
ancestor, but are little, if at all, related to each other through any
other ancestors. They are, in effect, bred in line to that common
ancestor. When a breeder says his dog is line bred, one immediately
questions, "Line bred to what?" As we shall see later, the answer to
that question enables us to somewhat evaluate the wisdom of having used
this type of breeding in that instance.
Inbreeding implies a much
closer relationship between the mating pair than does line breeding.
Instead of involving second, third or more distant generations, it is
generally understood to have to do with only four relationships—son to
mother, father to daughter, brother to sister, half-brother to
half-sister (both having the same sire and different darns, or the same
dame and different sires). It should be remembered that when mating the
progeny of two litters each having the same parents (from repeated
matings, for instance), one is mating full blood brothers and sisters.
That too is inbreeding.
There is no complete
concurrence of opinion among breeders as to where line breeding takes
over from inbreeding, since the former is only a modification of the
latter. We find that both terms are rather loosely used, that there are
several intermediate relationships which are labeled inbreeding by some,
line breeding by others. It is difficult to make any incontrovertible
definition of the two terms, if indeed not impossible. It would be only
confusing if we took up here what some breeders consider to be
inbreeding, others line breeding, such as the mating of a dog to a
half-brother or half-sister of one parent. There are several other such
closely involved relationship matings upon which there are similar
differences of opinion. However, in the broadest and most commonly
accepted meanings of line breeding and inbreeding, explanations have
been given above.
The reader should understand
that there is an area of breeding between interrelated animals which is
not entirely covered by the terms "inbreeding" and "line breeding" as
defined here. For this type of breeding I have for years used the term
"family breeding", which, to the best of my knowledge, I myself
originated. Since "family breeding" is simply an extension of both
inbreeding and line breeding, what I have to say about these will apply
in some measure, of course, to family breeding.
Why Inbred or Line bred?
While it is important to
understand that there are some differences in the selection of the
mating dogs when using the systems of inbreeding and line breeding, it
is of far greater value to know why these types of breeding are so often
employed; why they are used by almost all successful breeders of any
variety of livestock and what the results are likely to be, both good
and bad. We shall pursue that subject now.
The purpose of both line
breeding and inbreeding is to bring about breed improvement to get the
best that is possible out of one's matings and to upgrade his stock.
Experience has shown that if more than mere multiplication is to be had,
and any real and lasting results toward breed improvement are to be
obtained, a breeder must use a system of line breeding, which not only
combines animals very similar in their characteristics but narrows the
pedigree to a few closely related lines of descent. This "purifies" the
pedigree rapidly and enables a breeder to control, to some degree, all
characteristics. It discourages variability and reduces it to a minimum.
The results obtained by this
system of breeding can more certainly be predicted than the average
breeder realizes. Few indeed are the dog fanciers who do more than mate
bitch to dog HOPING for results that is no scientific reason to expect.
When by good fortune one or two above average offspring do appear, they
have nothing behind them upon which to base an expectation that they
will pass on their desirable traits. On the other hand, when such
superior offspring are produced by line breeding, and improvement is
shown, it is backed up by the most powerful hereditary influence
obtainable because of the simplicity and strength of the ancestry. If
the SELECTION of this ancestry has been good, the "pulls" are all in the
same direction. The records of all breeds show the pronounced salutary
results that have come from judicious line breeding.
Selection by pedigrees
alone, without consideration being given to the physical traits of
the mating pair, is the chief danger in this system of breeding. The
writer can state in the following few words the most important counsel
to those who would attempt Line breeding: Physical compensation is
the foundation rock upon which all enduring worth must
be built. A line bred pedigree is valuable or dangerous in exact
proportion as the individuals have been selected. Line breeding does not
replace selection but, on the contrary, demands the most discriminating
choosing within the line. If the breeder selects by pedigree, and
without consideration to physical compensation, undoubtedly dogs with
notable faults will result, and thus line breeding will insure failure
quicker and more certainly than will any other known system of breeding. No other breeding plan has ever brought about the good results of line
breeding, and no other system will ever be so powerful in the production
of consistently good animals, and this with the greatest certainty year
after year. The principal requirement is not to abandon individual
selection. A pedigree is a guarantee of bloodlines, a record of the
blood of ancestors within which breeding operations and selection may,
with confidence, be confined. The word "confined" is used advisedly for,
after line breeding has been practiced for a few generations, the end
result is the development of what is in effect a pure breed—a breed
within a breed, so to speak. When that has occurred, any attempt to
introduce "cold" blood (that of unrelated dogs of other strains) is
likely to result in the penalties of hybridization. The departure from
line breeding is a kind of "crossing" in a small degree, for when the
blood of line bred animals becomes intensified they assume all the
attributes of a distinct strain, which in truth they are, and they will
likely behave as such for a long time.
In saying that line bred dogs
tend to become like purebreds, or strains within their breeds, and that
their progeny from a union with unrelated animals are like hybrids, I do
not mean that such breedings should never be made, or that the results
would be like breeding into an entirely different breed of dogs. While
in some strains of animals line breeding and inbreeding have been
intensified to a point where a herd or flock would be practically a
breed of their own, I do not personally know of such a family in any
breed of dogs today. However, there have been strains developed in some
breeds to a point where their blood has become so dominant that it will
not yield for several generations to any noticeable blending when out
crossed, the characteristics of the inbred or line bred parent always
showing up. This is, of course, to be expected.
In the dog game those who
criticize the system of line breeding far outnumber its proponents. This
is true for several reasons. There is a continual influx of beginners in
breeding dogs, people who have never before mated one animal to another,
or made any study of the subject. In their ignorance they believe that
mating two dogs with "pedigrees", especially if both are winners, or
better vet, "Champions", is all there is to it. Then, there are a
multitude of breeders who refuse to take the time to make any study of
genetics, who want only to breed dogs to sell and make money, and these
have no interest in breed improvement through years of planned effort.
Again, we have the many hit-or-miss breeders who hope for the good luck
which sometimes strikes novices who by sheer accident come up with a
real "topper" or two. In listing the opponents of closed-up breeding,
one should not fail to mention owners of stud dogs, hungry for stud
Fortunately there are in almost
all breeds of dogs a very few fanciers intent upon consistently
producing dogs superior to the average of the breed. Many of these know
that the quickest and most certain way to do this is by line breeding.
Because line breeding is more
generally practiced than is inbreeding, I have dwelt more on the former
so far in this article. The difference in the degree of relationship of
mating pairs, as generally accepted by breeders, was explained, however.
It might be well now to go more fully into the subject of inbreeding.
This is "breeding in and in" and is line breeding carried to its limits.
It possesses all the advantages and disadvantages of line breeding to
their utmost attainable degree. Breeding a daughter to her sire gives
rise to offspring three-fourths of whose bloodlines are those of the
sire, a practice which, if continued, would soon result in progeny with
but one line of ancestry, practically eliminating the blood of the
original dam. This form of breeding is practiced when it is desired to
secure all that is possible of the blood of the sire.
On the other hand, when a dam
is bred to her son or sons successively, it increases the blood of the
dam. This form is practiced when it is the dam’s bloodlines one desires
to preserve and intensify. Either system can, of course, be approximated
by the use of a granddaughter or grandson.
The breeding together of
brother and sister is inbreeding which preserves the bloodlines from
both sire and dam in equal proportions. It is inferior to either of the
others as a means of strengthening previously existing bloodlines, but
it is freely employed when the combination of sire and dam (of the
brother and sister) has proved exceptionally successful, virtually
setting a new type. It has all the dangers of the other two types of
inbreeding, and in a greater degree because we have no knowledge of what
the new combination will produce, whereas in strengthening the
proportion of one line of ancestry over another, whether it be that of
the sire or the dam, we are dealing with previously existing bloodlines
known to be harmonious.
Advantages of Inbreeding
As previously stated, it is
line breeding earned to its highest degree. When superior animals are
used, it is the most powerful and sure way known of making the most of
their excellence and perpetuating it. It is the method by which the
highest possible percentage of the blood of an exceptional dog, or of a
particularly fortunate "nick", can be kept, fused into, and finally made
to influence an entire line of descent. If continued, the outside blood
disappears and the pedigree is quickly loaded to an almost unlimited
extent by the blood of a single animal, or two at the most. In practice
it is usually that of a sire. Inbreeding is not so much a matter of
originating excellence as of holding and making the greatest use of it
when it appears.
A large proportion of prepotent
sires have been inbred or at least closely line bred. An inbred dog is,
of course, enormously more prepotent than one who has outcross breeding.
Its half of the ancestry having a great deal of identical blood
is almost certain to dominate the offspring when mated to one of the
opposite sex having an "open" pedigree. (An "open" pedigree is one in
which there does not appear the name of any one dog more than once in
perhaps several generations.) Inbreeding is therefore recognized as the
most influential of all breeding plans or systems, supplying the
simplest of all pedigrees—an advantage when we recognize the laws of
inheritance. It is all that line breeding is and more. When using either
system it must again be cautioned that careful SELECTION must
continually be made, both as to physical compensation and vigor and
fertility. In conclusion on the matter of the advantages of inbreeding,
I will repeat: No other method of breeding equals this for intensifying
bloodlines, making the best use of exceptional individuals, and in
building a strain within a breed.
Disadvantages of Inbreeding
Although the doubling up and
intensifying of characteristics by this method of breeding insures
results that are more probable than possible and, if continued long
enough, are a certainty, it works the same for one trait as
another, both good and bad. It affects all characteristics of the
animals involved. That is why, unless a breeder knows a good
individual of his breed when he sees one, or possesses the right stock
to start with, inbreeding can bring disaster. On the other hand, when
the opposite is true, the most strikingly successful results can be
obtained. Examples of success are many, but so can one name many
failures amongst those who have dropped out of the "game" and whose
"strains" vanished or are disappearing.
Inbreeding Not Necessarily
Undeniably, no form of breeding
has so many who decry it, most of them entirely ignorant on the subject.
They claim it causes lack of vigor, size and fertility, and a multitude
of such instances could certainly be listed. However, if what has been
written here, and been proven by innumerable tests and examples, has any
meaning at all, it is that ANY characteristic can be bred up or down,
strengthened or weakened, by this method of breeding. Some of what we
know about the results of inbreeding in animals comes from the scattered
and irregularly reported experiences of breeders. It is difficult to be
at all sure that the evidence against inbreeding came from using animals
who were typical of their breed and should have been inbred upon at the
outset. There is also the question of whether one hears of the usual
effects of such breedings or only of the exceptionally bad ones.
Anything undesirable which does appear is apt to be blamed on
inbreeding, in spite of the fact that equally bad results often occur
when no inbreeding has been done. There is usually no way of making
comparisons, that is, with non-inbred animals kept under the same
conditions, fed and reared in the same way.
Since it is universally agreed
by all breeders and geneticists that ANY characteristic can be bred up
or down, strengthened or weakened, by inbreeding (providing rigid
selection is followed), why then this claim that it will bring about a
loss of size, vigor and fertility? Are there some inherent traits, which
come from close breeding, or is it merely that lack of vigor and
fertility are commonly possessed characteristics and frequently show up?
Many think it is the latter. There are so many examples of great vigor
and fertility in inbred individuals, and of family lines, and even in
whole species of plants and animals, as to obviate all fear of
inevitable weaknesses from close breeding, but it doesn’t take much
investigation to indicate to us that there is lurking weakness and
infertility everywhere. It is particularly evident in humans and in
domesticated animals. A large number of animals, and an apparently
larger number of plants, are relatively weak and easily succumb to
disease. In nature the strongest live and beget offspring, whereas the
weaklings die. In breeding animals we are liable to select largely for
show or utility type, yes, even for color, ignoring, or trusting to
luck, as to vigor and fertility. Is it any wonder then that these traits
have crept upon us until they of ten present a strong argument against
inbreeding, although they also appear amongst entirely outcross bred
When we SELECT for vigor and
fertility, as well as for other attributes, there will be less talk
about the evils of inbreeding. In the meantime we shall hear about it
mostly where viTality and fertility were low in the stock inbred upon.
Because both of these are requisites — one to insure life and the other
for reproduction—they should be possessed in a high degree by the dogs
one intends to inbreed upon.
Charles Darwin learned from
hundreds of experimental tests with both plant and animal life that
crossbreeding, or "out crossing" as we speak of it in dog breeding,
often increases vigor and fertility. He also found that this was not
true in all individuals, or in all species, even those most sensitive to
inbreeding. His experiments showed that sometimes the opposite (weakness
and infertility) occurred and he could not solve the mystery of the
cause. Much of this "mystery" for which no explanation could then be
offered has been largely dispelled by modern knowledge of heredity. It
would necessitate writing at great length were I to describe even a few
of his, and many other scientists’, experiments, as well as involve us
in complicated scientific terms. This I will refrain from doing, to keep
my treatise as understandable as possible to the average reader, since I
am not writing for experienced dog breeders or students of genetics. For
them this article is elementary, with nothing supplied that they do not
To those for whom it is
written, however, a summation of the total effects of inbreeding, and to
a modified degree that of line breeding, follows.
All characteristics both good
and bad exist in various degrees in different dogs. One wishes in his
matings to secure and retain the desirable characteristics, and
it is easily demonstrable that this can best be accomplished by
inbreeding and, to a lesser degree, by line breeding. It is also easy to
show that, by using the same methods of breeding, the lowest intensity
of undesirable characteristics is attainable. Results are entirely
dependent upon SELECTION, remembering that "Physical compensation is the foundation rock upon which all enduring
worth must be built".
In this article it is my
intention to supplement and elaborate upon the subjects of inbreeding,
line breeding and out crossing, which I discussed in the July issue. I
endeavored in that installment to explain the simplest meaning, as most
commonly accepted, of inbreeding and line breeding. It also contained
some categorical statements regarding the results to be achieved, and
the dangers involved, in using either system or a combination of both.
Therefore, in order to make what follows understandable and of more
value to new readers who may not have seen the first article, it might
be well for me to give the following recapitulation.
I concluded my July article
with the following: "I am not writing for experienced dog breeders or
students of genetics. For them this article is elementary, with nothing
supplied that they do not already know. To those for whom it is written,
however, a summation of the total effects of inbreeding, and to a
modified degree that of line breeding, follows.
All characteristics both good
and bad exist in various degrees in different dogs. One wishes in his
matings to secure and retain the desirable characteristics, and it is
easily demonstrable that this can best be accomplished by inbreeding
and, to a lesser degree, by line breeding. It is also easy to show that,
by using the same methods of breeding, the lowest intensity of
undesirable characteristics is attainable. Results are entirely
dependent upon selection, remembering that physical compensation is the
foundation rock upon which all enduring worth must be built.
It would seem that the
iTalicized lines above could be easily understood by everybody, and
would need no explanation. Since writing it, however, a reader has
questioned me as to its meaning. In brief, it is an abjuration against
selecting a mating pair by pedigrees alone and emphasizes the importance
of considering as a mate for any dog one that is right where the other
is faulty. The word "physical" is stressed because any dog, which is not
mentally sound, should not be used as a breeder. In the event that such
a one IS bred, however, the same rule holds true. As just one example of
many that could be used to illustrate the meaning of "physical
compensation": Where the Standard of a breed calls for a well laid back
shoulder blade, one should not breed a bitch with a "steep", "short", or
"pushed forward" shoulder blade to a stud having any of the same
While briefly on this subject,
I should mention that failure to practice "physical compensation" is
perhaps the most common mistake made by the average dog breeder. In my
own particular breed, the German Shepherd Dog, we see it constantly the
mating, for instance, of terrier fronted dogs to others similarly built
and especially of soft-backed dogs to others also possessing faulty top
lines. So, when considering inbreeding or line breeding, and presenting
the advantages, I cannot over-stress the necessity of first considering
physical compensation if one expects to obtain enduring worth, for it is
the foundation rock, rather than the pedigrees alone.
In these articles I shall at
time seem repetitious, perhaps bringing up the same point several times.
When that occurs it is because I may either want to restate something so
it will be remembered, supply added emphasis or clarity some point
presently being touched upon.
How To Do Inbreeding
As I have tried to explain, the
first prerequisite for inbreeding is to start with superior animals. It
should NEVER be inaugurated by ANY breeder possessing mediocre breeding
stock. An explanation of this requirement should be made because many of
my readers will immediately conclude that the advantages of this system
of breeding cannot be for them . . . they may not possess, nor can they
afford to buy, or perhaps find available, superior breeding stock. While
any one or all of the above hindrances may be present, they can
eventually still do that type of breeding. It will simply necessitate a
few more years of effort before they can properly start either
inbreeding or line breeding. Possessing only a rather mediocre bitch,
they can "breed up" through using a stud whose structure bears a strong
resemblance to the breed Standard’s requirements. Then, on the resultant
bitch progeny, or on a selected number from that litter, they should
return to the sire’s side of the litter for following matings. I shall
go further into that later.
If one grades relentlessly and
discards all untypical specimens from his breeding use, inbreeding can
be practiced with considerable impunity. On the other hand, if a breeder
finds himself in possession of a small amount of very superior blood,
and is wondering how to use it, and decides to "breed out" or, as it is
commonly termed, do complete out-crossing, he will lose his type by
dissipation. It is only because complete outcrosses are all but
impossible to make, within most breeds, (and this bold assertion will be
examined in a later article) that the matings which are termed, and
believed to be, outcrosses succeed in producing typical stock, if they
When a breeder experiences a
great variance in the type of dogs he is producing, and can only
occasionally come up with a really good one, and that more often than
not by sheer luck . . . when the percentage of those good ones compared
to his total production is disappointingly low . . his only course which
promises any thing fruitful is inbreeding. It puts his breeders to the
severest possible test, of course, and the hazard is admittedly great,
but the possible results are phenomenal. By inbreeding he learns where
his stock has dominant and recessive traits, and what they are, both
good and bad. The really sincere breeder should always be ready to
accept whatever hazard is involved thus to obtain the necessary
information for success in the future.
If, to learn with what he is
working in the matter of inherited traits, both dominant and recessive,
he decides to do inbreeding and bring to the surface more or less hidden
characteristics, the best way is to go "whole hog". Many fanciers,
fearing the consequences, proceed gingerly, breeding a little more
closely with each successive trial. This, if not successful, is
discouraging, may cause abandonment of the whole plan, is sure to
accumulate numbers of undesirable individuals, and consumes valuable
Breeding From the Best Without
Regard to Bloodlines
I have reference here to the
practice of selecting and breeding from the best individuals but without
regard to bloodlines. It is probable that, given enough time, a fancier
might come up with quite a percentage of good dogs, especially if he
confined himself to a rather limited area wherein his selections came
originally from related foundation stock. But in actual practice the
breeder following this method succeeds in producing nothing of note, and
breeds a jumble of different types. It is the system usually followed by
beginners and those whose main purpose is to breed puppies they can sell
on the basis of quoting some "big" names and the greatest number of
"champions" in the pedigree. If and when such breeders turn into
fanciers whose main objective is to become preeminent by building a
strain of superior animals within the breed, they go at once into some
form of inbreeding or line breeding and this of necessity if they are to
succeed. The system of breeding one follows, in other words, depends
upon the result to be accomplished. If the purpose is breed improvement,
then inbreeding and line breeding will be found most effective.
Personal Experience in Support
While writing these articles,
the thought constantly comes to my mind that, considering the very few
breeders who have any breeding plan, and thus the many who are likely to
challenge my statements, I should explain the basis for my breeding
advice. To any reader of scientific literature pertaining to animal
breeding, or to a student of genetics, no justification is needed,
although I doubt that such persons will do more than scan these
articles, which are intentionally devoid of scientific terminology with
all its references to genes, chromosomes, phenotype, genotype, zygote,
homozygous, heterozygous, etc., etc. If I find it necessary, later on,
to use these terms, or any of the many others, I shall try to define
them so they will not be confusing to those in the "beginners’ class" of
As I have previously stated, at
the request of The Editor I am writing non-scientifically. Nevertheless
there should be more than my personal opinions or beliefs and ideas
presented, if credence is to be given the many arbitrary statements I
make. Otherwise I would be taking upon myself a greater responsibility
to the fancy than any conscientious person would care to assume. It
seems advisable, therefore, that I should give something of the
background upon which my statements and declarations are based.
During my more than 48 years of
dog breeding, I have read and studied every book on animal breeding I
could lay hand to. Many of them are in my permanent library and are
being referred to constantly as I write, to make certain my memory
serves me correctly. It is worthwhile to read theories but a more
dependable knowledge comes through testing them one’s self to determine
whether they are right or wrong, and in what degree. This I have done.
As I am writing for an
all-breed magazine and know that these articles will be read by breeders
and fanciers of various breeds, rather than by those of German Shepherd
Dogs alone, with which breed I have done most of my experimenting, I
have thus far refrained from interjecting any reference to personal
experience. From all I have learned through study, however, I would say
that whatever is applicable to one breed of dog is equally so to
another, as it is to practically all other varieties in the animal
kingdom. Therefore, in writing of the one breed with which I have worked
in the main, this should be understood and considered.
It seems to me that the story
of my own testing of breeding systems, and relating some of the results,
might be of interest to my readers and perhaps be of assistance and an
incentive to them in their own breeding programs. A presentation of some
of the results, prior to telling how they were achieved, may be
sufficiently impressive to warrant increased interest in finding out how
they were accomplished. The "how" will therefore be given later.
As unimportant to the purpose
of these articles, I shall omit the details of how I obtained my first
German Shepherd Dog in 1911, and started breeding them in 1912. My bitch
was one of the first of this breed in America and was brought over in
the womb of her dam. Comparatively speaking, the breed was in its
infancy even in Germany, the land of its inception. To the best of my
knowledge there are no others in this country who started with the breed
in those early days, bred them as long as I did, and have retained their
interest even unto this day. Isn’t it claimed that five years is about
the lifespan of the average breeder who gets into the game, and
continues his interest in breeding dogs?
After a great many more than
five, during which time my hobby consisted of breeding dogs just for the
fun of it and, when luck was with me, making a little profit
occasionally, my objective changed. For one thing, the popularity of the
breed as it became better known in this country, had caused thousands to
start breeding it. There was a saturated market of pups for pets, as
often happens when any breed achieves great popularity. During the
depression of the early thirties I bred only a litter or two a year and
found I had the time as ~vel1 as the inclination to study a bit about
how to breed better dogs. I shall skip some intervening years until
about 1940, at which time I announced my intention to establish a strain
within the breed. In my SHEPHERD DOG REVIEW ad, I stated it would be
built on three great imported males of that time, and named them, giving
my reasons for the incorporation of each one in my breeding program.
Their names and close blood relationship will be given later when I
explain, HOW the following results were achieved. It is my purpose to
limit a listing of these results to no more than enough to show that the
"proof of the pudding is in the eating thereof", and that I have tested
the theories about which I write.
Before setting forth some of
the results of my breeding plan, perhaps I should explain that I no
longer have ANY connection, either in an active or advisory capacity,
with any kennel, and this has been true for several years. I therefore,
have no self-serving motive in writing of my achievements.
In the early forties, I made
some incest breedings for educational purposes—to ascertain the dominant
and recessive characteristics of the individuals being used in my
breeding program. The first dogs of the strain I was then starting began
to be shown in competition in 1945. During the next fourteen years more
than 90 homebred champions were finished by customers and ourselves,
here and abroad. I am told that this is a world record for any breeder,
in a lifetime of breeding and showing. I emphasize "homebred’’ above
because the total does not include the probably larger number of those
finished who were sired by our studs, or from matings made by customers
of bitches bought from us and thereafter bred to our studs.
In all fairness, I should
insert here a clarification of the use of "us" and "we" in the preceding
paragraph. The kennel operation as a hobby became too large for me and I
found myself forced to neglect my business. When this happened I
seriously considered liquidating my Long-Worth Kennels, especially since
I had achieved my purpose of building a strain within the breed and had
established a definite type with the ability to "carry on’, as such
closely bred (inbred and line bred) animals have the prepotency to do.
Briefly, and without further explanation I finally decided that, rather
than let Long-Worth pass into oblivion, I would give it to Mrs. Virginia
McCoy (now Mrs. Richard Vaughn). She had fist managed the kennel
operation for me and had been one of the most apt "pupils’ ever to come
to me to learn or just to ‘‘talk dogs". With my championship record well
on its way, and using many of the original foundation stock of the
strain, she augmented the number already finished for the title, and
bred them independently.
Now again to some of the
results, I should like to mention the Register of Merit, which will mean
nothing to other than breeders of German Shepherd Dogs without my giving
a short explanation. So far as I know, no such record of producing sires
and dams is made except in one breed of cattle, and in our breed of
dogs. Some years ago our Parent Club started keeping such a record of
producing sires, and later included bitches. Certain wins by the at
major point shows, made by their progeny, award to the sires and dams a
designated number of points. When a dog has sired 5 champions. 10
progeny have made major class wins, and he has accumulated a certain
number of points, he receives the honor of being rated as a Register of
Merit (abbreviated ROM) sire, or dam.
Ch. Vol of Long-Worth is the
highest ROM sire in the breed, with 1120 points, more than double the
number (545) of the second highest rating male. whose mother,
incidentally, was bred at Long-Worth and was Vol’s half-sister. Very
close in number of points (493) behind the second male is Vol’s son Ch.
Chimney Sweep of Long-Worth, in third place. Sweep was not only sired by
Vol, whose grandmother was Ch. Nyx of Long Worth. mentioned below, but
his dam was a Nyx daughter. Sweep himself became the all-time greatest
Group and Best in Show winner of the breed.
In fourth position is another
Vol son, Ch. Jolly Arno of Edgetowne. with 468 points. Jolly Arno was an
inbred grandson of Ch. Derry of Long-Worth who was the sire of Vol. and
himself a ROM sire with 12 champion offspring to his credit. Ch. Derry
was quite an old dog before outside breeders took any advantage of his
potential (as is so often the case with great sires) and then not more
than a tithe as many used him, as those who bred to Ch. Vol. It was
Derry’s close line’ breeding, intensified in the mating that produced
Vol, which made the latter the most prepotent sire in the breed’s
history. There are hosts of others listed in the ROM either bred at
Long-Worth or carrying its blood.
These breedings will be
explained in a following article so that readers with enough patience to
read through the above, and what follows, presenting PROOF that the
writer is not just a theorist, may learn how probably the greatest
strain in any breed of dogs was built.
It is difficult to present
these facts and not seem boastful, but perhaps I may he allowed a
feeling of justifiable pride in announcing that not only did I breed the
highest ROM sire in the breed, but also the top-rating brood bitch. Ch.
Nyx of Long-Worth holds that unchallenged (to date) record. Most
interesting to students of breeding is the fact that she was the mother
of Derry, the sire of Vol. Nyx has undeniably had more influence for
good on the breed than any other bitch. Bred only a very few times, she
produced thirteen champions, a breed record. Her famous "D" litter, with
only six of the eight ever shown, finished easily. This is an all-time
record for any bitch of the breed. Incidentally, this litter was so
closely line bred as to be termed inbred by some.
Also worthy of note: There were
only four bitches awarded Honorary ROM titles in ‘59, because of their
records made prior to the establishment of ROM for bitches. All of them
were Long-Worth bitches, with one being one of my three foundation
matrons. Combined, they produced a total of 25 champions, with the
foundation bitch being next highest in number of points to Nyx. Another
of our three foundation bitches was awarded an Honorary ROM position
prior to 1959 and was the dam of 8 title-holders. This points out the
importance of starting with good bitches, whether in building a strain
or in just breeding a few good dogs.
Ch. and U.S. Grand Victor Jory
of Edgetowne (litter brother of fourth position ROM sire Jolly Arno, and
of Ch. Jaunty of Edgetowne) was inbred on Ch. Derry, his sire being Vol
(Derry son) and his dam also having been sired by Derry. Ch. and U.S.
Grand Victrix Yola of Long-Worth, perhaps the most perfect bitch I ever
bred, was, but let’s skip the rest. The portion of the record already
given has perhaps become tiresome, but I did want to give enough of it
to prove my points: (1) That the systems of breeding I have been writing
about CAN be used to advantage if one practices, and I am again
repeating, the rule that ‘Physical compensation is the foundation
rock upon which all enduring worth must be built"; and (2) That I am
not open to the charge of "talking through my hat" in writing about
animal breeding theories obtained only through "book learning’ ".
As previously stated, I will
discuss in the next installment HOW the Long-Worth strain, which made
the record part of which is given above, was built. Whether there will
be any further articles on breeding after that depends upon the interest
evidenced in these.
After relating in the second
installment of these articles some of the gratifying results achieved
through my own use of inbreeding. Line breeding, and "family" breeding,
I stated that the "HOW" would be explained. I also mentioned an
advertisement appearing about 1940 in THE SHEPHERD DOG REVIEW in which I
announced by intention to build a distinctive strain within the breed
using three great males. In that announcement I gave their names and the
reasons each was to be utilized as a foundation head, stating that they
were closely related.
Building a Strain
Up to that time my breeding
operations had been of the sort practiced by the average dog fancier,
fully 98% of them, I would estimate. This consisted of mating the best
bitches I could get to the best available males, regardless of related
bloodlines. It is true, however, that for many years I had practiced
compensatory matings — using studs strong in characteristics in which
the bitches needed improvement. This was a plan, but not a breeding
program such as I then inaugurated, although it produced more than the
average run of good specimens which are bred by those who make only
hit-or-miss matings, but still it did not give me multiple Champion
litters, or establish a definite TYPE. As explained in the preceding
articles, these results can be obtained ONLY by utilizing the power of
inbreeding and line breeding.
Referred to hereafter by their
first names only, these three foundation males were German Sieger, U.S.
Ch. Pfeffer v. Bern, his half-brother (same sire) U.S. Ch. Odin v.
BuseckerSchloss, and German Sieger, U.S. Ch. Arras a.d. Stadt-Verbert.
The common sire of the first two dogs was Dachs von Bern. Dachs’ sire
had as his paternal grandfather Ger. Sgr. Utz von HausSchutting, while
his dam Vicki was sired by Utz. Now we come to Arras, the other male in
the triumvirate. His dam was the triple Siegerin (German Grand Champion)
Stella von HausSchutting, claimed by the German breeders to be the
greatest specimen of the breed they had ever produced. Stella’s sire and
dam were BOTH by Utz, making her the offspring of a half brother-sister
mating. From the above we see that all three dogs stemmed closely and
strongly from Utz.
In addition to being thus
closely related, each dog had some compensating factors for the others.
(Remember as applicable here the several times repeated principle given
in the previous installments: "Physical compensation is the foundation
rock upon which all enduring worth must be built".) My breeding program
was predicated upon "closed-up" bloodlines, commonly designated as
inbreeding and line breeding, hence the importance of that dictum.
Only in a general way are the
compensating factors, which I had to consider of importance to the
fanciers of other breeds. Every variety may tend to have different
shortcomings at one time or another in their history. It may be heads,
or feet, or on throughout the entire category of physical structure.
However, to make this clearer, I might state that some of the main
shortcomings, or faults, most common in our breed at that time were soft
top lines, straight (terrier-like) fore assemblies and fading pigment.
In announcing my intention to
build a real strain within the breed, using these three males as the
foundation stones, I wrote that I was using Pfeffer for his over-all,
type, noble appearance, excellent rear angulation, and pigment. His
half-brother Odin was to be used for top line correction, ideal ribbing,
perfection of gait and, in common with Pfeffer, a good shoulder
assembly. Arras was being incorporated in my projected strain to
increase the strength of Odin’s top line influence, as well as Pfeffer’s
pigment; also for his good, although small, amount of somewhat unrelated
blood which brought in traits possessed by the other two which were
desirable but not as strong in their dominance as I felt was needed.
Importance in Selection of
Having decided upon the
breeding program as has been briefly outlined, my next step, of course,
was to find and obtain the necessary bitches with which to implement it.
This is not an easy task at any time, or in any breed. Owners of females
of breeding age who have proven themselves, or because of type and
bloodlines give promise of being worthy producers, are loathe to part
with them. When one adds the stipulation that they must be daughters of
certain studs, their procurement becomes increasingly difficult. Suffice
it to say here, with no other explanation than that it took me about two
years to find and obtain them, I DID get a daughter of each of the above
three studs. Moreover, in most respects they evidenced the traits for
which their sires were notable, and for which I had chosen them to found
With only the mention of my
foundation BITCHES given above, I am sure I have not sufficiently
stressed their importance. It is a much-used aphorism that no stable is
better than its mares, and no kennel better than its bitches. That, of
course, is true. The most valuable acquisition a would-be dog breeder
can make is that of a good bitch or bitches. Without one or more of
these, the tasks of breeding superior specimens in any breed is a long,
if not indeed a hopeless, one. It is better, surely, if the bitch
herself possesses all the attributes of a show specimen, but of great
importance also is her genetic background. It is in her bloodlines, as
delineated by her pedigree, that her potential worth can best be judged.
Perhaps some elaboration and
explanation of that statement should be made, especially as there are
those who believe that a top bitch, regardless of what may be behind her
in blood-lines, will as likely produce good ones as will another who,
though less perfect herself, has a family of good ones behind her. Every
experienced dog breeder knows, and it was pointed out in an earlier
installment, that sometimes a superior specimen will come from a quite
nondescript and hit-or-miss mating. Such a one is an accident or
"happenstance". To claim that a bitch is more likely to reproduce in her
own image than that of any one of her litter mates, for instance, is to
demonstrate an ignorance of the laws of heredity. Which one or ones, if
any, in the litter might carry the genes for the characteristics she
alone manifests can be determined only by testing them as breeders.
Here as an illustration is just
one example of many observed during my experimental dog breeding days.
In a litter of eight there appeared only one who was white. Structurally
she was the best of the lot and quite a superior specimen. Bred a total
of seven times during her lifetime, she herself never produced a white,
nor did any appear in succeeding generations, at least not up to the
fourth, when I lost track of them. She either did not carry the genes
for white, or the genes for pigment, which she carried, were dominant.
On the other hand, several of her sisters did whelp whites.
Bitch’s Background of Utmost
While one of the tenets of all
animal breeding is selectivity, this does not mean that a superior
bitch, with nothing behind her in sufficient strength to dominate, can
be expected to produce as well as another who, although somewhat less
perfect in her own structure, has a family tree inbred or line bred upon
The sometimes heard statement
that "Like produces like" is far from being a dependable truism, BOTH
are of importance, the over-all quality and type of the bitch, as well
as her family tree, but of the two the latter will be found to have the
more influence both for good and for bad. The first article in this
series explained why this MUST be true.
It is my desire to get away
from the subject of my personal operations, in the matter of building a
strain, as quickly as possible. Supplying a record of all, or of even a
few, of the inter-related matings would be, I fear, not only somewhat
confusing, unless pedigrees were given for study, but would also result
in book-length articles unsuitable for a magazine, and particularly for
one read by fanciers of all breeds. However, in order to explain the
"how," it seems necessary to continue with that subject to a somewhat
Having obtained the three
foundation bitches, each related to the others through their sires, and
with one having both Pfeffer and Arras close up in her pedigree, I was
ready to begin breeding operations, ready, I thought and hoped, to start
a breeding program from which would eventuate a noteworthy strain of
Choosing the Males
If it has not already been
noted by my readers, I should call attention here to the fact that,
since my start was made with bitches sired by three closely related
males, I was able to dispense with some years of preliminary matings.
Had three unrelated sires been chosen, it would have taken several
generations of breeding before I could have had in my kennel bitches so
closely related in blood as to make inbreeding and line breeding
possible. With two of the foundation males having the same sire (plus
other related blood), and the third a close-up descendent of the great
German Sieger, U.s. Ch. Utz v. Haus-Schutting. as were the others, I was
actually STARTING with line bred animals. (Had either Odin, or his
half-brother Pfeffer, been a bitch, and one bred to the other, that
would have been inbreeding.)
Therefore one can see how
quickly I was "cooking with gas" or, perhaps stated mores
understandably, doing planned line breeding, when I bred either an Odin
daughter to Pfeffer, or the reverse—and I immediately did both. The
results to be anticipated, as described in my first installment
explaining what can be expected from inbreeding and line breeding, were
quickly brought forth and plainly visible. It took only a few
generations until the type I had wanted to establish and "set" was
While none of the three males
upon which I started the strain was perfect in all characteristics (no
dog as yet has ever been), it should be pointed out that not, only were
they quite superior specimens in themselves, but each compensated the
other in one or more respects. This being true, when some unwanted or
undesirable trait showed up, coinpensati9n could usually be found in one
of the others.
Foundation Blood Intensifies
Pedigrees: Year after year, and
generation after generation, this foundation blood continued to
intensify in the pedigrees of my dogs. Modified out crossings
were made only occasionally. By "modified" I mean that, when reaching
out for some needed trait, I used a stud or bitch possessing at least
one-fourth, or better, one-half, of the blood of my strain. Both in such
instances, and in the rare ones when complete out crossing was done, I
made it a practice to mate one or more of the resultant progeny right
back into the strain. By doing this, I did not lose the qualities I had
strived to obtain and make dominant, nor did I dissipate them.
Some of the results of this
breeding program were reported last month. Multiple champion litters
became more the rule than the exception, of ten with every member who
was given a chance, through being shown by its owner, finishing for the
Temperament and MenTality not
If any of my readers are
Obedience enthusiasts, and not particularly concerned with structural
perfection, they may feel that no consideration was given to
intelligence and trainability in the building of this strain. Nothing
could be further from the truth.
Because the abbreviations for
German training degrees would be confusing to those in breeds which did
not originate in that country, I purposely omitted them when giving the
names and CONFORMATION titles of the three sires upon which the strain
was founded. Each of them, however, had received, prior to his
importation, one or more training degrees showing he had passed the
necessary tests to "graduate". As I now remember it, all three had been
awarded the PH. (Polizeihund— Police Dog) degree, which signifies much
more than our U.D.T.
The crux of the above
dissertation on mental attributes is this: Qualities of the mind, as
well as physical characteristics, are subject to the same laws of
heredity. My strain became well known not only because of its members’
structural superiority but because of their exceptional trainability in
Obedience work as well. One member became top-scoring dog, all breeds,
in the United States for two successive years prior to his retirement.
It should be stated that I take no credit for this, having neither bred
nor trained the dog. The sire of this "dual Champion" (both a bench show
and an obedience trial title holder) was a son of Pfeffer, one of my
foundation studs, while his dam (one of my world-famous "D" six Champion
German Shepherd Dog litter) was so closely line bred on both Pfeffer and
Arras as to be considered by some geneticists as inbred.
The belief, and some uninformed
breeders’ contention, that inbreeding and line breeding per se will
cause either physical or mental deterioration is a fallacy many times
proven. Consider the breeding of the above dog as just one example of
many that could be cited.
Inbreeding and line breeding
cannot be looked upon as a way to bring NEW characteristics into a breed
but, as Humphrey states, it " is a source of never ending combinations
of racial characters in new individuals, producing variations, which are
COMPARATIVELY SLIGHT EXCEPT WHEN THE TWO PARENTS ARE FROM WIDELY
Since I am not a professional
writer, nor do I possess either the aptitude or inclination for such
work it has been my intention and desire to discontinue these articles
as soon as I felt that the editor’s request for something on the above
subject had been covered. It seems, therefore, that I made a mistake
when I stated, at the end of a previous installment, that a continuance
would be predicated upon the interest shown by DOG WORLD readers. I am
sure the response has amazed till of us.
Because through lack of time I
have been unable to write personally to each of those who have requested
more articles, I want to express my appreciation here.
The effort made to be of
whatever help I can is doubly rewarding because of the many novices who
have written that although they had long wanted information on breeding
better dogs, and had repeatedly asked successful breeders for help,
little had been forthcoming. One does indeed wonder why so many old
timers are chary of assisting the beginners. We seem to forget that we
ourselves were once in their position, and how much easier the road
would have been for us had we been given encouragement and a helping
The preceding installments have
dealt mainly with defining inbreeding and line breeding together with
their advantages and the results to be expected. There was also a report
of some of the writers successes obtained by using these breeding
methods. While much more could, and perhaps should, follow along the
same line, it can wait until a future time. The subject of out crossing
is particularly timely now, when there seems to be not only many
misconceptions regarding it, but probably never before in the history of
dog breeding such a regrettable and harmful amount of it being done.
Somewhere in a previous article
I made a statement to the effect that in some breeds the bad results of
out crossing were not as evident as they would be were it not almost
impossible to find absolutely unrelated blood in those varieties. This,
I said, would be explained later. Probably this should be done now,
before going into the matter of out crossing.
Ancestors in Common Don’t
Guarantee Worthwhile Breeding
Many breeds, and the German
Shepherd Dog is a prime example, can trace their origin back to not only
one or two foundation heads, but also through little, if any, more than
a human lifetime. I myself bad dogs but a few generations removed
from Horand Grafrath. He was whelped in 1895 and was the first dog
of our breed to be registered. To my knowledge, every living German
Shepherd Dog in this country traces back, through one or another of his
sons, to Horand. Some breeds which have existed since antiquity, with a
type somewhat like that of today, can similarly trace their upgrading,
which developed the present specimens, to some "great" of the relatively
close past. This is true in many varieties of animals, as illustrated by
Hamiltonian 10 in racehorses, to cite just one example.
If one will examine the
complete pedigrees, perhaps through six generations, of ancestors behind
any two purebred dogs of a recognized breed, it may be seen that the two
mated dogs will have at least one ancestor in common somewhere in the
combined pedigrees It is more likely that there will be several common
ancestors in the six generations and that the name of one or more of
them will appear more than once in one or both pedigrees. With the
usually shortened pedigree, supplying the names no further back than
perhaps the great-grandparents’ generation, the breeder may believe that
he is making a complete outcross.
While it is most assuredly not
my contention that the breeding of one dog to just any other in the same
breed is- not out crossing, I am trying to explain that there often is
some interrelationship. Although a common ancestor is so far removed as
to have no significant influence, the type that lie originated may have
kept the breed members more closely alike than they would have been
In view of what I have written
above, some of my readers may conclude that an outstanding animal
appearing once or even several times further back than the third
generation will have a noteworthy influence. One often sees pedigrees,
especially those of German Shepherd Dogs currently being imported,
stating that there is line breeding to one or more sires, as "4-5" or
"5-5", meaning in the fourth and fifth, or twice in the fifth,
generations. When it is considered that a dog appearing the fourth
generation contributes only about 1/256 of the heredity factors in a
puppy, one can understand that those distant relatives could not have
done much to overcome the influence of the unrelated and perhaps
inferior specimens appearing in the pedigree later. Altogether too many
fanciers are misled into feeling they have a worthwhile breeding animal
because back in the third or fourth generations there appears one or
more outstanding dogs.
Out crossing, Part of Planned
There have been many, and far
better, articles than I can write anent the matter of out crossing
including if, when, and how to do it. One such appeared only last year
in DOG WORLD by the famous geneticist Dr. E. Fitch Daglish. Anything
that I, or anybody else might write would have to be repetitious, so
well did he cover the subject.
Pointing this out to our
editor, he explained that there were probably many who did not read it,
that there were new subscribers who had not had the opportunity, and,
"Besides, it and the other subjects you have been covering can’t be
repeated too many times." If all this be true, I need then only
apologize for singing the same song again to those who are excepted from
the above categories.
Out crossing is, of course, a
concomitant of "planned breeding" and therefore MUST be considered when
offering any effectual treatise on that subject.
Previous installments have
dealt in the main with the use of inbreeding and line breeding to
establish a strain within a breed of dogs. It remains now to cover the
matter of how often it is advisable to introduce an outcross and, when
and if such an outcross is made, where one goes from there.
I would like to interject here
my observation of something that continually amazes me, 2nd it has to do
particularly with our present-day German Shepherd Dog breeders.
Practically none of them have evolved a "plan" of ANY sort. There is
presently a heterogeneous crop of imported males available and they are
being used as breeders by hundreds of fanciers who have NO knowledge of
those dogs’ ancestors. Neither have they the least knowledge of
the producing abilities of these studs themselves, in most instances. I
have asked dozens of these breeders (they cannot rightly be designated
as "fanciers"), "Where do you plan to go from there? and I cannot
remember a single instance when any one of them could tell me of a
breeding plan he had for the future.
We are about to discuss out
crossing and, as above outlined, "how often," "when," and "if" to do it.
This will mean absolutely nothing, whatever I may write, to such
hit-or-miss breeders who are not only starting with outcross-bred
animals, but must almost of necessity CONTINUE that process unless they
immediately find some way to breed back on the sire’s side (often
inadvisable when his forebears are considered, or impossible from the
standpoint of availability), or start inbreeding on the best dogs of the
dam’s side. But when asked, "What are you going to do next?" as
stated above, the usually reply is, "I haven’t gotten that far." or "I
haven’t thought of that."
Using the vernacular. I will
state unequivocally that "nobody but nobody" amongst them is going to do
constructive animal breeding or produce a satisfactory percentage of top
specimens, and most certainly they WILL NOT build a strain within the
breed. This having been proved to be true innumerable times by
geneticists and all successful animal breeders, regardless of variety,
what follows can be of value or interest to those now doing such
outcross breeding only for one reason: to demonstrate why they are not
getting the desired results
Outcross Only for Definite
Those doing planned breeding
based upon inbreeding and line breeding should outcross only for a
definite purpose. Where the misconception started that it is not
safe to inbreed more than three generations without an outcross nobody
seems to know, but it is not necessarily valid. To my own misfortune I
myself believed this fallacy at one time, and reaped the consequences.
Every experienced breeder knows
that, perhaps more often than not, the offspring of a first-generation
outcross of two excellent animals show many of the good points of their
parents. That is why, when so many of those first generation puppies
from outcross matings are doing well in the show ring, their breeders,
and others who have noted this, rush to make similar breedings. They
will undoubtedly learn, as I did, that the youngsters of succeeding
generations of outcross breeding will be a heterogeneous lot, showing an
absolute lack of uniformity. This will not only prevent those breeders
from developing and holding a proper type, but will help to make their
breed one of even further differing types in size and proportion.
Such breeders then, do a
disservice to their breed and are mainly responsible for the great
differentiation within it. They also are the cause of many judges’
bewilderment. One often hears puzzled fudges ask, in judging German
Shepherd Dogs, for instance, "What DO you WANT, anyhow, those big and
square ones, the small long ones, those angulated as your Standard calls
for, or those built about like Collies?"
Breeders who believe that an
outcross should be made at some definite time as, for instance, the
previously mentioned third generation, are, as another writer has put
it, giving credence to one of those "old wives’ tales" to which some dog
breeders seem to be particularly addicted.
When Should Outcross Be Made?
In answering this question, I
can give no better advice than that advanced by Dr. Daglish: "To ask
when an outcross should be made in a certain number of generations is
like asking on which days of the week one should carry an umbrella." It
seems to be a popular belief that bringing in new blood every once in
awhile, or even with every breeding, must be beneficial after line
breeding and inbreeding have been practiced for a few generations, but
it is absolutely the opposite of the truth if my several times repeated
tenet, ‘Physical compensation is the foundation rock upon which all
enduring worth must be built." has been followed during the period of
If my readers have obtained a
correct understanding of the earlier installments of these articles,
they will know that inbreeding and line breeding make for the
elimination of recessive factors, which produce faults, and bring about
purification within their strain. This close breeding upon the blood of
one or more superior specimens has quite rapidly done away with the
influence of the more faulty ancestors, and caused a definite type to be
established. Because, at least after the first generation of an outcross
mating, a breeder will LOSE THE TYPE HE HAS WORKED TO OBTAIN through
line breeding and inbreeding (unless he then breeds back into his
established line), an outcross should be made only FOR A SPECIFIC
PURPOSE— to correct a fault or faults which may have shown up in his
inbred strain. More will be written about this later.
To be successful as a breeder,
one must seek to produce animals which are genetically pure for all
those dominant qualities which are demanded by the breed’s Standard of
perfection. The nearer he approaches that ideal the more uniform—similar
in type—will be the dogs he produces.
When a breeder of any variety
of dogs uses the more distantly related animals in his matings, he can
expect less uniformity in the offspring. So, as previously stated, if
complete outcrosses are used at all, they should be made for a definite
reason and not with the belief that the purpose of the matings will be
fulfilled in one generation. To cover fully the reasons for this
statement and prove its worth would entail the writing of a full-length
installment in this series, as well as the use and explanation of many
terms, which might be confusing to novices in the breeding art.
To supply some backing for what
I have written however, other than my own statement of fact) which is
based upon both study and experience, I quote Onstott: "Any virtues
which may be added to a strain through out-crossing . . . cannot be
looked upon as inherent in that strain UNTIL THEY HAVE BEEN PURIFIED AND
FIXED WITHIN THAT STRAIN THROUGH INBREEDING.
Out crossing is only to be
employed as a means to an end and as a preliminary to the FIXATION of
its good results, if any, through inbreeding."
Strains and Real Strains
To those who have become
readers of DOG WORLD since this series started, I might explain that in
speaking of a "strain" I mean, as someone has put it, a "variety within
a variety" of animals.
One familiar with many breeds
of dogs is struck by the fact that few breeds have many real strains
within them. Uninformed breeders speak of "my strain" or "his strain’
when all that any of them have is a kennel of dogs possessing
hit-or-miss pedigrees with a hodgepodge of ancestors, perhaps including
"Champions" in their pedigrees, which, of course, indicates to the
cognoscente that the advertiser is a rank and uninformed novice of the
first order. In conversations, these people usually speak of their
"strains" when, as stated above, all they have is a mixture of several
strains, or perhaps one of "just dogs" with no rhyme or reason for any
of them having been mated together.
However, where there ARE real
strains within any breed, one seldom finds them unmixed with the blood
of other so-called strains, because most breeders start their strain
with the same ancestor, or ancestors. This is done because those mutual
ancestors were considered to be great dogs of their time, as they
probably were, or else a breeder knowledgeable and serious-minded enough
to start building a strain would not have chosen them. WHEN such
superior specimens have in mutuality been selected by the founders of
different strains within a breed, the so-called out-crossing between
their strains is less hazardous than would he the using of animals with
either no, or very distant, relationship.
I shall continue this important
subject of out crossing in the next installment and try to explain how
best to do it, when it is considered advisable.
In the preceding installment, I
stated that there are few real strains within any of the various breeds
of dogs in this country. I defined a strain as being a "variety within a
variety" having a distinct type, the members of which are recognizable
as being of that family.
It was also explained that,
where there are strains, one seldom finds them unmixed with the blood of
other so-called strains since most breeders started their strains with
the same ancestor or ancestors, this because that dog or dogs were great
ones of their time and recognized generally as being so. When outcrosses
are made between two such strains, there is not as great risk as though
there were not common ancestors reasonably close up in both pedigrees.
Before going further into the
subject of out-crossing, I feel it should be repeated that NO complete
out breeding should be done unless some fault or faults have shown up in
an established strain. If even through careful selection during the
building of his strain, a breeder finds he has some shortcomings he
cannot eliminate or improve without using outside blood, then it is time
to outcross. This may well be one of the most critical periods in his
It is not the experienced and
informed breeders who constantly practice out crossing but rather the
novices and uninformed who hope, through out crossing, to retain all of
the virtues, the while they eliminate the faults, in the first
generation resulting from an outcross. Unfortunately it is not as simple
as that, for out crossing BRINGS UNDESIRABLE CHARACTERISTICS TOO. Faults
brought in through out crossing can be eliminated or line breeding of
the progeny resulting from an outcross.
To Get Desired Characteristic
In reaching out, through
outcross blood, to obtain some wanted characteristic not present in his
strain, or to correct a fault he has not been able to eliminate from it
through closed-up breeding, a breeder should make the outcross as
partial as possible. In other words, he should obtain the desired
correction or improvement through using a stud possessing the needed
trait, and who is also, if possible, related to his own strain—the
more closely related the better. Through this procedure he may save
himself from the necessity of generations of breeding to regain the
virtues already in his strain as well as hold those he obtained by out
crossing. This is true because out crossing is quite as likely to
destroy the good traits already possessed as to add others which are
missing and desired.
Perhaps at another time I will
explain the basis of this principle by going into the matter of genes
and chromosomes and how they combine. For the present, however, as I
have stated previously, I am making these articles as easily
understandable as possible to the novice breeder. To do so, I must at
times make statements of fact known to every geneticist and student of
animal breeding, without explaining scientifically the proof supporting
So important is the matter of
what to do after making an outcross, I think it should be repeated that
any bad results from out crossing can be eliminated only through
continued inbreeding or line breeding, and careful selection, so that
the benefits derived from out crossing may be incorporated in one’s
There art two reasons why a
breeder sometimes obtains approximately what he is seeking in the first
generation of an outcross. The first is that what he believes to be an
outcross may be the mating of two dogs who are not as unrelated as it
appears to him from looking at their short pedigrees. As previously
stated, a more extended pedigree might show relationship.
The second reason takes a bit
more explaining. A breeder sincerely interested in producing high
quality dogs usually searches for a prepotent stud dog known to sire
outstanding progeny. It is quite generally known that such males are
dominant because of being, in most instances, either inbred or line
bred, and, putting it in the most simple way, they thus have the power
to impose their own characteristics over the recessive ones of a
hit-or-miss bred bitch. Sometimes I like to explain it this way: such a
cold bred bitch can be likened to the seed bed, the earth, while the
male’s sperm is the seed which produces its own kind. Of course, the
reverse is true when the bitch with inbred dominance is mated to a
Danger in Continued
When salubrious results are
obtained in the first generation of an outcross, many breeders think-,
the mating was an unqualified success and all they need do thereafter is
to continue such out crossing to, become great breeders with an
established type of their own, producing a high average of good ones.
They could not be more mistaken, since the exact opposite is sure to
occur. I can do no better than quote here from the world-famous
geneticist Dr. E. Fitch Daglish, who is also a contributor to DOG WORLD.
- The following is an excerpt from his article in the June l959 issue:
"INVISIBLE FACTORS INHERITED:
One of the fundamental principles of genetics is that it is not the
visible properties of individuals that are inherited but those
factors or genes which endow them with the ability to produce certain
qualities under certain conditions. When two animals differing in
genetic make-up are mated, their offspring must be genetically
impure in varying degrees however closely the two parents may resemble
each other in outward appearance. It is this, which causes
the wide variation in size, shape, constitution and so on that is
invariably seen is, the second generation of cross breeds.
Impressive examples are
furnished by the familiar utility crosses in poultry, cattle and pigs
produced by farmers. Such first crosses are, as a rule, very uniform in
appearance and for certain purposes are preferred as layers or
fatteners, but if such hybrids are bred from the results are
always disappointing. They are impure in respect to so many genes for
all those factors in which their parents differed—that their progeny
show the widest variations and include a large proportion of individuals
of very low qu4itv from whatever point of view they
are judged. "It may be objected that what happens when different breeds
are crossed is not relevant to the effects to be expected from out
crossing within a single breed but, genetically out crossing and
crossbreeding differ only in degree. Both involve the mating of
individuals whose genetic constitution is almost certain to differ
widely so that there must be a drastic reshuffling of genes in
the offspring." (ITalics are my own.)
It should be remembered,
therefore, that as dog breeders we are dealing not only with the
physical structure of a mating pair, but with the GENES inherited from
the forbears shown in their pedigrees.
Failing of Many Breeders
The number of breeders who know
practically nothing about the ancestors of their dogs is appalling.
Many cannot even name when asked, without looking at a pedigree, the
names of the sire and dam of a dog or dogs they own. Were they asked for
a four-generation pedigree of one of their dogs, only a few could write
it from memory. In my breeding days I could do this on any one of a
hundred or more dogs in my kennel, with seldom an error.
My contention is that, unless a
breeder can do likewise and also has quite a complete knowledge of the
virtues and faults of all the ancestors through at least the third
generation and even further back is preferable he will not become even a
good breeder, let alone a great one. He MUST KNOW from whence came
certain traits, both desired and undesired, if he expects to retain or
eliminate them. This cannot be accomplished by hit-or-miss breedings, be
they inbred, line bred, or, most certainly, outcross.
Whenever a breed becomes
popular, there is an influx of novices not only ignorant of what
constitutes a good specimen in the variety, but much more lacking in any
knowledge of animal breeding. Newcomers should be, and usually are,
welcomed when they indicate a sincere desire to find out what a good
specimen of their chosen breed IS and have a willingness to learn and
study. It is they who must replace those who are constantly disappearing
from the game for one reason or another.
Of late there has been a big
influx of beginners in several breeds, Poodles, German Shepherd Dogs,
Miniature Schnauzers and Basset Hounds, to name just a few. Most of my
life having been spent hobbying German Shepherds; my connection with,
and knowledge of, that variety is greatest, but I understand somewhat
similar conditions as to the type of breeders above also exist in breeds
other than the German Shepherd Dog.
Referring now to what has
already been written about out crossing, I can state unequivocally that
in the German Shepherd Dog breed, as in no other, can so many of the
evils of that kind of hit-or-miss breeding be found today. Out crossing
is more the rule than the exception. It is being done not by novices and
beginners only, but also by many who should know better because of
greater experience in dog breeding. The results are presently visible to
all and should be a warning to fanciers of other breeds. In no other
breed with which I am familiar does one observe in the show ring such a
wide diversity of type.
Recent years have seen dozens
of German Shepherd Dogs imported, with no two of them much alike except
perhaps in faults not heretofore common to our breed in this country:
short necks, coarse and
unattractive heads, insufficiently long and pushed forward shoulder
blades, soft backs, rear angulation and proportion of length to height
both falling far short of the breed Standard’s specifications, etc.
Because of the belief, born perhaps of an inferiority complex, that
anything imported must per se be superior to something produced in this
country, together with lack of knowledge as to what a goad specimen of
the breed looks like, many of our breeders are rushing "like mad" to
breed their bitches to these imports.
In all dogs we have what is
termed "warning blood." As implied, this means that there are certain
faults contained in the genes of those animals, which are quite certain
to show up when they are mated to others. These shortcomings became
dominant through a lack of selection in the matings of their ancestors,
which, properly planned, would have eliminated them. I wish to pursue
this subject only enough to use it as a demonstration of WHY any kind
of out crossing, and especially that which is now being done in
German Shepherd Dogs, is dangerous and can eventuate in harm to the
As has been pointed out, a
breeder, to be successful and not trust entirely to luck, must know the
background of his mating pair. He must, most importantly of all, know
the WARNING BLOOD behind them. It is difficult enough to learn of such
warnings in the pedigrees of dogs with several generations bred in this
country, so HOW can he find out about those from abroad? The fact is
that probably not one in a hundred of the breeders using imports DOES
know one darned thing about what to guard against—long coats and all of
those quite commonly possessed faults listed above. If he is ignorant of
what a good specimen of his breed looks like, or hopes that the visible
faults is the dog are not inherent and will not appear in descendants
"even unto the third generation," he is fooling himself and doing his
breed a great disservice.
Imports Could Be "Tainted"
Our Shepherdists were the first
to take cognizance of, and try to do something about, hip dysplasia,
that crippling disease found in so many breeds. Great efforts have been
made to eliminate it through an educational campaign instructing
breeders to use only sound animals for breeding purposes. This is
admirable and to be commended, but how sincere, may I ask, are those
(and amongst them are several who were tl2Ie loudest in their demands
that affected dogs be discarded as breeders) who themselves bred to
these imported males?
The taint has been shown to be
inheritable. Not the slightest attention is, or has been, given to it by
foreign breeders. The individual dogs may be shown to be untainted
through an X-ray examination, upon or before importation, but what about
the genes they may carry for it? Do the importers know—do the purchasers
from these importers know—do the fanciers who breed to these dogs know?
What about the parents or the littermates: are they "clean"? Who
knows? The answer is that nobody knows, because no recognition is given
to hip dysplasia in Germany—no X-rays and no consequent culling of their
breeding stock. Theoretically, dogs in this country could eventually be
produced free of the taint, and then one imported dog carrying it could
start the whole thing over again. It is commonly known that some of
these imported dogs are amongst the worst offenders in siring dysplastic
progeny (and orchidism, as well). At least one dog, perhaps as perfect a
specimen as has recently been brought to this country, and for which a
big price was paid, has been returned to Germany by a conscientious
American breeder because she was dysplastic.
What does all of this actually
mean to breeders? It means that out crossing is particularly dangerous
when traits both visible and those inherent in the mating pair’s
ancestors, are not known. A breeder is gambling when he makes an
outcross mating, and it is an outcross breeding when no common ancestors
appear in the fourth or, at least, the fifth generation. In out crossing
one is mixing the bloodlines of different strains and consequently
unwanted recessive characteristics are likely to be brought in. Very
often novice breeders present the pedigree of their outcross-bred bitch
to me, asking for advice about breeding her. Such a pedigree cannot be
evaluated properly because it is impossible to know the genetic makeup
of such an animal.
Never outcross when things seem
to be going well—do it only as an experiment, or when some fault or
faults cannot be eliminated by staving within one’s strain Breeding
complete outcrosses is a dangerous procedure, sure to result in a
hodgepodge of breed traits with a loss of all true type, if practiced
carelessly, or beyond an initial mating for a definite purpose.
When, and if, an outcross is
made, every effort should be expended to see that the outcross dog
brings in as few alien traits and genetic impurities as possible. To
insure this, one should use an individual, which carries as much blood
as can be found of the foundation stock of the strain which is to be
After an outcross has been
made, a breeder should then breed right back into the original strain.
This is the only safe procedure after the purpose of the outcross has
As Dr. Daglish states it: "Only
in that way can the high degree of genetic purity established in a
valuable true-breeding strain be recovered and the bad effects of mixing
the genes carried by unrelated animals be avoided."
Better Not to Breed Without Knowledge
In earlier installments I have pointed out both the benefits and
dangers inherent in line breeding or inbreeding and dwelt at
considerable length on the necessity for using only as near faultless
stock as it is possible to obtain as one’s foundation animals. It is
very evident to me now that I have presupposed a greater knowledge of
what constitutes a good animal of any given breed than the majority of
its fanciers possess. This being true, it seems to behoove me now again
to warn some of today’s breeders NOT to attempt any kind of
closed-up breedings; in fact, not to do ANY breeding until they have a
better knowledge of WHAT they want to get FROM their matings:
Of course, the person who is interested only in the commercial aspect
of the game, the breeding of dogs to sell and make money (if indeed that
can be done), or because it is fun to have some cute puppies around,
will have no interest in what I have written previously or in what I say
To the many, however, who seem sincerely interested in breeding
better specimens, to the many who want to know HOW to do it, I want to
stress as strongly as I can: YOU MUST FIRST KNOW WHAT IS A GOOD DOG
OF YOUR BREED. In other words, know your breed before you try to
The manufacturer of any product must know what that article should be
and look like before he starts to make it. The baker of a cake must know
what a cake should look like and, in each instance, the manufacturer and
the baker must know, and be able to recognize any and all faults or
shortcomings in their products.
We Must line bred—But Wisely!
The subject of inbreeding and line breeding might be summed up this
way: Probably no great epoch or step forward in any breed has ever been
achieved without the constant and unhesitating use of consanguinity; at
the same time we must realize that its use is full of dangers and
pitfalls for those novice breeders who fail to recognize the imperative
need for using only stock which is sound in constitution, organs and
structure—and which also possesses outstanding points of merit, with NO
SINGLE FAULT COMMON TO THE TWO ORIGINAL PARENTS.
This means we must line bred, but line-breed
wisely, and not until we are able to recognize all
the shortcomings, as well as the merits, of our dogs, and are
informed about the same in their ancestors.
Need for the above advice, or warning if you will, has been impressed
upon me more and more as breeders have contacted me. Some have asked if
they should linebred upon dogs whom I have found to be so "full of
holes"—with so many faults—that they should not be used as breeders at
Then there are so very many, especially in German Shepherd Dogs, who
state their intention to inbreed or line breed upon imported animals.
When asked, they admit to no knowledge whatever of the inheritance
factors possessed by these dogs, the good as well as the warning blood
in them. To breed to them in order to find out is one thing, but to plan
the building of a strain, through inbreeding and line breeding on them,
is quite another matter.
Always Know What to Expect Through Inheritance
It should be made clear that I am not taking any stand against
breeding to some of these imported dogs. On the contrary, I recognize
that doing so has given the German Shepherd Dog breed in this country a
boost and eventuated in some excellent specimens.
The point I am trying to get across is based upon what I have written
above; i.e. that ONLY those breeders knowledgeable in what constitutes a
near-perfect specimen of the breed, as well as those having information
on what to hope for, and look out for, through inheritance factors,
should even THINK of doing closed-up breeding on them. The same,
of course, applies to our American-bred dogs.
While on this subject, I would indeed be remiss did I not again point
out some of the traits which I find so very many of our German Shepherd
Dog breeders of today are either not knowledgeable enough of their
Standard to recognize, or which they ignore— traits that, should they be
"set" through inbreeding or line breeding, would put the breed back many
years and be all but impossible to eradicate. I realize that these were
listed in earlier installments, but because there seems to be few who
know them, even amongst judges, I feel that attention should again be
called to them.
Serious Faults in Some Imports
The most important faults in the imported German Shepherd Dogs, it
seems to me, are these:
Lack of proper type as defined by the Standard of the breed. Where it
calls for dogs to be longer than high, very many are practically square.
Proper angulation at BOTH ENDS is difficult to find. Rear
angulation, in many instances, approximates that of Collies, while the
forequarters have scapulars (shoulder blades) much too short and
steep—pushed up into too-short necks.
Properly high-set withers, with strong backs, are all but
non-existent in many of these imports.
The very idea of, even the giving of consideration to, inbreeding or
linebreeding on such dogs, causes any real student and lover of this
noble breed great concern.
As most of those either contemplating or engaging in such a breeding
program are novices or formerly unsuccessful breeders, I can but hope
that my "lone voice crying in the wilderness" will make them pause
before irreparable harm is done to the breed.
(1) Through studying the breed’s Standard of Perfection,
attending dog shows, talking with knowledgeable people in one’s
breed, and owning good dogs, a breeder should learn what IS a good
specimen of his breed before he starts ANY breeding operations,
let alone the more or less involved types such as inbreeding and line
(2) When either of the latter are attempted, make certain to select
as near faultless foundation stock as it is possible to get, and cull
relentlessly, never mating together two dogs with similar faults. I
repeat for the umpteenth time in this series "Physical compensation
is the foundation rock upon which all enduring worth must be built."
Regrettably Little Information for True Breed Students
In some of the preceding installments I have pointed out that most of
my experimenting with various breeding theories has been done with
German Shepherd Dogs, but stated my sincere desire to be of all help
possible to beginners in any breed. Resultant information obtained from
the many contacts made since the appearance of the first article in this
series has shown me how many dog breeders are deeply and seriously
interested in obtaining knowledge which will enable them to produce
better specimens of their particular breed.
It is indeed regrettable that, at least in the more popular breeds,
with a consequent greater number of fanciers, there are not more sources
of information available to such students, that there is not a printed
compendium of knowledge about the various qualities of the leading sires
in each breed.
It goes without saying that any such record should be compiled by
very knowledgeable and experienced fanciers of a breed, and, of most
importance, that it be fostered by its Parent Club. While such a program
presents great advantages in theory, its practical application is all
but impossible, especially if the compilers of such a record essay to
give breeding advice.
Analysis of Breed Survey Systems
The above is written as a prelude to what I am about to write
regarding the patently ill-advised organization termed ‘The American
Breed Survey Society for German Shepherd Dogs, Inc." Because I find such
a large proportion of the readers of these articles are fanciers of that
breed, I hope my inserting the following in what is, in the main,
material for all breeds, and printed in an all-breed magazine, may be
It may also result in second thoughts on the part of any personally
ambitious fanciers of other breeds, or clubs contemplating the
establishment of such an organization.
For the benefit and information of those in other breeds who max- not
know about this "Breed Survey" in Shepherds, or who have not read the
challenging article concerning it written by Mrs. Leslev Kodner together
with the reply by Mr. Grant Mann. as these’ have been appearing in DOG
WORLD, some explanation should be given.
In Germany, the "home" of this breed, and where it has been most
highly developed throughout the almost three-quarters of a century of
its history as a distinct breed, there is accessible to its fanciers a
wealth of information. In all but inexhaustible detail records have been
kept of every animal, especially of all those used as breeders.
Such breeding and show records have been published in book form and
so are available to all German fanciers of the breed. Neither available
space, nor the probable interest of many of my readers in this subject
would warrant a full explanation of how this estimable program is
conducted in that country. Neither is it necessary to relate all the
reasons why it could not be, and never has been when previously tried, a
success in America.
Suffice it to explain that over there they have "surveyors." or breed
wardens, who through many years of intensive training and practical
experience, are worthy of being listened to when they give advice, or
estimate the qualities of a dog. Also, such it seems is typical German
mind that they will sub-being regimented and, in the matter of mating
their dogs, listen to, and obey, the advice of the appointed
Fortunately or unfortunately, according to the way one may look at it
such is NOT the case here in our country. Neither will most of us comply
with, or heed, any advice given relative to breeding our dogs, nor do we
have in this country many, if indeed any. who are sufficiently
knowledgeable through experience, or sufficiently dedicated to have
studied bloodline inheritance, to make a similar program valuable or
It is regrettable that such is the situation because, as previously
stated, in THEORY an organization supplying valuable data on
physical structure, and reliable information on breeding worth, could be
of inestimable advantage to ALL breeders and especially to those
beginners who are so hungry for knowledge about their breed.
It would seem from the above, and it is true, that while I recognize
the need for an accurate source of information, especially about dogs
used for breeding, and which would be obtainable by the many fanciers of
all breeds who are hungry for it, I do NOT look favorably upon, or in
any way approve of, The American Breed Survey Society.
For whatever my opinion may be worth to those either contemplating
having their dogs "surveyed", or who have already had it done and may
assume the reports made on their dogs either completely accurate or, in
the matter of breeding advice given, worthy of acceptance, it seems I
should detail some of the reasons upon which my opinion is based. This I
shall now do in the form of questions and answers.
Has such a project ever before been inaugurated in this country? Yes,
on several occasions and under the sponsorship of the Parent Club of the
Because of success in supplying unbiased unprejudiced accurate and
valuable information, were any of them deemed worthy o continuance?
Quite the opposite. About the only result was to prove how unworkable
(an for too many reasons to elaborate upon here such a program must be
in this country.
Who were those doing the examining o dogs and termed ‘surveyors’
during these previous experiments? Selected German author ties of breed
renown in their country, an brought over for the purpose of helping u
establish a record of our American-owned dogs’ attributes such as is
available in the country of its origin.
Are Survey Leaders Qualified?
Who is the originator and operator of the so-called "American Breed
Survey" now currently functioning? Mr. Grant E. Mann Detroit, Mich.
Does he have the experience and necessary attributes to evaluate the
qualities of a dog? feel, and the general consensus of opinion seems to
be, that he has, since he is a long time breeder, erstwhile judge of the
breed and producer of many top-quality specimens
Who, other than Mr. Mann, are listed officers of his organization?
A.D.NI. Barti as "Gen. Counsel." R. T. Lundquist, Treasurer and, as
Secretary, a seemingly obscure man named Brotherton about whom nobody
seems to have any information other than that he is the owner of one
dog. To my knowledge, at least, there is evidently no record of Mr.
Brotherton’s or Mr. Lundquist’s previous activity in the breed upon
which to predicate a belief in their importance in such a venture.
Did the Board of Governors of the German Shepherd Dog Club of
America, when urged by Mr. Mann to accept and sponsor his "Breed Survey"
idea, vote to do so? No. Having knowledge, of the failures of previous
attempts, and the basic reasons for their debacles, they wisely refused
to participate in any way. They seemed to feel, however, that they had
no authority to prohibit Mr. Mann from operating such a project "on his
Are the purposes of the organization as altruistic in all its claims,
including that of its being a non-profit venture, as are stated? Per
haps that should not be challenged, despite there having been no reports
made, to anyone s seeming knowledge, either privately or publicly, as to
its income and disbursements. In the absence of any such accounting, one
is of necessity left to draw his own conclusions.
What are the charges made for the examination or "surveying" of a
customer’s dog? They seem to vary according to the number of dogs
gathered at a pre-arranged surveying point and the distance the
surveyors must travel, the minimum, I understand, being $10.00 a dog.
Are such charges reasonable? They would seem to be, providing the
customer receives in exchange enough of actual, usable and dependable
information to make the cost and the time consumed worthwhile—providing
much more is received, we would say, than any knowledgeable judge of the
breed could, and usually would, be willing and capable of supplying ‘for
free" at any dog show.
Do the written reports, as furnished to those who submit their dogs
for evaluation by the committee appointed by the Society, really supply
enough more information than could be obtained, as above mentioned, to
be worth the charge? Indeed, are many of them even accurate or detailed
enough to warrant one’s serious consideration, even could they be
obtained without ANY charge having been made for them?
Personal knowledge of many of the dogs surveyed, together with a
familiarity with their ancestors, as delineated in their pedigrees, lead
many of the cognoscente to strongly question it. In fact, so many of the
reports I have seen are sufficiently inaccurate, and wrong in listing
the surveyed dog’s physical characteristics (as many others, including
capable judges, have found them to be), together with their ill-advised
recommendations for its breeding use, as to raise the serious question:
May not the results of the organization’s work prove to be
more harmful than beneficial to the breed, if its findings
are accepted seriously by customers? Just one of many such
misleading and very inaccurate survey reports to come to my attention is
the one mentioned in Mrs. Kodner’s "Open Letter to Grant Mann", which
appeared in the November issue of DOG WORLD and the October issue of
THE SHEPHERD DOG REVIEW.
Before me as I write is a Photostat copy of the Breed Survey’s report
on her dog Ch. By Jiminey. I have had the experience not only of judging
the dog at least three times, but also the opportunity of studying him
outside the ring on numerous occasions. In addition, I have seen, and
know, his immediate progenitors. A considerable knowledge of the
ancestors, I might add, is a prerequisite to making ANY breeding
recommendations. Unless it is known which traits are inherited and which
may be acquired, as through feeding and disease, for instance, NO
worthwhile or even reasonably accurate recommendations can possibly be
made as to certain "warning blood," or what type of mate is, or is not,
In the case of the above-mentioned dog, is it probable that there
could have been any knowledge of his ancestry possessed by the
surveyors? At least one of the three participants, the Herr Funk of
Germany, could not possibly have known much, if indeed anything, about
that. Considering the recommendations made, it is my belief that neither
did the other two surveyors on the team. That opinion is based upon my
above stated familiarity with the dog, his ancestors, and the offspring
I have seen sired by him and out of different bitches.
If this article were appearing in a breed magazine, much more could
and should be said about this sample case of improper and disillusioning
"surveying". However, any informed breeder and fancier, or student of
the breed, can easily determine for himself, with a little effort, why
there is so much dissatisfaction with, and criticism of, the American
Breed Survey Society for German Shepherd Dogs, Inc.—decide for himself
by checking the Survey report on Ch. By Jiminey, in conjunction with the
dog himself, by SEEING the faults enumerated by his conscientious owner
but NOT mentioned in his report—by comparing him with his inferior
brother who was given a higher rating—by learning about his ancestors so
as to determine the validity and worth of the "Breeding Warnings", etc.,
Are the "Surveyors" Qualified? Who, in addition to the operator
of this Breed Survey Society, do "surveying" for it?
Its letterhead lists eleven names as "Advisory Panel." What are their
qualifications? Mr.Mann has listed the names of several of the surveyors
in his well-written reply to Mrs. Kodner’s "Open Letter," this reply
having been printed in the December and January issues of DOG WORLD,
so the reader may judge for himself. Amongst those listed on the
Society’s letterhead there are only three, it seems, who have obtained
their judges’ licenses.
How many of the listed surveyors have a record as prominent or
successful breeders? None, so far as I know. It would be difficult to
remember and name any noteworthy number or top-quality dogs ever bred by
any of them other than Grant Mann. A few either presently own, or in the
past have bought, good dogs.
Human nature being what it is, breed Standards being as they are
(subject to differing interpretations), and exhibitors’ opinions about
judges varying as they do, who is to say that any judge, be he on the
Society’s panel or not, is capable? That matter, as well as the
qualifications possessed by them, and the non-judge surveyors, both as
to their abilities to evaluate dogs and advise others about "Breeding
Warnings," etc., should, it would seem, be given thoughtful
consideration by all potential users of the Society’s services.
There is probably no dog breeder or person interested in the "game"
who does not wish there were a dependable source of information such as
the present American Breed Survey Society for German Shepherd Dogs was
organized to supply.
The sincerity and reasonableness evidenced in Grant Mann’s reply to
Mrs. Kodner’s "Open Letter" is indeed commendable. His admittance that
improvements in its operation are needed and planned for might create
hope for such an eventually dependable source of information.
However, considering all the factors, some of which have been touched
upon in this article, plus others more fully elaborated upon in Mrs.
Kodner’s "Open Letter," her short rebuttal, and more that some of my
readers personally know about, is it reasonable to entertain
expectations for such improvement as would insure the continued
existence of this organization? Only the most naive of those whose
opinions are based upon wishful thinking could possibly expect this to
happen. Its comparatively early demise has been predicted by many since
the announcement of its start of operations and the selection of its
After each article, correspondence and personal conversations have
indicated to me the need for further elaboration upon inbreeding. The
old bogeys and superstitions held by so many, and for so long a time,
seem all but impossible to eradicate. They pop up even in some
scientific circles amongst investigators whose experiments have quite
patently been conducted in a wrong or incomplete manner.
An instance at hand is the recent report of a Laura A. Harris and
associates regarding inbred bulls and their semen evaluation. Since
nothing was stated as to any selection having been made to insure
potency when the inbreeding was done, one must presume that this factor
was not given consideration. Most certainly through inbreeding one can
increase, or lose, not only virility but the many other traits composing
an animal. It all boils down to CAREFUL SELECTION.
In this short article, preceding the final chapter which I hope to
have ready for the March issue of DOG WORLD. I would like to draw
attention to some facts which are so often overlooked or forgotten.
Because there are so many misconceptions about closed-up breeding, it
might be well to touch upon certain categories of living or animal
organisms, starting with Humans.
The origin of the human family is mysterious, but history has given
us certain examples of consanguinity.
We have read of an old Syrian tribesman named Terati who had three
sons and a daughter named respectively Nahor, Haran, Abram and Sarai, by
different wives. Contrary to modern custom, the two latter (half brother
and sister) married, and their son married Nahor’s granddaughter who was
twice his first cousin, once removed, and they were known as Isaac and
Rebekah. Their son Jacob married his two first cousins
(great-granddaughters of Nahor, Terah’s son) and had eight sons, who
became the founders of the most persistently influential nation in human
history, the ever-miraculous Jewish race.
Eight of the twelve founders of tribes have each four separate
crosses to Terah, and they passed a law to establish their tradition
that their children should not marry into strange families, which law
survives in essence today. Of the many charges brought against the Jews
in all of history, nobody has ever levied, or even heard, that of
In wild animal life amongst deer, foxes, rodents, cats, dogs, horses
and cattle, inbreeding, checked only by the SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST, has
prevailed uninterruptedly since time immemorial. As a result, there has
been a pronounced similarity prevailing in the age-long result; nor is
there any inherent degeneracy traceable to such inbreeding.
Horses and Cattle
Some mention has been made in previous installments of foundation
horses from whom almost all of today’s race horses stem. Those much more
conversant with horse pedigrees than am I could supply interesting and
valuable data, I am sure, but I shall not attempt it without a great
deal more studs’ being given to the subject than is possible.
A piece of enlightening information did come to my attention some
time ago, however, regarding cattle. It has to do with milk-producing
Jersey cattle. Quite some years ago, a daughter of the bull Saturn and
the cow Rhea was mated to her full brother, and the resulting heifer was
mated to her sire; the daughter of this mating was mated to her full
brother and, again, the resulting heifer was mated to the same bull;
their calf was put to the same bull and their calf yet again to the same
The result of this intensive and exaggerated inbreeding, by which the
last calf had nine crosses of the same original parents (Saturn and
Rhea) and no other blood, was Purest, a cow of exceptional vigor and
robustness, and an amazing milk producer.
Many such examples as the above might be found in all varieties of
livestock but only those in which the excellence lies in strength, vigor
and fertility would help to open the eyes of a generation of breeders
who have associated inbreeding with a loss of those attributes.
There is perhaps no greater test of physical endurance than the
prolonged flight of a racing pigeon; here, if ever, one might expect a
constant demand for "new blood," but what are the facts? I have read
that Continental and British breeders of racing pigeons vie with one
another in "wrapping up the blood" of their stock—that is, in preserving
their own strains in concentrated form.
What is true of humans, horses, cattle, pigeons. and every variety of
animate beings is, of course, equally true of dogs: By inbreeding and
line breeding we intensify both the merits and the faults of the
original foundation parents.
The Syrian tribesman Terah must have had a strong, healthy body and a
keen, lively and judicious mind. The cow Rhea must have had much more
than a productive udder to commend her highly for being bred upon so
heavily. Dreadnought (the Abraham of homing pigeons) must have had not
only a deep keel and strong wings, but must have been perfectly balanced
throughout. Cottage Queen (the first hen to lay an egg every day of the
year except Sundays and Bank Holidays) must have had no ovarian blemish
to bequeath to her countless daughters.
We as dog breeders, when considering inbreeding and line breeding,
MUST remember that outstanding quality is good; indeed, it is
excellent, but the absence of similar faults or shortcomings in the
mating pair is every bit as important. We must also remember that by
using as our tap-root, or foundation, animals for inbreeding or line
breeding two specimens having a similar fault, it is far more easy to
establish that fault in our strain than had we used some other type of
Any student who will take the trouble to study the original
forebears of any strain in any species of livestock will find
that inbreeding and line breeding have played a large part in
creating their type. There is a persistent belief that such breeding
endangers virility and fertility, but the absence of the latter
essentials to existence is, in any case, very common, inbred or not.
Many domestic animals are weakly, many are sterile, and any tendency
in that direction in a parent becomes, of course, doubled by inbreeding.
This belief, therefore, becomes re-established by the experience of
those who have inbred their stock WITHOUT ADEQUATE SELECTION OF SOUND
In these, the final installments of the series which has been
appearing for several months, I have been asked to supply both a
summation, and some examples, of planned matings.
First, it must be recognized that all faults. Excellencies,
capabilities and diseases of all living matter can be divided into two
categories, depending entirely on whether they are (I) inborn, or (2)
To obtain a proper understanding of these two terms, it is necessary
to study briefly another point. All life has its origin in what is
.known as the living "cell." the lowest form of animal life consisting
entirely of one single cell. As the animal forms rise to a level above
this simplest type of life, more cells are added and the creature
becomes an organism of multi-cellular life.
The cells of which an animal is composed are of two kinds: the
pro-creative germ, or birth cells, and the body cells The first of
these, the germ cells, are the most important in planned breeding and
are the result of the fertilization of one cell, the ovum of the female,
by another germ cell, the sperm of the male. Because these cells are the
true bearers of the heredity of the individual, and their chromatin
material passes on from generation to generation. these are the ones
with which we are concerned in this study.
The second group of cells
The body cells are essentially covering or protective cells. In
higher animals they are always associated with the idea of protection
and use and are of various kinds; such as, muscle cells, bone cells,
skin cells, etc.
Because we are here mainly concerned with the matter of heritable
characteristics, rather than acquired, little need be said about the
latter. It might be well, however, with the object of clarification in
mind, to consider briefly some differentiation between the two groups of
cells—this particularly because. I have found, there is confusion in the
minds of some beginner dog breeders as to what constitutes inherited
characteristics in contrast to those which are acquired.
So very many ask, when some fault of their dog is pointed out to
them. "Can I do any-thing to correct it?" or "Will exercise improve the
condition?" They thus indicate their confusion over the two types of
cells. It seems to me that unless an understanding is had on this
matter, there would be little help given to novices in the breeding art
by the further consideration of a breeding program.
As is well known, there is never any growth without the stimulus of
nourishment of some kind. Thus the GERM cells develop under the stimulus
of nourishment, while the growth of BODY cells comes through the
stimulus not only of nourishment, but also of use or injury. As
examples, muscle is developed by use while the bad effects sometimes
eventuating from distemper are caused by injury.
These points are important for an understanding of the subjects of
particular interest to dog breeders, named the inborn and acquired
faults, virtues, or diseases of their stock.
Inborn Traits Heritable — Acquired Are Not!
It can thus be seen that the inborn and the acquired characteristics
are in two separate classes.
The inborn is the result of the germ cells and is heritable,
while the acquired affects the body cells, is not
continuous in its life, and so cannot be transmitted.
Take as an example rickets, which is a disease of the bones (the body
cells) due to a lack of vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus. It is,
therefore, an acquired disease and is not transmitted, although, through
faulty metabolism, the ability to assimilate the above mentioned
essentials of proper nutrition might be.
On the other hand, the short tails which often appeared in the
descendants of Nores v.d. Kriminalpolizei back in the nineteen twenties’
German Shepherd Dogs were the result of an inherited trait due to
Contrasted to this, we find that the tails of several breeds of dogs,
such as Fox Terriers and Dobermans, can be docked for generation after
generation and, as this is a body cell injury and not inheritable, no
change is made in the germ cells and succeeding generations of these
dogs continue to come with long tails.
If the above principles are understood and applied to dog breeding,
it will at once be seen that the main essentials of a good specimen are
all dependent upon inborn characteristics and are therefore inherited.
By training, feeding, and other good care, they can be improved up to
a certain PREDESTINED point, but beyond that it is impossible for
them to be changed or improved.
This explains the characteristics, which are hereditary and thus
transmissible, but when we come to the manner in which they are
transmitted, in what degree they are transmitted, and how we can
increase or eliminate them, the questions become much more difficult to
Numerous scientists in the field of genetics have propounded various
theories of animal breeding. As is well known, Mendel based his
experiments on sweet peas, with which he explained the transference of
characteristics from parent stock to succeeding generations. The
characteristics of sweet peas are limited, but in dogs there are almost
unlimited inherited factors and combinations of factors.
Gait for example, depends not only upon the conformation of the dog
as regards his skeletal structure, but also upon the muscles working
over it and the motor-nerve force stimulating them to action. The
complexity of all these influencing factors is such that any attempt to
use the Mendelian theory in the breeding of dogs is, for all practical
purposes, out of the question.
This law, now generally accepted by all authorities on animal
breeding, presupposes that the two parents contribute, between them,
half of the inherited traits, each of them contributing one-quarter. The
four grandparents contribute among them one-fourth of the inherited
traits, or each of them one sixteenth. The eight great-grandparents
contribute among them one-eighth, or each of them one sixty-fourth, and
so on, the whole inheritance equaling the sum of the series.
It might be well to interject here a mention of how little influence
any grandparent or great-grandparent has, when it appears no more than
once in a pedigree, and also to indicate, to the proponents of continual
out-crossings, how they are misleading both themselves and those who
listen to them when they point to some notable dog in the third or
fourth generation of their dog’s pedigree as being of particular value.
In order to apply Galton’s law with any degree of success. ~n animal
breeder should be in possession of very accurate data as to the
characteristics of the ancestors of the mating. pair, and this is often
difficult to obtain. Furthermore, too few dog breeders are sufficiently
interested in their breed’s improvement to take the trouble to look for
such data before making their matings.
A further hindrance to the obtaining of ac curate information is that
our conception o beauty and perfection is so changeable. Ideas regarding
these attributes are comparative and our standards change continually,
while perhaps not in actual wording, at least in interpretation by the
These differences of opinion and selections by judges, some qualified
and perhaps more who are not, lead to confusion. They make all but
impossible any definite standard of beauty or utility.
While, scientifically speaking, neither Mendel’s nor Galton’s laws
can be applied, practically speaking there are known results which work
out very much in accordance with them.
Producing and Breeding Hybrids
For example, Mendel, in his experiments with sweet peas. bred
together a tall and a short variety and got a hybrid generation. He bred
these hybrids together and found he obtained 75 per cent tall plants and
25 per cent dwarf plants. The small plants were then bred together and
produced nothing but small plants, but the 75 per cent of tall plants.
when bred together, produced two kinds: (1) a mixed collection of tails
and dwarfs, and (2) nothing but tails, the ratio of talls to dwarfs
being as 2 to 1. In this way he learned that by breeding two hybrids (or
intermediates) the result was 25 per cent tall, 50 per cent mixed, and
25 per cent dwarfs.
In all breeding it must be remembered that there are two types of
characters, or factors, DOMINANT and RECESSIVE. In sweet peas, the talls
were proven to be dominant and the dwarfs recessive, and each, when bred
to its own kind, bred true; whereas the mixed when interbred produced
the same formula of 25 per cent tall or pure dominants. ~0 per cent
mixed, or impure dominants, and percent dwarfs, or pure recessives.
To set up the formula as simply as possible, we will take the letters
PD to represent pure dominants (talls), PR to represent pure recessives
(dwarfs), and ID to represent impure dominants (intermediates). The
result of a union of two ID would work out as follows:
ID plus ID = 1PD, 2ID, 1PR.
That is, there would be one pure dominant to three others.
The Formula in Practice
If we consider some of our most prominent sires of the past whose
records are available to us, as well as a few of the present dogs, we
will find that occasionally there comes along a stud who seemingly sires
outstanding specimens. as judged by their show wins. This is also true
of bitches, as evidenced by Ch. Nyx of Long-Worth. for example.
I am mentioning the late Ch. Nyx here both because she is well known
to every Shepherd breeder, and because she has undeniably had a greater
influence for good on the breed than any other bitch, at least in
comparatively modern times. Something of her record was given in an
earlier installment and, while much more could be supplied, it would not
serve my purpose here.
By the same token, I could use her grandson Ch. Vol of Long Worth,
were I to choose a male for the purpose. Let us suppose that the parents
of Nyx were both impure dominants and, for use in as simple a manner as
possible, that the average litter is four in number. Then it is
possible, even if not proven scientifically, that Nyx was the pure
dominant, in various characteristics, in her litter.
While I found in actual breeding use that she was dominant in quite a
number of characteristics, suppose we select one, rear angulation, to
use here. (Although I am cognizant of the fact that rear angulation is
not a simple genetic factor, but rather a combination of factors, it
will nevertheless serve to well illustrate my point.)
Now let us set up some possible matings and their results. Taking the
average litter as four, and figuring on three litters, there would be
twelve puppies. Nyx, with dominant good rear angulation, if mated to a
male with dominant good rear angulation, would produce all pure
dominants. Mated to a sire with impure dominant rear angulation she
would produce one-half pure dominants and one-half impure dominants. If
mated to a pure recessive—a male with straight angulation in the rear as
a pure recessive characteristic—she would produce all impure dominants.
These results may be tabulated as follows:
PD plus PD all PD
PD plus ID = one-half PD, one-half ID
PD plus PR all ID
Of the twelve puppies from the three sires, Nyx would produce six
pure dominants and six impure dominants, but no pure recessives, as
Now take a bitch who is an impure dominant in this factor of rear
angulation. which for demonstration purposes we have selected as the
trait to use as an example, perhaps one of the above ID offspring.
The formula works out as follows:
ID plus PD = one-half impure dominants, one-half pure dominants
ID plus ID one-fourth pure dominants, one-half impure dominants.
one-fourth pure recessives.
ID plus PR = one-half impure dominants, one-half pure recessives.
Again taking the average litter as four, there would be twelve pups
out of this impure dominant bitch, sired by a pure dominant male, an
impure dominant male, and a pure recessive male. There would be three
pure dominants, six impure dominants, and three pure recessives in the
Thus, from a pure dominant female there would be in twelve puppies
twice the number of good ones, or pure dominants for sufficient rear
angulation, and no really poor ones. Again, as stated above. I used the
bitch Nyx in these illustrations only because she is better known
amongst the fancy than any other bitch of the breed, with a record of
producing winners from every mating.
In the actual working out of these theories it is perhaps easier to
use a sire. His ancestry is usually better known, and through being bred
to many bitches his classification as to whether he is PD. ID. or PR in
certain factors is more easily and quickly determined.
All of this seems more simple than it is often found to work out in
actual practice but we all know that, in speaking of the prepotency of a
sire or dam, we mean to what extent that animal is able to predominate
in the blend resulting from matings with it. Its prepotency may vary and
extend to any degree up to an entire inheritance.
Earlier in this article I mentioned Galton’s law and stated his
theory that each ancestor contributed a certain proportion of the sum
total in the offspring.
We will now take up what is sometimes termed "piling up the blood" of
certain ancestors, or inbreeding and linebreeding, the terms used when
the name of some ancestor appears several times in the pedigree. The
exact term varies according to how many times the name occurs and where
it occurs in the pedigree.
It stands to reason that if an ancestor’s name appears twice in a
pedigree, especially if it is not far back in it, then his influence
must be greatly increased; if three times, then it is of still greater
In matings where similar blood is united— where the pedigrees of each
of the mating pair contain the name of a notable specimen of the
breed—we often get results which are so fortunate as to cause us to
speak of that particular mating as a "nick mating."
Suppose, for example, that a bitch has the blood of many sires but
three of which we will designate as A. B and C. If she is mated to a
stud who also has blood of different sires, but amongst them he also has
stud C. as a close ancestor, we will say, then the resultant offspring
will more likely inherit the characteristics of the C dog than of A or
B, or any other dogs in the pedigree.
If these characteristics are desirable and what we are striving to
breed into oar dogs, then the mating can be called a "nick mating." The
Nyx mating to Ch. MarIo was an example, for this "D" litter containing
One too often hears from exhibitors and breeders such remarks as, "I
breed for the type that is winning, regardless of the Standard." This
means to me that the speaker s future as a consistent’ producer of
high-quality dogs is most doubtful—and that his real interest in the
"game" is the superficial one of Champions (all that were ever shown out
of the eight is represented in a large percentage of our modern type,
and later-day, prepotent American bred German Shepherd Dogs.
In as simple a manner as possible let us try to apply this breeding
All animal breeding operations must of necessity start with the
female and, as it is a truism that "No stable is better than its mares."
so is no kennel any stronger than its bitches. Too much stress cannot be
placed upon the importance of the careful selection of a prospective
matron or matrons, and an entire chapter could be devoted to this
subject. It is highly important to ascertain that the brood bitch is as
free as possible from inherited, or inborn, faults.
Perhaps the easiest fault for a beginner to recognize. as well as the
most important ]n many breeds. is that of temperament (again not the
result of a single genetic factor), so I shall use that as an example
The brood bitch, then, should be free of inherited shyness or
savageness, one fault about as bad as the other, the latter often a
result of the first, and both probably as difficult to eradicate as any
other fault in some breeds.
Careful selection of mates who are pure dominants in the matter of
proper temperaments through several generations, is the only way to
eliminate this, as with any other fault. Close breeding to pure
dominants on the other side of the pedigree from the one showing the
fault is the best and surest way to get rid of it.
Again, given a bitch whose pedigree is "hit-or-miss " with no
definite breeding plan indicated in the combining of the blood of her
ancestry—a bitch whose pedigree’s so open that there is nothing to
"catch hold of" the best results from any standpoint should be obtained
by mating her to an inbred or linebred stud who is a pure dominant in as
many desired requisites as possible. His influence should, and usually
will, predominate over the traits of an outcross and a hit-or-miss bred
bitch. In practically all breeds there is a big majority of such
bitches, the result of generations of careless outcrossings.
We will next consider a mythical bitch and try to plan a mating for
her, with the object in mind of improving the mean or average quality of
One too often hears from exhibitors and breeders such remarks as, " I
breed for the type that is winning, regardless of the Standard" This
means to me that the speaker’s future as a consistent producer of high
quality dogs is most doubtful and that his real interest in the "game"
is the superficial one of winning rather than of breed improvement.
It becomes, therefore, more important for the beginner breeder to
obtain some knowledge of genetics, together with a complete
misunderstanding of his breed’s Standard, than for him to visit
dog shows to see what type is winning!
It goes without saving that in the long pull, the time it takes to
breed consistently good specimens, let alone establish a strain, a
breeder must hitch to something—and that should be the Standard
of his breed rather than what is currently the "style" as established by
the interpretations or perhaps vagaries of the judges.
In other words, if there is to be any continuity of effort toward the
production of a standard type within, a breed, it must be predicated
upon an all but unchanging written Standard of perfection, rather than
upon an often-changing of the Standard (either written or implied)
through interpreting it to fit the present show dog. Any current fad
incorporating qualities not called for by a breed’s Standard can, and
often does, change periodically, leaving breeders who have based their
efforts on producing stock to conform to "today’s winners" out of the
With the establishment in the minds of beginner breeders of what has
already been written, we can now turn to some applications of these
precepts and theories which have been propounded in this series of
articles on planned breeding.
Much easier would it be, and more quickly could salubrious results
probably be obtained, were the beginner breeder for whom I am writing
the owner of two or three very good bitches. Such is not the customary
case, however, judging from the situation of many who have contacted me
since the inception of these articles. Few indeed are those who have
more than one bitch and, more often than not, that one not such a
specimen as a knowledgeable fancier of the breed would select as a
foundation brood matron.
Questioning brings forth this usual information—they are stuck with
what they have, and feel they must use it. Affection for the animal,
lack of funds with which to purchase a better one, or inability to find
and select a more suitable bitch for their start, are the more common
reasons given for not beginning with something better than the one
perhaps mediocre specimen they already own.
In addition to the physical shortcomings of the average beginner’s
bitch, she is apt to have a hit-or-miss pedigree. There may be numerous
"Champions" in it, more likely than not all picked for use because they
WERE such title holders, but without any selection having been made, in
the matings producing her and her immediate ancestors, for physical
compensation of faults.
To Achieve Better Results Faster
Our editor has asked that, taking such a bitch as an example, I try
to point, out a procedure by which a beginner breeder might, most
quickly and surely, improve the "mean or average quality of his
production—and indeed might within a few years bring forth, and quite
consistently, some "toppers."
Granted that the possessor of such a foundation bitch as outlined
above must expect to spend much more money and time than if he could
start with either or both: the bitch herself a good show specimen,
and/or the possessor of a line-bred pedigree. In the absence of these
qualifications, however, he must take the longest and most difficult
road the one being traveled by the greatest number of beginners, and
whom we most want to help.
Instead of names for the animals in the pedigree, I shall take
alphabetical letters. In the interest of keeping the use of space to a
minimum, as well as for elimination of confusion, I shall, at least for
the present, project only a 3-generation pedigree. It will be observed
that no dog appears more than once in the above pedigree, so it is what
is known as "wide open". Also that none has been designated as a
Champion, although several or all of them might have had that title.
We must now carefully analyze the structural attributes of the
above bitch and to do so. I shall presume her to be a German Shepherd
Dog. As explained in previous installments, although I have made some
study of almost all of the A.K.C.-recognized varieties, with particular
emphasis on Working and Non-Sporting, the most of my breeding work has
been done with Shepherds.
Furthermore, the Standard requirements of quite a number of breeds,
especially those of the larger varieties, demand somewhat similar
specifications They all stress the importance of type, balance,
toplines, ribbing, fore and rear angulation, bone and substance, feet,
correct "bite," gait, color, of eyes, color and texture of coats, etc.
Surely there are enough characteristics in that list for us to use here
in an evaluation of the hypothetical bitch being considered.
Studying her, we will probably find that she has many shortcomings
and faults, that she is more or less, "just another dog" of her breed.
To the non-critical and uneducated eye she might be called "pretty," and
is easily recognizable as a specimen of her particular breed. She might
have done, or be capable of doing, some winning, even placing above
superior specimens at times for one reason or another. Yes, she may even
be a Champion for, as we all know, "holes" can be found in even the best
of such title holders, and no absolutely perfect specimen of any breed
has ever been produced, or is likely to be!
Know Faults to Breed for Correction!
For the purpose of our present study, we must center our attention on
several faults in type or structure possessed by this bitch, so we can
go about breeding her for correction and over-all improvement. I shall
select topline, fore-assembly (the entire shoulder structure composed of
shoulder blade and upper arm, the length of those bones, as well as
their placement one with the other — the angle made where they join)
and, as the third structural characteristic to be considered, rear
I have selected these three for several reasons but mainly because
the proper formation of these is the most important in the make-up of
the greatest percentage of dog varieties, as well as the ones most often
found to be faulty.
No more than a cursory glance at our bitch indicates to the
knowledgeable fancier of her breed that she is "soft in back"—that is,
she has a dip in her topline, the back between her shoulder blades and
hips being lower than either. When trotted, her back "bounces" instead
of holding steady and firm as it should in order to insure no loss of
power as it is transmitted from the rear to the front.
So, since we find this bitch to be somewhat soft in back, we will
want to mate her to correct this fault in her progeny, or at least in
most of her grandchildren. Closer inspection, necessitating perhaps the
use of our hands, divulges a too short and "steep" shoulder blade.
Instead of being long and well laid back, or put on "obliquely", as many
Standards state, this one, we find, is too perpendicular.
Likewise, as in the matter of topline, the third fault in our bitch
is quite easily observable—she hasn’t sufficient rear angulation, is
"too straight in the rear." A full explanation of this as well as the
two above-mentioned faults would necessitate the use of all the space
allotted to this article.
Besides, I have explained earlier that until a breeder is fully
conversant with what constitutes idealized perfection, as well as faults
and shortcomings in his breed, he should not attempt, or at least
expect, to consistently produce outstandingly good specimens. I must
therefore presuppose a complete knowledge on the part of my readers of
ALL facets pertaining to the three structural faults listed
above, and possessed by our mythical bitch.
Because, amongst the 14 animals in her immediate pedigree, there does
not appear the same dog’s name more than once, it would not be likely
that we could determine from which, or any several of them, came one or
more of her faults.
If we DO know that either the sire or dam, or any others amongst her
ancestors, did have one or more of the faults mentioned, then we most
certainly do not want that dog or dogs in the pedigree of the mate we
select for her if we can possibly avoid it. Should such be unavoidable,
then that animal should be so far back in the pedigree as to make its
Having a hit-or-miss bred bitch with which to start and one with such
a complexity of faults, we must consider her as only a seed bed the
"ground" in which to plant the improved seed (sperm) of a male who, in
particular, is correct in the places where she is faulty and without
other and perhaps as bad shortcomings. We must also try to find one who
not only possesses these correct attributes himself, but comes from dogs
who had them.
We should also select a stud who is preferably inbred, or at least
quite strongly line-bred, so that the strength such breeding gives to
his prepotency will most likely insure his dominance in the mating pair.
Favorite Breeding Practice for Superior Stock
There is a favorite breeding theory, or system, used by successful
breeders of many varieties of animals. It usually eventuates in superior
stock IF the male selected is himself an outstanding specimen,
nearly faultless, and has such progenitors. It goes as follows: "Let the
sire of the sire be the grandsire of the dam, on the dam’s side."
Does that seem complicated? A look at the above pedigree will clarify
it. The dog we are using (BB) has as his sire 0, while his dam P also
has as her "grandsire on the dam’s side" the same dog 0.
Because the majority of dog breeders formulate no breeding plan and
seldom if ever, when making a mating, consider how or what they will
mate any of the resultant progeny, a stud bred such as the above dog is
not common. As you will recognize, it takes some years of planned
breeding to produce such a dog.
In the absence of a stud with such bloodlines, those with
modifications of it can be used. As one example amongst many, the sire
of the sire might be the grandsire of the dam on the SIRE’S side,
instead of on the dam’s. Another: the sire selected might be the result
of either a full or a half brother and sister mating, and thus inbred.
And so we might go on listing differing formulas indicating inbreeding
and line breeding.
The point I want to make, however, is that in selecting a mate for a
faulty bitch whose wide-open pedigree offers no individual in it free of
her faults, and dominant in correcting them, one must select as her mate
a dog not only himself CORRECT where she is failing, but through
some intensity of corrective blood is dominant.
Foundation on Which Worth Is Built
I feel it well to interject here that "paper breeding" is not alone
the answer, any may be dangerous—in case I haven’t made it sufficiently
clear heretofore that:
"Physical compensation is the foundation rock upon which all enduring
worth must be built."
It therefore goes without saying that we have selected stud BB not
only because of his line-breeding on 0, but also because both he AND
0 are correct where the bitch AA is faulty.
It has not seemed practical for the purpose of this article to become
involved with listing dogs further back in the pedigrees than are given.
However it is worthy of note that in the ancestry of our stud RB there
are lines running in the fourth and later generations to top quality as
well as top-winning males and bitches.
Two studs and one bitch, for instance, appear three or more times
back of the 3rd generation, and all three were eminently strong in the
sections where our bitch is weak. The male 0, as an example, goes back
with three lines to the great dog we will designate as UU and four times
to one of the best bitches ever produced in the breed, ZZ.
The latter, incidentally, not only possessed a practically perfect
fore-assembly, ideal rear angulation, and an un-criticizable topline,
but, in turn, was a descendant of another "great" in the breed, one
dubbed as "the dog with an iron back."
It would be unreasonable to expect that in this first generation
produced from an entirely outcross-bred bitch with several faults,
although sired by a line-bred male without them, we would get any, let
alone all, of the resultant litter entirely "trouble-free." It is,
however, reasonable to assume that one or more of the pups showed some,
or a complete correction of one or all of the dam’s faults. Why?
Because, as we have pointed out, the sire through his line breeding
should be somewhat dominant over the "seed bed" in which his sperm was
placed. As all experienced dog breeders know, such a mating as outlined
above does sometimes produce considerable improvement over the dam, with
some or most of the puppies resembling the sire a great deal more than
So that we can proceed with this projected breeding plan, in which we
found it necessary to start with such a foundation head as described
above, and attempt to "breed up" from her, we must go on, using the best
of what we have obtained for this first mating.
Select Best Bitch Puppies Not Male!
As soon as the litter is sufficiently grown so enough can be told
about them to make a fairly safe selection (and this varies amongst
different breeds), we try to pick the best bitch puppy. Let us presume
that we find one resembling her sire more than the dam, as we have
planned and hoped We are not at all interested in keeping a male, and
should not be in the foreseeable future, unless none such as we must use
in our breeding program is available at public stud. As a beginner
breeder without the space and means to permit us the luxury of
maintaining a large breeding establishment, we must of necessity confine
ourselves to the use of others’ studs for the small number of bitches we
can breed and litters we can produce.
Impatient for desired results and those good-quality specimens it is
our determination and desire to eventually produce, there are two things
we can now do with our foundation bitch AA. We can "pension" her as a
pet, discarding her as a breeder, or we can mate her again while waiting
for the selected puppy from her last litter to become old enough for
Incidentally, it is always best to keep two females in a litter from
which one plans to pick future breeders, giving some insurance that,
should one be lost while maturing, there will be a replacement.
Should the alternative be decided upon (breeding the bitch AA a
second time), there are again two decisions to make: Shall we repeat the
first mating or select another stud? The decision as to whether to
repeat the mating will, of course, depend upon what came out of the
If a different mate is selected for AA’s second litter, then who
should he be? One could decide upon several courses—select another stud
with different bloodlines but equally corrective and prepotent, or one
closely related to stud BB.
In the first instance, the resultant litter might be of such higher
and more uniform quality as to make it advisable to use one from it with
which to carry on, and in the second, with the two litters having a
measure of identical (and corrective) blood, a puppy or puppies from
each litter might later be mated together.
Breeding Bitch from 1st Litter
We are patently unable to delve deeply into such problems or matters
in this article. In fact, it is bound to run a greater length than
planned if I go no further than suggest what to do with the selected
bitch from the first litter of BB to AA, which litter I will designate
If what I have written in earlier installments, together with this
one, has been followed by our readers, I am sure you will pretty well
know what I shall suggest as the next move in this projected breeding
program. Yes, you are right—further use of the bloodlines of the
original male BB and, in particular, that of his sire and his dams
We will say, as would have been quite likely, that the puppies in
litter CC showed improvement in, or correction of, the listed faults of
their dam, at least to some extent. Also that the bitch puppy selected
for future breeding use was found to possess her sire’s good
fore-assembly, and topline but not his proper rear angulation. After
all, one cannot hope for, or expect. EVERYTHING wanted from just one
mating, and I am stretching the probable facts greatly when I admit to
the above two improvements so soon after the start. But, in the desire
to be helpful, I should be as encouraging as possible. Right?
If it takes longer to obtain such correction as outlined above, do
not be too discouraged you must continue with intelligent breeding to
corrective and, if possible, closely related animals.
In the mean time, this warning: Make sure you do not lose other
and valuable characteristics possessed by your breeders, the while
you work to eliminate the three special faults we have listed as
This sounds simple, but I must warn you that it "ain’t".
Well, while we have digressed above, we shall take it for granted
that our young bitch has matured to breeding age. The answer as to how
we should mate her, from own experience and in my best judgment, as well
as in accordance with genetic knowledge, has been given above. It occurs
to me that we have not as vet named our young bitch, the product of a
mating of BB and AA—so, being a 50-50 combination of the two, she is
We have presupposed that BA received from her sire BB his cood
fore-assembly and topline but no improvement over the rear angulation of
her dam AX. \Ve therefore want to hold and ‘set’ the good
characteristics obtained from BB. the while we acquire the proper and
needed rear angulation.
Our greatest chance for success in this endeavor lies in returning to
either the sire himself, breeding his daughter back to him, or in using
one of his sons who not only possesses BB’s front and topline but,
because of blood from his maternal side of the family, has a strong
dominance of proper rear angulation. In other words, BB having been bred
to a good bitch, herself possessing proper rear angulation (and if
possible others in her ancestry). Bb’s son out of such a bitch should
carry extra strength in this characteristic.
Here again we would be doing "paper breeding" had we not stressed the
importance of physical compensation in the mating pair.
Space permitting, I might go on with outlines of suggested future use
of the progeny of bitch BA from the litter by her sire BB. or one of his
It should be recognized that the recommendations made in this article
are not always possible of exact fulfillment. For instance, no such stud
as BB, with a pedigree in which "the sire of the sire is the grandsire
of the dam on the dam’s side" may be found and, if located, his sire and
dam’s grandsire might not be at all the type of animal one would want to
It should be understood that, in its widest application, the
recommendation made as to a mate for the foundation bitch AA would be a
stud who not only himself but, more importantly, his immediate
ancestors, possess as nearly as possible the proper structural
attributes demanded by the breed’s Standard.
Stressing the importance of the above, we must remember that
inbreeding and linebreeding serve to accentuate not only the GOOD but
the BAD points and, Again, that when such breeding is used. STRICT
SELECTION must be made.
Given a foundation bitch who herself is of superior quality as
compared to the average of her breed, and who has a pedigree in which
some top-quality dogs appear one or more times, the procedure
recommended herein, of course, would have been different Advice would
have been given to breed back on one or more of those "toppers."
(c) Lloyd C. Brackett
This is a compilation of the articles Mr. Brackett wrote
for Dog World Magazine and
which won for him the Dog Writers’ Association Award as the best
non-professional work in the dog press for 1960.
http://www.nylana.org/RRACI/brackett.htm (where I first got the
http://www.nightwatchk9.com/k9-reading/part1.htm and there are other
websites where you will find this wonderful article.
One of the other sources states:
The Planned Breeding series
is owned and copyrighted by BowTie Inc. If you wish to share any part of
this series on your website, we ask that you please link directly to the
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appropriate credits to Dog World and BowTie Inc.