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Selecting a sire question

Discussion in 'Dog Breeding' started by karenmc, May 3, 2021.


  1. karenmc

    karenmc PetForums VIP

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    My husband and I were having a conversation about breeding following the huge increase during the pandemic. We were talking about how a lot of breeding has taken place without health testing and careful selection of a sire that compliments a bitch.
    As members know, Luna is spayed so this is not a question in planning to breed from her just a question that came up out of interest from our discussion.
    How does a breeder select a sire that is suitable for their bitch (assuming they are the same breed). Aside from the obvious correct health testing, temperament, performance in e.g a working dog, size of sire in relation to dam. Would they choose a sire with as similar features as possible e.g head shape, body formation - as near to the breed standard as the dam?
    We wondered if a sire might be chosen with stronger features so that these may be present in the puppies but then I thought if the bitch didn't have strong features of the breed standard, she would not have been chosen to breed from.
    I know there is the coefficient (is it called?). Is this to make sure they are not too closely related to the bloodline of the site? It is very interesting.
     
    #1 karenmc, May 3, 2021
    Last edited: May 3, 2021
  2. Siskin

    Siskin Look into my eyes....

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    You’re pretty much on the right lines with your thinking over sire choice.
    It’s not something I’ve ventured in to with any of my dogs, but from what I’ve read or heard a breeder will have got to know the good and bad points of their bitch through either working trials or showing and would be looking for a sire that would hopefully improve the bad and compliment the good. Because you’re dealing with random inheritance factors you can only hope that you've got it right, but there are bound to be puppies that inherit the less desirable qualities from either parent. Then there is the need to factor in good health and temperament. The more choice there is such as in goldens where there is a large population, the breeder has more options to consider and I suspect there will be dogs they favour over others for no better reason then they just like the look of them. In a less numerous breed there will obviously be less choice which will mean the perfect sire may only come down to one dog which when you look back in the pedigree may be too closely related, or not have the perfect health tests, or may not be the improving sire that you would hope for. Must by quite difficult in those circumstances.

    These are only my thoughts gathered over the years, I’m sure those on the forum that have ventured into breeding will come up with better answers.
     
  3. karenmc

    karenmc PetForums VIP

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    I find it very interesting and like you @Siskin I like to look through the pedigree i.e the 5 generation pedigree.
    It is interesting as you say with some breeds there are less to select from.
    I, like you believe that temperament is an important consideration. I remember speaking to one breeder when searching for a puppy and he said his girl was very nervous and their vet said they she should have a litter as it would solve the problem. It was a very short conversation as he didn't seem very knowledgeable about health testing or anything like that.
     
  4. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    Disclaimer: not a breeder here!

    From what I garner, selecting a sire is going to depend a lot on what you're looking for out of that litter.
    So yes, as @Siskin said you want to compliment the good and counter the faults and all dogs have faults.
    But then there is also what you're trying to do with that particular litter and those lines.
    Maybe you're trying to set certain traits, so you select a sire that is strong in a trait you want to get stronger in that line.
    Maybe the sire has a working style you want to get more of.
    Maybe the bitch is great in every way but short on this one thing, so you find a sire that is heavy on that one thing.
    Maybe you just really like that sire and want an offspring for yourself.

    It also depends on how popular the breed is too.
    In rare breeds, sometimes you just have to go with what you can find that passed health testing.
    In popular breeds you can be more picky - and should be!
     
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  5. karenmc

    karenmc PetForums VIP

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    That's interesting @O2.0 . I can see why that would happen, particularly with working dogs/dogs trained for a purpose. I remember seeing some of the same sires popping up when we were looking for our puppy. They were striking dogs with good health test results and show champions in their lines. I can see why owners were selecting them.
    We did a lot of research (with valued help from the members of PF) when we were looking for our puppy, well before we got her. It was interesting to see the different dams/sires (on paper) and in conversation with breeders. I was lucky to be contacted by a number of breeders who weren't planning a litter but loved our letter and wanted to help. They gave lots of useful advice and recommended ones to look into from the info given and those they would not. In my stage of 'still learning' some stood out to me as dogs I was surprised that people bred from. Just so pleased that we took the time and got our lovely Luna.
     
    #5 karenmc, May 3, 2021
    Last edited: May 3, 2021
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  6. Magyarmum

    Magyarmum PetForums VIP

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    Ideally the dam and sire shouldn't be closely related, something you can tell from reading their respective pedigrees,
     
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  7. Siskin

    Siskin Look into my eyes....

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    This is a a good website for researching pedigrees of golden retrievers and labradors. With goldens you can get right back to some of the original dogs

    https://www.k9data.com/
     
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  8. Magyarmum

    Magyarmum PetForums VIP

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    Before I bought Georgina my Shar-Pei I traced her bloodline right back to the first dogs that were smuggled out of China.There's a Czech website for Shar-Pei which makes really fascinating reading.
     
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  9. kirksandallchins

    kirksandallchins PetForums VIP

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    When I had a Pembroke Corgi 25+ years ago I was semi-seriously thinking about breeding from her. I had got my list down to a successful sire or one his Champion sons. This was in theory only as I'd not spoken to either owner, but I'd chosen them because of their looks and pedigree, this was with the guidance of my dogs breeder. She probably had 90% input due to her experience. Due to circumstances it never happened and she was spayed.

    Since then I've never wanted to breed a litter, but I do keep thinking if I'd not have had Bonnie the Cockapoo spayed and had two litters from her I would be mortgage free by now. If I had decided to breed from her, I'd probably have bred her to a particolour Toy Poodle for purely financial reasons - small, fluffy dogs with interesting markings sell for more! I didn't investigate colour genetics as it was only a fleeting thought. Instead all my three are spayed and are costing me money rather than making my fortune.
     
  10. OrientalSlave

    OrientalSlave Shunra Oriental Cats

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    I'm a cat breeder, and in cats just looking at a 4 generation pedigree doesn't always tell you how closely two cats are related - I get back 8 generations if I can. Is it not the same with dogs?
     
  11. Magyarmum

    Magyarmum PetForums VIP

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    I think I'm correct in saying you should go back at least 5 generations for both dam and sire, preferably 8 or more. . With Georgina I didn't want any American bred Pei in her bloodline which meant going back on the pedigrees of an awful lot of dogs.
     
  12. Siskin

    Siskin Look into my eyes....

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    The KC can calculate how closely an imagined pairing would be, known as COI - inbreeding coefficient calculation and give a quote of inbreeding. Does the cat register have a similar thing?
    Obviously a good and conscientious breeder will be looking back through the pedigree further not only looking for how closely dogs are related but also for health results. If a breeder is trying to ‘fix’ a trait within a dog then breeding more closely related dogs can be of use, known as line breeding. Do cat breeders do this.
    The trouble with breeding for a very low or zero COI is that you never really know what’s going to happen with the puppies unless you happen to know the stud dogs lineage very well. However often breeders will bring in a totally unrelated dog in order to widen the gene pool
     
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  13. Onegin

    Onegin PetForums Newbie

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    This is a very interesting discussion. I know there are very fierce disagreements over this among breeders of my breed.

    In short, there are two options (a compromise is also possible, but people tend to go for either one of the two extremes).
    One option is to breed with what they consider 'breeder's expertise', which means that they know the lines of their breed well, judge their dog's faults and try to find a complimenting mate that as said above, counterbalances the bad and accents the good. Show results are central but health tests to compliment what can't be seen on the outside quality-wise are equally important.
    Another option is the scientific route, which is to breed with a stress on genetic diversity from the belief that pedigree dogs (especially less populous breeds) have an inherent disadvantage when it comes to healthy genetic diversity and so the stress should be on finding matches with the lowest COI (inbreeding coefficient) and the highest number of unique ancestors, going back a minimum of 5 and ideally as far as 10 generations back. Moreover, champion dogs should be avoided as they cause genetic bottlenecks when a disproportionate number of the next generation is sired by a handful of prestigious studs.

    Interestingly, it is usually the former group which stresses only breeding dogs with perfect health scores (the 'perfect match' idea) whereas the latter group encourages breeding as many different dogs as possible once or twice, hence also encouraging breeding dogs with lesser health scores (like HD AxB or even AxC crosses).

    It kind of depends on how people are raised and their personal philosophies, which side they fall on. Needless to say breeding goals for the two extremes are wildly different, as the former is focused on 'improving the breed' by aiming to breed the perfect individual dog without immediate regard for the breed as a whole, while the latter is focused on the long-term viability of the breed, at the possible expensive of individual dogs short term.
     
  14. OrientalSlave

    OrientalSlave Shunra Oriental Cats

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    GCCF don't offer COI, and how any generations do KC calculate over?

    I use Breeders Assistant which calculates it, and is available for dog breeders as well. There are also some online databases which calculate it. Yes sometimes cat breeders do close matings, though GCCF now won't register kittens from parent/child or sibling matings.

    Why would you need to know the stud dog's lineage very well, but not the bitches?
     
  15. karenmc

    karenmc PetForums VIP

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    It is all very interesting. The point you make about popular stud dogs came up in our conversation. We were talking about how if these popular stud dogs were being selected to use as they are excellent examples of their breed it would create an increase of those same genetic bloodline out there. I guess this is where a sound knowledge of the coefficient is important and planning carefully when breeding.
     
  16. Siskin

    Siskin Look into my eyes....

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    Sorry I don’t mean to give the impression that only the stud dogs lineage would be researched. I was coming from the assumption that the breeder would know the bitches line very well as they own the dog and may have bred her themselves.
    The KC says they calculate as far back as they go. Electronic records date from 1982
    On the K9Data website you can calculate COI. As their records go back further it’s likely to give a different figure to the KC
     
  17. Siskin

    Siskin Look into my eyes....

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    Most golden retriever pedigrees go back to Camrose Cabus Christopher or one of Westley dogs
     
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  18. Onegin

    Onegin PetForums Newbie

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    There are actually really good cautionary tales about champion dogs causing bottlenecks that should convince any breeder that this practice is about the worst thing you can do to your breed. But it dies a hard death. I feel like quite a few breeders misunderstand what health tests are for and feel pressured to exclude mediocre dogs, or dogs 'suffering' from conditions that aren't a big deal and that aren't prevalent in the breed.
    There is a reason why not every breed is screened with every available test. Naturally a breeder would prefer to breed with a dog that shows all clear on everything as opposed to one that carries a recessive trait that may pose a risk, but here is the catch. There is no such thing as a dog unburdened with genetic fault. Every individual has them, pedigree or not. If you linebreed a particular dog over several genertions you will also see some sort of problem emerge. The difference is just that some dogs have faults that can be tested for whereas others go yet undetected; additionally, that some faults are present in a breed to such a degree to crossing with a random dog runs a significant risk of producing offspring that express whatever disorder the parent is a carrier of.

    Actually a good example is the cavalier king charles spaniel. The CM/SM problems are usually blamed 100% on the flattened, tiny cranial shape, but there are breeds that have worse models and suffer less. A scientific lineage study of the entire CKCS pedigree in the 2010s turned up that some of the CKCS champion studs used in the 80s and 90s, that are now present in every modern dog's pedigree (and they do mean 100%, the last spaniels that didn't have these dogs in their pedigree disappeared over the last 15 years), are themselves all decendents of a single dog that lived in the 60s. She had one litter and died at a young age of health complications. One of her sons became the ancestor of a handful of dogs who in turn are all ancestors of these popular 80s studs that each have hundreds of offspring, many of which were champions themselves. It is these champion studs which were some of the first, even in the show ring, to show symptoms of SM like air scratching. The shocking spread of this horrendous disease in breed is hence a consequence of both breeding for a physical extremity and inbreeding that increases the prevalence of genes that likely significantly worsen the symptoms or the risk of experiencing symptoms.
    The same is likely true of the spread of mitral valve disease, though I haven't seen any specific evidence to that effect.

    Anyhow, the lessons learnt from that above history is that allowing any dog to have more than say, 25 offspring, is detrimental to the long term health and viability of the breed. Yet there are few breeders' associations that limit the number of offspring a stud can have (fortunately some do though).

    I remember my brother looking for a labrador stud fitting his female, asked us to run a rudimentary COI check on the candidates as they weren't available online. By accident I spotted one of the candidate studs had over 300 registered offspring. Then I checked my brother's own dog and found her sire also had well over 500 offspring. In my opinion such practices, even in a stud with perfect health scores, are far more detrimental than breeding a HD B or even HD C stud with a good match a few times.
     
  19. karenmc

    karenmc PetForums VIP

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    That's interesting. I did wonder if there were any guidelines or restrictions on how many times a stud dog could be used or if it is up to the owner. I know with dams the KC will only allow a certain number of litters to be registered. I think it is 4 but I may be wrong.
     
  20. Onegin

    Onegin PetForums Newbie

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    With dams the limit is only regarding the health of the individual dogs. They are naturally limited anyway, even an unscrupulous breeder's bitch bred every heat cycle still wouldn't be able to produce nearly as many pups as many pedigree studs have. For a stud's health the number of offspring doesn't matter, hence there are rarely any limits on how many puppies a dog can sire.

    However I do know of a handful of breed associations that have breeding protocols in which you can only use a specific cross (as in dam A x Stud B) a limited number of times, usually 2 or 3, and some in which the number of litters a dog is allowed to sire are limited (a common figure is 8-10, sometimes 20-25 for more populous breeds). Though if upwards of 12 or so the limit seems a bit pointless. Sometimes the combination limit and stud limit both apply.
     
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