serving the white shepherd community since 1999
by Lloyd C. Brackett
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 program.
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 b~ 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 ones matings and to
upgrade his stock. Experience has shown that if more than mere multiplication is to be had, and any rear 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 hid 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
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 fees.
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 pro-portion 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 DISASTEROUS
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 dogs?
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 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".
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 shortcomings.
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 do succeed.
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
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 time.
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 OF THEORY
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 breeders.
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
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
nother, 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.
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
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
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.
IMPORTANCES IN SELECTION OF BITCHES
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 a strain.
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 IMPORTANCE
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 superior quality.
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 greater length.
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 dogs.
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 obtained.
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 title.
TEMPERAMENT AND MENTALITY NOT SACRAFICED
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 r
eceived, 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 SEPARATED LINES."
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
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 hand.
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 without him.
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.
OUTCROSSING, PART OF PLANNED BREEDING
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 PURPOSE
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 closed-up breeding.
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 t
heir 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
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 breeding career.
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 WHEN
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 them.
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 cold-bred stud.
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 quality 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."
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.
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