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What level of expertise do you have reading pedigrees?

  • I am very good at reading pedigrees and understand the values and relationships.

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  • I know the basic layout of a pedigree but don't understand them very well.

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  • Pedigrees are all Greek to me.

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Discussion Starter #1
Ted, in his webpage article on selecting pups, cites good pedigrees as one of the ways to select competition hopefuls. But I wonder just how many people actually know how to read a pedigree.
 

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The mechanics of a pedigree is a fairly straight forward read. It delivers basic information such as titles, DOB, color, DNA profile #, etc.. Determining which lines nic and which ones don't is beyond my area of expertice.

Joe Miano
 

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subroc said:
Determining which lines nic and which ones don't is beyond my area of expertice.

Joe Miano
Joe, that brings up an interesting point. In Field dogs in the USA, are there any real bloodlines left. What I mean is; When I think of bloodline, I think of a perticular type, both physicall and mentally, that are consistant within a kennel name and bloodline. That a breeder is known for producing dogs that are similiar in physical appearence, similiar temperment and ability. That when they produce a dog that doesn't fit their ideal, that dog is not bred.

I think what we have in the USA is not bloodlines but, individual dogs that are desirable for breeding. Most top field pedigrees have a little bit of everything coming from a variety of excellant dogs. I really don't know of a field kennel that produces a predictable looking or acting dog.

Take Cosmo for instance. He is well known for throwing very excitable offspring. His pedigree is a hodge-podge of great dogs and many of those dogs in his immediate pedigree are know for producing different qualities. They weren't all known for throwing very excitable offspring. So, I look at him as an individual that represents many different great dogs but, not a bloodline. I think bloodlines in the US, have gone the way of the rotary
telephone. I think we look to match individuals to individuals and what those individuals bring to the dance.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Most field people look at a breeding as a crap shoot with no certainty of what will be produced. Booty has hit it right on the head. There are no bloodlines in field-bred Labs that I have been able to determine. A study of the dogs that carry any particular kennel name very seldom show an attempt to carry on common ancestors as in line breeding, especially a close linebreeding program.

I was fortunate recently to obtain a pup from a litter that was bred under the direction of Mary Howley. My pup's maternal grandmother is a litter mate to her sire. She is out of moderate looking Ch. female bred to a FC sire. I bought her with the idea that she would be an intermediate step that, when bred back to a hot FC, would produce the kind of pup I want in the end - a dog with good looks and lots of go. So far I have been extremely pleased with her and I think she might just be what I was looking for without that extra step.

Mr Booty said:
Joe, that brings up an interesting point. In Field dogs in the USA, are there any real bloodlines left. What I mean is; When I think of bloodline, I think of a perticular type, both physicall and mentally, that are consistant within a kennel name and bloodline. That a breeder is known for producing dogs that are similiar in physical appearence, similiar temperment and ability. That when they produce a dog that doesn't fit their ideal, that dog is not bred.

I think what we have in the USA is not bloodlines but, individual dogs that are desirable for breeding. Most top field pedigrees have a little bit of everything coming from a variety of excellant dogs. I really don't know of a field kennel that produces a predictable looking or acting dog.
 

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I thought of Mary Howley and Candlewood as being the closest to representing a Field bloodline in the US. I've seen her with a puppy YLF from bench lines at a trail in N Bama several years ago. So, I know her dogs aren't 100% Candlewood. Heck, she just bred Candlewood's Rita Reynolds to Watermarks the Boss. As competative as many of the Candlewood dogs have been over the years, she's had to resort to the same breeding stratergy as most of the other top breeders. She's gone for the best available talent matchups.
 

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True bloodlines are becoming a thing of the past in many, if not most breeds. In order to develop a true bloodline, one must have the resources to do a lot of breeding, and a lot of weeding, and then keep the best of the best to carry on with. this translates into BIG KENNEL, and in our modern world, it's just not easy maintaining a BIG KENNEL for breeding purposes.

Most people have 1-5 dogs, and maybe 1 litter a year. You can't build a bloodline that way. You can breed excellent dogs, but you can't develop a true stamp that people identify immediately with that particular breeder.

Lisa
 

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Since the general consensus here is that there are few true "lines" of field labs (and I wholeheartedly agree) I offer this follow up question for more discussion.

Will the lack of true lines negatively affect the breed in the long run compared to maintaining some "true" lines?

My answer is yes, but it would be difficult to prove. I just think of the opportunties that we may be missing without breeding some "true" lines. For example, Lean Mac x Harley seems to be a dam good cross. In other breeds of dogs, and for that matter, in other animals, if a cross like this worked there would be folks out their trying to develop and maintain a "Lean Mac line" and a "Harley line" (strongly line bred not weak as we typically see in field labs). Is anyone trying to do this? The performing and productive animals from these lines could be maintained and cross bred down the line. I have observed little of this in field labs. Lisa points out some good reasons for this but it sure seems that folks should recognize the value of maintaining lines. Just think if there were still true lines for Corky/Rascal, Honcho, Zip Code, Pacer, Super Powder, Thunderhead, Snake, and great bitches, etc. We could have fewer genetic issues (as long as high standards were maintained) and might have a better handle on breedings that work best. Today, its stud de jour and hope for the best which is just about random breeding. There even seems to be a bias against maintaining lines in field labs ("that's too close isn't it? is often asked here and elsewhere). In other breeds and in other animals tight linebreeding is the foundation of breeding for performance.
Having said all this, I have to say that I have consistently tried to line breed in the past but things can get awfully difficult due to stud dogs availablity, logisitics, and my willingness to invest in a breeding once a year. My current litter is an outcross, with a very distant lining on Super Chief (as if that isn't the case in most all breedings). There are certainly obstacles to trying to maintain lines but it seems like we are missing something by not doing it.
 

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Henry,

Rob Oliver (Revilo Kennels) has that EXACT type of breeding program, that you are refering to, with his dogs...linebreeding (very close) on Snake Eyes' Double or Nothin. Take a real good look at the "sucessful" program his dogs today are producing in terms of :

1. Health

2. Trainability

3. Temperment

and last but not least.....WINNING with the ability genetically, to passing it on.

Rob is one man I take my hat off too when it comes to dedication for improvment of the breed.

Just making the point there are Breeders out there, but most are silent or dont do the "marketing" that most need to do for the exposure.
 

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I read an interesting article about this from a GSD guy, Leerburg kennels. He gives promising bitch puppies to local people, in return, if they are healthy and have the temperment he's looking for, he gets a litter or two from them. If they don't work out, the family has to get the bitch spayed. This way, he has 30-40 potential brood bitches, without having to feed or house them. He feels this is the only way for him to maintain a line.
 

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henry;

You are correct. When breeders used to each maintain their distinct lines (with stringent selction) distinct genetic types were developed. Then, if things got too hairy, they could outcross to another's line, then linebreeed back in 9again, with selection).

When I look at the "Golden Era" of Chesapeake breedings, I look at the 40s & 50s, where there existed several excellent yet distinct bloodlines, with little relationship between them. Deerwood, Mount Joy, Alpine, Wisconong, Nelgard, Chesdel, Chesacroft...each was distinct, each produced outstanding FT dogs in its own right, yet unless one dug very far back into their pedigrees, had very few dogs in common.

I think part of the problem today also hinges on wanting to breed only to or from dogs with GENERATIONS of proven and health-certified stock. So breeders end up breeding to all the same dogs (since there are few that fit the preconcieved mold), rather than take a chance on that talented youngster who doesn't have a pedigree just like everyone else. It's "safer" to just follow the crowd, but it sure does destroy genetic diversity.

Lisa
 

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tbrown said:
Not retrievers, but would you guys say Elhew still produce a specific type bloodline in pointers?
I read somewhere he had to outcross to get the nose back, but he definitely has kept much of his breeding in house.
 
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