Tuesday, September 2, 2008

How I choose breeding dogs

I used to own Chips half brother, Moses. Moses was my best friend and constant shadow, as well as being a very handsome apricot boy. Moses had been my birthday gift to myself and was one of those dogs you absolutely bond with and sob over when they're gone. Moses fathered 24 very nice F1 Labradoodle pups in his lifetime. Many of them got his smile, and his silly loving nature. They had a wonderful wide range of colors and all got a big wavy fluffy coat.

I got Chip because I knew I was losing Moses to kidney disease. I was aiming for another male with similar temperament and intelligence. Lucky for me, Chip is even more mellow than Moses was. He's comical, patient, loving, and cuddly; is never rough or pushy and rarely gets upset or excited about anything. While he's cafe au lait, he has the potential to create pups with a wonderful color variety just as his brother did.

I am so enamored of Chip, that I decided to make him the basis of my breeding program and search out dams that would compliment him. I plan for all of my pups to be sired by him because in my opinion he is just such a super dog. I want my buyers to be able to meet both parents and can't imagine finding a male I like better than him.

I have bought and traded several females this past year in my effort to find just the right females to compliment Chip. Some were too hyper, too rough, or had a physical trait that I just didn't care to pass on. It's been a trying time, but am now content that I have the right dams for the job, so it's been well worth it.

My first dam that I decided to keep was Hickory. She's a small muscular chocolate female that's had a rotten history. She was badly abused and neglected in a previous kennel before my getting her. When she first arrived she was thin, terrified, and convinced that all humans were barbarians. Even though she was so scared, she never once showed an ounce of aggression or hyperactivity. She has now blossomed into a lovely girl who runs up to offer kisses and get her head scratched from a select few people who she's learned to trust and love. I doubt she will ever trust strangers enough to let just anyone walk up to her and love on her, but given what she's been through I'm not sure that's unwise. She's a compromise between a field lab and English lab type. She's got a nice blocky head, a broad chest and shoulders, yet looks more athletic than stocky. In my opinion she's a very nicely put together Lab. She and Chip together should produce litters that are all chocolate with the potential to turn cafe au lait with age.

Ava is my second "keeper". Ava is a typical English type lab; very square, blocky, short and stocky with large muscle and a calm demeanor. She's chocolate, totally self-assured and has an awesome presence. People who really know Labs often comment on how beautiful and well put together she is. She loves everyone, but when she barks an alarm that a stranger has arrived she truly can make the hair stand up on the back of your neck unless you see her tail also wagging wildly. Ava had spent her first 2 yrs of life in a 5 x 10 kennel; the pet of a young man who simply lost interest in her. When she came to me, she decided she enjoys being with other dogs and being a beloved pet, so is a very happy girl. She and Chip together should produce litters that are all chocolate with the potential to turn cafe au lait with age.

Misty and Hana I bought as a pair from the same kennel. This man had bought some great females, had them OFA/CERF tested and went into breeding with the best of intentions. He tried AI with excellent bloodlines and had disappointing results. He lost a couple of dams unexpectedly, and decided to cut his losses and give up before he was in any deeper. I was simply lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and bought his 2 best young dams.
Both Hana and Misty have fantastic well known field champion bloodlines. Their coats are like velvet black, they are solid muscular girls with smaller frames and nice conformation. They're energetic, but not franticly so, and both have excellent temperaments and personalities. They're fun to work with and should produce lovely rainbow colored litters with Chip.

I would like to have one more dam, but am in no rush to find her. If I haven't stumbled onto one by Spring I will start to look harder. For now I'm very satisfied with the dogs I have and look forward to producing quality pups with the traits that I feel are most important. My focus is on health, temperament, personality and intelligence in a more compact, mellow dog.