Breeding Responsibly

 

Our motto: If you’re going to do it, do it properly

 

Breeding responsibly means not just maintaining a breed in its type, in its nature, but also improving it if possible. The ultimate aim must be to breed dogs that are able to fulfil their tasks in today's world, due to both their hereditary dispositions and their upbringing.

 

We must in particular endeavour to ensure their suitability as everyday family dogs, without however neglecting their heritage as a working dog.

 

This entails taking various criteria into account in the breeding decisions:

 

1. Aims

 

Breeding does not mean increasing the number of the dogs, but instead improving their quality. The aim must be for as many healthy and high-quality dogs as possible to be produced from a litter.

 

These quality characteristics are particularly important for health and suitability as a working dog – readiness to work, self assurance, ability to work under pressure, character and disposition, and also anatomy, type and expression.

 

2. Breeding Criteria

 

2.1. Breeding Animals

 

The fundamental requirements for breeding animals are anchored in the rules of the Australian White Swiss Shepherd Club. There, the requirements are set out according to which a dog becomes a breeding animal.

 

The selection of breeding animals is then the sole responsibility of the breeder. A good basis is the most important thing here and the breeder should only use the best breeding material. Not only the individual animal is to be taken into account but also the entire population behind it.

 

Bitches must have very good characters, because character is not only inherited but also learnt from the mother. As regards other characteristics, they should be from lines that are not conspicuous for negative reasons.

 

2.2. Approval for breeding is not everything

 

Breeding does not mean simply pairing two animals that have been approved for breeding. Responsible breeders plan a pairing long before allocation. This is very important because it is only through prior analysis of the animals that a basis can be formed for an optimal pairing. It is, however, necessary to assess the animals self-critically, honestly and neutrally. Visiting shows, Temperament testing days and trials can be very helpful and a source of ideas for this.

 

The Australian White Swiss Shepherd Club should help inexperienced breeders in the selection of breeding animals – e.g. looking through documents of possible partners.

 

2.3. Breeding

 

As well as the many requirements of the breeding and survey rules, and advice and information, the lineages form a further important selection criterion.

 

It is hardly sensible to repeat a successful pairing several times, because then a large number of dogs with the same lineage (ancestors) will come into the breeding pool.  In the long-term this narrows the gene-pool and the incidence of genetically caused illnesses is thereby substantially increased. Furthermore, due to the extremely high number of hereditary factors and their combination, the repeating of a particular litter result is very unlikely. 

 

Because the whelps are after all the future basis of the breeding of the race, this breeding basis is drastically reduced in the event of excessive repetitions and close inbreeding. It is therefore advisable to carry out pairings with distant lines, even if it is not always 100% clear what negative hereditary factors will also be inherited. A residual risk always exists, but in each litter there are whelps who have the potential for use in breeding.

 

Incorporating distant lines widens our breeding basis. A high degree of genetic diversity is an important basis for successful, healthy breeding.

 

Therefore, prevent inbreeding and always strive for the greatest possible genetic diversity.

 

2.4. Important Aims of Breeding

 

The most important aims must be:

 

• Priority 1: breed healthy dogs

 

• Priority 2: breed dogs suitable for work/use

 

• Priority 3: breed dogs that meet the standards

 

• And, very important: ALWAYS stick to these priorities – in the order given

 

2.4.1. Health

 

Breeding healthy dogs should always be the highest priority, especially in the breeding of working dogs. Healthy and suitable for breeding means: good general constitution, free from hereditary illnesses, high life expectancy of the ancestors, healthy litters of at least average size, healthy maternal instincts of the bitches and male dogs that are willing and able to produce offspring.

 

The health of the dogs must be the most important and fundamental aspect of our breeding.

 

In detail this means:

 

Regarding HD:

 

• Always breed dogs under the acceptable limit (total score of 20 i.e. 10:10 – no more than 10 on each hip).

 

• Dogs with a hip score over the score of 10, should be bred to a dog with a score under 10, or as low as possible.

 

• Refrain from breeding dogs together who have scores over a total score of 10.

 

• Pay attention to the x-ray findings rate of the parent animals and other relations.

 

Regarding ED:

 

• Always try to breed dogs that are as clear as possible (0:0).

 

• Do not breed with dogs with elbow scores over 1.

 

• If breeding from an animal with one or more elbows scored as 1, the mate must be 0:0 on its elbows.

 

• Pay attention to the x-ray findings rate of the parent animals and other relations.

 

2.4.2 Character and Readiness to Work

 

In character, the White Shepherd must be even-tempered, strong-nerved, confident, absolutely unselfconscious and good-natured - except when antagonised.

 

It must also be attentive and obedient. It must possess instinctive behaviour, ability to work under pressure and self-assurance, in order to be suitable for various tasks, e.g. as a family, companion, sports, guard and service dog.

 

• When selecting the pairing partners make sure that they possess working dog characteristics to a high degree.

 

• Give preference to stud dogs that have proven their readiness to work time after time, for different judges and if possible also at nationwide events.

 

Especially as regards character, one must not forget that environment and external influences play a major role in temperament. The breeder can only try to provide as good a basis as possible.

 

2.4.3. Anatomy and Outward Appearance

 

The desired outer appearance is set out in the standard. It is important to interpret the standard without exaggerations.

 

The breeders should stick as closely as possible to the standard, but against the background of seeing the development of the breed, and should therefore also interpret it in a present-day context.

 

After health and character, it is decisive for the dog's breeding value that its anatomy be as correct as possible. The best possible anatomic pairing requires comprehensive knowledge and a good eye.

 

3. Upbringing

 

• The breeding station (kennel, whelping box, whelp enclosure etc.) should be suited to being supervised as well as possible and should be in direct proximity to the dwelling.

 

• The keeping and upbringing of the dogs must be appropriate to their species and needs.• It is advantageous for the whelps if they have enough things to occupy them.

 

• Lots of human affection and attention and positive environmental influences should go without saying for the responsible breeder and promote the whelp's trust in human beings and confidence in many everyday situations.

 

• It must always be possible for the mother bitch to withdraw from her puppies.• In the open air, the whelps should never be left unsupervised for several hours, even in large enclosures. They need to be occupied, e.g. toys for dogs, tunnels etc. and especially meet different people.

 

 

4. Training of Breeders

 

Introductory courses are provided for breeders, so that a new breeder receives appropriate information and knowledge. Breeding is a responsible task that should not be directed by emotions but by objective knowledge.

 

5. Aims and Visions

 

Breeding is a very complex matter. Anyone who would like to make progress in breeding will find a fascinating area of activity that does however require a great deal of commitment and enthusiasm. Anyone who does not act extremely conscientiously will soon come up against their limits.

 

Cooperation with other breeders with a common aim that can also be consistently pursued can be very helpful. Decisions are more broadly supported and can sometimes also be implemented more easily. Breeding is only successful if all the breeders are pursuing the same aim together. Our statutes and various rules are particular instruments for achieving this.

 

It would be incorrect to want to "make" the dogs more and more beautiful, but one must endeavour to breed the dogs with its breed-specific, phenotypical behavioural characteristics in such a way that they can sustainably fulfil the expectations held of them, which is to say of a healthy, robust, versatile family and working dog.

 

 

More Information

 

White Shepherd Genetics Project:  Prioritising Gene Selection

 

White Shepherd Genetics Project:  Breeding Strategies for the Management of Genetic Disorders

 

White Shepherd Genetics Project:  Developing a Healthy Breeding Program

 

White Shepherd Genetics Project:  Planned Breeding

 

White Shepherd Genetics Project:  Improving the Genetic Health of Your Puppies

 

 

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