Choosing to breed dogs should come from a desire to improve a breed or solve a common problem with a particular breed. Selecting good sires and dams is so important to breeding dogs responsibly and improving their breeds as their traits, health, and temperaments are passed on. Keep reading to learn more about what makes a good sire and dam.
Know Desired Traits
Having set traits in mind that you want the puppies to have will further help you find a dam and sire that reflect these wishes. If you’re wanting puppies that are gentle and good with children, seek out a sire and dam that reflect these qualities. Similarly, if you want to breed herding or sporting puppies, know ahead of time the traits that these puppies should have so you can narrow down your search and stay focused on what matters.
Sires and dams should be mirrors of the positive qualities their breed or breeds are known for. Don’t just choose a dog based on its physical appearance and color, it needs to have a good temperament too.
Making a name for yourself as a reputable breeder by breeding sires and dams with good temperaments can help bring in more buyers as your careful selections will reflect in high-quality puppies. Additionally, it’s hard to know what a matured dog will be like when they are still a puppy, so having the sire and dam, as well as their genetic background, available for buyers to meet will give them an idea of what their puppy will be like as an adult.
Not only is good temperament important when choosing a sire and dam, but their physical development and health need to be assessed as well. You don’t want to choose a sire or dam that has health concerns and further expand those problems to their offspring. The sire and dam’s health should be examined before they are used in breeding to make sure they are in good health and have no genetic conditions.
It’s important to recognize the shortcomings that a dog has before you breed it. While we see our pets as perfect, it can be hard to make an unbiased decision of whether our dog will make a good sire or dam. You can get a clearer picture of your dog’s abilities and reflection of their breed by entering them in competitions to see how they compare to other dogs of their breed or by having an unbiased, knowledgeable party examine your dog.
The sire should be compatible with the dam and be able to make up for any shortcomings the dam has. These flaws should be minor issues, like improving a dog’s coat or getting the desired breed color, not issues such as a bad temperament or hereditary health conditions.
You can examine a sire’s past litters to see the qualities and temperaments they inherited. This is also helpful to see which of the dam’s traits the sire helped balance out and improve in the litter. You won’t find a sire that improves every flaw the dam has, but instead, focus on the dam’s main flaws and look for a suitable sire that can improve those.
Known Pedigree & Background
You’ll want to breed dogs whose genetics, lineage, and pedigree are known. Choosing to breed a dog with an unknown background can lead to major issues arising in their offspring. Before choosing to breed a dog, examine their pedigree to ensure they come from good health, temperament, and nature.
Low Coefficient of Inbreeding (COI)
Inbreeding dogs is advised against by experts of dog breeding as this can create more health issues for their offspring which negatively impacts the breed as a whole. Inbred dogs can have many issues ranging from fertility problems, small litters, breed-specific hereditary conditions, birth defects, and bad temperaments.
Determining a dog’s coefficient of inbreeding (COI) will help you determine if a dog is too inbred to be used for breeding. Online COI calculators, like The Kennel Club’s COI Calculator, help responsible breeders keep their litters healthy and meet breed standards. A good COI depends on the breed, but the lower the percentage, the better.
Purebred Breeding Requirements
When breeding purebred dogs, you’ll need to make sure the sire and dam meet the breed's standards. Likewise, if you would like a litter to be registered with a particular club, such as the American Kennel Club (AKC), both the sire and the dam need to be registered with that desired club.
Patience on Your End
Finding a suitable sire and dam can take some time, but it’s worth it as their traits will be passed along to their offspring. Taking the time to find a good sire and dam will result in healthy, good-natured puppies that reflect the traits their breed is loved for. Your careful consideration and resulting exceptional puppies will let buyers know you are a responsible and trustworthy breeder with great litters.
Breeding dogs is a privilege and being a responsible breeder is imperative. Remember, no matter how well a dog is bred, their training, handling, and the environment they grow in are also important to their successful development and temperament.
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