What Are Drives and Why are They Important?
by Brian Miller
In the information age it is quite common to find oneself on a specialty forum filled with people who all speak the same language. Often to the newcomer this language is foreign and strange. Surfing bulldogge forums can raise more questions than give answers if you dont understand some of the terms being thrown about. The following will clear up one of those elusive terms to the newcomer and possibly provide a bit of insight to those who have seen this term over the years but dont fully understand what it is.
The word drive in the context of dog behavior is nearly interchangeable with the words desire or motivation. Drives are the internal motivations which cause action in a dog. Most of us are familiar with the term sex drive and what that means, but how about the terms prey drive, defense drive or rank drive? For the sake of brevity I will focus more on prey than the other drives.
Prey drive describes the dog’s desire to chase and bite objects which are or simulate something they would eat if they lived in the wild. Most canines are cursorial predators, meaning they chase down moving prey. The complete predatory sequence is eye, stalk, chase, grab-bite, kill-bite, dissect and consume. Dogs that display this sequence in a working/training scenario are said to display prey drive. An example would be flirt pole work. A flirt pole is a tool resembling a crude beefed up fishing pole with some sort of prey item (tug, toy, stuffed squirrel, etc) as the “bait”. When the trainer uses the flirt pole to whip the prey item about in front of a dog we should see the above mentioned predatory sequence unfold in a dog with strong prey drives. Obviously the dog should not be allowed to complete the final two steps of dissect and consume unless you would like to buy a new prey item for each working session and possibly pay for an expensive surgery to remove said object from the intestines of a dog that may not be able to pass toys.
Why are drives important? Drives motivate the dog to perform certain tasks that are selectively bred for work. Some components of the entire sequence of drive behaviors are intentionally bred out for certain jobs. An example would be hunting dogs used to retrieve water fowl. You want the eye, stalk, chase, grab-bite portions to remain intact, but you certainly dont want the kill-bite, dissect, and consume components to be there or you would never take any full birds home. Drives are also very beneficial for training purposes. A dog with strong prey drive will be very willing to perform certain tasks if it means the dog gets rewarded with a short game of tug. Food driven dogs will work for hard for treats.
Drives can only be seen and understood if they are brought to the surface through placing each dog in a working scenario. In the past I have incorrectly judged dog’s personalities and capabilities prior to working them. I had a dog named Keiko who I thought would be a great protector since her prey drives were off the charts when we did flirt pole work at home. I drove her 7 hours away to a trainer to test her along with a few other dogs, only to find that her defense drives were pathetic and she displayed little protective abilities. Testing a dog is the only way to know the dog. One cannot simply look at a dog and understand its mind.
The best way to understand the psychological makeup of a dog is to test their drives with a knowledgeable trainer. A good trainer can run a dog through a number of scenarios to bring out and test the drives and evaluate a dog in a number of circumstances to better understand the dogs motivations. Understanding a dogs psychological make up as deeply as possible will allow breeders to make better matches with breeding stock, as well as better prepare pet owners to direct and guide their dogs behaviors to productive ends. This is why Evolution Bulldogges tests each breeding candidate in working venues prior to being bred, so that each dog’s strengths and weaknesses can be considered in producing the next generation of better and more complete bulldogges. Pet owners are encouraged as well to train and test their dogs to ensure a happy healthy home environment where proper expectations and boundaries are in place for a productive result.
I hope this brief discussion on drives will help deepen your understanding of our canine friends, as I’d like to see more dogs living happy lives with knowledgeable owners and breeders. Have a kickass day and Happy Bulldoggin!
The Simplest Most Effective Concepts to Utilize in the Selective Breeding Process
by Brian Miller
I am an Olde English Bulldogge breeder, but the general concepts behind selectively breeding are applicable to breeding any species. Selective breeding means there is some sort of intent behind pairing mates together. That intent can be anything you desire in order to generate offspring of a certain type or to display specific characteristics. It is NOT just breeding two dogs together in order to make puppies for sale. Anyone can do that with relative ease, but actually creating something special takes a bit of knowledge, a lot of directed decisions (and a bit of luck if I am to be honest here).
First things first, a vision of the final result must be formed. The more detailed this vision is, the better able one will be to create it. Its like traveling a long distance. Knowing where you are going will help you get there. When creating this vision it is important to make it ideal. Writing down specific traits and measurements is much more effective than writing generalizations. Stating that you are creating a 21″ tall dog that weighs 110 pounds is a real goal to shoot for. Saying about 19 to 22 inches and between 95 and 115 pounds is not a goal. It is a generalization. A 19 inch tall dog that weighs 115 pounds is far different from a dog that is 22 inches tall and 95 pounds, so be very specific.
Next, a proper and accurate evaluation of your breeding stock is necessary to success. There is a very real thing called “kennel blindness” which affects each breeder to one degree or another. Having an outside set of eyes can prove beneficial to any selective breeding program. Get someone who is not attached to the breeding stock to help evaluate. I use a specific evaluation form that I created years ago to assign a points system for certain traits that each of my Bulldogges are evaluated on. There is a score that is added up at the end to give an overall value to each dog as it can add to my breeding program. A minimum score is allowed as breeding stock, so scoring below that minimum number means an individual does not get to contribute genetically to my Olde English Bulldogge breeding program. The individual trait scores can be compared to individual scores for other potential mates to help me decide who gets bred to whom. Which brings me to my next point.
How to decide which two individuals get bred together can be much simpler than some try to make it. The general rule is to put individuals together that share as many of the same desirable traits, but none of the same faults. If you have one Olde English Bulldogge (or whatever you breed) whom has a cow hocked rear, you should never breed it to another individual who also shares that same cow hocked rear. Always make sure there are strengths in the individual being bred to the fault in the other individual. And the more of the same good traits you can breed together the better the outcome will tend to be. Also remember that the more closely related the two individuals are in your breedings the more important this concept will be. Related individuals are much more likely to pass on their similar traits than unrelated pairings.
And finally, a system put into practice to evaluate potential breeding prospects can prove to be very useful in making sure you keep back the right individuals to carry on the process. Selective breeding for excellence is a marathon, not a sprint. You will need several generations of calculated breedings to create consistency and to set type in your program. I have used the same evaluation sheet for nearly a decade now to evaluate puppies. I do it at precisely the same age with each litter. I do not plan to share this evaluation sheet in this writing, but I do want to share the idea of doing the same thing the same way at the same time as an important process. Taking pics at the same age of pups and then again as adults will also help you see how certain characteristics develop in your line with age and help you to make better decisions for keepers.
That’s it. These are the key concepts that I have seen applied in successful programs which I have also used to generate success on my Olde English Bulldogge yard as well. Hope it does good things for you as it has for me! Good luck!!!!
Polygenic Traits written by Brian Miller
Although many of our fellow bully breeders are easily stumped by inheritance of simple Mendelian genetic principles I will now attempt an amazing feat… discussing polygenic traits in such a format as to be understood by the masses. Wish me luck, and here we go.
If you were to mate a white man to a black woman, you could expect the results to be what? The majority of the offspring would be lighter than the woman, yet darker than the man. Varying degrees of skin pigmentation would be present among several offspring of this mating, however the chance of one being as dark as the mother would be low, and one as light as the father would be very low as well. This trait has polygenic inheritance, meaning there are several genes responsible for that trait. In addition to several genes being responsible, the results of carrying more or less of the causal genes is cumulative. This means there could, for argument’s sake, be 6 genes (12 potential markers) for skin pigment. A person carrying no markers for pigment would be albino, one marker would result in a very pale skinned white person, two markers a moderate white skin tone, three markers a light olive skin tone… and so on up to twelve markers making a very dark black color like my buddy in OKC who everyone calls Blue. Now, for all of these six genes they have two alleles, each allele could be a pigment carrier, or not depending upon the genetics that went into making this person. Say my buddy Blue (carrying all 12 possible markers for pigment) married an albino woman. No matter how many children they had, all would be carrying 6 markers since Blue can only throw markers for pigment, and the wife could never throw any since she doesnt have any. That would make every kid a medium brown. But if Blue married a medium brown skinned chick, then they could have any color between the two depending on which markers the female contributed. With couples having some markers, it is possible that they could contribute more or less of their markers and the potential outcome would have a bell curve of possible effects- meaning a very light skin offspring would be very unlikely yet still possible, and the same true for a very dark skinned offspring. But the highest likelyhood would be that the kids would mostly resemble the parents. If the parents carried markers in different places on the DNA strand from one another, it would be possible for the two medium skinned parents to generate an albino child, or a very very dark skinned child, but the probability is very low.
In bulldogge breeding, traits that are polygenic include entropian, demodex, hip dysplasia, elongated soft palate, and many many more genetic flaws. Just as the skin pigment of people is affected by the environment (sun exposure), so are all of the polygenic traits that affect Olde English bulldogges. A dog with enough markers to result in demodectic mange will never get demodex if he lives in a bubble, just as there are other factors which can increase his chances of breaking in full blown generalized mange.
The point here is that if there is not already a genetic predisposition for the condition, it simply cannot exist. You cannot get an albino to suntan no matter how much exposure he gets in the sun. If you breed an albino to a dark skinned individual, it is likely that you will create medium skinned offspring. This is just like breeding an Olde English Bulldogge with demodex to a bulldog completely clear of genetic factors to yield demodex.
Careful with those polygenic traits, they tend to crop back up, especially if certain circumstances are such as to hide the condition. An example would be using Revolution as a flea preventative. Revolution kills mites, including demodex, which can mask the genetic condition. I always used to say, that if you want the baddest dogs around, get em from the ghetto. You will see every genetic predisposition that an olde english bulldogge carries being expressed in poor conditions. I’m not saying to neglect your bulldogs, but a bulldog that lives outside on a chain in south Louisiana which shows no ill effects is a solid bulldogge.
It is important to remove animals from our breeding programs that show enough cumulative effects of carrying these genes, to express the undesirable condition. Also, being very aware of what is in the background of the bulldogges you are breeding can help you make decisions as to what would make a good mating.
A Slightly Deeper Look into Polygenic Traits and Quantitative Results written by Brian Miller
Polygenic traits are the effect of several genes acting together to create a specific (phenotypic) result. An example of a polygenic trait commonly found in the Olde English bulldogge would be eye entropion. There is not just one specific gene that causes this condition, it is the culmination of several genes coming together. Let me illustrate how this works in terms that all of us can understand.
First, let me say that this example is completely hypothetical, since there have been no markers mapped as of yet for eye entropion, even though we know it is polygenic in nature.
Polygenic traits are also called Quantitative traits because the hypothetical scores of all genes involved in a trait must add up to a certain amount before that trait is expressed. Let us say, for example, that it takes a genetic score of 8 for an Olde English Bulldogge to have entropion. Remember that. 8 is the magic genetic score that a dog must have to show ANY entropion.
Now, let’s say that entropion can be caused by 3 different genes.
Each of those genes has 2 possible allels (variations of the gene). For example, the F gene can have a F or an f, and it must have two allels at that location on the DNA (locus). So at the F locus a bulldog could have FF, or Ff, or ff.
For argument’s sake let’s say FF gets a value of 6, Ff gets a value of 0, and ff gets a value of -6. Since our magic score is 8, we can see that just the F locus cannot be responsible for entropion on it’s own, since the highest score F can get is 6.
Since F is not the only gene responsible for entropion, we have to also look at the two other contributing genes in this polygenic trait. Let’s call these other contributing genes (loci) Q and Z.
Q and Z also carry two allels each. Q and q are possible allels at the Q locus, and Z and z are possibles at the Z locus. The value for QQ is 4, Qq is 0 and qq is -4. The value for ZZ is 2, Zz is 0, and zz is -2.
There are many different genetic combinations that can occur with these 3 loci and their 3 different individual combinations working together. Remember the magic score to cause entropian? 8. the number is 8. That means an Olde English Bulldogge carrying FF (6), QQ (4), and ZZ (2) would have a combined score of 12 causing severe entropion, far surpassing the necessary score of 8 to show the condition at all.
If you play around with the numbers you can see that a dog with FF (6), Qq (0), and ZZ (2) would have just enough to cause entropion, but FF (6), qq (-4), and ZZ (2) would only have a combined score of 4 which is not enough to have entropion, even though he has the worst combination at 2 out of 3 loci.
When breeding a bulldog with FF, qq, and ZZ, that bulldog can only contribute one allel at each loci, and since he has two of the same of each allels, then he will contribute an F, a q, and a Z. If that bulldog is bred to a female with Ff (0), Qq (0), and Zz (0), bred together their genes (worse case scenerio) could end up FF (6), Qq (0), and ZZ (2) for a total score of 8 (magic score) in their offspring even though neither parent had entropion. They also have the possibility of having puppies with Ff (0), qq (-4), and Zz (0) for total score of -4 which is very far away from entropian, and could (hypothetically) even be bred to a mate with a relatively high score and still not result in puppies with entropion.
The point here is the higher the genetic score, the worse the trait will be. The lower the score, the less likely a bulldogge will be to generate that trait. Since we don’t have any genetic testing for polygeneic traits at this time, there is no way to tell how strongly a bulldogge carries genetic material for a quantitative condition unless it is showing the condition. The degree that a polygenic (quantitative) attribute is inherited is increased with the increase of severity of the condition in the parent. But also keep in mind that undesirable qualities can pop up after several generations have been clear because of unexpressed carriers that never reached the magic score.
Polygenic attributes are tricky. Hope this sheds some light. Good luck out there.
Posted by Brian_M on 12/13/2007 12:54am
I have heard a ton of crazy things in regards to genetics and inheritance which are
so far from the truth that I feel it is necessary to clarify some extremely basic
In sexual reproduction both a male and female gamete must merge. When the
nucleus of the sperm cell fuses with the nucleus of an egg cell it is called
Mammals have genetic material known as chromosomes (individual bundles of
DNA) and each chromosome is part of a pair. For example, a dog has one pair of
sex-linked chromosomes. That means exactly two. There are two different types of
sex-linked chromosomes, an X and a Y. The name X and Y are given to each of
these types of chromosomes because those are the shapes that each resembles
when studied under a very powerful microscope. It takes two X chromosomes to
make a female, and only one copy of the Y to make a male.
Genetically speaking, a female Olde English Bulldogge has two X copies of sex-linked chromosomes,
and a male Olde English Bulldogge has one X and one Y. When a sex cell (sperm or egg) is made, only
one chromosome out of each pair is contributed. The male can either contribute
one X or one Y, and the female can only contribute one of her two X
chromosomes. Therefore, whichever chromosome the male contributes dictates
the sex of the offspring.
Each sperm cell only contains one of the two chromosomes in each pair. An Olde English Bulldogge has 39 pairs (one being the sex-linked chromosome we were talking about), or 78
individual chromosomes, and the sperm cell only holds half of them. Basically,
each sex cell (whether it be sperm or egg)starts out as one cell, and it divides out
half the genetic info to become the gamete, and the other half of the genetic info is
discarded. The selection process of which half happens completely randomly,
therefore there are 1521 different combinations that each sperm cell can have out
of one Bulldog. Also, since the female has the same number of chromosomes there
are the same number of combinations that each egg can contain from one female.
Out of a breeding there are 2,313,441 different genetic combinations that can
occur between the pairing of one male and one female Olde English Bulldogge.
Half of the genetic material is provided by the male, and half by the female.
Static is a nice example of an Olde English bulldogge that exibits how both parents have
contributed to his temperament, and certainly his looks. Static is the offspring of
Ali and Susie Q.
Why Do We Sell Puppies? written by Brian Miller
A serious Olde Englsih Bulldogge breeding program consists of breeding exceptional offspring to advance the breeder’s kennel. Testing is done to ensure adult Bulldogges are up to par for the kennel goals, and then properly matched to mates that have complimentary traits. Having complimentary traits means that they share the majority of desirable virtues, and don’t share the same faults. Having one bulldogge too short and one bulldogge too tall is not complimentary, it is a mash-up of undesirable features. One bulldog slightly too tall and the other being the right height with extra mass is complimentary. Next, the job of a serious Olde English Bulldogge breeder is to ensure the breeding gets done, and live puppies are born. At this point begins the evaluation process of puppies. It is imperative to the success of an Olde English bulldogge kennel to accurately gauge the offspring, and keep back the best ones which are most inline with the breeder’s goals. The other puppies are the resulting surplus of a serious breeding program and a source of revenue to finance the future of the Olde English bulldogge kennel.
Because the foundation Olde English Bulldogges had a higher amount of genetic concentration of the desirable qualities, being the result of breeding pure lines of dogs together. Pure bred dogs are dogs that have been line and inbred for generations to specifically lock in desirable features for their respective breeds. The multi-generational Olde English Bulldogges had been outcrossed and outcrossed and outcrossed. Since outcrossing dilutes all attributes, the desirable traits were washed out. THIS is why some Olde English bulldogge breeders feel it is important to keep breeding English Bulldog back into the oldes… Because they dilute all the bulldog qualities through outcrossing and need to concentrate the genes of their bulldogges once more. BUT what they didn’t understand, and now you will…
Outcrossing Dilutes, Inbreeding Concentrates. Most of the characteristics that make a bulldogge a bulldogge are polygenic, meaning they come from several different genetic combinations rather than from one marker. If it takes three or more genes aligning to make a short muzzle, and there are 18 genes which affect muzzle length, then the three genes that one bulldogge has may not be the same three genes that another bulldogge has. When a mating occurs, only half of the sire’s DNA is passed on and only half of the dam’s DNA is passed on. There is nothing to assure that those three genes get passed on at all, and on average only half of them would statistically. The result in this hypothetical scenario would be a bunch of Olde English Bulldogge puppies with long muzzles even though both parents have short muzzles. Now that’s just a concept of inheritance that I am pulling out of my ass but we have all seen that example play out in the bulldogge world.The point I am making is, with such a varied ancestry as the OLDE Bullodogge, to outcross is to dilute the very traits that make the dog in front of you what it is. To linebreed is to concentrate the genes that make the dog in front of you what it is.
NOW, there are proper ways to linebreed that will yield good results, and improper ways to linebreed that will bring you down faster than even outcrossing can. Therein lies the fear of linebreeding/inbreeding for most breeders. Does anyone want to share how to select stock properly for linebreeding?
So you want to be a breeder. written by Brian Miller
Now that you have found the right breed for you, outlined specific breeding goals, and found a
breeder that CREATES stock in line with your goals; it is time to consider your resources
available for breeding. Keep in mind that dog breeding requires vast amounts of time and
energy, certain amounts of space, and more money with each kennel program addition.
Dogs are extremely social creatures that need daily interaction. If you assume that it would be
fair to throw up some outdoor kennels and pat each dog on the head when you feed and water
as daily contact, perhaps you should consider another hobby. When dog breeding is done
purely for money, the dogs and the breeders suffer. Time should be alotted each day for
feeding, watering, play, training and kennel hygiene for each and every dog. To keep up with
this requires a certain degree of love for the animals. Only love and respect for each dog will
keep you coming back day after day after day to give your time and energy in caring for these
valuable additions to your breeder program. Also, each dog added to your program can eventually lead
to splitting time available for each other animal.
Each dog must have a comfortable amount of space to eat and drink, sleep, eliminate, and
excercise daily. Keep in mind that for Olde English Bulldogges, walking with the pack leader (you) is very important for mental well-being. Regular walks are important to stimulate the mind of a dog
and keep spirits up.
So many breeders deceive the public about the money that can be made breeding bulldogges. After all, let’s be serious here… it’s simple math.
All the Olde English Bulldogges I bought cost between $900 and $3500 with the average price being $1800. Now only about a third of the Bulldogges I bought actually passed health and temperament testing, so the average price goes up about 50% taking into consideration the ones who didn’t make the cut. That makes my average price per dogge $2700.
So the price of a breeding female = $2700
Raising an 8 week old pup to year and a half for-
food = my dogges are big and one 35 lb bag lasts an average of 21 days at about $28 per bag. 26 bags x $28 = $728
Flea and tick prevention = $30 month x 9 months a year x 1.5 years = $405
Heartworm prevention = $30 bottle straight ivermectin
general worming = $50
kennel = $400 + doghouse $70 + food and water containers $20 = $490
toys, shampoo, brushes, collars, leashes = $50 up to whatever you wanna spend
initial vet visit after getting pup from breeder with fecal exam = $75
Vet visit for preliminary hip x-rays $150 + vet evaluation for breeding stock $40 = $190
DNA testing = $40
Stud Fee $1500 + travel expenses $300 = $1800 unless you bought a male for a stud then double all the above numbers.
whelping box and supplies for whelping day = $450 or more
Fence for property = $1500 or MORE
x-ray after whelping to make sure all pups are out $75 + momma checkup $35 = $110
Puppy play pen $120 + towels, shavings, and lots of cleaning supplies for 8 weeks $120 = $240
advertising costs for website and ads = $300 minimum
So, best case scenario, the MINIMUM cost to result in just one litter is $9158.00 before you sell a single puppy. This number is the result of living in a PERFECT world, which we do not. How bout fancy leashes and collars, show leads, dog show expenses, pinch collars, training sessions, super duper vaccuums to pick up dog hair, cases of lint rollers, candles for bulldog smell, and vaccinations??? God forbid there be an injury, an emergency c-section, unexpected DEATH, the bulldogge doesn’t make the cut after all you have invested in it, or, the puppies dont all sell by 8 weeks of age. All of those potential set-backs (all of which have happened here) will destroy your bottom line. I also keep back more than one puppy in a litter for future evaluation to ensure I only use the very best in my kennel breeder program, so most of those expenses are at least double. And b###hes don’t always have litters of 6 or more pups. Add culling puppies to the equation knocking those numbers of Olde English Bulldogge puppies to sell back even further sets finances back by a LOT more.
Those who are not breeders tend to believe there is a ton of money in Bulldogge breeding, until they breed a few litters of puppies and get to see how it really works. Once you become established, some of those expenses go down since you can recycle a lot of the supplies, but in order to build up a REAL Bulldogge kennel breeding program you need several good males in addition to your females. So for the first several years you will get hammered with big expenses all along the way until you get over the hump of building up. Some breeders get really lucky and pass that point quickly in 3 years, but many more take up to a decade to slow down shelling out big bucks to build a stable operation. Often times breeders hit a dead end with the stock they have, sell out, and start fresh which begins the cycle yet again.
So, let’s say everything goes AMAZINGLY well and you get a litter of 14 Olde English Bulldogge puppies and mom raises all of them leaving you with 12 puppies to sell after picking your 2 keepers. Let’s also say by some stroke of MAGIC that no buyers ask for deals, and you find homes for ALL of them for FULL price by eight weeks!!! YAY! So you sell 12 pups at $1500 each = $18000. Remember this is a PERFECT world, so this number is total bullshit. $18000 that you get minus the minimum (perfect world) $9159 gives you a profit of $8842. Sweet!!!! You made $8842 in a perfect world over a year and a half plus the 2 months gestation time plus the 8 weeks that it took the pups to get old enough to go to their new homes. So all in all it took 22 months (almost 2 years) to clear $8842 with countless hours of labor raising the dog, scooping shit, feeding cleaning bowls and buckets, driving all over the planet, socializing new pups, cleaning whelping boxes OVER AND OVER… the list could go on and on and on… $8842 divided by 22 months = $401.90 per month, so about a hundred dollars a week. AWESOME!!!! You can quit your shitty job at McDonalds to go breed dogs!!!! Even in a perfect world you would take a huge pay cut. More realistically you lose about $500 – $1500, but we like to be optimistic (since our world and lives are perfect).
The only breeders who make BIG BANK breeding bulldogges are the worthless pieces of shit who don’t put the money, time, effort, research, or sweat equity into their Olde English Bulldogge breeder program to create anything worthwhile.
Us real breeders give up our beautiful custom cars, our gorgeous self-designed and built 2 story brick homes across from 40,000 square foot mansions, koi ponds, circle drives, intracate landscaping, japanese maples and corkscrew willows, and go buy a crappy little dump out in the middle of nowhere and hand mix 590 bags of quickrete to pour kennel floors to start a real Bulldogge kennel program. Real breeders will give up just about every wonderful thing in their lives to pursue something their soul has burned for for the last decade. They will devote countless hours of research, drain every bank account, sell cars, sell houses, mentor strangers for hours on end week after week, and build message boards just to share what they have learned with others to save a bit of a learning curve for hundreds of people they have never met. All of these things were done, and continue to be done by Evolution Bulldogges.
So yeah, there’s plenty of money to be made breeding Olde English Bulldogges, you should start today.
The Dogge Game
Posted By Brian_M on The B.B. 1/26/09
Never have I been involved in anything so complex, challenging, and multi-faceted. The learning process is endless, surprises are often, and the genetics to draw from are vast. There are constant ups and downs with the bulldogges, the overall program, and friendships. My proudest moments, my biggest challenges, and the most growth has come to me as a result of the path I have chosen in the dogge game. Those you trust the most can let you down the hardest, those you don’t like can become your closest allies. The message boards can become an addiction, and can either encourage you to do better, or discourage you until you drop out. Unexpected expenses can set you back thousands of dollars, or you could have a litter line your pockets. The dogge game is full of peaks and valleys where emotions tend to run high. There is enough going on to disappoint you without producing a litter of Olde English Bulldogge puppies with issues. Pick the best stock you can. Educate yourself. Use every tool available to help you generate the best puppies possible. Never use unhealthy Olde English Bulldogges with the plan to “breed it out”. One thing you have some control over is the choices you make about what you do prior to breeding. The dogge game is full of enough let-downs. I’m just sayin…
Posted By Tanya (Metro Bulldogges) on The B.B. 1/15/09
Let’s keep the genetic discussion going..I just LOVE this kind of stuff….
Breeding animals are selected on the basis of the success of the puppies that a male or female has produced. Although selections are made using phenotypic criteria, pogeny testing is actually a type of genotpic selection because individuals who are homozygous (two identical alleles on a chromosome) for a desired trait, or more realistically, for a large proportion of the polygenes that influence a desired trait, has a greater potential for passing that trait on to offspring compared with an individual who is heterozygous (single allele) for the same traits. Used consistently, progeny testing is a powerful tool for increasing homozygosity within a line.
Several factors must be considered when progeny testing is used as a selection tool. First, the pedigree and the phenotypic qualities of the mate or mates to which the dog was bred must be considered when evaluating the progeny. Because 50 percent of the genes are contributed by the mate, the qualities of one parent will affect the evaluation of the other. Second, all of the progeny that has been produced must be evaluated if progeny testing is to be successfull. For example, if success in the conformation ring is the selection criteria, all of the dogs who have been produced by the dog in question must be evaluated in this manner. Within a purebreed line of dogs, it is not uncommon to have one or two outstanding animals within a litter. If only the animals that are trained and exhibited at dog shows or trials are evaluated for progeny testing, an assessment of the parents breeding success will be inaccurate. As with performance testing, progeny testing must also consider environmental influences. These are even more difficult to assess because multiple dogs living in a variety of environments must be evaluated.
This type of testing can be a useful method for determining a male or females ability to pass on desired traits to his offspring and can improve the homozygosity of a purebred line. But there are many disadvantages to this method. It is very time consuming labor intensive. Because some of the traits that breeders are interested in improving can not be evaluated until the dog is an adult (hips). There are also some ethical questions that must be addressed…strong arguments can be made against producing a litter of puppies with the intent of using their performance to evaluate the quality of one or both parents because of the problem of dog overpopualation. Many breeders resolve these conflicts by using progeny testing as a supplement tool secondary to the use of DNA, pedigree, and performance testing.
Hybrid Vigor vs. Outcross Depression
posted by Brian_M on The B.B. 1/15/09
Flip a damn coin, you never know what you’re gonna get until you get it. Hybrid Vigor and Outcross Depression are just terms that are used to describe something that has already happened. Unfortunately, we are always in search of the ever-elusive elephino, and believe outcrossing will give us hybrid vigor. Hybrid vigor is rare at best, and if you are one of the lucky ones who stumble upon it, congratulations! Now, if it can reproduce the same size and vigor, double congrats! Your odds of that happening are pretty darn slim, buddy. Sorry, just the way it goes. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, I have living proof (sleeping under my desk) that it does, but the odds are greatly stacked against you. And remember, I bought Ali as an adult, so I already knew how he threw down. On a good note, outcross depression is just as likely to occur as hybrid vigor, so the odds are in your favor in that regard.
The point of this post is to say, match up your breedings based upon solid solid bulldogs and use reasonable judgement rather than to tear off after the highly coveted elephino, and count on hybrid vigor.
For those of you that missed the elephino post, perhaps you should consider staying on top of this board so you can keep up! LOL! Seriously, for a quick synopsis of the elephino, here we go—–
What do you get when you cross an elephant and a rhino? — elephino (play on words for “hell if I know”) Upon hearing that joke, breeding all suddenly made perfect sense. When pairing up bulldogs, most people count on the good traits of both taking over the breeding, and producing perfect offspring. In the case of an elephant and a rhino, one might expect the elephant’s size and massive girth with a trunk, a deadly horn weapon, armor plating, and tusks. What would be more realistic, is to get none of those awesome things and end up with a hippopotomus, which does exist, by the way…
Closer Look At Kennel Blindness
Posted By Phil (Butcher Block Bulldogges) On The B.B. 1/02/09
By Claudia Waller Orlandi, Ph.D.
A dog breeder’s knowledgeable use of genetic principles is of paramount importance to the success of a breeding program. But an all-too-common phenomenon known as kennel blindness can stop some breeding programs dead in their tracks. Most works on dog breeding devote relatively little space to the concept of kennel blindness, although the seriousness of this “breeder defect” and the lasting harm it can have on breeding success merit a closer look.
Found in many purebred dog kennels, kennel blindness is a “disease” that results in breeders’ inability or refusal to admit to the failings in their own lines of dogs, whether they relate to conformation traits described in the AKC breed standards, behavior or genetic disease. Kennel-blind breeders are given to justifying the dogs they breed by developing warped and unrealistic interpretations of their breed’s standard, said Ann Seranne in her book, The Joy of Breeding Your Own Show Dog.
Because a kennel-blind breeder can become “blind” to serious faults and health defects in their dogs, these problems may become fixed in a couple of generations. Unless quickly diagnosed and treated, kennel blindness can lead to the demise of a successful breeding program.
Fortunately, most common symptoms of kennel blindness are easy to spot. Following are three of the most pervasive symptoms:
The tendency to ignore the virtues and focus on the faults of a competitor’s dogs. Kennel-blind breeders tend to focus on negative features in dogs that are not their own. Oftentimes, what they view as a fault in someone else’s dog may be an acceptable variation of a style in that breed.
Re-read your Breed Standard and understand that standards outline the essential aspects of a breed and that more than one style may be acceptable in your breed.
Be sure you understand the difference between breed type and style. A dog’s breed type is defined by its breed standard, which is the written description of the ideal dog of that breed. Style, on the other hand, is how individual breeders interpret the standard and artistically express various elements of breed type in the dogs they breed. Each breeder’s interpretation of the standard can therefore result in a variation of styles within a breed. This may produce a range of excellence in a breed and allow dogs of various styles to be correct and fit their breed standard.
Finally, pretend you are a dog show judge, and get into the habit of looking first for the virtues in dogs bred and owned by others. If a dog is consistently winning under a number of different judges, it usually means that the dog has obvious virtues compared to its competition.
The belief that you have bred the “perfect” dog. No “perfect” dog has ever or will ever be bred in any breed. Even what you consider your best can usually be improved upon.
Realize that your concept of what is an ideal representative of your breed may become modified with the passage of time. Experience with a breed may gradually change the priority a breeder gives to certain features. A breeder who is a stickler for correct heads may gradually start realizing that angulation and movement are also important aspects in their breed.
Blaming the fact that your dog is not winning on bad judging, politics or anything except the possibility that there may be something wrong with your dog. Bad sportsmanship and kennel blindness can go hand-in-hand. Kennel-blind people always have an excuse for why their dog didn’t win. While some of their reasoning may be legitimate, consistently losing under a variety of judges usually means a dog does not fit the standard in one or more important aspects.
If your dog is not winning, ask several knowledgeable people to objectively evaluate your dog. Tell them to be honest, and listen to their comments with an open mind.
Are you at risk?
Kennel blindness is more apt to be a problem for …
Breeders who do not have an “eye” for a dog.
An eye for a dog is an almost innate ability to view a dog as one piece and to recognize balance, quality and correctness in any breed. Some breeders are simply not born with an eye for a dog. Despite having read and studied their breed’s standard, they may be incapable of correctly evaluating structure and movement in the dogs they breed. Hence, they are blind to their dogs’ shortcomings.
Novice or even long-time breeders who are strongly affected by a dog’s temperament and personality.
Many kennel-blind breeders think all puppies are cute. These owners usually decide to breed their dog, not to improve the breed, but because they love its personality and want more puppies just like it. Breeders such as these are blinded by the love they have for their dog and can remain “blind” to the fact that their dog may lack quality.
Breeders who have produced quality animals in the past but are now struggling to stay on top.
Breeders who may have had a superstar in the past are usually looking for their next big winner. In some cases, their superstar may have resulted from good luck as opposed to thoughtful breeding practices based on genetic principles.
One scenario is a breeding program based solely on non-genetic breeding practices, such as like-to-like matings. Offspring of like-to-like matings cannot usually be counted on to pass on their traits because their homozygous gene pairs are not identical by descent. It is an accepted genetic principle that offspring that carry higher proportions of identical by descent genes have a greater chance of passing on traits that are influenced by these genes. As a result, there may be less consistency and quality in the offspring.
A second scenario concerns the breeder who is confronted with inbreeding depression but refuses to consider outcrossing (the mating of unrelated individuals of the same breed) to bring in hybrid vigour. With each generation, the quality of dogs declines. In both scenarios, a burning desire to produce the next star may make breeders blind to the fact that they are producing below-average dogs.
Breeders working with small numbers of dogs.
Because small breeders have less to choose from, there is more pressure to make a litter “work out.”
Breeders for whom every waking moment revolves around dogs.
Making dogs a live-or-die situation can hamper the breeders’ ability to objectively admit to their dog’s shortcomings.
Individuals who were mentored by kennel- blind breeders.
In these cases, like may beget like.
Characteristics of the NON-kennel-blind
They are truly objective concerning what they produce and are always aware of what they need to improve in their next generation.
Regardless of time and effort already spent, they are ready to remove dogs from their program that do not pan out, even to the point of starting over with new foundation stock.
They have an eye for a dog and can appreciate an outstanding dog regardless of who bred or owns it.
Tips for correcting vision
If caught in time, kennel blindness can be cured before it has a lasting, detrimental effect on your breeding program. Try these tips:
Avoid over-emphasizing a certain feature in your breeding program to the detriment of overall correctness. Although many breeders try to emphasize the excellence of the whole dog, it’s human nature to be drawn to certain features. In fact, the importance we give to a particular trait in our dogs may be part of how we express our breeding style. One breeder may be a stickler for fronts and another for backlines. The danger here is that by focusing on just one feature we can become blind to other faults that may be creeping into the breeding program.
To assess your kennel blindness level, ask someone whose opinion you respect to objectively evaluate your dogs. Some of the best people to ask are knowledgeable breeders who have produced good dogs and who are not kennel blind themselves. Request they honestly critique the virtues and shortcomings in your dogs. Ask more than one qualified person, and compare their evaluations with your own.
Be prepared to make changes, even to the point of eliminating or adding new dogs to your breeding program. As difficult as it is to admit we are not succeeding, the realization that our dogs are not measuring up to our expectations can be the first step in devising a plan to obtain what we really want
New Year’s Resolution’s
Posted By Brian_M on The B.B. 1/01/09
Every January the gyms fill up with new members who all vow to live a healthier lifestyle and lose weight this year. By mid February attendance is back to normal and all the regulars can resume normal workout schedules. New Year resolutions have always seemed like a joke to me as I see one resolution after another fall off, hit the ground, and crawl back under that rock it was conjured up out of on January first. Most fail at this game of self deceit, but a few actually initiate change, and those few enjoy the new lifestyle they have created for themselves for the entire year, and beyond. Those who stick with it are so rare that I have viewed the process of making new year resolutions a joke. Despite all my cynicism, I find myself considering the changes I can make on my yard this year to make 2009 the best year for my olde english bulldogge kennel yet. I am filled with the desire to consistently breed exceptional bulldogges, and damnit, I can’t stop thinking of new kennel goals for this new year.
Out with the old, in with the new- The idea that moving out old thoughts/items/things will open up room for new, better thoughts/items/things is made obvious in an Olde English Bulldogge breeding operation. Moving out the olde english bulldogges that you don’t need opens up more space/time for the nicest bulldogges that you have and allows you more room for more exceptional bulldogges. I will be moving out bulldogges that are not very much in line with my ideal image to allow more room and time for my very best.
You don’t know what you have until you put it to the test- This year, all of my olde english bulldogge breeding stock will be temperament tested, DNA tested, and hip x-rayed and scored. This is a direction I have already been heading, with several of my dogs already having hip x-rays, several DNA samples already sent off, and temperament testing done on my recent litters. I will just be finishing up on doing this with everyone this year.
Using your own eyes will only show you what you have already seen before- In the past I have had other breeders come to my yard and tell me everything they see regarding my olde english bulldogges. This has been very helpful, as I always learn something new, and something to keep in check in my program. 2009 will undoubtedly bring to me many more opportunities to pick the brains of other breeders as they look upon my yard, and I intend to take full advantage of those moments. I am always appreciative of this input and use it in a constructive manner, and will continue to do so all year long.
Consistency is the key- This is the year that type becomes locked in, as I already have stock that fits very closely to my ideal bulldogge image, and I have laid the groundwork to line breed this year with my best stock. I plan to make consistent litters and lay the groundwork to continue tightening up on consistently creating the same phenotype for years to come.
These are my main objectives for 2009. While many people choose resolutions that are out of character (destined to fail), I choose goals that are already in-line with what I am already doing. If you are going to be one of the sheep like me, and set new year’s resolutions, keep in mind that choosing goals that you are already moving towards in your life will increase your success rate. Take small steps in the right direction consistently, rather than taking huge leaps which may lead to falling flat on your face.
Best of luck to everyone in this new year!!! Please feel free to share some of your resolutions with us!
Random Babbling About Breeding Stock and Methodology
Posted By Brian_M on The B.B. 12/27/08
In an Olde English Bulldogge breeding kennel, selection of breeding stock is paramount. There are many different approaches to adding particular bulldogges to one’s yard, but the most popular seems to be what happens to catch the breeder’s eye at the time. This is not necessarily a poor method, but can become so if there are no parameters to base this decision. An ideal vision of what you are out to create is an excellent driving force to guide your selection process. Many breeders (myself included) make the mistake of buying what’s available at the time to “create” what they want rather than being patient and waiting for just the right addition to come available. In a serious olde english bulldogge breeding kennel there is always a rise and fall in numbers as keepers are added and then dismissed from the program for falling short of expectations. The less selective a breeder is, the more the influx and outflow of potential breeding stock. While effective to advance a kennel and produce many puppies for sale, that process is relatively inefficient compared to a more direct approach.
The most efficient means (and perhaps the least fun) is to only buy breeding stock that is within tight parameters that is extremely close to your ideal bulldogge. Buying related animals for a tight linebreeding program off of stock that matches a narrow phenotype will produce consistency immediately. Consistency in phenotype and genotype locks in good and bad characteristics, and will require outcrossing as the gene pool becomes shallow, but all kennels eventually reach that point as they approach a goal.
I have noticed a trend in serious breeders kennels as they advance. Linebreeding for consistency and learning to select the best keepers in a litter seem to be the winning combination. There are many other important processes within respectable breeder’s kennels, but those two qualities seem to jump out in my mind. The Olde English Bulldogge world is a small one with very few who have achieved much success in creating fine specimens consistently, those who have use those two methods. Studying breeds and successful breeders who have been around for decades outside of your chosen breed will always give you insight into superior breeding methods. It can be very beneficial to expand your level of awareness by picking the brains of people outside your circle. While you may hate Poodles, you can learn invaluable lessons corresponding with the top poodle breeders.
Good luck to you in your Olde English Bulldogge breeder kennels! When I stumble upon something I find to be valuable, I pass it on. Please do the same for all of your fellow breeders, we all have something to learn and gain from one another.