Thursday, December 22, 2011

Man Up

As you may have been able to tell I've been slightly PO'ed about a bitch I bred and sold in good faith to a family who has now bred her for the 3rd litter in a row on back to back heats before she is even 4 years old. It's caused quite a stir in the Ridgeback community coast to coast and thankfully, no one is looking to me for answers. Good thing too since I have none. I'd never advise three litters in a row that's for sure. I tried to mentor as best I could and gave it up as a lost cause over a year ago - there is only so much I can do.

When I heard about the possible breeding, as the bitch's breeder, I took the time to send a thoughtful and informed email to the person who owned the potential stud. It was a thinly veiled attempt to get the stud owner to reconsider allowing the breeding since the timing was based on flawed logic (that to skip a heat the bitch would be 5 next breeding and that was too old - it's not by the way) and the bitch didn't need to be bred again so soon. As an added point, the male has been used so extensively that you can't throw a dog cookie in Western Canada without one of his get catching it ('get' are the puppies produced by a male, bitches produce 'progeny'). The stud owner's reply to me was vapid and useless and told me my efforts were wasted. Next I heard the poor gal had been bred.  

 Let's be honest, it's not just the person who owns a bitch who is responsible for breeding her. The stud owner is a key component and needs to know as much about their dog as possible. They must also ask all the right questions and be able to evaluate the structure, pedigrees, temperament and health of the bitches who approach them. They must be diligent and particular. Added to which, males should be even more carefully scrutinized and managed than the females since they are able to produce many more puppies in their lifetime than a bitch. A good stud manager not only knows who to breed to, but who *not* to breed to and the most important thing they can say is "No" to a bitch's owner. It's a big responsibility to have a dog with testicles in your house, particularly one who is sought after.

In truth I have no objection to the male that was used on my bitch, the point is she has already proven herself and had earned an easy retirement. It's not fair to breed her again and again when she has gone beyond expectations and produced much better than herself. To say that she is a 'great mom' and 'loves her puppies' is just all kinds of horse-hockey - she doesn't have a choice - she HAS to take care of them. Frankly, if she never had another litter in her life she wouldn't care. The stud owner should have looked at the bigger picture and not been seduced by the thought of more 'grand puppies' but she didn't, it was too easy to say yes and disregard the bitch's welfare for one more stud fee.

I was asked if I'd ever offer Raimi as a stud and the answer is no. I'm no stud manager. Having other people's bitches in your house is a big deal. It upsets the dynamic of the house, it's a hassle, you have to be so careful with them ... to my mind it's just not worth it. Plus, Raimi is just not popular stud material. I adore him but as a show dog Raimi is an aquired taste to say the least. I haven't made up my mind about his future but in the end he will likely wind up being The Boy who can sing with a slightly higher octave.

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