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Discussion Starter #1
I've been letting this stew for a little while, and the lid is finally coming off the pot.

We're going to make a long story short.

#1 I bought Strauss for showing and breeding
#2 Showing in conformation did not work out, breeding did not either

People have watched Strauss grow up. As Strauss has grown, I have learned a ton. I've learned about conformation, drive, biddability, trainability, etc.

People see Strauss at agility or obedience and they ask me CONSTANTLY "Are you going to breed him? Do you have puppies yet? Any plans for puppies? No puppies yet, how come?"

It's getting old.

Yes, his temperament is fantastic.
Yes, his work ethic is fantastic.
Yes, his personality is fantastic.

That is NOT enough.

- He has a HORRIBLE front. Straight in the shoulder, steep upper arm, and east west something fierce
- He has locked hocks
- His hocks are too long
- His color is only "ok" his pigment SUCKS (he's 5 years old and still has pink pads)
- He has that busted ear. The other one stood and is rock solid, but I don't really KNOW how his ears truly are because I taped them.
- His croup is too short and steep
- His tailset is too high and the actual tail too short
- He has a dip behind his wither
- He has depth of chest, but NO ribspring (hence the east/west front)
- His bite is slightly off
- I have NO Health or temperament information on his siblings
- I do not know for sure who was put to sleep for temperament issues, who was put to sleep for health issues, who was put to sleep for both, or who is still alive at all

I would love a Strauss puppy. I REALLY would. But it would not be good for the breed.

The issue would not be finding homes for these puppies. There would be a home for every...single...one. So it is not a matter of ethics or morals in that regard. These are not "just a pet" people. These are serious obedience and agility people that admire a Shepherd with drive and want a puppy sired by him.

They don't seem to understand they could get that from a working line breeder.

They say they don't want a "crazy" Shepherd.

Then you don't want a Strauss puppy, because he is his own brand of crazy (those of you that have met this dog know what I mean).

Yes, he's still intact.
Yes, he is ok with other intact males in neutral settings (i.e. sits and downs are fine, but don't set him loose with a bunch of intact boys).
Yes, he is biddable.
Yes, he has a great work ethic and is highly intelligent.

But these things do not eliminate the SERIOUS conformational faults this dog has.

Breeding IS about the whole package. It is not just parts.

I am told (by more than one person), that I fault judge. Of course I do. These are MY dogs and I need to do what is best for the breed. The conformational issues Strauss exhibits are FAR too common and detrimental to allow me to breed him because his temperament and drive are impeccable.

None of that matters if a puppy he sires breaks down at 2 because they inherited all of his crappy conformational characteristics. And good luck to me finding a bitch that would balance him!

He still has his testicles...probably will til the day he dies.

But people. much as I want my Strauss baby too, he will NOT get to use them.

NO, means NO!
 

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You should be proud of what you have accomplished with him and what a great dog he is.

At the same time you are honest and not blind about his short comings. That is also great. Many people would sell him up on the positives only and ignore the bad.

Yes those people do need to research more, they could find a pup they like elsewhere. Although it is a lot of times easier to go with a dog you know very well or have had a lot of contact with. It is just something different then trying to find a breeder and meet their dogs or find out about their reputation, ect.

I totally understand where you are coming from. I have a couple intact "pets" that do conformation and such, I also get the breeding question a lot. They IMO are not breeding quality though, especially one should not be adding anything to the gene pool.
 

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You sound EXACTLY like I was breeding horses. Just because a colt is still whole does not mean he should breed.. and most often it means he needs to be a gelding. Just because you have a mare and she has done something in the show ring does not mean she should have foals.

I have been thinking of breeding GSD's one day (when I retire). This is ten years away.. and I believe in my heart and soul I will need all of those 10 years to have enough knowledge to get the right individuals.. and even then, as fussy as I am, if they are not what I think would benefit the breed AND have all the testing done AND have working titles, no breeding will happen.

Fault Judging is, IMO, absolutely necessary if you are going to breed animals. Good for you Xeph.. and when I get my thoughts organized on all this, you can bet I will be in touch!
 

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I agree that being critical of an animal's traits is absolutely essential, but Elana, I'm not sure you're using fault judging in the sense that it's typically applied in dogs.

Fault judging is the practice of judging an animal only on their faults, without weighing the seriousness of those faults against the individual animal's virtues. It's a very easy trap to fall into, but the problem is that a lot of animals who are low on actual faults may also be absolutely absent of actual virtues.
 

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Fault juding, up to a point, is okay. But in dogs you can go completely overboard with fault judging and end up in a mess.

Yes, I know the faults of everyone of my dogs, but in the end it's the overall picture that's more imporant. I can forgive a straighter front, slightly off in rear, lower stop etc if I'm still getting the overal picture and balance.

And you have to learn to balance the faults vs virtues. Which ones would be more damaging? What would help/harm the breed? What can you or can you not stand in a dog?

Breeding is a fine balancing act.

Pretty much anyone can pick apart a dog (I see it in novices all the time) and find his faults, but getting the eye for those fantastic good points takes a lot of work and study.
 

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By fault judging I did not mean not seeing the forest for the trees.

With horses, for instance, a long weak back or back at the knees or too straight a hind leg is in the horse, geld him. I don't care if he is a good performer.. those weaknesses do not effect that individual but are so serious IMO that breeding is not acceptable.. even if he has a good shoulder, great set to his neck and plenty of bone!

I knew someone who would actually look at a horse and if the horse had an ugly head but was near perfection back on thru, she woud not buy or breed the horse. OTOH, if she found a horse with a pretty head that had serious faults elsewhere (soundness faults) she would breed. One day, when she was looking at a horse (rejected because head was coarse) I pointed out that you "don't ride the head..."

No dog or horse is fault free conformationally. It is up to the breeder to decide if those faults are serious unsoundnesses that could carry thru and even magnify in the off spring.

Another thing you can do with animals is look at the progeny. Some breeding animals will pass along certain phenotype features with such regularity you can breed to your animal knowing the other parent may well improve on that one trait that needs improving in the other.

I absolutely agree with fault judging but not to the degree you ignore the whole animal. For instance.. a structurally well built animal with good health tests and lousy coat color is an animal worthy of breeding IMO. Color is the LAST thing to worry about.

OTOH a GREAT colored dog with poor structure is not breeding material...

.... and of course, ANY animal with bad health tests is not a candidate.

And after all that, you also need to consider attitude.

Nope. Breeding animals is not for the faint of heart.
 

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*Claps* Yay. Strauss is great! and I would be one of the insane ones who would take a puppy if it happened ROFL! BUT doG I hope that never happens! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I love my dog to death

He's intelligent
He's unflappable
He's FANTASTIC with children
He's tolerant of the mistakes of a child
He's good with puppies and kittens (a little more watching is necessary with the latter xD)
He's got drive out the YANG whic makes him easy and hard to train
His head is GORGEOUS
He's got a nice ear SET (the set and them standing are not the same thing)
He has good angulation in the rear with good breadth of thigh and turn of stifle
He has decent bone

There are good things about him...they just don't outweigh the bad things. Particularly the health of his siblings and his horrid front.
 

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Good for you! It sounds like you are a really responsible dog owner/breeder :) Your dog does sound like a wonderful guy, but of course that doesn't mean he should be bred. My dog is wonderful too but there's no way in heck she should ever reproduce LOL Hence why she's spayed.

It sounds like the people encouraging you to breed aren't your run of the mill "aww any cute dog should be bred!" people. I had more than a few people look at me like I was an idiot when I told them Lucy was spayed, a few comments "Oh that's too bad! If you bred her you could make quite a bit off her, those type of puppies are so popular!" LOL Ummm No, Lucy's a mutt. A toed out, one blue eyed, goofy looking mutt at that LOL Doesn't take away from her wonderful personality, but yeah I just shake my head when people think she should have babies! LOL!
 

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I love my dog to death

He's intelligent
He's unflappable
He's FANTASTIC with children
He's tolerant of the mistakes of a child
He's good with puppies and kittens (a little more watching is necessary with the latter xD)
He's got drive out the YANG whic makes him easy and hard to train
His head is GORGEOUS
He's got a nice ear SET (the set and them standing are not the same thing)
He has good angulation in the rear with good breadth of thigh and turn of stifle
He has decent bone

There are good things about him...they just don't outweigh the bad things. Particularly the health of his siblings and his horrid front.
Exactly right. My gosh.. no one could even begin to question what Strauss is to you.

The first person I knew who decided to breed GSD's had a Dog and a Bitch.. and she fixed them both. Loved them to the end.. but she actually went out and BOUGHT a made champion dog for breeding (money not an object).

She then proceeded to secure bitches with the pick of the litter routine. She was very very tough on screening those females.. and she bred some very nice animals including champions of her own.

It was years ago.. and she is still doing things with GSD's.. not sure how much.

I read your first post and I truly believe we are sisters.. separated at birth by circumstance (don't tell our Mom's tho!). :D
 

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I have a little black greyhound bitch that would be laughed out of a conformation ring. Truly terrible conformation. However, at 6 years old she's still winning Best of Breed and even Best in Field (6 is pretty old in competitive greyhounds as they tend to lose speed as they age)...She was second this year at the ASFA International Invitational for Best in Event.

If she were unspayed I would possibly consider breeding her. I don't give two hoots what the show ring determines is proper or what is popular conformationally at the time...in a working breed, I care about the ability (mental and physical) to do their job w/o breaking down.

That said...I respect your decision not to breed b/c your dog isn't to the standard YOU think is most beneficial to the improvement of the gene pool as a whole.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It sounds like the people encouraging you to breed aren't your run of the mill "aww any cute dog should be bred!"
That's what makes me so annoyed. They should know better.

That said...I respect your decision not to breed b/c your dog isn't to the standard YOU think is most beneficial to the improvement of the gene pool as a whole.
Thank you. And with that said, I would like to mention this is NOT about breed ring conformation standards, this is about OVERALL proper German Shepherd Dog structure (dog structure as a whole).

If he were a working line dog and did not have such severe conformational faults, I would breed him. If his lines stayed the same and he lacked the conformational faults I'd mentioned (particularly the front and locked hocks), I would breed him.

Color is easy to fix.
Heads and ear sets are easy to fix.
Pigment is relatively easy to fix.
Tailsets are easy to fix.

Locked hocks and a poor front? HORRIBLE to attempt to fix and you'll likely do more harm than good in the process.

I know Strauss' ear is broken, so if everything else had turned out "as it should have' and he couldn't have been shown, after being titled in other areas, I would have bred him.

So again, this isn't about breed ring conformation standards, it is entirely about good structure for the dog himself.

People here know that drive and working ability are EXTREMELY important to me, and while Moose has both, I think that while I could still be running him at 9-11 years old, I also could very well not be because of his structural faults.
 
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