In a recent discussion about top sires and stud dogs, I mentioned a particular dogs name, which brought nothing but questionable looks from the others. I was a bit surprised but this dog was not a ROM sire, and numerically was not in the top ten of well known dogs according to statistics. And yet….to me, this particular dog was extremely influential in the positive direction that the breed was taking. Was I from a generation that placed more value on pedigree study? Right from the beginning, I have always had a great interest in pedigrees. I was always able to find pedigrees of the dogs who captured my attention – not just as a possible breeding mate, but because I wanted to study their pedigree of these outstanding dogs and try and find the “magic” that created them. This goes far beyond sire and dam, and far beyond whether they were inbred, linebred or outcrossed. So instead I delved into the pedigrees to see which dogs were the most influential and where they appeared in that family tree.
Over the years there have been some dogs who were very prepotent for certain characteristics that were needed at a given time. Some became the “super sires” and I always wanted to know “HOW” these prepotent individuals were created. Studying the pedigree, I often found one or two individuals in there, who had the desired characteristics. I wanted to see how these dogs were used in the pedigree to create these prepotent super sires. It is usually in the third or fourth generation that the information avails itself. Some of our strongest sires numerically, are the result of linebreeding and often doubling up on a sire that was strong in certain desirable characteristics, and while not used heavily, made their presence known to intuitive breeders. Those breeders realized the worth of these unsung heroes, and through judicious selections, they incorporated these pivotal dogs into their breeding programs to bring forth what they had to offer in later generations. Many unsung heroes were also known as “brood bitch” sires, and I have seen many of them over the years. For some reason, their daughters seemed to have been their best efforts, but more importantly these bitches were all strong producers whether inbred, linebred or outcrossed, and where numbers are concerned, these dogs were the influential and beneficial maternal grandsires. Daughters of certain individuals were highly sought, as they were known to add much to any breeding program.
In our fast paced society, that pays so much attention to numbers, wins, and statistics, I hope that the importance of pedigree study…..the importance of seeing “where” dogs appear in a pedigree…..the importance of knowing the strengths of some of the lesser known, but nonetheless strong sires (and dams) are, will never be lost, lest we lose the opportunity of incorporating the genes of some of these strong individuals into our breeding programs. It is all about being a good student!