How to Find the Right Stud Dog
Here are the biggest things to consider when selecting a stud dog
Deb Eldredge, DVM
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Diane faces the possible handicap that many of the top Border Terrier lines she is interested in are based in the United Kingdom. “Luckily, health information flows both ways,” says Diane. Many Border Terrier breeders check hips, patellas, eyes and hearts. Since Diane’s dogs do earthwork she wants dogs that can physically handle work as well as look good!
With our databases, much information can be collected rapidly. The real problem comes with health issues that are not in any database. Cancer is a concern for so many breeds right now. I speak from personal experience as the Belgian Tervuren breed is looking into research on gastric carcinomas. There is no easy way to look up if the dog you are interested in has a family history of early deaths from cancer. The only solution is to ask — often, specifically and of many people.
I find it helpful, not ghoulish, when a memorial ad for a dog mentions the cause of death. That is important information. Many years ago, when I was involved with a different herding breed, there was a rash of memorials for dogs dying by 5 years of age. I wrote to 20 breeders, asking for the cause of death as I felt this was important. Not one responded!
Not sharing that information will do nothing for the breed itself and eventually nothing for the reputation of your kennel. If you are experiencing a problem, odds are good that others in your breed are too. Sharing knowledge can help avoid doubling up on problems in breeding and you might be able to share treatment successes and failures as well to keep others from having to reinvent the wheel.
Recently Beth Walker lost her Best in Show, Champion Tracker Belgian Tervuren, Jeep. Not only did Jeep’s memorial in our breed club newsletter include his cause of death, she had information about a research study about gastric carcinoma in Belgians. THAT is the type of openness and information we all need!
I did a quick survey of 15 breeders asking how they collect health information. Every one of them said they do their database searches, ask the breeder of the stud dog and then ask OTHER breeders about the stud dog and his relatives. Let’s face it, even a breeder trying hard to be objective will have a few stars in her eyes when she talks about “Ch. Perfect Boy.”
By asking other breeders you may get a more objective picture. It is especially helpful if you can contact someone who has used the same dog at stud. Realize of course that every bitch brings a different package to the breeding but if multiple litters from a variety of bitches show up with the same problem, you know to avoid that dog.
At the end of the day, you need to look at all the objective data you have collected, check out photos and videos of the prospective boys and then, hope that your eye for art will guide your choice of the boys who make the cut in science.
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