To Breed or not to Breed!

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How wonderful these modern computers are with their internet access. At the touch of a button I can find out information on virtually any subject across the globe. Conversely via my web site it is also an access into my own world of Gundogs.

A few months ago I had an email from a young lady from Sussex enquiring about Stud dogs for her Cocker bitch who had just turned a year old. The bitch was on heat and the lady was looking to mate her! Horrified I replied that I could not allow any of my boys to father pups from a bitch so young who had obviously not completed her training to the gun [if any]. From the email it was apparent that the motivation for mating the bitch was purely financial and I had no hesitation what-so-ever to refuse her request saying that if her bitch subsequently turned out to be a sound gundog I may consider a mating once her bitch was two years old.

Breeding from your gundog should not be approached lightly. What we mate today genetically gets passed on down through the generations good, bad or indifferent. We have been handed down a legacy in the UK a world renown tradition of having excellent working gundogs in both the Spaniel and Retrieving breeds from previously very carefully selected bloodlines and we must all take care to maintain this. Careless indiscriminate breeding can so quickly loose the qualities that we all cherish in our gundogs.

If you are planning on having a litter from your bitch I suggest you first ask yourself the question what is my reason for doing so Secondly be quite honest with yourself about your bitches strengths and weaknesses and try to choose a sire who will complement her genetically and whose offspring will hopefully be an improvement. The internet is a great tool for studying blood lines and potential sires. The old adage of putting the best to the best and hoping for the best still holds true. A good cake is not made by using poor ingredients! Personally I never get attracted solely by red ink on a pedigree and will often choose a Sire that I have first hand knowledge of.

Having your own litter from a favoured shooting companion is rewarding time consuming, tiring, expensive if you do the job thoroughly but very very rewarding, especially when one of those tiny bundles of fur joins you eventually on the shooting field in a year or two. Best of luck!