Breeding and Upbringing






 

the 13 sins of modern dog breeding

Irene Sommerfeld-Stur once was asked to write an extremely short article (300 words) about modern dog breeding. She answered this challenge by compiling this short list of the 13 greatest sins of modern dog breeding:


  • Sin #1: To breed small dogs too small and large dogs too large.
  • Sin #2: To breed dogs with extreme and unhealthy physical features like too short muzzles or legs, too long ears, skin folds or pigment disorders.
  • Sin #3: To mate dogs closely related to each other.
  • Sin #4: To mate dogs having the same kind of genetic load (known or suspected).
  • Sin #5: To mate many bitches with one single champion stud dog.
  • Sin #6: To only have your own dog in mind and ignore the whole population behind him/her.
  • Sin #7: To pay more attention to success at exhibitions than to your dog's health.
  • Sin #8: To ignore or underestimate health problems that occur in a breed.
  • Sin #9: To conceal health problems that occur in your breeding line.
  • Sin #10: To see your own dogs through rose-coloured glasses, but to judge dogs of other breeders overcritically.
  • Sin #11: To follow temporary fashions in the interpretation of the racial standard, instead of long-term and functionally oriented breeding goals.
  • Sin #12: To forget that our dogs' ancestors were predatory animals, and that our dogs should be - at least theoretically - physically able to hunt and catch prey.
  • Sin #13: To forget that dogs like humans feel discomfort and pain - but are not always able to express these emotions sufficiently.
Source: Irene Sommerfeld-Stur in "Unsere Windhunde", Sonderausgabe "Zucht" (translated by us, for the original article please have a look at the German version of this page)






Breeding dogs needs careful planning !

 


We are ASCD certified breeders and follow the ASCD e.V. Code of Ethics (similar to the ASCA Code of Ethics) which has been established on May 1st 2003.  

Our aim is breeding healthy and friendly puppies, keeping in mind the ideal Australian Shepherd as described in the ASCA/ASCD Breed Standard. We also want to prepare our puppies in the best possible way for their life as a familiy dog.
Careful breeding starts with choosing the right dam and sire. Their health, temperament and their working ability should be taken into consideration if you whish to breed healthy, happy puppies. Only healthy individuals should be used for breeding.

We use for breeding purposes only healthy individuals having been x-rayed for Hip Dysplasia (Grade A und B are acceptable) and who have been examined and found free from signs of ocular and other deformities and we always wait until a bitch is physically mature - at least 24 months of age - before she has her first litter. We require the stud dogs who sire our puppies to be at least 18 months of age.

We not only look at the dam and sire's pedigree, their titles, their physical appearance and stride, we also want their personalities to complement each other. As genetic diversity within the population is important to keep a breed healthy, we are always keeping in mind the inbreeding coefficient when planning our litters.

All our bitches and males used for breeding are registrated with ASCA and have valid papers. The Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA) was established as the parent club for the breed in 1957. We also follow the ASCD e.V. Code of Ethics. The ASCD is an official Affiliated Club of the ASCA
                   
   
How we raise our puppies...

As breeders, we acknowledge responsibility for every puppy from our kennel - we try to give them the best possible chances of getting to know the world during the sensitive imprinting period and lots of opportunities for socializing.
We also think that mentoring their future owners is important. Our knowledge stems from our work as professional dog trainers (www.eifelhunde.de), and from many courses and workshops in all fields of Cynology.

Our puppies are born and raised indoors, inside our family home. Until they are old enough to move in with their futer owners, they share the house with us and our other dogs.
During their first three weeks they stay inside the whelping box where they are kept warm and safe. While it is commonly thought that puppies are still deaf at that age, science has shown this isn't true. While they are still in the whelping box, we already habituate them to sounds and people. Adults and children experienced with puppies are invited to touch and to pet them, and to hold and to carry them. This way, the puppies are getting used to different noises, smells and tactile sensations - and to people - early. Also their mother is learning not to get stressed when her puppies are touched by strangers. This is positive stimulation, or eustress, for both the puppies and their mother.

We are continously testing our puppies from their birth until they leave our house to move in with their new owners with a number of tests we have developed for this purpose.

The bitch can decide herself which dogs from our group she wants to have around her puppies. Of course, she has access to the whelping box at all times, but is also allowed to leave the box when she wants to. If she has a very large litter we support her by addtionally feeding the puppies a special puppy formula. However, it is extremely important that all puppies stay with their mother.

Since there are also dogs of other breeds living in our household, our puppies learn early that other breeds may behave differently and thus have less trouble getting used to dogs of other breeds in their new home.

Our puppies are fed their first solid foods at 2,5 to 3 weeks of age. Once a day they are hand fed, which forms a strong bond between puppy and human. Later we not only feed them canned food, but we try to get them used to as many different types of food as possible.

At the end of their third week, the puppies are moved to a room adjacent to our living room. They now take part in our family life more actively - and they are now getting used to more and more stimuli -  to the vacuum cleaner, lots of visitors, music, the TV set and many more things. Our other dogs spend more time with the puppies now and serve as role models for good behaviour. We also start playfully training them at this age.

Adjacent to the living room is a fenced in patio. Every day, the puppies are given more space to explore, and soon they are allowed into the garden, which at 1000 square meters is sufficiently large, and a small puppy paradise with its lawn, trees and pond. So the pups get accustomed to many different surfaces and lots of different stimuli. Of course, we also have a fully equipped puppy playground available to them.

Now people interested in buying one of our puppies can come visit us to get to know them. Because we know the characters of our puppies well through our tests, and through watching them and playing with them, we can usually recommend a puppy to the prospective buyers.

Not only our adult dogs put the puppies in their place, but also the humans of our household set them clear boundaries to teach them what kind of behaviour is allowed and what is not okay (e.g. human skin is more fragile than another dog's coat !). We also start housebreaking the puppies and familiarizing them with other types of animals (like horses) and experiences (like riding a car).

When the puppies are old enough to move in with their new owners, they are dewormed, microchipped and vaccinated and also had their first eye exam. We also register our puppies with ASCA for our prospective owners.

We are very willing to give any advice needed to our prospective owners. As we are also professional dog trainers, we can help you training your puppy and offer special puppy classes. 

The dogs born and bred in our kennel who are competing successfully in the show ring or in a wide range of dog sports or are working as therapy dogs are the best prove that this is a successful strategy.

Before you buy a puppy from us, think about this: While you can buy a toy and throw it away when you're tired of it, doing this to an animal is absolutely heartless and tragic.






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