Twenty Basic Breeding Principles
By Raymond H. Oppenheimer
There are a vast number of different breeding methods, some good, some
bad. I should never presume to try to tell fanciers what is the right
method because there is no such thing. Outstanding success can be
achieved and has been achieved in a variety of different ways, so all
I am going to do is to make some suggestions which I think helpful and
to warn against certain pitfalls which trap too many of the unwary.
1. Don't make use of indiscriminate outcrosses. A judicious outcross
can be of great value; an injudicious one can produce an aggregation
of every imaginable fault in the breed.
2. Don't line breed just for the sake of line breeding. Line breeding
with complementary types can bring great rewards; with unsuitable ones
it will lead to immediate disaster.
3. Don't take advice from people who have always been unsuccessful
breeders. If their opinions were worth having they would have proved
it by their success.
4 Don't believe the popular cliché about the brother or sister of the
great champion being just as good to breed from. For everyone that is,
hundreds are not. It depends on the animal concerned.
5. Don't credit your own dogs with virtues they don't possess.
Self-deceit is a stepping-stone to failure.
6. Don't breed from mediocrities; the absence of a fault does not in
any way signify the presence of its corresponding virtue.
7. Don't try to line breed two dogs at the same time; you will end by
line breeding to neither.
8. Don't assess the worth of a stud dog by his inferior progeny. All
stud dogs sire rubbish at times; what matters are how good their best
9. Don't allow personal feelings to influence your choice of a stud
dog. The right dog for your bitch is the right dog, whoever
10. Don't allow admiration of a stud dog to blind you to his faults.
If you do you will soon be the victim of autointoxication.
11. Don't mate together animals that share the same faults. You are
asking for trouble if you do.
12. Don't forget that it is the whole dog that counts. If you forget
one virtue while searching for another you will pay
13. Don't search for the perfect dog as a mate for your bitch. The
perfect dog (or bitch) doesn't exist, never has and never will!
14. Don't be frightened of breeding from animals that have obvious faults
so long as they have compensating virtues.
A lack of virtue is by far the greatest fault of all.
15. Don't mate together non-complementary types. An ability to recognize
type at a glance is a breeder's greatest gift;
ask the successful breeders to explain this subject - there is no other
way of learning. (I would define non-complementary types as ones that
have the same faults and lack the same virtues.)
16. Don't forget the necessity to preserve head quality. It will vanish
like a dream if you do.
17. Don't forget that substance plus quality should be one of your aims.
Any fool can breed one without the other!
18. Don't forget that a great head plus soundness should be one of your
aims. Many people can never breed either!
19. Don't ever try to decry a great dog. A thing of beauty is
not only a joy forever but also a great pride and pleasure to all true
lovers of the breed.
20. Don't be satisfied with anything but the best. The second best is
never good enough.