I have a lot of people tell me that if they had known that their poodle was “inbred” that they
never would have purchased it. I always question these people to find out if they are having genetic issues or behavioral
problems with their dog. More often than not the tell me that there isn’t a single thing wrong with their dog. Its just
the sigma of word “inbred” that they don’t like. Now I am not saying that inbred dogs will never have issue
because that is simply not the case. I mean we have all heard horror stories haven’t we? But just how many of those
horror stories are truth and how much are exaggeration because someone had an issue with a dog and of course blamed the problem
on the inbreeding. Is most people’s fear of inbreeding in dogs due to our innate disgust and fear of inbreeding in humans?
I have also found that most people mistakenly think that because they have the same dog in their pedigree
more than once that the dog is inbred. This is what has lead me to write this page on my website. I would like to talk about
the difference between “inbreeding” and “line” breeding. They are two VERY different breedings and
a dog that is “line” bred is NOT inbred.
Inbreeding is the breeding of two closely related dogs. Father to Daughter, Mother to Son, Half Brother to
Half Sister, and Full Brother to Full Sister are all inbred breedings. And they are the only inbred breedings. Anything further
away than what I have stated above , is NOT inbreeding.
First and foremost I feel I must state that because a dog is inbred, do NOT automatically make that dog a
bad dog or of bad breeding practices or quality. Without careful inbreeding, by the founders of each breed, we would not have
the breeds we have today. Inbreeding can be a valuable tool when used properly. On the other hand when used carelessly by
backyard breeders or puppy mills and people just in it for the money, things can go terribly wrong.
Something that one must remember when doing a breeding of this type, is that you are doubling up on the bad
as well as the good. And something that may not be seen in one dog (usually referred to as a recessive gene or trait) may
very well become the dominate gene or trait in the resulting offspring of such a breeding. That is not to say however that
inbreeding is at the root of all the genetic problems and behavioral issues that we are seeing today. You can have those same
issues arise from careless people breeding dogs together willy nilly.
A true breeder that is really striving to produce the best quality puppies they can, in not only health but
type and conformation, and are doing all the genetic testing that is available for that breed, could produce some amazing
quality puppies by using inbreeding as a tool. The problem lies in the fact that we unfortunately have genetic issues in dogs
that we have no testing for. So yes, when doing ANY kind of breeding, you are taking your chances. Being a true breeder to
me means striving for certain goals in your breeding and being willing to take the bad with the good.
Line breeding is one of the best tools to use in breeding when trying to produce your own lines. Examples
of line breeding are: Grandfather to Granddaughter, Grandmother to Grandson (these breedings are usually considered the best
in line breeding), Aunt to Nephew, Uncle to Niece, Cousin to Cousin, and so on. Once again these types of breedings are NOT
inbreeding. So just because you have the same dog more than once in your pedigree does NOT necessarily mean that your dog
Line breeding is a way to double up on a line of dogs thus increasing your ability to become consistent in
producing a certain type. Many breeders use this method for producing their own lines. You can often hear people say, “That
looks like a dog from so and so’s lines”. Its because that person has produced as specific “type”
of dog that is easily recognized from generation to generation just by looking at the offspring. It is these “types”
that judges come to know and like so well and become top producers of Champions over and over again. But as with inbreeding
you will be doubling up on certain genes and traits, although not nearly as closely as with inbreeding. Therefore, it needs
to be said, that this is a tool to use carefully and in professional hands. It shouldn’t be done haphazardly by someone
that isn’t willing to take the time to evaluate what they are breeding or to what they are producing. A breeder using
line breeding should have intimate knowledge of their lines and what hidden traits may be awaiting them. I also believe it
is very important to do as much genetic testing as possible when using this method of breeding.
My close friend that has bred German Shepherds for many years is always telling me that line breeding was
what they did in GSD’s. It was just how it was done to ensure what you were going to produce. If you bred to an outcrop
you never knew what you were going to get.
There was an article in one of the AKC magazines lately that quoted one of the great standard poodle breeders
as saying that if you wished to produce your own lines and a certain type that you MUST be willing to line breed. If you constantly
use an outcrop dog, you will only be contributing to some other breeder’s line.
It is my hope that in reading this article that you will come to understand why breeders do certain breedings
and the great tools that inbreeding and line breeding can be to a breeding program if preformed carefully. If you go to purchase
a puppy that has been inbred or line bred and you are nervous about it, never hesitate to ask the breeder why it was done.
A good reputable breeder is always willing to explain to someone why they did a certain breeding and what goals they had in
mind when they did the breeding. Someone that hesitates, has no goals, or is just out to produce puppies purely for profit
will most always show their true colors when asked the tough questions.
* For more information on questions to ask a breeder when contemplating purchasing a puppy please see my “FINDING
A GOOD BREEDER” page here on my site.
NOTE: ARTICLE WRITTEN BY KEISHA OF ARPEGGIO POODLES