I belong to a number of social networking groups where discussion takes place about breeding dogs, breeding better dogs, canine structure, rearing, etc.
One of the lament’s that is heard over and over again is that it is impossible to buy a good quality show dog. After my latest fiasco (see the blog post Uterus for Rent) I have become one of those breeders who is not going to sell my show dogs outright any more. On the breeder’s side of the coin, there is the feeling that purchasers want the instant gratification of purchasing a specialty winning top ranking dog, and are not willing to work their way through the ranks and put in the decades of hard work to develop a line that is recognizable as their own. I can’t think of a single instance where a Cardigan person I have regarded as a mentor, has achieved their successes with a dog they have purchased. They have all started with a “decent” dog, and through judicious breeding, achieved their success on their own. It may take a decade or two to get there, but how do you know where you are going if you don’t know where you have been?
Downstairs in my rec room, I have what I call my “wall of fame” or pictorial pedigree. On it is every generation, finishing their championship, and when I feel frustrated by the slow progress, I can look back at it -and see just how far I have come, or maybe where I didn’t fix something I should have.
But with this blog post I will detail how I went, in six generations,
|From this:||To this:|
In the beginning
In 1985 I purchased my first “show dog” – an Akita named Ben. That is where the kennel name comes from (it means Gentle Bear in Japanese). I never bred a litter of Akitas, and Ben only had one oops litter, which did not survive. When he attacked my daughter severely in a totally unprovoked attack, I wanted a breed known for gentleness, and that is where then Alanna my first wolfhound came into the house. Two months later Penny joined the household.
As a show dog, I now realize that Penny left a lot to be desired, but she had a wonderful personality, was extremely intelligent and did quite a bit of movie and advertising work. For those interested her part in a Shining Time Station special is the subject of a blog post “Star Quality“. She loved flyball and was just a gutsy little great dog. Twenty five years later, if a dog of Penny’s conformation showed up in one of my litters, I would place it as a pet, but if I had I would not be where I am now.
F1 – The first generation
|Cdn. Ch. Finnshavn Disglaircopy Ceinoig||Am/Cdn Ch. Tesseract’s Pete of Santana|
This generation produced two Canadian Champions – Ch. Yasashiikuma Rudolph Valentino (Rudolph) and Ch Yasasshiikuma Heart of Gold (Candy). Both had improved toplines and rear assemblies over their mother. Both still had the short upper arm and lack of prosternum. The both still had far too much daylight under them.
F2 – The second generation
|Tesseract Pete of Santana son -|
|Cdn. Ch. Yasashiikuma Heart of Gold||Ch. Markwell’s Matthew Cuthbert|
|Cdn. CH. Yasashiikuma Heartbreak Kid (Brandy)|
This half-brother/half-sister breeding did a lot to set better toplines, body proportions, and begin me on the road to developing the the “type” that I had pictured in my mind. On Abbey the upper arm was still short but she was definitely lower stationed than the previous generation. She was bred twice to Hunter and there were several nice puppies that I went forward with that are not part of this branch of the family tree, so I have excluded them. For the purpose of this pedigree, Brandy is the dog I went forward with.
F3 – The Third generation
|Cdn. Ch. Yasashiikuma Heartbreak Kid||Phi-Vestavia Storm of Yasashiikuma|
Cdn. Ch. Yasashiikuma Weetartan Sedalia (Ruby)
About the time the Heart litter was born, I also brought into the house Gale, a daughter of Hunter and Gloria (Phi-Vestavia Good Gracious). Gale hated showing and had the nickname of “Pukey Puppy” because she threw up every time she went in the car (which she thankfully FINALLY outgrew), but she became a very important part of my breeding program is behind every dog in the house today. Gale was bred to Brandy, and produced a “tribute litter’ to my late partner Bill. Ruby was the bitch I kept from that litter. As you can see this is much more the style of dog I have today, although she could have used more bone.
F4 – The Fourth Generation
This generation was again a line breeding when I took Ruby back to her grandfather Hunter. The purpose of this breeding was again to “cement” the improvements I had made.
This breeding produced three lovely littermates – Jade, Tiger and Topaz, all shown here at the Woodstock, Ontario shows. Jade finished her championship first, and moved up to specials, which allowed this photo of Best of Breed, Winners Dog and Best of Winners to be taken. As you can see the breeding produced consistent toplines, rears, improved fronts. There is no question that these three were litter mates.
F6 – The Vision realized
|AM GCH HEART OF GOLD POWER PLAY||CDN CH. YASASHIIKUMA IMPERIAL JADE|
Am GCH (Bronze), CDN, UK, FR, NED, LUX CH YASASHIIKUMA LEST WE FORGET (DRAGOON)
So the final step was a line breeding for which I selected Powell (Am GCH Heat of Gold Power Play. The results was my multi-champion Dragoon, currently sitting as #7 in the US with limited showing.
Since Dragoon was a singleton, I repeated the breeding two years later. The pick male from that litter is Baden, Yasashiikuma XIV K Scout’s Honor owned by Sherri Hurst and Charlotte Lamont. Baden was Reserve Winners Dog from the 6-9 puppy class at the CWCCA National Specialty in 2013And the girl I have kept from that litter is Savannah (Am. Ch Yasashiikuma Savannah Smiles) shown here finishing with Barb Peterson who took her home to finish for me with 4 US majors.
But the buck has not stopped here. Dragoon has gone on to produce a lovely son for Al & Irene Driver – ALD Speed Racer – who is currently sitting one spot ahead of his dad in the ratings.
So, I think this proves, with hard work, vision and patience, it can be done. You don’t need to start with excellence, you can create it yourself.