Full Litter Data, Weekend Report & Flower Girls

I am a big fan of keeping track of whole litters and gathering as much data as possible about each dog. For example, we are one of the very few breeders who x-ray entire litters -- most just do their show/breeding dogs. We also like to stay in contact with owners and hear the good, the bad and the ugly about the dogs we have produced. None of this is easy -- if we never asked or x-rayed we could pretend that every puppy was perfect!

Whole litter data contributes to informed decision-making -- this is the reason to do it. Littermates help paint a picture that can assist in deciding what direction to go with a breeding - let me give you an example... Sydney's litter has not all been x-rayed yet -- we are missing just a couple. One was done and will be redone because of a potential injury that was healing so we actually have more data than shows up, and what we know so far is that we have a litter that is strong in terms of orthopedics; nobody has failed hips and we have just one elbow issue (again, we still have a couple to do).

This is not a surprise. Jed, Syd's dad, has an excellent track record in his offspring and the vast majority are x-rayed because his owner requires that. Cadi is from a small litter (n=3) but they all cleared hips and elbows. Cadi's mom, Maize, is from a litter of nine -- all nine cleared elbows and eight of nine cleared hips. Cadi's dad is from a litter that is not strong but he has produced way above average. And so on -- I feel very comfortable saying that Sydney brings strong orthopedics to the table.

That said, a dog has only herself to contribute - she is not her littermates. I do not think that -- as a rule -- littermate information should rule a dog in or out of a breeding program -- a terrible dog should not be bred just because she has lovely littermates, and a lovely dog should not be ignored just because her littermates are less than perfect. Rather, whole litter data helps paint a picture that can point us in certain directions -- or away from certain directions.

I feel fortunate to have considerable information on my dogs, thanks to our puppy owners and also to the owners of stud dogs we have used. Further, Berner Garde is such a wonderful resource for our breed, and I am appreciative of the relationships I have with good and ethical breeders who share information. There are no perfect dogs but that doesn't mean we shouldn't keep trying to make a few; information is critical to this quest.

Our quest to breed a perfect dog is underway -- parents have been selected based on a great deal of whole litter data, and knowledge of generations of dogs in the combined pedigree. The Coefficient of Inbreeding (COI) for the planned litter is very low -- 4% based on ten generations in a breed where the average is about 18%; a study of berner pedigrees showed that lower COI was related to increased longevity.

I was disappointed that my planned breeding of Cadi cannot happen, but I believe in silver linings...

Kaibab dogs have had a fun weekend! This is a picture of Cindy and Kristine Heintzberger and three Kaibab dogs -- Bree (B Litter), Gracie (D Litter), and Mika (Glitterati) -- they were in a Parade in Carmel Valley.

Let me draw your attention to Kristine -- and Baby Boy Heintzberger! Congratulations to John and Kristine, who will be welcoming Mika's first human sibling in December -- we are SO happy for them!!!!!!!

In other news, Zoey earned her first Open Standard agility leg this weekend with a clean run and first place -- that dog is a jumping bean! And Cadi -- well, she is a terrible patient and would like to run and play and so on -- all things dogs with a stapled incision should NOT do -- in other words, her recovery is going amazingly well!!!!

I hope that you had a terrific weekend :)



by Barb on Sun, 08/07/2011 - 22:19

5 beautiful girls!!! They all look lovely-hi Cindy and Christine and baby!!

by Heidi on Mon, 08/08/2011 - 10:11

What a wonderful picture! I need to connect with Cindy so that we can see some of these events in person.

by Terri Zimmerman on Tue, 08/09/2011 - 13:18

Bree looks wonderful.

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