Dogs, not averages, matter in breeding

Blue Shaquille on prairie

Blue Shaquille (Houston x Blue Silk) on the prairie of North Dakota. Photo by Chris Mathan, The Sportsman’s Cabinet.

On average, the most likely division is one whereby half the chromosomes in any gamete (reproductive cell) come from the sire and half from the dam but all possibilities will exist ranging from 100% of paternal origin to 100% maternal.
~ Malcolm B. Willis, Genetics of the Dog, 1989

Averages. What do they mean?

Weather forecasters, statisticians, sports announcers and insurance underwriters all make decisions—some of which are extremely important—based on averages. They are a slick way to slice and dice large sums of data in order to draw conclusions, theorize, forecast and make assumptions. But they might mean nothing when it comes to a specific occurrence or individual.

The “average” July day is sunny and 84 but what does that matter if your wedding reception is held under a tent due to a downpour and temperatures is the mid 60s? Or if LeBron James “averages” 25 points per game but only scores 12 in Game 7 and the Heat lose, his average becomes a nonfactor.

In the dog breeding world, if half the pups in a litter are more like the sire and the other half are more like the dam, then they “average” out to have inherited about half of their traits from each parent. But if the dam was mentally unstable or had a major fault, it certainly matters which parent the individual pup took after!

Most tools used by dog breeders—things like pedigrees, coefficient of inbreeding and percentage of blood calculations—all rely on averages. They show what genetic traits could be carried by certain animals. Those tools provide a place to start, but once a specific dog is standing in front of you, those averages cease to matter.  Now we have an individual with its inherited attributes, strengths and weaknesses. It might be similar to others in the litter…but it isn’t the same. Each dog is unique and could be more like a parent, a grandparent or possibly even a great-grandparent.

Choosing which individuals—not averages—to breed will make or break a breeding program. First-hand knowledge and careful evaluation about a specific dog’s traits are crucial.

2013 cover dogs of the year

Jeff Hintz, left, and Dave Moore pose their winning dogs, CH JTH Izzie and 2X CH/RU-CH I'm Blue Gert.

Jeff Hintz, left, and Dave Moore pose their winning dogs, CH JTH Izzie and 2X CH/RU-CH I’m Blue Gert.

Congratulations to Dave Moore and Jeff Hintz!

Dave’s Gert and Jeff’s Izzie won the Minnesota/Wisconsin Pro Plan Cover Dog and Cover Derby Dog of the Year, respectively. The awards are sponsored by Purina Pro Plan. Placements in trials conducted by three local clubs—Minnesota Grouse Dog Association, Chippewa Valley Grouse Dog Association and Moose River Grouse Dog Club—are considered for the awards.

2XCH/RU-CH I’m Blue Gert has been a consistent winner throughout her career. She won the Region 19 Amateur Walking Shooting Dog Championship in both 2009 (when she was three years old) and 2012. Both venues were on sharp-tailed grouse.

To win the award this year, Gert was RU-CH at the 2012 Minnesota Grouse Championship, a trial run on grouse and woodcock.

Gert is owned by Dave and Rochel Moore of Big Lake, Minnesota. She is out of the 2006 successful nick of Paul Hauge’s talented I’m Houston’s Image (Houston x I’m Jet Setter) and our own Blue Silk (CH First Rate x CH Blue Streak).

Gert has style, enthusiasm and verve that draws people in to root for her. She always gives 110% and seems like she’s having a blast. Plus, she finds birds and looks beautiful on point.

CH JTH Izzie won both the amateur and open derby awards with a first place finish in the Moose River Grouse Dog Club Open Derby and a second in the Reuel Henry Pietz Derby Classic held in Minnesota.

Jeff also entered Izzie in several field trials in Arizona last winter–both horseback and walking. Not only was she named champion at the Region 12 Amateur Walking Shooting Dog Championship (when she was 20 months old) but that placement also earned her the title Region 12 Walking Shooting Dog of the Year.

Izzie is owned by Jeff Hintz of Ham Lake, Minnesota, and Tucson, Arizona. Izzie was the last puppy left in the all-female litter of 6X CH/7X RU-CH Westfall’s Black Ice x Northwoods Prancer in 2011.

Izzie is heady and versatile and exciting to watch due to her speed and exuberance. Plus her maturity, confidence and bird-finding ability belie her youth.

Again, our congratulations to both owners. You should be very proud of your dogs!

Purina’s Today’s Breeder spotlights Northwoods Bird Dogs

blog todays breeder

Northwoods Bird Dogs was featured in the recent issue (#81) of Today’s Breeder, the Purina publication available to members of the Purina Pro Club. To view a pdf of the article click here:  todays breeder issue 81.

The writer Kayla Miller focuses on our backgrounds and breeding program. Kayla also highlights some of our own best dogs—including 2X-CH Dance Smartly, 4X-CH/4X-RU-CH Blue Streak and Northwoods Chardonnay—and Larry Brutger’s outstanding English setter, 2X-CH/RU-CH Ridge Creek Cody.

Many thanks to Chris Mathan, Ben McKean and Larry Brutger for supplying photographs.

Photo above by Chris Mathan.

A bump or a knock

During a training session, Tana pointed the pigeon but then moved in and caused it to flush. This is a knock. (Photo by Brad Gudenkauf.)

During a training session, young Tana pointed the pigeon but then moved in and caused it to flush. This is a knock. (Photo by Brad Gudenkauf.)

Proper work around game by a pointing dog involves accurate location of the bird before it points. Sometimes, though, things go awry. There are two possible explanations:  a bump or a knock.

When a dog accidentally causes a bird to flush, that’s a bump. It usually happens when the dog is in motion and, as long as the dog stops at the flush, no violation has taken place. In my opinion, the occasional bump is similar to the occasional unproductive—not preferable but also not a serious problem.

On the other hand, when a dog is fully aware of the location of the bird and intentionally causes the bird to flush, that’s a knock. This is a not acceptable and the dog should be corrected.

How does a handler tell a bump from a knock?

If the dog is on point, jumps in and causes the bird to flush, that is definitely a knock.

A knock is when a dog speeds up towards the source of bird scent and puts the bird in the air.

Even if a dog slowly creeps in on the bird and puts the bird in the air, it’s still a knock.

If birds are put in the air more frequently than they’re pointed, those are probably knocks.

Knowledge also comes from experience. A handler who knows his/her dog, understands subtle body language and remembers previous bird encounters should soon be able to discern the difference.

Northwoods Birds Dogs    53370 Duxbury Road, Sandstone, Minnesota 55072
Jerry: 651-492-7312     |      Betsy: 651-769-3159     |           |      Directions
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