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Choosing a Stud Dog

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A popular male that stands at stud can have a significant impact on the breed due to the tremendous number of bitches that it is possible for him to breed. A stud dog must therefore be sound physically and mentally and, of course, be of excellent example of the breed type and great health without compromise". The future may very well depend on what he produces if that stud is very popular he will have many off-spring which will carry on his traits. In breeding, rule # 1 - Do no Harm to the breed!

Researching Stud Dogs If you cannot visit the prospective studs in person contact the stud dog's owners and ask for a video of him in a natural setting. You want to see him running around and from every angle. Photographs are second best, they can be very deceptive. Do your homework well in advance of the breeding. You will need months to gather all of the information you will need. Inform the stud owner about when you will need the stud. Do not wait until the bitch is in heat to contact potential stud owners. They don't like last minute breedings either and they will need time to receive information from you about your bitch.

Open, honest discussion is very important. Talk to each stud dog's owner about your bitch, her strengths and weaknesses. Ask the owner to tell you about the stud's strengths and weaknesses. Determine if he would be a good candidate for your bitch. Discuss both the bitch's and the stud's temperaments, habits, attitudes, etc. Determine what traits the stud puts on his offspring. Is he dominant in any particular traits such as head,jaw, angulation, bite, etc. Ask if the stud owner has kept any pups from the stud. If not, why not?

Determine Health and Soundness Ask for copies of any tests that have been done. Some dogs may have OFA certification for hips and elbows. Ask for a copy of his CERF EXAM sheet as proof of having normal eyes. Also, request a copy of his thyroid test if available or done, trachea size is important in the Bulldog and a trachea test of size should be done to know the size of the studs trachea, any tests done will help in your choice of who to pick as a stud. NOTE : some of these tests may not have been done on the stud, so you must use other avenues to determine health. It benefits a stud dog owner now and in the future to have a stud cleared of potential genetic defects. They can make wiser breeding decisions when armed with more knowledge. Another thought is Brucellosis is a serious venereal disease that causes abortions, still births and sterility, among other problems. It is also transmissible to humans and other mammals is the stud and bitch clear of that.

Temperament It is generally indicated that the stud can be in close contact with people and other dogs without hurting anyone or getting nervous or scared. If you can't meet the stud in person, ask people that know him or have bred bitches to him what they think. A perfectly wonderful stud may not have any titles for a variety of reasons. First hand experience, and talking to others, is the best way to determine the temperament of any stud. Relatives

Try to see as many relatives, especially offspring, of each potential stud as you can. Ask the stud owner for a list of owners of bitches that have had pups sired by the stud dog. Talk to the bitches owners and ask for their opinion of the offspring produced. Determine if he puts his good qualities on the offspring. Does he throw himself? Does he throw better than himself? Worse? If he produced well with one bitch and not another, look at the pedigrees to see if the good one is comparable to yours. He may "click" with one bloodline and not another. Usually an experienced stud dog's owner will know which bloodlines go well with their stud. If no offspring are available, look at the stud's parents, grandparents, siblings and the siblings' offspring. Is the stud similar to his relatives, or is he unique? In general, traits that are similar across relatives are more likely to appear in his offspring than traits that are unique.

Pedigrees Look at the pedigree of the bitch and all of the potential stud dogs. A pedigree is useful only if you know about the ancestors. What did they look like, were they sound, what did they produce, etc. A nice, tight line breeding is great if all of the dogs in the pedigree are exceptional, and you can have some assurance of getting those qualities that you most desire. An outcross may be what you need. Sometimes an outcross produces exactly what you want, sometimes not, just like a line breeding may not turn out as expected.

Strengths and Faults Make a list of all the strengths and faults of the stud as you did for the bitch. Narrow the list down to the three worst faults and the three best features. Decide if you can tolerate the faults and if the strengths are what your bitch needs. Make a list of all of the studs that have the single best attribute that corresponds with your bitch's worst fault. If your bitch has a poor head for example, but is correct in body, look for studs with outstanding heads whose offspring also have outstanding heads. Of course you must still look at the total stud. You wouldn't want to breed to a dog with an outstanding head that, for example, has a very poor/narrow chest and a poor top line. Use your judgment! Remember, a serious fault in your bitch will not be corrected by a stud that is overdone in that area. Typically, you will get pups with traits of each, not a blend. It is always best to breed to a male that is better than your bitches faults, and is correct and balanced over all.

Working With Stud Dog Owners Stud fees are as wide ranging as the stud dogs themselves. Discuss all expenses involved in breeding to a particular stud. If you are shipping sperm, find out who pays for collecting and shipping of the sperm. Usually the bitch owner pays all expenses involved, but some stud owners provide the sperm under the general stud fee and others split the cost.

When is the stud fee due? How much of a deposit is required if any? When do you pay the balance? Can you send payments as soon as you know the bitch is pregnant? When will the litter application be signed? Most stud owners will not sign a litter registration application until the entire stud fee is collected. Be sure to have money put aside for this expense.

Sometimes the stud fee is paid with a puppy from the resulting litter, other times a straight fee of 400 - $900.00. Ask if the stud owner wants pick of the litter or if they would accept second pick. Will the stud owner come and pick the pup personally, have someone else do it, or will they want you to choose? If they are not picking the pup up personally, find out who pays to have the pup shipped.

What about the what if's? What if only one or two pups are born? What if the breeding doesn't take at all? The pups are absorbed, aborted, still born, etc? What if none or only a few live to eight weeks? Find out in advance what the stud owners policy is for every conceivable scenario. Most stud owners will offer a repeat breeding at no charge if there are no pups from the first attempt. Some will offer another breeding if only one or two pups are born. Find out what is the minimum considered to be a litter.

Get it in writing. Get every little detail in writing. After deciding on a stud or studs and finding out the details, make sure the stud owner(s) put it in writing. If the contract is not acceptable, edit it and return it to the stud owner for correction or clarification. Be sure everything you discussed and all of the contingencies are in the contract. Remember, FAR more problems occur due to misunderstandings than outright dishonesty.

When your stud choice has been made, return the finalized contract along with the deposit, if required. Keep in touch with the stud owner as to the progress of your bitch.

Now that you have chosen the perfect stud for your bitch, you need to choose a second perfect stud! You already have all of your lists and details, so this part is usually easier. Contact the second chosen stud owner and see if they would mind acting as a reserve in case the first stud is unavailable at the time you need him. He may be out of town showing, he may have a prior engagement at that exact time with another bitch (who beat you to him), his sperm may not hold up for shipping, he may be ill or even have died by then. Keep the second stud owner informed as to the progress of your bitch also.

A knowledgeable stud owner will not be offended by being chosen second place. They will understand your decision regarding the first stud, and know all of the things that can happen between now and then. They will understand your decision and admire your honesty. Out of all the studs available in the world, I could live with mine being number two on anyone's list. It's like coming in reserve winners at a large prestigious show!

After your decision has been made, contact the other stud owners and tell them that you have decided not to breed to their stud at this time. You may tell them that the one you have selected was chosen for a particular reason as the best over all candidate for your particular bitch at this time. Nothing personal about their stud - you would not have contacted them in the first place if you didn't like their boy! He may be a good candidate or reserve for the next breeding to this bitch or a different one. If he was deleted from your list for testing reasons like hips, eyes, etc., you may tell them that is the reason and encourage them to have these tests done so that you may consider them at a later time.

Probably the hardest part of the search for the right stud for your bitch is the personality of the stud owner. Do not let that influence you if you can help it. If you do not like the owner, but the stud is perfect, do it anyway. Don't let personal feelings stand between you and a perfect litter. The stud owner may not like you either and should put their personal feelings aside when determining if the bitch is of good quality, capable of producing puppies to be proud of, and contributing to the betterment of the breed. Neither stud owner or bitch owner should breed to each others dog simply because they like each other. A stud owner should never breed a bitch just to collect stud fee and a bitch owner should never breed just to produce puppies to sell. The betterment of the breed should be the most important aspect of any mating. Period. Good luck!

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