Show Bitch = Brood Bitch? Not necessarily…
It is rare that every bitch in a litter happens to be show quality. Of those, it is rarer still to find a gem- a brood bitch that easily takes breedings, that efficiently free whelps, that has great mothering instincts and plenty of milk, and most importantly, can produce consistency and better than herself.
Dr. Jean Schubart is an AKC judge and columnist for the AKC Gazette. She spoke concisely on the brood bitch a few years ago, and thought I would share some excerpts with you rather than trying to reinvent the wheel…
“As a breeder, my first priority is the brood bitch. I believe that no kennel or line is stronger than its bitches. The foundation bitch is often the cornerstone of a successful line. Yet few people actually focus on choosing a brood bitch. Most will buy a “show quality” puppy, perhaps show and finish her, and then breed a litter, hoping to get a female puppy to breed on. That “foundation bitch” becomes a permanent part of the new breeder’s line. The die is cast.
Too narrow a focus on finding a “show quality” bitch may bring disappointing results. While it is true that the great show dog (or bitch) is often valuable for the breeder, many great show dogs will fail to reproduce their own excellent qualities. On the other hand, a dog or bitch who is hard pressed to even win a ribbon may prove invaluable as breeding stock.
So, how should we choose a brood bitch? The bitch herself (whether adult or puppy) must be evaluated, to include her health, temperament, and c o n f o r m a t i o n . Certainly, we only want to keep the brood bitch who was a good mother and, we hope, an easy whelper too. R e m e m b e r i n g that the goal is to select a bitch who will produce progeny retaining the ideals of the breed, her ability to produce is most important.
If acquiring a new adult bitch (or if deciding whether to keep a bitch in our breeding program), we may be able to evaluate the progeny she has already produced. If she consistently produced high-quality puppies, that is a promising sign of what she is likely to produce again. The key word is consistently. A single star (usually the one we are most likely to see in the show ring) in a litter of rather ordinary puppies is not a good sign.
In assessing the bitch’s progeny, we would like to determine how the sire might have contributed to their excellence or mediocrity. Even an outstanding brood bitch will fail with the wrong mate.”
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