The Perfect Stud Dog
By B. Nolan Dale
in the Summer, 1993 issue of the Skye Terrier Club of America
Oh, how we all dream of
encountering the "perfect stud dog." I am sure that if we
gathered ten people together to discuss this subject there would be
at least fifty opinions. So, as I only have to worry about my own
thoughts on this matter at this time, here goes a very personal
outlook from someone who has been fortunate to have had more than
one good stud dog over the years.
Decidedly, this is
probably not what Mike intended when he asked for an article on what
makes the perfect stud dog. Surely, most of you immediately begin to
think about the selection process toward a litter from your
top-quality-not-to-be-faulted-best-in-my-backyard pluperfect bitch.
I will get to that eventually.
But first, for me as the
owner of a stud dog, my perfect stud dog must be sensible. That is,
he must not be overly impressed by any little bitch that sashays
into the neighborhood flipping her tail around. He must not carry on
as though his home were in a tree. He must not wail and moan as
though he was being subjected to mental and physical torture beyond
belief. Fortunately some young dogs do get over the moan and groan
stage. Some, however never get it through their heads that day one
of the cycle is not the day to breed. He must have his own wits
about him and know when it is worthwhile getting off his bed to
grace her with his presence. He knows not to waste energy on any
bitch until she is receptive and ready to get things underway
seriously. This also saves the owner a good deal of money that would
be spent at the vet to determine when the bitch is ready for
My perfect stud dog
absolutely must allow someone to handle the bitch and/or him during
the breeding. There are many instances when you find it necessary to
hold the bitch, use a telephone book or dig a hole to equalize the
size of the dog and bitch. Many times it is also necessary to defend
your dog from the teeth of some bitch who prizes her virginity above
all else. It matters not to her that her owner has decided there
shall be a litter to further the line. Sometimes it is even
necessary to guide the dog to the site and, yes, sometimes even to
hold them together.
My perfect stud dog will
breed on a grooming table. We have found one of the most wonderful
things to teach a young stud dog is to breed on a table. Yes, I mean
on a standard size grooming table. Until you have a dog that does
breed on a table you will never know just how appreciative your back
will be. It takes a little work initially but it is well worth the
My perfect stud dog has
no fetishes. A dog with no fetishes is always best. Fetishes are
usually manmade and stem from something that occurred, perhaps only
once, in the early career of a stud dog that he never forgot. A
friend of ours had a young stud dog that was quite happy to complete
the task at hand. However, the visiting bitch was being a pain.
Being alone for this particular breeding, our friend put a leash on
the bitch and tied her to a doorknob. Thus, she was able to assist
the dog and all went well. The next time a bitch came for breeding
to this dog he would have nothing of her. The owner of the stud was
puzzled as to his reluctance and tried to remember everything that
had happened at the earlier breeding. All was the same except there
was no leash tying the bitch to the doorknob. When the bitch was
tied to the door, wham, there was a breeding within a minute.
My perfect stud dog has
never been told "no" when as a youngster he tries to mount
a bitch. Instead he is given alternative entertainment to divert his
attention to something else. For when the time comes, it is
"yes" and reluctance at being reprimanded for something he
remembers as a no-no in the past can haunt you.
My perfect stud dog send
flowers to the lovely lady when the litter is on the ground.
All this said, with the
advent of frozen and cooled semen, most of these thoughts might be
Of course, the bottom
line for the "perfect stud dog" is one which possesses and
passes on excellent breed type, soundness, and good temperament.
When making your selection only the genotypic profile of the
potential stud dog should be considered. After all, the genes are
what you are transferring from the dog to the planned litter.
Phenotypic profiles, while of some importance, are appearance
indicators only and can be altered by such things as environment,
grooming, training, handling, etc.
There is no one perfect
stud dog for all bitches. The choice of the right stud dog for your
bitch is your most important consideration. A study of pedigrees and
knowledge of what has been produced by the Skyes in a given pedigree
is of utmost importance. To breed a litter based on the attributes
of a given dog without studying the whole pedigree is foolish
venture indeed. Consider the bitch's pedigree as well as the dog
under consideration. Consider what the dog has produced, both with
line-bred bitches and with outcrosses. If you haven't actually seen
his get make it your business to do so before making any final
decision. Photographs don't tell the whole story. Does he excel in a
particular area? Does he tend to replicate himself regardless of
what type of bitch he his bred to? Surely you would never select a
dog with a less than outstanding head if your bitch is on the
"pea head" side. Everything has to balance out and
regardless of the situation you will not have an entire litter of
blazing beauties. Yes, many breeders have been able to finish entire
litters, but if one is honest, it must be admitted that every pup in
the litter box was not all of the same outstanding caliber.
The trick here is to be
honest with yourself about the bitch and in decide the areas in
which she needs improvement. After all, if she is perfect you will
never find the right dog.
Outside of the
considerations of clear color (shades of the same color, as
prescribed in the standard) we have never placed a high priority on
color when selecting a stud dog. We refer to our dogs as "Gleanntan
Gray." Some are darker or lighter but they are all gray. Some
breeders consider color before anything and that is their perogative.
Breed type, structure, temperament and balance far outweigh any
other consideration for us.
As an experienced
breeder you probably will not be afraid to use a dog at stud that
has not finished his championship if he excels in all the areas that
you are looking for. Yes, these dogs do exist. However, as a novice,
while a champion title is not an absolute qualifier it does usually
indicate that the dog meets basic soundness and type qualifications.
As a breeder, not every dog that might hope to be shown will be
shown. Sometimes the situation just doesn't warrant the hassle of
getting the dog out. Sometimes a condition such as a broken tooth or
a shortened tail might prevent an otherwise outstanding dog from
making it to the show ring. Only years of experience will give you
the guts to go this route.
Linebreeding or not is
often the dilemma for the novice. Close linebreeding is how you set
a type and maintain it. Just how do you think all these 100 plus
recognized breeds came to be? Outcrosses for the sake of outcrossing
is not a thing to be suggested. While it is acceptable for humans,
animal breeders line-breed to both set and maintain traits in our
Finally, a personal
word. Just because you have a champion male in your backyard does
not mean that he is the best stud dog for your bitch. If you are
determined to breed this litter, make absolutely sure that you have
given your bitch, and yourself, every advantage to produce a top
quality litter of puppies of which you will always be proud to be
listed as the breeder.
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