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The Perfect Stud Dog
By B. Nolan Dale

Originally printed in the Summer, 1993 issue of the Skye Terrier Club of America Bulletin

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 breeding.

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 effort.

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 entirely moot.

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 stock.

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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