Here I hope to answer any questions you may have about breeding practices.
I have set it up in a Question and Answer format.
NOTE: "Scatterbred" means a dog which is not line-bred or in-bred, a dog with no similar ancestors.
Q) Is it true that "mutts" are healthier and smarter than purebreds?/ Are purebreds "unhealthy" because of "inbreeding"?
A) These two questions are basically the same: all purebred animals are "inbred", and, believe it or not, so are wild animals! There is SO much misinformation about inbreeding - and almost all of it put out there by people who have never accomplished anything in animal breeding. If you want TRUE answers, look to that handful of breeders who, generation after generation have produced top quality, healthy, useful purebreds. It is beyond the scope of this website to explain how the law of Nature is to inbreed and cull, which is why wild animals are so amazingly similar in appearance. Believe me, you don't get the absolute continuity of type you see in a flock of birds from scatterbreeding!
If you are truly interested in learning from the masters, I will suggest you make the effort to find the works of two of the world's most accomplished canine breeders: Lloyd Brackett (Planned Breeding) and Robert Wehle (Snakefoot: The Making of a Champion) and world famous geneticists: Dr. E. Fitch Daglish.
Short answer, breeding is similar to programming a computer. If you put garbage in, you get garbage out. Inbreeding does not, in itself cause ANY issues. However, if you inbreed two dogs with garbage for genes, yes, you will double up on that garbage - and get garbage out.
But what about those who health test their dogs, and know that the genes are good? Yup, the DOUBLE UP ON THE GOOD. And this, friends, is why EVERY breed of domestic animal has been produced by intense inbreeding. To quote master breeder Robert Wehle, "while the occasional dog of great quality may surface from outcrossing (scatterbreeding) the chance of this happening is likened to catching lightning in a bottle."
Is a scatterbred dog (purebred) or a mutt (a mix of two breeds) healthier than a well bred inbred or linebred dog? The ONLY way to ever know is to have DNA tests done of the parents or the individual dog. And OFA tests... There is NOTHING intrinsic about crossing two breeds that make the dog "healthier". Many mutts have hip dysplasia, DCM, etc. It all depends of the genetic health of the parents: garbage in, gargabe out...
Q) Is it possible for a breeder to guarantee the health of a puppy?
A) The best ANY breeder can do is breed health tested dogs together. After that a breeder has NO control over non-genetic issues such as cancer. It is unrealistic to expect a breeder to guarantee that any pup will have perfect health and live to be 16 years old. The average life span of dogs in American today is approximately ten years. In the case of a breed like the Doberman, or Boston, with known health issues rampant in the breeds, any breeder serious about producing healthy pups will show you the OFA/DNA health results on their breeding dogs.
Q) Then what is a "health guarantee"?
A) A good breeder will offer a limited health guarantee. Most will offer a full or partial refund if the dog develops specific genetic diseases by the age of 2 years. This is the best a breeder can do, because there simply is NO guarantee available to breeder or buyer, of perfect health. If a breeder demands you return a puppy that develops issues, this is just their way of "weaseling out" of a guarantee, as VERY few people will give up a beloved family member after a year of two in the family - and those breeders know that, and know they will not have to honor the written guarantee. Most ethical breeders will offer a partial refund.
Q) Do you inbreed, and isn't it harmful?
A) The goal of any SERIOUS breeder is to find, concentrate and bring forward positive genes/traits in their line of dogs. This is how every useful domestic animal has been developed. Backyard breeders who simply want to produce puppies for market are not concerned with finding and concentrating health, type and character genes - they just breed any two dogs together and sell the puppies for cash. These are the people who are most often found decrying inbreeding and linebreeding not due to any real knowledge, but because they have heard it somewhere else and just repeat it. I do use some in-breeding, so if this concerns you, please feel free to talk to me about it.
Q) Why do you sell your pups with "full" registration? Don't you worry that they might be bred?
A) To be honest, I think those breeders who sell ALL their pups with limited registration are doing NOTHING to help the overall health and well being of dogs! Nor are they helping the sport of purebred dog shows and trials which is in bad shape today. My goal is to breed "foundation quality dogs"; that means dogs worthy of being used to be the foundation of a kennel. Of course not all pups in a litter are foundation quality, and I honestly grade my litters. If a pup will not enhance the breed if bred, then it is sold with with a limited registration.
If someone has their heart set on breeding, why would I not try and help them? I would MUCH rather have people interested in breeding get a HEALTH TESTED, WELL TEMPERED dog from me, and try and mentor them. That's how it used to be, and that's how it should be. Today breeders who keep prices high and refuse to sell with full registration only manage to force the public to either buy a "rescue" dog, buy a poorly bred dog off Craig's List or "Next Day Puppy" and end up breeding these sub-quality dogs. They work to harm their breed - not help.
When I decide to take up breeding my favorite breeds, I found it surprisingly difficult to locate a pup for a reasonable price from a breeder who bothered to do even minimal health checking! Some "show" breeders did some health checking, but would not sell me a pup with full registration as they did not want COMPETITION for puppy sales! Those who did not health check would sell me a pup, no questions asked, but then I had to foot the bill for all health testing and the heartache if a beloved pup came back as not fit for breeding. It is a very frustrating state of affairs.
Example: the Doberman breed is rotten with genetic issues right now. I have met several breeders who brag their dogs are very healthy - but they only sell their pups with limited registration. What good does that do a breed struggling to regain its health? I am very proud of my Doberman's health and hope that they can contribute to the future of the breed in a positive way.