DanBar Ranch
in loving memory of Dan and Barbara Jessup
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DanBar Ranch Breeding Philosophies 
Here I hope to answer any questions you may have about breeding practices.  I have set it up in a Question and Answer format.

Q) Is it true that "mutts" are healthier and smarter than purebreds?

A) Short answer "No". Long answer: dogs are products of their genetics.  The reason that purebred dogs appear to have "issues" is that they are bred and sold; which attracts those more interested in money than the welfare of the dogs.  Mutts are not held to any type of standard, nor are records kept on their health. Nor do people get as upset if their "pound puppy" develops health issues compared to a purebred they paid money for. 

So at first sight mutts might seem immune to genetic health issues - but they are not. Breed a purebred golden retriever to a purebred standard poodle, and the resulting puppy will inherit the genes (both good and bad) from both parents. If either the sire or dam had genes for poor temperament or health, the puppy will inherit them. In some cases they poor health or temperament may not show up till the next generation. But there is nothing about being a cross between two different breeds that will somehow make the pup "healthier".  

What does makes a puppy healthy is dedicated breeders who health test their breeding dogs to make sure bad genetics are not present.  What makes a "backyard breeder" is two things: they don't health check and they generally just breed to what they have in their own backyard (don't use outside studs) hence the term "backyard breeder".  (Some people think it is because they breed their dogs in the backyard, but actually, just about everyone does! The term came from those who don't want to pay for a stud fee so they just breed to their own male over and over again).

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 breeders will offer a partial refund or in some cases another pup. 

Q) Do you inbreed, and isn't it harmful?

A) In-breeding is and has been responsible for the development of every domestic species of any significance alive today. That includes milk cows, race horses, beef cattle, market hogs and egg laying chickens. In-breeding by itself does not produce any ill effect - it only intensifies what genes the sire and dam already have. It cannot produce a "new" issue. So in many cases in-breeding is used to "cleanse" a line of animals from all negative traits; once they are bred out, they are simply gone.  Where people get into trouble with in-breeding is when they refuse to cull out animals with "bad" genetics.  This may be because the animal is a big show winner, or they may just not have the dedication to do what is best for the breed. But you cannot in-breed successfully if you do not cull.  Nature is a great example of this.  Most wild animals are quite closely inbred, which is why they look so similar. Ever wonder why all sparrows look so similar? Or zebras? Or crows?  It is because most animals simply don't travel that far from where they were born, so they end up breeding with their parents, siblings, cousins, etc.  BUT...  Nature steps in and eliminates any offspring which are not sound.  This is why in-breeding works for Nature, and for breeders who do it right.

You might be interested to know that almost all the truly great breeders in dogs have believed in and practiced close in-breeding and culling.  One example is Robert Elhew, who, if you look him up, will find him to be about the most successful performance dog breeder of all time. 

My breeding program involves primarily line-breeding, which is the breeding of dogs of the same basic "family" but not all that closely related. In the past I have done some in-breeding with excellent results.  

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.  I 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 in those cases the pup is sold 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. 

In America today there is a real need for health tested, sound, purebred dog breeders. Due to intensive spay and neuter campaigns by humane societies, and bullying people into buying from a shelter instead of a reputable breeder, there are far less available QUALITY puppies than before.  I worked in the rescue field for decades, and I feel for the dogs which end up in that life.  However, I do NOT think shelters do the dogs or the public any service when they truck street dogs up North from the Southern US and Mexico (or Asia and Middle East now!)  These are not the best dogs to bring home to your kids. They have no known medical or behavioral history and are often unsocialized.  As well, shelters and rescues enable backyard breeders by assuring them they will always find a home for their unplanned, poorly bred litters by calling themselves "no kill".  

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. 

So, I decided that since my primary concern was the betterment of my breed, and to produce healthy, sound, health checked and titled dogs for myself and for others looking for the same thing, that I would offer any pup NOT HAVING A SERIOUS FAULT OR HARMFUL GENETICS with full registration.  In this way, if someone who buys one of my pups decides they do want to breed, I am glad they are using one of my HEALTH TESTED and SOUND dogs to do so, instead of some Craig's List or backyard breeder dog. 

I do hope that casual dog owners will LEAVE BREEDING TO BREEDERS, however, the dog fancy is suffering right now from lack of interest, and if I can encourage someone to take up performance events, or showing, or even a serious breeding program, I will do all I can to help them. My contract that all puppy buyers sign state that IF THEY ARE GOING TO BREED THEIR DOG, they MUST do basic health testing.  I honestly would rather, if someone is going to breed, that they do it with a proven healthy, well tempered representative of the breed from me, than, as I said, a dog from some source that only cares about the monetary gain in selling the pup. 

I also believe in culling. That means to remove pups from the breeding population of the breed by either euthanasia or by castration.  If a pup is born seriously deformed, medically compromised or temperamently unsound so that its quality of life will not be good, I will humanely euthanize a pup.  If a pup has a disqualifying fault such as really poor markings or coat quality, it will be sold with "limited registration".