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Breeding Better with Genetics

July 19, 2017

What truly separates any casual breeder from one more seriously involved and/or interested in breeding is the effort taken to study breed genetics. This is not an easy or quick task. However, it offers an opportunity to benefit the breed and breeder indefinitely. It’s very difficult to be ‘brutally honest’ about the dogs you own. The greatest challenge to any breeder is to have the ability to objectively evaluate how well their dog(s) conform to the breed’s official AKC standard, acknowledge any undesirable trait(s) and characteristics which can compromise physical health and desirable disposition, and compare their dogs to previous generations. Breeding decisions, or lack thereof, should be based on this data, plus as much educational information about your Chihuahua as you can gather. It’s imperative to know the health of the dogs you own, especially those you would consider in a breeding program. This requires more than a veterinary office visit for a check-up and most likely will include testing recommended in the CCA Breeder Guidelines.

Purchasing a Chihuahua for show and/or breeding requires a good working knowledge of the breed, the specifics about breed excellence, and your dog’s heritage in terms of phenotype and genotype. What traits are genetically dominant and which are recessive? What are the distinct breed specific characteristics that make an excellent Chihuahua? What do I need to know about my Chihuahua to make the wisest choices? Please know that there is nothing to replace experience and education in the breed. Today we can use DNA to breed healthier and better into the future with companies likes Embark who tests Coat colors so we know what colors we are breeding, and giving us data on over 165 diseases some specific to our breed.

There are many resources available today which help those interested to learn more about responsible animal husbandry practices, and specifically about breeding practices related to Chihuahua.

Consult with your breeder for as much background information as can be obtained about your particular dog.

Pretty show photos and even pedigrees however lovely and impressive, this information does not give the actual physical genetic makeup of such dogs, and show wins and pedigrees with many champions are not what necessarily determines the quality of their progeny. It requires more in-depth study to acquire the information upon which to base better educated and advised decisions.

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