November 28, 2015
Anyone who knows me (and even some who don't know me) know that I am not a man without opinions. That's all of us, I guess. What I write in this section is not for me- I know what I think- and why. It's for those considering choosing a puppy from us or those who want to understand why we breed the way we do.
For more than forty years, I've had bird dogs. I cut my "bird dog teeth" with a better-than-I deserved English Setter in North Carolina, hunting and beginning my field trial experience in the American Field. Even had the requisite Tennessee Walker. Since then, life has changed, but my love for hard-working bird dogs has remained. We bred a few litters of some decent pups, but that was about the end of it.
When we got our first EB (a male) over a decade ago, we, like a lot of others, decided we should get a female and make our own puppies. Made sense, after all they both had papers didn't they? What more did I need?
Time and good mentors taught me there were better paths to follow if I truly wanted to contribute to the quality of the breed. I'm hard-headed, but I know when to listen to wisdom (usually).
I'm over the goal of ribbons and trophies that may stroke my ego, but do little for breeding better dogs. We've placed a lot of our dogs in "the Top Ten," but that means nothing. If I wanted a room full of dust-collecting ribbons and trophies, I could go to the local craft store and stock up- but none of those will help produce better dogs.
When we began breeding EBs, I followed the time-honored way of linebreeding to "fix traits." Yes, it very much does that, but everytime one "fixes" a good trait, one does the same with a bad one- which, in some cases, may prove to be serious, perhaps fatal, health issues. I know that for many breeding dogs, linebreeding is an unquestioned practice. Science tells us we should be asking questions.
We spend a significant amount of time researching pedigrees, examining first-hand potential breeding animals (in both the US and Europe), and selecting for the highest quality we can find. Hopefully, that will give us the greatest opportunity to produce healthy, beautiful dogs that are high performance in the field and the ring AND loving companions in the home.
If you read this far, thanks. Any questions or thoughts, drop me an email. Always ready to talk about Bretons.