American Sires in 2011, 2017, and 2019!
Over the years we have added a lot of American content to our breeding program. The aim has been to keep our litters healthy through genetic and phenotypic testing. In 2021, we have found some Canadian content with the right stuff.
Once again we returned to the US for a sire for our 2019 litter. This time the reasons were health and availability. We had hoped to use Bustin' but the timing was not right, so we had to make alternate arrangements. Had thought we had found a lad in Saskatchewan, but when I looked a bit closer at the pedigrees discovered that Maggie and him were first cousins through their fathers. So had to look a bit farther away. It is not easy finding a chocolate male that has health clearances and is not related to Maggie through the Barracuda Blue lineage. So we hope that Gator out of Borne to Hunt in Idaho will prove to be a good choice. He had the health clearances we were looking for, a pedigree not linked to Maggie, and he was available. By the looks of it we should have a nice litter.
Once again we returned to the US for a sire for our 2017 litter. There are two main reasons: health and flexibility.
Through her father, Maggie is related as a half sibling or cousin to most of the breeding dogs in Western Canada of the American type. That is because Baracuda Blue was an amazing dog and he sired a lot of chocolate dogs that have gone on to be parents to a lot of chocolate labs. While this is great, it means that breeding back to siblings, cousins, or uncles creates genetic drag. That means if there are any weaknesses in the gene pool they will start to show up the more "inbreeding" that is done. So off to Illinois we went to find a chocolate male that still had a great pedigree, but was not directly related to Maggie. Blindfaith's Bustin' is such a dog. There is a group of dogs in the Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana area that go back to Pachanga Magnum Force who was a Canadian champion out of Saskatchewan. So still a champion bloodline but now with a little Canadian content. And by selecting Bustin' we also know that be testing and parentage, we have a sire who is genetically sound.
As for the flexibility, well that is because we want to sell our puppies with full registrations. We believe that through making healthy bloodlines, any one of these puppies would be suitable as a parent once they are adults. They would contribute to the chocolate labrador retriever population. Many of the Canadian breeders will only allow their males to stand at stud, if we agree to sell all puppies with non-breeding registration. While we agree that breeding should be done selectively, we believe that our puppies have the bloodlines and genetics to be superior dogs.
The most important reason we chose another American sire was for personality. Bustin' is a little more laid back than some of the "champion" dogs. While we love that labs can go from 0 to 100 in seconds, most of our puppies are family pets and not used in trialing. The drive that is in Kassey's litter is not really needed, so we found ourselves a dog who has shown he has the intelligence to be a hunting dog, but who is also willing to just lay back and relax. What a great companion dog he is.
The dogs from this litter should be "exceptional".
HEALTH and INTELLIGENCE
In an effort to improve our line of chocolate labradors, I was looking for two things: intelligence and health. I figured good disposition just comes naturally to a labrador. That is why they have been the most popular breed for almost 15 years.
My selection of a sire was based on proven good health as shown by genetic testing and longevity. I selected an older male (at least six years old) as if he had no health issues by that time, then chances were he was a pretty healthy guy. Drake was seven in 2011. He also had produced offspring that were also healthy (check out the OFA website). I also was looking for proven trainability as shown by titles. And Drake's bio reads:
Drake is a handsome male with a great personality. He marks extremely well, trains great, has awesome water entries, and has a wonderful temperament! He runs hard and has a great mind. This is a male that can produce everything in a dog you could want!
Why select an American dog? Well that had to do with the availability of Canadian dogs with the same level of health checks and proven intelligence. Drake is a field champion, as were his father and grand-father. He comes from some of the best chocolate lines in the world. We also wanted to keep to the American type as well, as they have a leaner look and are more athletic. If you check out the American breeders, you will find that Drake is being used by some of the top breeding programs in the US including DreamMeyers, SkyHighRetrievers, Yardley Labs, Cedar Hills.....the list goes on.
I know how intelligent and healthy Kassey is. She has a wonderful gentle disposition. There is not a dog or person she has ever met that she has not gotten along with, although she has been known to chase gophers. She is a lean, athletic beauty who loves to work and go on walks.
We kept Maggie from the Kassey x Drake litter. Maggie is definitely a lean beauty, the typical American type. She has hazel eyes as so many of the American-type chocolates have. She is intelligent and fast. I am hoping to have some opportunities during 2012-2013 to work with her training.
CANADIAN KENNEL CLUB
In Canada, pedigree dogs are administered by the Canadian Kennel Club. Only dog breeds recognized by the Club are eligible for registration. And only dogs that are registered can produce purebred puppies. In an effort to ensure that puppies, although purebred and registered, are not used for breeding, many breeders will sell their puppies with a non-breeding registration. Breeders use this type of registration to protect their bloodlines. In otherwords, they want to control who is allowed to use their bloodline in future generations. In this manner they maintain a monopoly of their bloodline and thereby can reap some financial benefit from the effort they have put into their breeding program. As well they can ensure that only those dogs that meet the standards for the breed and are superior animals through championships are allowed to continue their bloodline. Non-breeding agreements can be changed in the future by the original breeder if an animal shows championship superiority.
We have found that it is difficult to find genetically tested animals available for stud in Canada that we can sell puppies with full registration. As I feel all puppies that we are producing would be fine bloodlines, I sell puppies with full registrations. Americans I have found have no idea what a non-breeding registration is, and laugh when I ask if they are okay with full registration on the puppies from my litters. I like that kind of freedom.