AKC eNewsletter

Summer 2005

Frozen Semen's New First Lady

By Faye Strauss

After 30 years I tried it, and the results were stunning.

“Sweetie,” my 6-year-old bitch, was in search of a sire for her final litter. Two years ago we drove 3,500 miles round trip from Seattle to Palm Springs to breed Sweetie to a top dog. This litter produced one of the best bitches we’ve ever bred. We turned down a substantial offer for her purchase. I knew the decision was a good one when her extraordinary potential breeding qualities began to manifest themselves. Her best qualities are her ideal, medium size, alert expression, dark eyes, clearly defined dark markings, parallel head planes and a wedge-shaped head that is in balance with her body. Depth of body is to the elbows and equal to the length of leg. Her topline is straight. She is poured into her skin, is sound coming and going and possesses a superb temperament. And Sweetie’s story is just beginning.

A graceful full-grown Doberman.
Credit: Leslie Newing.
Enter Kennie Munch, my dear friend for more than 20 years, the proud owner of one of our studs who sired 37 champions – Best Puppy at the Doberman Pinscher Club of America (DPCA) Futurity and a multi-year Top-20 Doberman. The stud comes from a breeding that produced nine champions, including multi-Best in Show winners, the number-one Doberman in the nation and DPCA Grand Prize Futurity winner. He had cancer and lived his last three years actively as an alpha male on three legs. I watched him race around Kennie’s backyard, where he kept the peace. His temperament was and is an inspiration, and we were blessed to carry it forward. Kennie had carefully preserved this sire’s frozen semen. There was enough semen for two breedings.

In 2003, Sweetie was bred using the frozen semen and produced four puppies. The first few weeks I took them out, my pups won Winners Dog, Winners Bitch and Best of Winners. One of the male pups finished in two consecutive weekends with four majors, including a Best of Breed. His litter sister took two 4-point majors, one from each weekend. All this happened because Kennie and I had the courage to gamble on 20-year-old frozen semen. The puppies have their father’s temperament: steady, fun-loving, alert and fearless. They thoroughly enjoy the world. The strategy of the breeding was to double up on our foundation bitch and a key stud in our breeding program.

I then decided to breed Sweetie’s daughter. She is an outcross and, bred to this semen, returns to our classic breedings. Kennie had only enough semen left for one more frozen-semen breeding. It was a tough decision. But one look at the magnificence of the get, and the decision was made. There was no room for error. The timing of shipping the semen and implantation had to be precisely executed. After implantation, we sat on pins and needles for the next four weeks waiting for the results. The ultrasound showed five puppies!

That is my breeder’s story. I am thrilled and can’t wait to see her puppies. I feel remorseful when I think back on the extraordinary qualities of some of our great studs and the fact I never thought to collect and preserve their semen.

There’s no question about it: It is always good to go back into your pedigrees to your great sires and dams and recapture their glory. If you have the opportunity, grasp it. Chances are, you’ll capture a new rising star.

Faye Strauss established Sherluck Dobermans in 1973 and has produced 85 AKC Conformation Champions out of 27 litters, an unprecedented average of three AKC Conformation Champions per litter. She is an approved AKC conformation judge.

Article may not be reprinted without permission.

  Ronald N. Rella, director, Breeder Services
Theresa Shea, editor | Email: AKCbreeder@akc.org | Joanne Beacon, designer
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© The American Kennel Club 2005