Starfire's Tony Cabrera and Fabián Arienti know that breeding "paper to paper" won’t always lead to a match made in heaven.
Breeding beautiful, healthy animals for competition can be very challenging.
Jose “Tony” Cabrera and Fabián Arienti
Our breeding program started in 1987 as the result of a phone call from a friend who asked us to accompany him while he went to see a puppy. We went, and from that day on our lives were changed forever.
This particular breeder produced show dogs. While our friend did end up purchasing the puppy, we asked most of the questions. We found the show dogs fascinating and beautiful, and we wanted to know more about them. We kept in touch with the breeder, and she eventually invited us to a show. We went, and that was it—we were bitten by the show bug. The breeder was the late Mrs. Mary Lou Porlick, our mentor for many years.
For our breed, we decided on Pomeranians. We did research and subscribed to all the Pom magazines available at the time. We then called a breeder whose dogs always stood out at the shows we went to. Every time we liked a Pom, it had her kennel name on it or was sired by one of her studs. We flew to see a 5-month-old female for sale. The only drawback was that the puppy was black and tan, not an easy color to win with in those days. Every friend we had made in the dog fancy discouraged us from getting this puppy because of the color. In spite of this, we secured her. The puppy had an incredible pedigree and “looks to kill.” She was our first owner-handled champion and became the backbone of our kennel.
Because of our first experience, we put great emphasis on the quality of the bitches used in our breeding program. The better the dam, the better your chances of producing a quality litter. We have always strongly emphasized this point to people starting their own breeding program. Save money and be patient until you find that beautiful, athletic female with an outstanding pedigree. It is a much faster road to success.
Typecast Your Leading Man
When you acquire that sought-after animal, the next step is to find her a mate. Our suggestion is to go to a stud from an outcross line if she is tightly linebred or inbred herself. We prefer an outcross because we found it will give you more structurally sound puppies and a litter that may more closely resemble some of the dam’s great ancestors.
It is most important that the stud you choose must be of the same type as the bitch.
Remember—type! This is an area where many breeders make an error. When it is time to choose a pair, pedigree is very important, but the right type must be there if you want to be successful. We have seen many newcomers experience initial success, but fail after their first generation. Why? Because a great pedigree is a wonderful tool, but how you pair the dogs is critical. The pedigree alone cannot do it. You cannot breed paper to paper and expect it to work every time. The reason for this is the selection within the line. Line breeding over time frequently becomes inbreeding, and deterioration can result. You must constantly be aware of this in order to keep improving your dogs.
We hold the record in the history of the breed. We have bred nine national Bests in Show (eight breeder-owner-handled), as well as many all-breed Bests in Show and specialty winners.
There is nothing like piloting your dog to those great wins yourself, and for that you have to have a beautiful and athletic animal that will stand out in the crowd. Do your homework, and if you remember to breed type to type you should not fail. Look at your dogs away from the show scene in their day-to-day environment. When you see them free standing, you can see their virtues and faults. Train your eyes and learn as much as you can, and never, never think you have the best.
There is always room for improvement. A good breeder would rather die than not try to improve their already gorgeous creatures.
Jose “Tony” Cabrera and Fabián Arienti’s Starfire Pomeranians hold the record for wins by a kennel at their national specialty, including a 2005 sweep of Best Puppy in Sweepstakes, Winners Dog, Winners Bitch, and Best of Breed. Their dogs have won multiple all-breed Bests in Show, and Best of Breed and Toy Group placements at the AKC/Eukanuba and Westminster. They were the 2006 AKC Toy Group Breeders of the Year.