AKC eNewsletter


Summer 2005

Advice from the Breeder: Considerations Before Breeding

By Mary M. Rodgers

The author, Mary M. Rodgers, receives the 2003 American Kennel Club Breeder of the Year Award.
True breeders represent a small portion of the dog world. Some say true breeders are born not made.

So many things must be experienced over and over rather than by simply reading a book, although there are wonderful books and publications from which to glean important information. Once you realize how important the consideration of the “whole dog” is, perhaps you could join the ranks of the successful breeders.

The biggest hurdle and hardest thing to learn about breeding is being able to recognize “type” and “style” and to keep and breed from those dogs that possess that “type” and “style” that most closely match the breed’s standard. If you don’t, you will never have that wonderful specimen that stands apart from the others, that “Great One!” Type is defined as the dog that is in perfect balance and most closely resembles its breed standard in disposition and appearance. Style is very close to type. While a little hard to define, style is a grace and assurance that sets one dog apart from another. Never breed to the top winner for the sake of selling the puppies unless it is the right dog for you and has the “type” and “style” that you want in your bloodline. Obtaining and breeding
A portrait of top-winning Dobermans from Rodgers' kennel.
from the best bitch possible is extremely important. Type, virtues, and a strong pedigree full of good dogs will put you way ahead very fast. If your bitch doesn’t have those fundamentals, then just don’t breed her. Trying to upgrade is not something that is done in breeding dogs.

Consider these other points before planning a breeding: Don’t breed faults together. Don’t fixate on one or two virtues while forgetting it is the whole dog that matters. By the same token, don’t cast out a dog that has an obvious fault as long as it has many virtues. There is no perfect animal. When choosing a potential stud dog, you must judge him by his best progeny and realize that every breeding doesn’t click and not all of the offspring will be super. Finally, do you have enough time to care for a young litter and the facilities to keep baby puppies until they are placed in the proper situations for them? You must be prepared for anything to happen. A dose of luck will help too!


Mary M. Rodgers was named AKC Breeder of the Year at the 2003 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. Her Marienburg kennel has produced more than 100 champion Doberman Pinschers, including the number-one dog of 2002 and a two-year number-one winner who alone sired more than 85 American champions.

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