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Monday, December 7, 2009

About our breeding program

I was asked some questions about our breeding program on the Michigan Sportsman Forum. I thought that I would post my answer here too and actually elaborate a bit.

We import wirehaired dachshunds from Europe so we keep a gene pool of working wires alive. It is a small gene pool, and new blood is needed on a regular basis. This is not easy to do.

Every time we import a puppy, we take a chance. We keep the pup and work with him/her. Three years ago we imported two pups from two breeders who breed hunting lines. We decided to place one puppy in a pet home only after four months of having her (because of her temperament tendencies). We kept the other one for a year and a half and placed him in a pet home too.

We don't select only for the blood tracking potential but for health, temperament, functional conformation, reproductive qualities. We select for other (not related to bloodtracking) working characteristics too. We don't use in our breeding the dogs who are not spurlaut even though this characteristic is not critical for blood tracking. Our dogs don't lack prey drive. Actually some owners would say that they have too much of it!

We don't breed narrow specialists but our aim is to breed dachshunds which CAN blood track. Not all dachshunds can. Here in the USA there are no other real hunting jobs for standard dachshunds - just blood tracking. In Europe the breed is used for a variety of hunting tasks. But American hunting tradition, game and regulations are different, and certain types of hunting performed with dachshunds in Europe are strictly illegal here.

Our youngest female now, eight-month-old Paika goes back six generations to the cross I made in 1991:

1. Fausto de la Grande Futaie (French import) was bred to Rivendells Ruby Tuesday (American show line). This produced Kuba (Zuzelek's Globetrotter) who was better than either parent.

FC & Can. Ch. Fausto de la Grande Futaie, JE (1990-2002)

2. Next generation was Branie vom Dornenfeld bred to Kuba, which produced Agata von Moosbach-Zuzelek.

3. Agata was bred to Asko von der Drachenburg, and this produced Elli von Moosbach-Zuzelek.

4. Elli was bred to Alfi von der Hardt-Hoehe, and produced Billy von Moosbach-Zuzelek.

5. Billy was bred to Gilda von Moosbach-Zuzelek (Sabina and Asko's daughter) and this produced Keena von Moosbach-Zuzelek.

6. Keena was bred to a French import Du Théo de la Meute à Cheops and produced Paika von Moosbach-Zuzelek.

Dogs listed above, with the bold font were imported - two from France, three from Germany, in total four by us and one by a friend from Canada.

Asko (excellent producer of blood tracking and field trialing wires) is on both sides of Keena's pedigree so this in an example of line-breeding. But most of the time we use a breeding strategy called asortative mating. You can read about it We certainly know more about dogs that have produced than about the dogs we have imported, but this is the best that we can do. We don't live in Europe, and are not able to visit often but we have gone to Germany and France several times and talked to numerous breeders. We watched blood tracking tests and competitions. Every year we buy a DTK Zuchtbuch and study it.

In our experience the best cross we have ever made was Zalud Staccato by Gerte vom Dornenfeld, and we go back to this bloodline time after time.

Zalud Staccato

We have had experience with other very good producers of blood trackers but sometimes got unpleasant surprises, for example undescendant testicles etc.

Breeding is a process, and in every generation you have to evaluate, select and prioritize. For example, you may have to sacrifice conformation for spurlaut. We try not to double on weaknesses. We know that not all our puppies are going to be perfect blood trackers, and this is why we keep them here for longer and we don't sell them at 7 or 8 weeks. At that age we have no idea yet what we have.

With every litter we learn something new.

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