AMERICAN BULLY BREEDING 101 PART III: DIFFERENT TYPES OF BREEDINGS & METHODS USED BY THE MOST SUCCESSFUL BREEDERS

Now that you have a basic understanding of the importance of starting out with quality foundation females — as well as the importance of selecting a proven Stud — the next step is establishing breeding plan. Doing this alone will set you apart from the competition.

If you have not read Becoming An American Bully Breeder: Part I & Part II, we suggest first reading those before returning back to this article. We have included links to each below.

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Louis V Line’s Venom

AMERICAN BULLY BLOODLINES

We have within our breed bloodlines that are known for producing great dogs as well as bloodlines that are known for producing mediocre dogs with certain problems, i.e. conformation faults, health issues, temperament faults etc.

To the newcomer interested in developing a bloodline — first understand that there is more yo it than just having your name carried as part of the registered name of the dog. It is the development of a family of dogs that breed true for characteristics that you deem as essential and desirable, and that have been selectively bred into your family of dogs.

BECOMING AN AMERICAN BULLY BREEDER

Venomline’s King V

I. ESTABLISHING A BREEDING PLAN

A) IDENTIFYING BREED CHARACTERISTICS

Start identifying the breed characteristics that you want to see in the dogs that you will produce. Begin by identifying the individual list of characteristics that you want to develop into your bloodline.

This requires you become familiar with and knowledgeable of breed Standards & the different Classes within the American Bully Breed. Just as important, is to gain knowledge on structural soundness and genetic health issues within the breed.

B) DEVELOPING AN EYE FOR THE DOG

Learn to evaluate one dog from another in terms of structural soundness, flaws and to start seeing the desired traits in which you are breeding for. Developing an eye for the dog takes time and practice. Attendance at shows can help.

II. SELECTION OF BROOD STOCK

Louis V Line’s Omega

A. SELECTING BROOD STOCK

Louis V son Omega

Once a breeder has developed a breeding plan, an evaluation of the brood stock that you are going to be using is the next step. First and foremost, the individual stud dog or brood bitch must possess the outstanding traits that the breeder is looking for in the offspring.

The mating of animals with similar characteristics tends to produce offspring that resemble themselves. 

“Pedigrees are great, but they don’t mean jack if the two dogs being bred don’t carry the desired look/traits. Look at the two dogs in front of you.”

The last thing that we’ll mention should be obvious, but it’s worth mentioning — breeders should avoid the mating of animals with the same faults. As it tends to produce offspring with those same faults set within your family of dogs.

III. PEDIGREE ANALYSIS

7 Month Old Venom daughter “Kilo”

A. ANALYSIS OF A PEDIGREE

An analysis of the dog’s pedigree is the third but equally important step that must be considered in the selection of brood stock. For novices, a dog’s pedigree is usually meaningless. For the experienced breeder — the pedigree is a profile of genetic potential, containing an unlimited amount of information. Knowledge about the individual dogs in the pedigree can be obtained firsthand from the dog’s breeder.

ABKC Champion Venom daughter — Dawghouse’s Fury

Pictures and information on the dogs can frequently be obtained from the numerous breed magazines and breeders websites. Conformation titles on individual dogs can also be used in compiling your database of information in the dog’s pedigree.

After a number of years into a breeding program, the breeder will have first hand knowledge of the dogs making up the pedigree of the breeding stock.

Also a database of information concerning the littermates as well as offspring from repeat breedings should be available to the breeder. This first hand information will always be the most reliable if the breeder remains objective.

You can find the offspring a dog has produced in online pedigree databases such as Bullypedia and BullyPedex.

“You will want to become familiar with these. You’re going to want to add your own productions once you start having them. But perhaps more importantly, you can research which breeding pairs and bloodlines produced top dogs.

There is almost unlimited information at people’s fingertips, but most are too damn lazy to use it.”

IV: SHOW ATTENDANCE

ABKC Champion Venomline's Lil Ting
ABKC Champion Venomline’s Lil Ting

Attendance at shows, discussions with successful breeders and talking to judges and exhibitors about the breed can also help your understanding and further knowledge. A study of the literature available about the breed and about dogs, genetics and breeding in general is also essential. The breeding of fine dogs is an art, with a strong scientific basis.

What a breeder seeks to produce, the ideal that he formulates, is his or her self expression — the fulfillment of the creative urge. That lies the joy of breeding dogs!

The emphasis a breeder places upon soundness, a great head, correct fronts, topline or backend — declares his own nature.

The breeder who would achieve a consistent color or size at the cost of breed type or honest structure is a different kind of person from one who prefers a correctly made dog.

The breeder who would achieve a consistent color or size at the cost of breed type or honest structure is a different kind of person from one who prefers a correctly made dog.

All quality bloodlines have been established by incorporating quality brood stock from someone else’s bloodline.

It is not often that you will be able to incorporate a pet quality bitch or dog into your breeding program and expect to produce consistent quality pups.

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THE FATHER OF MODERN GENETICS AND THE MAN WHO APPLIED IT TO ANIMAL BREEDING

Although Gregor Mendel is the father of modern genetics, Jay Lush is the fellow who brought genetics to animal breeding. Lush was a student of Sewall Wright, who devised the coefficient of inbreeding, and a background in both genetics and mathematics allowed him to develop animal breeding into a quantitative science.

Perhaps his most important contribution is a book first published in 1937 called Animal Breeding Plans, in which he laid the foundations on which the scientific breeding of both animals and plants still rest today. While parts are necessarily outdated now, much of what he wrote is as useful today as it was then.

LINEBREEDING VS INBREEDING

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Most breeders know about inbreeding and line breeding but find it difficult to clearly distinguish between them. Usually inbreeding is considered to be breeding among first-order relatives (e.g., sibling to sibling, parent to offspring), and line breeding is a fuzzy version of “not as close as inbreeding.”

When Lush discusses line breeding in his book, though, he clearly distinguishes between line breeding and what he calls “other forms of inbreeding”, which he simply defines as breeding between relatives.

For every generation that passes between the ancestor and the present, its influence is reduced by half. To avoid this progressive dilution, “line breeding takes advantage of the laws of probability as they affect Mendelian inheritance to hold the expected amount of inheritance from an admired ancestor at a nearly constant level.

“Line breeding is selection among the ancestors rather than among living animals… It is accomplished by using for parents animals which are both closely related to the admired ancestor but are little if at all related to each other.

Line breeding provides, so to speak, a ratchet mechanism for holding any gains already made by selection, while attempting to make further gains.”

BREEDING TYPES & METHODS

Chocolate tri color american bully
TLB/Venomline’s King V

I. LINEBREEDING

Venom daughters: ABKC Champions Lil’ Ting & Khaleesi

A. ABOUT LINEBREEDING

Linebreeding, more than any other breeding system, combines selection with inbreeding. In a certain sense, line breeding is selection among the ancestors rather than among living animals… It is accomplished by using for parents animals which are both closely related to the admired ancestor but are little if at all related to each other through any other ancestors.

If both parents are descended from the animal toward which the line breeding is being directed, they are related to each other and their mating is a form of inbreeding in the broad sense of the word. This is worth saying again.

According to Lush: linebreeding pairs animals that are related to a specific ancestor, but which are little if at all related to each other.

PRESERVING AN EXCEPTIONAL ANCESTOR’S INFLUENCE IN THE PEDIGREE

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Lush saw linebreeding as a way to preserve an exceptional ancestor’s influence. For every generation that passes between the ancestor and the present, its influence is reduced by half. To avoid this progressive dilution, “linebreeding takes advantage of the laws of probability as they affect Mendelian inheritance to hold the expected amount of inheritance from an admired ancestor at a nearly constant level.

“Linebreeding provides, so to speak, provides a ratchet mechanism for holding any gains already made by selection, while attempting to make further gains.”

Venomline’s Megatron of BullyMe Kennels

B. ADVANTAGES TO LINEBREEDING

A significant advantage of linebreeding over ordinary inbreeding is that, while it also increases homozygosity and prepotency, “the homozygosis produced by linebreeding is more apt to be for desired traits than is the case with undirected inbreeding. Linebreeding tends to separate the breed into distinct families, each closely related to some admired ancestor, between which effective selection can be practiced.”

Don’t miss the significance of this last point. Lush is saying that if there are multiple lines of animals linebred to a common ancestor, the breeder can manage inbreeding by using those groups as a source of animals for outcrossing while still maintaining the strong genetic influence of the ancestor.

And, because these groups of animals have not been interbreeding, they can be used to produce offspring that will have a lower rather higher inbreeding coefficient, and thus will benefit from hybrid vigor (a reduction in inbreeding depression) as well as a diminished risk of genetic disorders caused by recessive mutations.

C. REAL LIFE EXAMPLE

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Venomline’s Vixen

Venomline’s Vixen is a great example of the result of line breeding. The desired ancestor is Louis V Line’s Venom. In the litter that produced Vixen — we bred a Venom son (King V) to a Venom grandaughter (Xena).

This would be considered a lesser form of line breeding, whereas a closer form would have been a Venom son to a Venom daughter.

II. BRACKETT’S FORMULA

Figure 1 Pedigree of a Brackett Stud Dog

The formula Brackett preferred concentrated genes in a pedigree. He did this by placing emphasis on the sire of the sire.

In Figure 1, notice that the same dog appears on the sire and the dam’s side of the pedigree. Brackett liked to use one important dog and have it appear twice in a three-generation pedigree.

The basic formula he preferred can be stated as follows, “Let the sire of the sire become the grand sire on the dam’s side”. Said another way, “let the father’s father become the mothers grandfather”.

A. BRACKETT’S FORMULA APPLIED: A REAL LIFE EXAMPLE

According to Brackett’s formula, which we are using in this particular example, males from this breeding would have ideal pedigrees with potential as Studs in Brackett’s program. Obviously we don’t breed solely according to Brackett’s formula, but it is one of the advanced breeding techniques that has proven successful for many breeders in a number of different breeds over the years.

II. INBREEDING

The term ‘inbreeding’ refers to the mating of two dogs that are closely related to each other genetically, such as a mating of siblings or cousins, and selective deliberate inbreeding is something that has occurred for many decades in the pedigree dog world. This is often done in order to maintain the purity of bloodlines and increase the number of dogs of a breed displaying certain desirable characteristics.

Inbreeding of various bloodlines conceived of a relatively small gene pool is in fact how the desirable and distinctive characteristics of most modern breeds of pedigree dogs came into existence. But inbreeding is not without its associated problems, and is sometimes considered to be rather controversial.

Establishing a breed begins with a dog or dogs in a certain area having several desirable characteristics that are, when combined, unique to that small set of animals. This can include factors such as their temperament, distinctive looks, or a particular talent for a certain type of working activity such as herding, retrieving or guarding.

A. SETTING TRAITS

The traits that make a particular dog or set of dogs desirable, mean that they will in turn become popular and in demand, as other people aspire to own a dog which possesses the same characteristics. This then leads to attempts to produce more dogs sharing the desirable traits of the original dog or dogs, and of course in order to do this it is necessary to produce pups from either a sire or dam (or both) with those traits.

It is not uncommon at the beginning stages of establishing a breed to inbreed dogs to produce pups with the same desirable traits as the parents, often by matings of siblings, cousins and other closely related dogs. Outcrossing to unrelated dogs is also likely to occur, and while this has many benefits (that inbreeding does not) such as reduced likelihood of inherited flaws and genetic mutations developing, it also serves to potentially dilute out the desirable traits of the original dogs. So a balance between the two factors must be reached.

B. INBREEDING RISKS

Inbreeding also can carry several risk factors and can have many problems associated with it. Just as Inbreeding can set traits — as offspring inherit two copies of desired genes — Inbreeding also carries with it an increased likelihood of negative, recessive or undesirable traits being inherited into the subsequent offspring, and heightens the chances of recessive mutations occurring

C. REAL LIFE EXAMPLES

Venomline’s Rampage, Savage, Champion Lil” Ting were the result of a father/daughter inbreeding (Venom X Moana) and Dolce was the result of the 2nd 2X Venom breeding (Venom X Khaleesi).

III. OUTCROSSING

IV. BACKBREEDING

V. GRADING UP

CARRYING THE TORCH: LLOYD C. BRACKETT

Any time that a significant advancement in any field is made (especially science) it is often left at the feet of the next generation. Equally important are the ones who pick up the torch and expand upon the point where the previous generation’s research left off.

By the early 1950’s, Lloyd C. Brackett had become a legend in his own time. In part because of the quality of the dogs he produced and in part because of his candor when addressing problems related to the breeding of canines. He had much to say about the selection of sires, how to correct problems and how to make improvements. Brackett was considered one of the fathers of the German Shepherd breed in the United States.

90 CHAMPIONS OVER 12 YEARS

At the time of his death he was the oldest living continuous fancier of the breed (since 1912). His kennel was called Long Worth and he is remembered throughout the dog world for his theories about breeding methods. Through his writings he shed light on the confusion and misunderstandings associated with line and inbreeding. One of his greatest achievements was to have produced over 90 champions in twelve years.

All of his methods and ideas were not new. For example, he combined the study of pedigrees with the results they produced. After years of watching what combinations produced the better offspring he refined his ideas about how to select breeding partners. Out of these experiences came a formula that later he would make him famous. It relied on the principles of line and inbreeding. But it was Brackett and his approach to planned breedings that made it well known.

PEDIGREE ANALYSIS, EVALUATION, LINEBREEDING & RECORD KEEPING

American-bully-breeding-101
Venomline’s Swizz – Female pictured at 11 months

Brackett believed in pedigree analysis, litter evaluation, the use of line and inbreeding and a record system that was easy to use. Those ideas are what set him apart from others who did little more than practice the art of breeding.

While Brackett is best known for his emphasis on the use of linebreeding he was not afraid to inbreed if the situation dictated it.

Brackett believed that it made no sense to go forward with breeding before the needed information about the sire and dam had been collected. He placed great emphasis on health, temperament and breed characteristics. His planned breedings were based on the results that occurred in his pups. In other words, he learned from his mistakes.

Brackett understood the value of using quality dogs that were related to each other. This approach allowed him to concentrate the genes needed to produce desired traits. His techniques for reducing error and improving quality focused on the careful selection of breeding partners. They were central to maintaining and improving specific traits while at the same time reducing disease and other unwanted problems.

QUALITY & CONSISTENT TYPE

American-bully-breeding-101
Venomline’s Princess Leia – Daughter of Venom & Swizz

Brackett became famous for breeding quality dogs with consistent type. His strategy relied on a series of breedings using relatives. Often times he was quoted as saying, “never outcross when things seem to be going well, do it only as an experiment or when some fault or faults cannot be eliminated”.

He was careful to study each stud dog and their offspring, eliminating those who did not measure up and those who produced faults. Close inspection of his pedigrees show that many of his sires were themselves inbred or line bred and most were usually related in some way to the bitches in his breeding program.

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BRACKETT’S SUCCESS WITH LINE BREEDING

Brackett’s success helped to make line breeding popular. He demonstrated how to make improvements by retaining a common pool of genes through the use of related dogs. He believed that out-crossing was the least desirable method because it introduced new genes into his pedigrees, which in turn produced differences and genetic variations among the offspring.

It has been well documented that two full-brothers usually do not have the same genetic potential even though they both come from the same two parents. One sibling might inherit one set of genes from his father and the other might get a different set from an uncle through his mother. While each pup always receives half of its genes from the sire and half from the dam it does not mean that they each will get the same set of genes.

This explains why littermates do not always look alike or have the same capacity to produce the same quality. Brackett kept detailed records on the differences between siblings. He was well read on this subject and occasionally mentioned the works of Aristotle and Mendel in his articles. In practice they all shared similar beliefs.

CONCERN OVER LACK OF BREEDER EDUCATION PROGRAMS

Brackett was concerned about the future of breeding better dogs and the lack of breeder education programs. He believed that 

If you ever wonder how some kennels seem to always produce top quality dogs and consistent litters, while others can take a great dog from a great line and run it to shit in just a few short years, the answer is usually pretty simple. 99% of breeders (especially in the American Bully breed) don’t do any research, have no understanding of basic genetics, couldn’t name a single breeding technique and have no breeding plan. Their gameplan: breed two dogs that “look cool” together.

American-bully-breeding-101

IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A BREEDING PLAN

Most have not put in the work to hone their craft. Yet they will be surprised and upset when they don’t end up with your results.

You can pass up the competition in just a few short years by dedicating the time and energy to study up on those who have had success and by applying those techniques to your breeding plan.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist either. I’m not. Far from it. But you have a small supercomputer with unlimited information in your pocket. Quit being lazy and Google some shit. Respectfully, of course.


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