The Purpose of Breeding by William Given

In The Canine Chronicles (April 2016)

William Given, a well-known AKC judge, explains the purpose for showing dogs in the following way:

“Perhaps I should begin by taking a step back and asking, “why do we show our dogs?” There is certainly a very small percentage for whom it is nothing more than an “ego stroke,” whereby they are able to say that they are the owner of record of one or more champion showdogs. Also, there exists a small group who find some achievement in the acquisition of ribbons and garnering of titles. The true purpose, however, of showing our dogs is not in seizing the opportunity to collect ribbons or build egos, but rather to use shows and the judges’ selections as confirmation of breeding quality and the potential betterment of the breed.”

Given leaves us with the following thoughts to consider regarding what the real purpose for breeding:

“The purpose, therefore, of breeding is not strictly the production of puppies. Nor is it in the accumulation of ribbons and championship titles through the offspring of the parents. The purpose of breeding is to bring into the fancy those dogs which will prove to be a real credit to the breed. The show wins and resulting titles should simply be considered as the ‘frosting on the cake.’”

Top Ranked Havanese on the CanuckDogs Chart

on May 8/2018

Let’s look at the top ranked Havanese dogs on Canuckdogs (the Canadian Kennel Club show registry). This will give us a ‘feel’ for which kennels are producing “those dogs which will prove to be a real credit to the breed” in the Canadian Kennel Club to this point in time in 2018.

On May 8/2018, the following CKC Havanese Kennels have dogs placing in the top rankings as follows:

Laurelgate 1st and 8th

Havasmallpaw 2nd

MistyTrails 3rd

Pocopayosos 4th and 12th

While Given suggest that ribbons are not the only indicator of dogs that will prove a credit to the breed, he does indicate that the ribbons are “icing on the cake.”

Indiscriminate Breeding relative to the Production of “dogs which will prove to be a real credit to the breed”

Given goes on to discuss what he calls, indiscriminate breeding, whereby some breeders breed “with little regard to the consequences of their breeding.”

“I was amazed and dismayed by those who took, what seemed to me to be, a much too relaxed approach to breeding. It is not my intention to suggest that this could be called indiscriminate breeding, but these breedings certainly are not receiving the careful consideration that most planned breedings receive. Most of these breeders expressed their belief that the established guidelines used by most to protect the breed should be followed, they were nevertheless doing the breed only a minor disservice by engaging in breeding without seriously considering their other options or the consequences. One of these breeders proudly boasted of once having four litters on the ground at the same time. These puppies were in various stages of development, from recently whelped to an age at which the puppies should have been placed in the right homes and at a more optimum age weeks earlier. Undaunted, a few of these breeders were blissfully contemplating more breedings with little regard to the consequences of their breeding."

He continues with:

"The single question coming so quickly to my mind in these situations was, “How can you give all of these ‘finely bred’ puppies the individual care and human socialization that they require to mature into the well-adjusted (temperamentally sound) dogs that we desire and the Standard demands?” The answer, so sadly, is that the puppies, coming from “prolific breeders” must, by the breeders’ time demands, be socially neglected.”

In fact, Given clarifies that the real purpose for breeding at all is “not strictly the production of puppies.”

Top Ranked Havanese on the CanuckDogs Chart as of May 8/2018

Let’s look again at the top ranked Havanese in the Canadian Kennel Club on Canuckdogs as of May 8/2018. The following chart indicates the litter production from each kennel noted as the 'kennel/owner at birth' for each the top 4 ranked dogs as noted in the Canadian Kennel Studbooks 2011-2016.

Please note that the 2017 CKC Studbook will not be available until August 2018; therefore, the following statistics are the most up-to-date available from the Canadian Kennel Club:

(Tabulation allows for 5% or less error)

  • As noted above, the Havanese dogs currently ranked 1st, 2nd and 4th come from Select Small Havanese Kennels producing, on average, 2 litters or less per year over the 6-year period:

  • 1st. Laurelgate: 9 litters, (no litters in 2012)

  • 2nd. Havasmallpaw: 7 litters (no litters between 2011-2013)

  • 4th. Pocopayosos: 11 litters (no litters in 2013-2014)

(No litters were registered in the CKC Studbooks for the specific years indicated in brackets for each of these kennels)

  • Kennels 1 (Laurelgate) and 4 (Pocopayosos) currently both have 2 dogs in the top 12 placements of Canuckdogs.

  • The dog ranked 3rd comes from the largest Commercial Havanese Kennel in Canada (Mistytrails) registered with the CKC.

  • This kennel has produced 113 litters of puppies (owned and co-owned by the kennel/owner) for an average of 19 litters per year over this 6-year period.

  • It currently has 1 dog in the top 18 ranked dogs.

I believe these statistics put to rest the theory that ‘bigger is better’, particularly as it applies to Purebred Havanese Dog Breeders in the Canadian Kennel Club and top dog rankings as it relates to puppy production.

In closing, I leave you with the following question to consider:

Which of the above kennels appear to best understand “the purpose for breeding” as defined by Given?

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