Once you know where you want to be, you have to learn the essence of dog breeding. Canine genetics and heredity are what makes everything possible. It is not the easiest part but if you want to improve your breeding skills, you’ve got to take the minutes or hours to understand the role of canine genetics in dog breeding.
Just mentioning canine genetics usually scares people off. I get it, people think about DNA, chromosomes, genes, alleles, and other words we don’t really remember the definitions of.
We aren’t scientists — we are dog breeders. In other words, we only need to master the aspects of canine genetics that we can then use to better our bloodlines, generation after generation. Genetics are the foundation of all heredity and if you want to replicate or remove specific traits from dogs, you have to understand the mechanisms behind genetics and heredity in dogs.
Amongst everything we can find in the genetic field, I believe the below is the minimum to baggage to learn by heart in order to breed quality dogs:
- Cells, DNA, Chromosomes & Genes — definitions we should all know by now
- Dominant & Recessive Genes — each gene may have different forms that are expressed as different traits
- Genetic Expression — process by which the information contained within a gene, or several genes, becomes a useful and functional product
- Gene Pool — set of all genes, or genetic information, in a population such as a dog breed
- Genetic & Environmental Influences — the dog’s phenotype is influenced by its genotype but also by environmental factors
To most of you, this sounds very confusing but this is the essence of breeding dogs or any other species. Go through our canine genetics articles or if you want everything clearly laid out for you, check out our dog breeding master course.
Keep in mind that selective dog breeding is supervised by humans and can be the best way to improve a breed, but it can also destroy one (e.g. the English Bulldog). When you let random dogs mate, you let their instincts decide whether or not they are suitable for each other. When you select what sire will mate with what dam, you are responsible for any wrongdoings and achievements.