To create a new dog breed, a dog breeder must establish a set of clearly measurable and visible traits known as the breed standard. It is a list of characteristics that formally describe the breed to an audience. The breeder needs to build up the new dog breed over several generations, generally taking decades. Eventually, the goal of a new breed is to be officially recognized by the American Kennel Club — therefore going through the Foundation Stock Service!
Such endeavor will take years, and most likely decades, without assurance of finding any success at the end. Creating a new dog breed is most certainly not an easy task so the initiator must have absolute patience and determination. Consistency is also required: are you willing to cut corners after a few years because it will go quicker?
Let’s be totally and brutally honest for a second. Most people who start a new dog breed will stop shortly after. It takes so long that it logically makes no sense. Instead, breeders should focus on creating a new bloodline within an existing dog breed so they do not start from scratch. However, if your ideal dog breed does not exist whatsoever. then you may team up with a few like-minded dog breeders and engage in the process of creating an entirely new dog breed.
If you decide to go ahead, read this article and hopefully you will understand what it takes to produce a new breed.
What Makes a Dog Breed?
The disposition in comprehending dog breeds and how they are systematically created has been at the forefront of many modern-day canine programs. The creation of a new breed is generated by a level of cross-breeding or by using a subtype of an established breed. Dog breeders who entertain the idea of creating a unique breed, do so for the purpose of securing purebred dogs in an established livestock, and to preserve the genetic line for either personal or financial gain. This should only be done by breeders who have the necessary skills and time as well as the resources to complete such a task.
[pullquote-right]Are you sure you don’t simply want to create a new bloodline within an existing dog breed, rather than a completely new breed of dogs?[/pullquote-right]
Knowing what a dog breed is and what it consists of is the starting point. For the purpose of understanding, a dog breed is defined by its unique set of phenotype and genotype that sets it apart from all other breeds. Traits that are observable are easier to assess with accuracy as opposed to non-observable characteristics such as temperaments. Several generations of the offspring are required by the breeder to prove that they all possess the same phenotype as well as being genetically similar to their parents.
Purebreds are modern breeds that are equipped with pedigrees and are usually registered in a national kennel club and are referred to as being “registered”. These registries are contained within a closed book system or open. Purebreds are produced by the standard of selective breeding to distinguish certain traits and are known to be “clean”, therefore, more sought out for their means of predictability.
Breeds need very precise standards; therefore, dog breeders should have a clearly-outlined set goal in mind. Decide on which characteristics you wish to produce and find breeding groups and bloodlines that match your ideal. If you want to find success in creating a new dog breed, then you need a vision that will keep you on track for several years. Come up with step-by-step procedures to enable your purpose to come to fruition. That said, stud books and registries are designed to establish these standards with accuracy and detailed accounts.
Studbooks are registries of the studs who have been used in a given generational line breed for a particular dog breed, thus creating a foundation stock. A dog breeder can more readily trace the genealogy of a dog and its pedigree by using these means. These registries are built upon the concept of breeding within a set standard that is either open to new blood or closed. In a closed registry system, genetics are less diverse but the breeding is designated in a more controlled environment. Open registries allow for appendix registries which are open to other breed types to mix in with their established system if the dog happens to exhibit the desired traits and characteristics the breeder is aiming for, and if they pass certain working tests.
How Long Does Creating a New Breed Take?
There are two vital components to be considered when determining the creation of a new dog breed and the duration of the time lapse to produce a distinct new breed. These are patience and consistency. Generally, anyone can create a new dog breed with just a few dogs. The end goal for any dog breeder is to breed absolutely true, which results in less room for error and more control over the overall production. It takes three generations of breeding true in order for a dog breed to be considered and labeled viable. That said, the well-known national kennel clubs, such as AKC, won’t even consider a dog breed without prior historical background with many years of showcasing the dog.
It takes several generations to get the breed to achieve enough desired traits to be considered unique and set apart. Most breeders propose that 30 to 50 years may result in your specified breed, but it begs the question of whether a respectable kennel club will accept it. Fifty years of breeding allows sufficient time to create a large enough gene pool to produce consistent litters that are exhibiting the genetics and types aimed for. The overlapping of several generational dogs allows a direct line of distinctive traits to come to the surface in a consistent fashion that enables a dog breeder to predict the subsequent outcome in the offspring. Consistency serves as assurance.
Other factors involved in determining the time that will affect the overall formulation include the ages in which you are breeding the dogs, as well as how long it takes to isolate the desired traits. Additionally, if the breeder is incorporating several cross-breeding programs then it will take more time as opposed to breeding for a single gene in a mixed breed. In summation, it’s a numbers game.
Draft Your Dog Breed’s (Experimental) Standard
The most important task in creating a new dog breed is knowing what you want to create. And then, stick to it. It sounds basic but it is exactly what makes or breaks your success in the dog breeding business. The entire production process of creating a standard breed requires knowing exactly what traits you are breeding for, for what purpose, and which dogs are going to give you the leverage in completing your mission.
Set your standards. You can begin by making a comprehensive and thorough outline of what exactly you want your dog to achieve in terms of desired traits and characteristics. Your focus should be on precision followed by a detailed plan. Most times, when dog breeding goes wrong it’s because the breeder was not clear on the genetically programmed traits needed to reproduce.
Avoid being too generic in considering your ideals. For example, you want a faster dog, so how will you breed to obtain a fast breed? You need to breed for the corresponding traits that will genetically “program” the dog to perform the desired task. In this case, you would look for dogs who have strong legs, or even dogs that have long legs. Put simply, you need to be realistic in your approach. This will go a long way in the end after all the attempts of breeding have finally produced what you had hoped for. This also gives you more control when exploring potential mates for your breeding program by knowing exactly what to look for. Think in terms of genes and traits instead of a general idea.
New Breed vs. New Bloodline
Choosing to go your own route in creating a breed is an exciting experience for a dog breeder. The choices are endless. In deciding on a new breed, become exceedingly familiar with the different breeds and which ones will suit your desired dog type. Keep in mind the genetics. A new breed is very specific and the result of creating one is a group of dogs with all the same phenotype that will distinguish your dog from all the others. Once you have your ideal specimen in mind, begin choosing which of the existing breeds will come closest to what you need. You will have a base, to begin with. These will be the starting points of the dogs you wish to breed together. Gather enough knowledge about the sire and mate you wish you breed as far as their pedigrees, their health history, and their registries are concerned.
Moreover, this is an ideal time to determine whether a breed is what you truly desire, or perhaps you may benefit more from initiating a new bloodline. The purpose of line breeding is to create a superior class of specimens that come as close as possible to the breed standard. Creating and maintaining your own bloodline will provide a rich background for dog breeders. This will also give you some leeway in the case you decide to showcase a dog in competitions. Additionally, traits are enhanced through the generations, whilst eliminating faults and undesirable traits. Just keep in mind, by creating a new bloodline you are simply continuing from an existing breed as opposed to making an entirely unique unit. This is a choice that every dog breeder will naturally come across throughout their years in the dog breeding business.
Find the Founding Dogs & Start Breeding
By now, you should have made a choice and are determined to go the long haul now. After you have chosen to create a new breed, as opposed to branching off from an existing bloodline, you need to get things organized. It’s important that any dog breeder be thoroughly knowledgeable about the business before starting. Study various books and materials that have to do with population genetics and breeding practices.
When you have the knowledge and background of a professional breeder, you’re ready to start searching for your ideal candidates. The goal is to aim for genetic diversity in your breeding. This will allow more leeway in what is being produced. Genes are easily classified and you can track changes as you go along. For this, find as many dogs as possible, to begin with.
You need to start your hunt for the founding dogs you wish to breed. These are the dogs that will give birth to the first few generations of your program. Select a group of dogs that have the traits you are looking for first. It may be helpful to attend various dog shows to get an idea of what you’re looking for. Be social. Talk to other breeders and study their pedigrees. Other breeders can help you find a dog that matches your needs or even provide recommendations. This is helpful for networking. Make use of the kennel clubs as well; the national kennels clubs are trustworthy sites for reliable information and dogs. You will need a sire that matches exactly what you’re aiming for in terms of characteristics and traits, as well as finding a suitable mate. Select a dog with no history of diseases and a well-rounded extensive pedigree.
Grade Up and Cautiously Linebreed
After you have found your founding dogs, you are ready to begin the breeding process. This part calls for the breeder to exhibit much patience and assurance in his decisions because it will ultimately be a numbers game in which the breeder will have to select or reject certain dogs. This process will take several generations and it’s essentially going to be based and dependent on consistency. Additionally, you will have to decide if you want to breed within a closed registry system or an open one.
Basically, you start with your starting dogs and breed them. With each breeding, you will need to closely monitor the traits produced and decide which ones come closest to your ideal specimen. It is absolutely vital that you are merciless in this decision because this is what is going to set the future for generations to come. Therefore, the dogs who perfectly meet your guideline standards are the ones that will be used to continue the breeding process.
Conversely, you will often have dogs that do not match your standards. This is totally normal. In terms of breeding, these puppies are considered null and disqualified. This will be a personal choice that the breeder makes, on whether he wants to stick with these puppies or not. You can choose to have them for yourselves and raise them as long as they are kept out of the breeding practice. You can also sell them to other interested parties.
For example, if 3 out of 10 puppies in a litter meet your standard you will breed them with another female or male. You will incorporate inbreeding for these purposes to maximize the chances of producing the same results. Throughout the generations, you will have to tweak the process by fixing these traits. The remaining 7 puppies should not be bred, nor should they be neglected or offered less care.
Keep in mind the waiting period between generational breeding. Keeping track of historical records of the breeding and their results is vital. You want to have sufficient hindsight on the last mating as well as the selection of partners chosen for each sire. Because of this, it’s recommended you wait a few years before breeding a new generation. Additionally, you want to keep records of which dogs were mated together, traits and characteristics that were favored, as well as the ones unfavored and null. This will serve to shape your official standard.
Officialize Your Standard (FSS Scheme)
Dog breed standards, commonly referred to as bench standards, are the guidelines set and monitored by the dog breeder for the purpose of tracking external traits that are observable. The aim is to get these standards registered with a dog breed club. Each club has their own requirements and not all traits are welcomed. For example, if your dog contains faults it may be rejected for participation entirely. Dogs who avoid this have enough strong qualities that outweigh their faults.
At some point, a dog breeder begins to notice the changes, the advancements, and the overall production of their breeding program. After several generations, you will have a more in-depth knowledge of your dogs and already have an available historical record based on traits. You will have a stronger assessment of which traits and personality characteristics are fit and those that are void of necessity. It also helps to use other dog breeds as examples to help systematize your breed’s standard.
Throughout the generations, you have now been able to write down and track the criteria needed to isolate certain traits. You have a basis in the understanding of what happens when breeding too close to the line, and also you should by now have puppies that are recognizable. Judging by your criteria, after having a number of dogs who match your standard, you can create your official breed standard. You will need absolute precision to formulate this before submitting it for recognition by a chosen kennel club.
Kennel clubs tend to be strict, however, with the right assessment you can have your dogs recognized as Foundation Stock Service breeds. To be listed as an FSS breed, certain requirements are asked by the club. You will need to provide samples of registry documents such as pedigrees, photographs that exemplify your dog breed, your official breed standard, and often times, a questionnaire. This information is presented to the committee officers to see if the breed can enter the Miscellaneous Class after having established certain milestone criteria.
Submitting your standards with a kennel club for official recognition can take up to decades for completion. Leading up to this, you must first have the means of establishing your own breed club. In doing this, you can engage in various committees and hold National Specialties. This will show others that you have a real breed with an established membership. In the meantime, you can create your breed via the means of a non-profit organization. These organizations provide standard platforms in which you can showcase your new breed. Like national kennel clubs, they are equipped with committee members as well as board directors alike. Dog breeders who choose to register with these non-profit committees have the opportunity to participate in dog shows in which annual trials are expected to give a breeder optimum preparation for sustaining their standardized breed foundation.