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Would you share your thoughts on the success of breeding brother/sister, father/daughter, and mother/son?
By Ralph Gillum, BraceBeagling Columnist
November 15, 2002

Would you share your thoughts on the success of breeding brother/sister, father/daughter, and mother/son? I once was told that the latter did not work. Iíve line bred with some success but have never inbred. Iíd appreciate your thoughts and experiences on inbreeding. Steve Zubyk

Authorities usually consider any breeding of first cousins and closer to be inbreeding. Over the past several years, I have looked over the pedigrees of the dogs advertised in Hounds and Hunting to see what type matings resulted in the advertised field champions. I found that most of these males were the result of some degree of either line breeding or inbreeding. The majority of their pedigrees included crosses to aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and half brother/half sister. A few showed crosses to father/daughter, even fewer full brother/sister and fewer still mother/son.

Inbreeding, usually close inbreeding, is practiced in every field of genetics. Inbreeding is done to preserve and magnify the traits of an outstanding individual so the good can be kept and the bad culled. Out crossing is used in order to develop the outstanding individual while line or family breeding is used to standardize your strain and keep it a recognizable type. I think one reason we brace beaglers do less close inbreeding is because we usually own just a few brood bitches. Also, with the smaller sized litters and sometimes weaker and more defective pups that can result, we just canít afford to cull out the surviving pups that have undesirable traits. We need to have something to run, to compete with and to breed. So, we usually stay away from trying to hit a home run by close inbreeding and try to improve our dogs by the less risky forms of inbreeding and by line or family breeding.

In deciding whether or not to make such matings, I like to keep in mind that I am not only going to concentrate the traits of the individual being inbred upon, but that the individualís physical, mental, and running traits are going to also be magnified. I ask myself the following questions in deciding whether to make these types of matings. First, do I have an individual that is free of any serious physical faults or defects? Does it have a high level of fertility, health and vigor? Is it an excellent mother if a bitch or an excellent breeder if a male? Next, is the individual a flawless performer in the field with no marginal running traits that would be a problem if they were just a bit worse? Then, how sure am I that the individual does not have any negative recessives that they carry in their genetic make up but do not exhibit? And last, does it have an excellent personality and kennel manners?

I believe that the somewhat better success of the full brother/sister mating vs. the father/daughter and mother/son mating, is the result of pulling genetically more or less equally from both parents. This results in a greater diversity of genes and therefore should result in fewer defects as well as less concentration of any faults in the pups. Therefore you should have more pups from which to select your keepers.

When doing father/daughter or mother/son, you are concentrating the genetic material of the sire or dam bred back to instead of blending an equal combination of both parents. These matings, along with severe culling, have been used by breeders to develop livestock breeds by fixing the traits of the foundation sire or dam. Also, a few brace beaglers have used these matings, especially father/daughter, successfully. It has a good chance of working when the parent bred back to is of outstanding genetic quality. However, if there are any physical or mental defects or any undesirable running traits that are being carried, you will pay the price!

You indicate that you have heard that the mother/son mating does not work. Genetically speaking, there is no reason for there to be any difference in that type mating vs. father/daughter as both draw equally from both parents. If both are of equal quality, the only possible way it would be better to breed back to the father rather than the mother would be if some of the running traits are the result of sex- linked genes. I have never seen any research to indicate that this is the case. Perhaps the fact that the pups do draw equally from both parents is the key. If you stop to think about it, most sires are the better thought of field champion males. On the other hand, many of the bitches bred are of ďbrood bitchĒ quality. These matings are often made with the hope that the male will cover her weaknesses or that she is carrying some recessive genes that will come through in the pups. If a good male pup does result from such a mating, it is going to carry half of his inferior motherís genetic make up. If the son is then bred back to his mother, you have then concentrated three fourths of her genetic make up in the pups. With her genetic influence being intensified as a result of the inbreeding, you can see where this cross would get a bad reputation real fast!

I can not recall ever making a father/daughter or mother/son mating although I have considered it a number of times. I have made three brother/sister matings. I bred Fd. Ch. Gillumís Canadian Ace to his litter sister Gillumís Misty. This mating resulted in Fd. Ch. Gillumís Canadian Keeper and Fd. Ch. Silverbrook Big Boy. Keeper was not a dominant producer but did produce Breeders Hall of Fame Gillumís Courtyard Annie (pro 6), who is back of all my present dogs. I also bred Fd. Ch. Gillumís Canadian Ice to his litter sister Gillumís Canadian Crystal twice. The first mating produced a field winning bitch that has not carried on. The second mating produced Gillumís Canadian Ladybug who has produced Nr. Fd. Ch. Canadian Kit Kat and Nr. Fd. Ch. Gillumís Courtyard Oh Henry. Both of these are young, quality hounds that should finish. Even though these matings worked for me, so far I have limited myself to these three matings. The bottom line for me has been that I was never sure that any of my other dogs or any of the sires to whom I bred were outstanding enough in all respects to justify the risk in inbreeding that closely.

I have had the most success by breeding within my family of dogs. I find that the more I get the genetic code set in my family, the less close up inbreeding is necessary in order to maintain the line. I prefer to breed to the best available males that have at least one half or more family blood. If two outstanding littermates came along, I would probably try another brother/sister mating. If there is one outstanding individual, I line breed on that individual in an attempt to move the program forward by concentrating their good genes. When this no longer works, I do the less intense family breeding until another outstanding individual worthy of line breeding on is developed. Of all the possible inbreeding crosses, the half brother/half sister cross works best for me. I am convinced that this is the best cross for producing both excellent performers and producers.


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