- We have researched our dog’s pedigrees for health. In our own lines, we know the health several generations back in our original breeding pairs. When we purchase an unrelated dog, we look into the health of that line before introducing it to our program.
- We are aware of the health benefits of outcrossing bloodlines. For this reason, we purposely choose our breeding dogs for the characteristics we want in our dogs, bringing in those characteristics from several different bloodlines. For example, we have dogs from West Germany, Czechoslovakia, Ukraine, East Germany and so on. We intentionally do not have any dogs from American show lines. Our own bloodlines which are in their fourth and fifth generations are the result of the careful weeding out of undesirable traits and building on positive traits, such that we now have dogs most consistent with our goals.
- We continually work to keep in touch with puppy families so that we can be aware if a genetic health issue arises.
The dog has an incredibly adaptive gene pool which is why we have so many different types of dogs from the Great Dane to the Chihuahua. It is important therefore, to realize that every breeding program has its goals. What those goals are will influence the puppies kept back and the dogs purchased to improve the liklihood of achieving those goals.
For example, if a breeder’s goal is to have the experience of puppies for her children or for the mother dog, then that is all that is likely to be accomplished, the experience of birth and more dogs. If the goal is strictly to win in the show ring, then the dogs over time will manifest whatever physical extremes are called for in the breed standard, often at the expense of health and temperament. This link to the BBC special on the dangers of purebred dogs painfully illustrates this.
At Candle Hill Shepherds, our goal is to produce a healthy, balanced dog, for work and companionship. We value temperament above all, with the understanding that even the best temperament is not of much value without good health and sound structure. This means that the dog must not only be mentally capable but also physically capable of doing the most that a dog can do from jumping to twisting and turning such as is required for sheep herding or Agility.
In 2014, we found a new product which appears to be significant in improving litter size, better health in the dam after whelping, improved coat, and overall improvement in well being. The product is NuVet. For more information or to place an order click here.