Why Sallson breed puppies with Registered Pedigrees

Many people ask us why we breed papered puppies and most times those who take our puppies home have no desire to show their dogs or breed them and so they feel papers are not needed. Some people who want to purchase a pet pup are happy to go to a breeder who does not breed papered dogs and those who want a good working dog are concerned that a registered pedigree implies the dog has been selected for its looks rather than its working ability.

At Sallson we believe that even though some people can live with any dog of any breed that most families are best advised to choose a breed which is predictable in how it will need to be managed in order for it to be best suited to the owner’s lifestyle. It is for this reason we breed Purebred puppies. So why papers? At Sallson we use the pedigree papers to provide us with knowledge of the dog and its  ancestry and if used correctly there is no tool which is more valuable to the selection of breeding dogs if the required information needed for this is entered onto the pedigree and the knowledge is able to be utilised. Usually with Australian National Kennel Club and other traditional registry pedigrees the only information included on these pedigrees is a record of the name, registration number and which dogs have attained an ANKC recognised Championship.

That will tell us how many of the dogs ancestors were judged to be good examples of how the breed should look according to conformation judges but it doesn’t tell us what the ancestors did – whether they worked, what they worked with or if they lived as pets, whether they went well at obedience, agility or worked as assistance dogs etc. Nor does it tell us whether there have been any health or temperament issues which a breeder needs to be aware of which may impact on whether they choose a certain dog or another for breeding.

Traditionally breeders have relied on word of mouth and knowledge of their own dogs and bloodlines to make these decisions which has had various problematic issues. Breeders don’t always tell others about problems they may have seen in their dogs and this is not information which is easily able to be obtained because it isn’t recorded on the traditional pedigree system and those following on behind can’t hope to make informed decisions which will impact on health and temperament. In order for the pedigree system to work for breeders and enable them to make the very best decisions for their dogs now and for future generations the more information of this type we can gather to add into our knowledge base and use and pass on for other breeders the better hope we have of keeping our dogs healthy and happy.

To do this we ensure all information is recorded even if it appears trivial at the time and we encourage our owners to keep us updated on the daily adventures and events for their dogs. This enables us to record this information into the family tree and it may make a difference to how we select future breeding partners. We record health, work and temperament notes onto the Master Dog Breeders and Associates pedigree registry system to enable breeders who come behind us to have as much knowledge as possible on the bloodlines and ancestry they are breeding. So we breed MDBA papered puppies to be able to use science to breed our puppies rather than just luck and we like to know without any doubt who is your puppy’s mother and father, aunties, uncles, brothers, sisters and grandparents so we are able to use as much information as possible to make the best decisions in our breeding programs.

Why we take how the dog looks and the breed standard into consideration. The Maremma as a breed is over 2000 years old and it has been selected and bred specifically for the work it has been expected to do. Everything within the standard has taken into account what will be required physically to allow the dog to be as agile as a cat, have ideal vision, hearing, and speed and coat type to be able to cope in hot or cold weather. A great working dog won’t be so easy to maintain and can’t do an ideal job if it is lacking pigment around its eyes and nose for example as it is easily sunburned and flies and insects bite the lighter areas more. Slight deviations from the ideal in angles and ratios of the shoulders, hips and top line prevent optimal movement and stamina. Ears or eyes which are the wrong shape mean that its expression isn’t as friendly and impacts its ability to bond and work with its humans and animals. Too long or too tall and it isn’t as easily camouflaged in a paddock with a flock of sheep and too small means it is less capable of protecting its family from predators. The show ring is not always the best place to gauge this and historically working breeds have two different looks and abilities depending on what they have been selected for. If we are to ensure the Maremma doesn’t go the same way those selecting
working ability and those selecting for the show ring need to take into account what the dog is expected to do.

A trend toward breeding dogs which trot rather than lope because they look better running around a show ring or dogs which are chosen for looks and not working ability will change not only how the dog looks but how capable it is to be able to do its job.

At Sallson we select primarily for health and working ability but we also understand that it is important to respect and select for the breed standard as a part of that selection process to enable future generations to work as well and to be as easy and predictable to live with as the ones it has taken 2000 years to develop. Now and then our working dogs come out of the paddock on weekends and have a turn in the conformation show ring and we have bred our share of champion Beagles and Maremma. It is good to know that our breeding program is producing fit, healthy well temperamented dogs which are more than capable of doing the job they are expected to do and the occasional conformation champion is a nice bonus to enable us to see we have it all working to plan.