C2R strives to improve the Beagle breed as a whole, and this requires investigation into the breeding of show quality Beagles as well as field dogs. Because C2R likes a faster dog that can get a rabbit around to the gun as fast as possible while still staying true to line, we had to start with the best bloodlines we could find when we started, and we tried many different trialing formats and dog shows.
Now we are into our 2nd generation puppies 4 years later and are finding that through proper nutrition and training we can create superior champion rabbit dogs. The techniques to breed quality dogs are simple, really:
- Start with a quality brood bitch, spend as much money as you can afford on her. Look for body structure and conformation – this bitch will set the “type” (look) in your bloodlines. Make sure she can run a rabbit the way you like as well – big nose, mouth, speed, and super wicked hunt. Have her lab tested for health issues – we like Embarkvet.com.
- Similar to a brood bitch- buy the best you can afford. Look for desire – the stud must have a wicked desire to hunt. Most studs do not pass on “type” – it is a rare find to have a male that passes on type. Your stud should be tested for health issues as well.
- Of course, both male and female need to be in optimal health, vaccinated, with a brucellosis test before breeding. Properly wormed, free of disease, super nutrition – everything that goes into the stud and brood bitch gets passed on to the pups.
- As far as outcrossing/inbreeding: Each parent has two sets of genes (with many pairs of them) – each giving 1 gene in each pair to its offspring. This is true of good qualities, bad qualities, and health issues. So be careful with inbreeding. It is documented that after a 10% coefficient of inbreeding (this would be breeding 1st cousins to 1st cousins), hardiness deteriorates, bone gets thinner and weaker, and health issues may arise. So you want to save inbreeding for two dogs that you are absolutely sure you want all of their traits passed on. Starting with an good outcross (or adding a good outcross along the way) can increase the vigor and health of your ongoing bloodline and keep it healthy.
- After you get the resulting litter, keep track of what is produced – what traits the pups have and how they perform. These records will help you in the future make better breeding decisions.
- Keep as many of the offspring as you can and keep track of those you can’t. Puppies change dramatically in the first year and their hunting abilities change as they grow. We have seen pups that do great at 4 months, some that don’t start until 1 year, and we have seen those same pups really hone their skills around 3-4 years of age. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!
- If you are breeding, plan to be a breeder for the long haul – it takes 20 generations to create type, hunt, health and ability. C2R is only on generation 1 after 4 years! Basically, it takes your lifetime! Good luck!