Breeding Different Breeds Together

booboo 10 wks looking away
Shiba Inu

Outcross breeding: The definition of outcross breeding is the mating an entity that is unrelated. In breeding dogs, outcrossing can be breeding within your breed to dogs that do NOT share pedigrees. There are close outcrosses and the furthest away outcrossing is one breed to another breed.

The style of breeding increases heterozygosity and creates new genetic combinations by bringing together genes from totally unrelated individuals. The further away from any direct descendants, the more hybrid vigor or the mixing of genes.

There are two primary reasons to make an outcross breeding.

1.) To introduce a trait that is absent or lacking.

2.) To dilute undesirable traits that are caused by homozygous recessive genes.

Many breeders frown on outcross breeding as it introduces unknown and sometimes undesirable traits into the bloodline which might take years of inbreeding to dilute.

Also with an outcross mating of dogs that are already the product of outcross breeding, there is little predictability and uniformity in the traits that one will see in the offspring. Within a litter of pups, you can see good pups, poor quality pups and everything in between.

One of the most effective ways I have seen an outcross breeding used by breeders is to select to breed to an  unrelated dog with a sound pedigree that possesses an outstanding quality that is absent or lacking in the breeders bloodline.

From the resulting offspring an individual is selected for the trait that the breeder is looking to introduce into his line.

That dog is then bred back into the original bloodline (linebred or inbred) fixing the new desirable trait into the original bloodline.

Once your foundation stock is on the right track, uniformity and predictability in the quality of the pups produced is the goal and the hallmark of a good breeder.

Outcross breeding is essential when a breeding program begins to show signs of inbreeding depression such as loss of vigor, disease resistance and infertility.

Many times breeders will have two basic inbred or linebred families of dogs or bloodlines within their kennel and will do outcross breeding between these two lines. The result will be dogs that are ‘better’ than the two original lines.

Geneticists speak of this as ‘hybrid vigor’. This type of breeding will produce animals that are better than each of the original lines.

On the downside, many breeders frown on the use of outcross breeding as it does introduce unknown and sometimes undesirable traits into the bloodline.

Also with an outcross mating of dogs that are already the product of outcross breeding, there is little predictability and uniformity in the traits that one will see in the offspring. Within a litter of pups, you can see good pups, poor quality pups and everything in between.

Once your foundation stock is on the right track, uniformity and predictability in the quality of the pups produced is the goal and the hallmark of a good breeder.

Breed to an  unrelated dog with a sound pedigree that possesses an outstanding quality that is absent or lacking in the breeders bloodline.

From the resulting offspring an individual is selected for the trait that the breeder is looking to introduce into his line.

That dog is then bred back into the original bloodline (linebred or inbred) fixing the new desirable trait into the original bloodline.

Breeding Up: Breeding the females on hand to a male of better quality is known as grading up. The best females in each generation are then kept and again bred to a top sire from an outstanding bloodline. This is one of the tried and true ways to improve the quality of a cattle herd and other livestock. This is also true of many dog breeders. Many breeders have started with a very average bitch from a good bloodline and have invested their money wisely in breeding to an outstanding champion stud. As their experience increases they have refined their selection process, retaining the best in each generation. Careful selection of the top studs have in many cases produced a foundation of brood stock that have gone on to develop into a quality bloodline. There have also been many examples of breeders going astray and developing bloodlines that have consistently produced average or inferior dogs because of loss of focus into the selection of quality brood stock or chasing after the latest fad in breeding style or individual dogs.

Selection of breeding stock, the pedigree analysis and the styles of breeding are all tools that a breeder can use to develop his bloodline of dogs. High standards, diligent pedigree research and honest evaluation of the dogs the breeder is producing are also essential to guide the breeder to a successful program. What might work for one breeder may or may not work for another. This is why breeding dogs is considered as much as an ‘art’ as it is a ‘science’. In the next issue of the Gazette, I will present a look into some breeding programs of some top breeders as examples to demonstrate the principals that have been outlined in my first two articles.