The Moonglade Breeding Philosophy
The following is our breeding practice in a nutshell. It is purely a statement of our opinions, based on our personal experiences and observations combined with scientific evidence, and is not necessarily intended as advice for our puppy buyers or beginner exhibitors/breeders.
1. We have zero tolerance for
inbreeding of any kind. This means ALL incestuous matings, including half
brother-sister and grandfather-granddaughter, are off-limits, on the basis that
it is unnecessary and potentially detrimental to the health of the breed
as a whole. Instead we aim for assortative matings, that is, choosing an
unrelated dog and bitch who share most of the characteristics we desire and
putting them together, ie mating "like with like." This is the method favoured
by geneticists for preserving type without compromising fertility or the immune
system. (See Dr Susan Thorpe-Vargas, "Genetics and Breeding Strategies: Essays
for the Dog Breeder.")
2. We are not prepared to compromise on type or soundness. We have sold many a sound puppy as a pet because it lacks a correct head and many a perfect-headed puppy because it lacks soundness or a correct bite. What does not come through strongly in our breeding programme we introduce through importing the best examples we can find. Our high degree of selectiveness comes at a price, as we are frequently faced with making heart-wrenching decisions and there have been times when we would have had to step out of the showing and breeding world altogether had we not been given other people's dogs to campaign. However we are proud to have set a high standard for ourselves and stayed true to it through thick and thin.
3. The brood bitch contributes as many genes to her puppies as the stud dog. We do not believe in keeping mediocre bitches behind the scenes "just for breeding" as they are likely to pass on any undesirable characteristics to their offspring. We like our brood bitches to be greater than or equal to the stud dogs in quality - bigger, perhaps, and preferably self-whelping - but with just as much potential for show ring success.
4. Pet puppies are sold at a minimum age of 12 weeks. This is so that we can ensure they receive all three vaccinations and are able to learn as much as possible from our adult dogs before going to their new homes. Show quality puppies stay with us until at least six months of age to enable us to be sure of their suitability and give them some preliminary training during the critical "Baby Puppy" stage of their show career.
5. We do not breed for "temperament". Behavioural problems such as aggression, reluctance to walk on a lead or fears and phobias are acquired during a dog's lifetime as a direct result of the influence of their environment, particularly in the first six months of life. Genetics simply provides a blueprint for the development of the temperament; it does not allow the inheritance of so-called "inborn" behavioural problems. What we do breed for is energy level - not physical energy but mental, ie the degree of dominant/submissive tendency, tendency towards courage and self-confidence and the level of aptitude for challenges and working situations. Since chihuahuas are described as "courageous, extremely lively, proud and enterprising... bold and saucy, strong willed and intensely loyal," we favour high-energy dogs. (For more on this topic, see Cesar Millan's books and "The Dog Whisperer" TV series and DVDs.)
6. We breed to the FCI chihuahua breed standard, even though it is not currently adopted by NZKC, because it is far more precise, health-conscious and detailed than the New Zealand standard. We feel that the NZKC standard is rather brief and does not emphasise the importance of construction, dentition and key characteristics that define a chihuahua as a chihuahua. You can download and view the FCI standard here.
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