In our breeding program, we incorporate linebreeding extensively, utilizing world-class Collies to maintain our breed type, established over many generations. We outcross when necessary to bring specific breed virtues into our program. From our observation, the highest quality Collies typically result within two to three generations of an outcross into a linebred family. We are ever mindful and observant of bloodline nicks, both in our own breeding program and others. There are many interesting bloodline crosses we wish we could make, but understand we should not due to the incongruency between families. We generally avoid close or continued inbreeding that is common in some breeding programs to ensure our bloodline’s vitality, size, and substance. However, we also understand its value in the astute breeder’s toolkit as a method to set desired breed type and virtues into a bloodline. It is the master breeder who knows the right lever to pull and when – to not only maintain type, quality, and health, but also to improve them. We breed not only for breed preservation but also advancement.
Of equal importance in our breeding philosophy is selection – powered by breed knowledge to identify world-class individuals from other quality prospects, the understanding of different growth patterns, and the foresight to select the individuals that will move a breeding program forward. In many instances, our “pick of the litter” may not be the one expected to achieve the greatest show ring success.
Perhaps most important is a crystallized mental image of the ideal Collie. It is a crucial element necessary to achieve a supreme level of quality. Without that north star toward where the bloodline is directed, it is easy to be swayed by breed-type drift or fads that are currently winning in the show ring. Even simple things like the puppy with the big white collar or the “look-at-me” showmanship can be tempting. Breeder intuition is critical if the bloodline is to achieve and maintain greatness.
The development of an objective eye for one’s own dogs is paramount. Being able to critically evaluate your own dogs, recognize their virtues, but also to identify their faults or areas of needed improvement is crucial. The best breeders can set aside emotions, dreams, or the “perfect plan” to objectively evaluate every puppy, show prospect, and dog they select to incorporate into their breeding program.
“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”Winston Churchill