Champion Bloodline Dogs
June 13, 2019
Any dog lover or breeder is bound to have heard the term ‘Champion Sired’ or champion bloodline dogs bound around, but plenty of dog lovers often don’t stop to ask what this means.
We’ve created an article which tells you all that you need to know about champion bloodline dogs. As there are over 340 dog breeds in the world with 192 breeds which are recognised by the AKC, it would be an impossible task to go into each breed individually, but with this information you’ll be armed with all the information you need to consider buying champion bloodline dogs, breeding champion bloodline dogs, or showing your champion bloodline dogs in a pedigree competition.
What is a Champion Bloodline Dog?
This is the question you need the answer to if you are looking for a pure breed or a pedigree puppy. It isn’t just a term which breeders band around in order to increase the cost of the puppy, and if someone is claiming that their puppies are champion bloodline dogs, they will need the evidence to back this up – never take a breeder’s word for it!
Truth is, if you’re a little confused on the definition of a champion bloodline dog, you are definitely not alone. Canine ancestry and pure breeding can be an incredibly confusing topic. Yet, understanding bloodline breeds is a crucial factor when it comes to choosing a new pup, even more so if you are considering breeding dogs yourselves.
The shortest answer to the question of ‘what is a champion bloodline’ is it is the story of their genetics!
But we’ll cover the question in more detail in the 5 points below.
- It’s All in the Family!
Just like us, a dog is heavily affected by their lineage, it will have plenty of traits in common with its recent ancestors. A dog’s parents, grandparents, and so on will be directly responsible for a dog’s genetics. You’ll be able to get plenty of information on a dog just by finding out about its bloodline such as the risk of genetic disease, and what the pup will be like when they grow up. Interestingly enough, a dog’s bloodline can even tell you what the dog’s temperament will be like when they are fully grown.
If you adopt a pure breed dog which has been bred by a responsible breeder, that breeder will have kept records on the dog’s ancestral history which goes back several generations – especially if they are claiming that the dog is a champion bloodline dog.
Checking your dog’s ancestral history will also be able to give you a good indicator on whether your dog is likely to win shows – if their ancestors won shows, it is likely that the pup will be just what the judges are looking for with your pup too!
- Champion Bloodline Dogs Don’t Just Make Themselves
Even though there may be dog breeders who try to pass off dog breeds as pure breeds, this doesn’t happen in a happy accident. Instead, breeders must be incredibly careful and selective which dogs they breed with if they have any hope of creating a champion bloodline dogs.
Any good dog breeder is constantly aware of the dangers of breeding genetically faulty pups, it is in the best interest of the future pups to ensure that every breeding mate for your dogs indicates that it is healthy and will come with a great temperament. It may slip some breeder’s minds that if a pup is sired by an aggressive or nervous parent, this can be passed down to the puppy! Any responsible breeder will reel at the thought of creating a dog who will never become fully socialised or happy.
So, in summary, show winning looks aren’t everything when it comes to champion bloodline dogs – you won’t want to enter your dog into many shows if it wants to eat everything in sight! Bloodlines can often reveal hidden issues which may not become apparent in one or two generations of pups, but if you study a bloodline thoroughly you will start to notice patterns.
- Everyone Wants A Healthy Champion
When champion bloodline dogs are bred, the breeders will need to do much, much more than simply look for the most visually pleasing dog to breed with their bitch. It is the duty of a responsible champion bloodline breeder to scrutinise the history of several generations of the bloodline as they scout for potential health issues. Breeders may be able to get a decent amount of money by breeding purebred dogs which look pretty, but breeders selling genetically faulty pups will quickly lose any credibility they have gained.
Bloodline history can point out evident genetic defects and even potential health concerns along with behaviour problems. There are so many genetic defects which can affect a dog’s health, there’s no telling what the bloodline will tell you about the puppy.
So, even if you fall in love with a dog which a breeder claims are a champion bloodline dog but is reluctant or refuses to share any information with you, don’t be afraid to walk away. Taking home an animal, which has a high risk of getting sick unknowingly can easily bring heartbreak and devastation into your home. And that isn’t even accounting for the cost of their treatment – even if you have pet insurance, you can be sure that you will cost a pretty penny.
- Find a Puppy with Plenty of Personality
If you’re not overly fussed about what your dog looks like, and it is the dog’s personality which you are most concerned about, then bloodlines can also tell you a fair amount about how your puppy will grow up and fit into your family home!
All good dog breeders will want to make sure that the puppies which they pass on are a good fit for the families they let them go to avoid them ending up in shelters or the wrong hands in later life. While a dog’s behaviour will always be equal parts nature and nurture, if you make sure that your puppy’s emotional and physical needs are well tended to, there is a strong chance that they will turn out as well-balanced as their parents and grandparents and so on.
Before you choose any dog, you will need to scrutinise your own life. How much time would you be able to give to your dog? Do you want a dog to chill out with? Do you want an attentive dog or an aloof one? Are you looking for a guard dog or a complacent companion?
A good champion bloodline breeder will be able to highlight the traits of the puppies which they have bred to give you a good idea of what they will be like to bring home.
- Will Your Pup Be a Winner?
If dog showing is in your blood and you want to make sure that you get the best specimen of the breed, the bloodline will be able to confirm this. Hopefully, you’ll get to see pictures of the ancestors of the champion bloodline dog, as well as having a full account of all the shows which the previous 5 generations of dogs have had before them.
How is a Champion Bloodline Started?
Now we know that champion bloodlines are essentially just dogs with a great ancestry when it comes to showing, health, and behaviour, it’s time to answer the slightly trickier question of ‘how is a champion bloodline started?’
No doubt people will be keen on the prospect of founding their very own champion bloodline breed, however, there is definitely no easy answer to this question, and there is definitely no easy way of going about it.
We’ve put together a basic 101 on champion bloodline dog creation, but it is by no means a comprehensive step by step guide.
Breeders can have one of two motivations when it comes to Champion Bloodlines; either they will want to preserve characteristics of the breed and maintain the quality of a bloodline, or, they will want to introduce brand-new characteristics into the bloodline.
At this point, you’ll need to note the distinction between what it means to be a breeder and simply being responsible for making a litter of dogs happen. That’s not to say excellent show dogs haven’t been created by the latter. However, a true breeder will always have the ultimate goal of developing or refining characteristics for the love of a breed.
Becoming a bloodline breeder comes with massive responsibility, it isn’t just the notoriety of having your name associated with a new line breed. You’ll need to draw up a lengthy breeding plan which will involve identifying characteristics in line with the breed standards. You’ll also need an encyclopaedic knowledge of genetic health issues of each breed, that’s all before you start selecting the breeding mates. This will take a keen eye when looking out for the dogs possessing the traits which you are looking for. The process of educating yourself on champion bloodline dogs will take years before good breeders even start the actual process of creating pups. It is certainly not the ideal job for an introvert either. To be a successful champion line breeder, you’ll need to do plenty of networking and socialising to make sure that you get all of the information that you possibly can about a breed.
Of course, creating your own bloodline will always involve using champion bloodline dogs from someone else’s bloodline. You’ll need to ensure that none of the dogs which you use to create your own bloodline has had any role in inbreeding. Inbreeding in dogs can lead to catastrophic consequences, and it will lead to an uncertain litter given that two of the dogs will be possessing the same genes.
Champion bloodline breeding definitely isn’t a get rich quick scheme, you will need to ensure that you have plenty of resources available to you before you even start to contemplate it. You’ll need time, money, and plenty of space to make the endeavour a success. While you may not need a massive kennel facility, what you will need is space to comfortably house at least two to three female dogs – and that is when you are starting out. Remember, you’ll also need a space in which you are able to socialise and monitor the pups. Naturally, the larger the scale of your breeding career, the more space you will need to properly run your breeding programme. But remember, champion linebreeding doesn’t mean that you will be creating a puppy farm, it is possible for you to be a success and only breed your bitches occasionally.
If you need one final reminder of your responsibility as a line breeder, remember Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Animals need to adapt to nature to survive, but with human intervention, we become that definition of nature! It is up to each breeder to ensure that only the strong are bred.
That’s not to say that the ‘weak’ pure breeds are not perfectly fine and loveable dogs. It simply means that they don’t stand much of a chance in becoming a show dog – they will still make for the perfect pet. Just make sure that all dogs which you deem to have weak genetics or undesirable traits are neutered so they can’t make offspring of their own. However, it is unrealistic to expect any dog breeder to make such cut and dry decisions about their dogs – they are still loveable animals at the end of the day. This leads to breeders becoming ‘kennel blind’ and keeping the dogs with the weak genetics around.
There’s already a lot to think about here, but next, we will touch upon the basics of breeding styles and breeding stock.
How to Choose the Best Breeding Stock for Champion Bloodline Dogs
This is an incredibly brief outline of all you’ll need to know before making the steps to choosing your dogs. Plenty more information and research will be required before you start bringing dogs home.
Step 1 – Choose a brood bitch and stud dog which offer outstanding traits which you would like to see in the litter. Fining breeding mates with similar characteristics is often the key to recreating them. Most responsible breeders should already be aware of the fact that it is never a good idea to breed two dogs who possess the same faults.
Step 2 – Analyse the pedigree of both parents. The history of a pedigree can act as a complete genetic profile of a dog – there is often no limit to the amount of information which can be gained from the profile of a dog. This information can be accessed from the dog’s breeder – as we said before if the breeder is unwilling to hand over the information, simply walk away! Once you have this information on the pedigree compare the information to that what you find in reputable websites and in magazines. You’ll want to consider things such as weight, height, coat colour, temperament, gait and plenty of other factors. It may be like going down a wormhole of information, but it will more than pay off.
Step 3 – Decide which style of breeding will be most beneficial. Do you want to preserve traits, or introduce new ones? If it is the former, you may want to opt for linebreeding or inbreeding to increase the homozygosity of the dog’s genes. This essentially just means that the gene pairs will be the same and 100% of the litter will have the same genes of the two parents. A truly valuable brood bitch or a stud dog will always be able to predictably pass on their traits to their litter. This is also referred to as being ‘prepotent’.
The Different Styles of Champion Bloodline Dog Breeding
Inbreeding involves breeding two very closely related dogs which could be a brother to sister, father to daughter, son to mother, half-brother to half-sister, or even grandson to granddaughter. Inbreeding is a way of preserving traits and the gene pool. Remember that in every generation of dogs, each parent only passes on half their DNA, the rest of the DNA will be made up of the previous generations. It is not uncommon to see pups which were created in half-sister and half-brother breeding pairs with plenty of success, but you will need to consider how inbred the stud or the bitch is already, if there are any faults in their bloodline, and the most important question of all which you will need to ask is what are you hoping for from the matching?
This process is the breeding of the dogs from the same bloodline or family, but they are not closely related such as aunt to nephew or cousin to niece. Linebreeding acts as a nice compromise between outcross breeding – which we will cover shortly and inbreeding, it is the best way to preserve traits within the litter, but at the same time, you can also try to introduce variability into the gene pool. This variability can mean that there’s less of a risk of doubling up on bad genes which can happen as a result of inbreeding.
- Outcross Breeding
This process involves breeding unrelated pure breed dogs which belong to the same breed. Breeders who opt for this style of breeding will be able to introduce totally new genes to a breed. There are two reasons why this can be beneficial. The first being the fact that breeders will have the opportunity to introduce a trait into a breed which it has been noticeably lacking in the past. Alternatively, outcross breeders may want to try to reduce the undesirable traits which have occurred as a result of inbreeding or linebreeding. Outcross breeding is essential for a breed when it starts to show early signs of repetitive genetic problems, this can be anything from a lack of energy to infertility to disease resistance. It is not uncommon for dogs who have been outcross bred to go on to be incredibly successful show dogs or top athletes – or even go on to found their own bloodlines. However, it is not always a recipe for guaranteed success. Also, there is absolutely no guarantee of what you will see in the litter with outbreeding, it could literally be a mixed bag!
The AKC on Champion Bloodline Dogs
The AKC take the process of champion bloodline breeding very seriously. We’ve outlined everything that the AKC expect from champion bloodline dog breeders below.
- Breeders should understand the risk – tragedies happen, and breeders will need to be prepared for them. Whatever should happen to a litter, it is the breeder’s responsibility to make sure they are cared for. Orphaned litters and mothers with no milk happen.
- Breeders should understand the burden of keeping the kennels clean, training puppies, feeding the puppies and grooming them. All of the puppy’s vet bills will be the breeder's responsibility. Breeders will also need to pay out for genetic screening tests. Breeders will also need to give each pup the devotion and love which they expect their future owners to give them.
- The AKC strongly recommend that if you’re in America that both parents of the dogs should be AKC registered and always choose breeding partners which compliment your current breeding stock’s weaknesses.
- Always draw up a contract between stud dog owners before you start the process of mating and make sure that pre-breeding health care checks have been carried out. You’ll need to ensure both parents are in peak physical and mental condition which includes having a good muscle mass and not be overweight.
- Never breed with female dogs younger than 8 months or older than 12, and never breed with a male dog less than 7 months old or more than 12 years old.
- Ensure that proper nutrition is provided for pregnant bitches – your vet will be able to recommend the best diet for your dog, and your bitch’s diet should increase up to 50% gradually.
- Start the weaning process at the age of two to four weeks and introduce all dietary changes slowly.
- Find the best home using all of the knowledge which you have gained on the breed – encourage the puppies new owners to register with the AKC too.
- Provide ongoing support to your puppy’s new families – being a champion dog line breeder really is an ongoing commitment.
To Sum Up
Hopefully, after reading this article, breeders will respect how much time, knowledge, and dedication it will take to become a successful champion bloodline dog breeder. It will not happen overnight, or with one litter of pups. Instead, champion linebreeding for breeders is the act of helping a dog breed. Whether you do that by preserving traits within a breed or introducing new traits to allow the breed to become healthier and stronger, linebreeding always comes with an aim, and the interest of that aim should never be self-invested.
Alternatively, we also hope that this article has shed plenty of light on what it means for a dog to come from a champion bloodline. It is no guarantee that you will end up with a pup who brings home all the prizes. Yet, it is a good way of making sure that there is a minimal risk when it comes to your dog developing potentially life-threatening genetic conditions.