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Using Pedigree Analysis In Developing A Bloodline

By February 9, 2017Breeding


Using Pedigree Analysis In Developing A Bloodline

By Amy Greenwood Burford

In the last two issues, of the APBT Gazette, I have addressed the question, “How do I become a breeder and start developing a bloodline”; one of the most frequently asked questions at the ADBA office. The first article, Establishing A Bloodline, in the Spring 2007 issue, discussed developing a breeding plan.  This included, establishing criteria for the selection of breeding stock, encompassing breed character of the APBT, health, soundness and conformation correct to the ADBA standard.   Evaluation of the offspring produced and utilization of the resources in the bulldog community was also covered in this article.

In the May 2007 issue of the Gazette, the article, Breeding Styles and Developing A Bloodline, provided information about the selection of brood stock and pedigree analysis.  The article also discussed the numerous breeding styles that a breeder can utilize in their breeding program i.e., inbreeding, linebreeding and outcross breeding and the benefits and limitations of each. Breeding styles have a scientific basis, as the study of genetics is based on statistics and probability, but becoming an outstanding breeder is more than just science. It is a combination of science, art and a wee bit of luck.  Becoming a breeder who consistently produces top quality APBTs  requires the dedication of long term study and commitment to acquiring the knowledge to know the foundation dogs in your dog’s pedigrees and figuring out how best to breed the stud dog or brood bitch, to produce the highest quality offspring .

Many times I receive phone calls from fanciers that have acquired a dog, without papers they have fallen in love with because of all the right reasons.   The fancier wishes to have the dog registered as ‘foundation stock’ so they can breed this dog and establish their bloodline based on this amazing dog.  I have to tell them, as gently as I can, that this is NOT a policy of the registry as we do not start lines. The policy of the ADBA is based on their commitment to the breed for the long term.   The only way that responsible breeders can guarantee quality of the breed for the future is to know the pedigrees of the dogs that they breed, as many dogs produce the characteristics of their parents and grandparents, much more than themselves.  Without knowing the parentage behind a dog, it is a crap shoot as to know what type of puppies that dog will produce.  I know that we cannot base the future of our breed upon a crapshoot!

Many years ago, when I was in my teens, I had the opportunity to spend a week during summer break with Howard Heinzl and his wife, in Arizona. It was a great learning opportunity for me as I was able to follow him around as he cared for his dogs.  Each afternoon, when the temperature would peak over 105 degrees, Howard would retreat to his air conditioned back porch and his desk.  Howard also raised thoroughbred racing horses, and each afternoon at his desk he would poor over dog pedigrees and the racing magazines.  He was most interested in analyzing each pedigree of the top thoroughbreds to understand the breeding style used in the breeding of each outstanding horse featured in the magazine.  He would point out, to me the pros and cons of each pedigree as he went over them.  He also had a journal, where he would write down the current and future breeding plans that he had for his dogs, as he utilized the information that he learned by studying the pedigrees of these top racing thoroughbreds.

Howard Heinzl was truly a breeder, which we can hold up as an example to aspire to.  His knowledge of breeding principals and his commitment to the dogs was legendary. Not only did he know a lot about how to produce top quality dogs over his fifty years as a breeder, he also invested a great deal of time, money and knowledge in providing the finest care and nutrition for the dogs in his kennel. He was a pen pal to many top dog men of the day, and relied upon many of them to give him an honest evaluation on the dogs coming from his kennel.  He prided himself on his integrity and the honesty of the pedigrees from his kennel.   I would like to take a look at the pedigree of one of Howard’s favorite stud dogs, Heinzl’s Clancy.  Clancy was a big boned, light red and white dog whelped in January of 1954, out of Heinzl’s Dutchess by Tudor’s Dibo.  Clancy was one of Howard’s prominent studs and produced outstanding dogs for him.

Heinzl’s Clancy was the product of a first cousin to first cousin breeding. (linebreeding)  His paternal grand dam Heinzl’s Bambi, and his maternal grand dam Heinzl’s Patsy are sisters.  In addition, Clancy’s dam, Heinzl’s Dutchess is the product of an uncle to niece breeding (linebred) from a sire who is also linebred (half brother to sister breeding) with the common sire being Hubbard’s Gimp.  Gimp appears once in the third generation, twice in the forth generation, and four times in the fifth generation.  The total influence of Hubbard’s Gimp in Clancy’s pedigree (and thus gene pool) is 37%.   The breeding styles that Howard used in the breeding of Clancy were first cousin to first cousin in the first generation, uncle to niece in the second generation and half brother to half sister in the third generation. These are all examples of linebreeding. Linebreeding is a breeding style that is used by breeders to concentrate the positive traits of a prominent stud, brood bitch or family of dogs into the resulting offspring, while at the same time, retaining the variability in the gene pool.

Floyd Boudreaux, a breeder of quality APBT for the better part of the last 50 years, is also an example to aspire to.   The contribution that dogs from his kennel have made in the gene pool of numerous bloodlines and outstanding kennels is worth noting.

Let’s take a look at the pedigree of one of his excellent stud dogs Boudreaux’ Maverick.

Maverick was produced by using a bitch who was the result of a half brother to sister breeding, with Walling’s Bullyson as the common sire, bred back to a stud who’s grandfather is also Bullyson. (a first cousin).  This half brother to half sister breeding, bred back to a first cousin would be defined as linebreeding. This style of linebreeding was done to preserve the traits of the outstanding stud dog Bullyson by selecting quality offspring from three of his litters out of three different bitches. The influence of Bullyson in Maverick’s pedigree is 3/8 or 38%.  By utilizing this style of linebreeding, Mr. Boudreaux was fixing the traits of Bullyson in the gene pool of the resulting litter, while at the same time retaining variability in the gene pool. Variability is good as it counteracts the potential detrimental effects of doubling up on bad genes that is sometimes seen as a consequence of inbreeding. It is interesting to note that Walling’s Bullyson was 100% from the breeding program of Floyd Boudreaux out of Boudreaux’ Spook by Boudreaux’ Eli.

My husband and I were fortunate to purchase the dog Sorrells’ CH/ACE Hurt in the early 80s.  This dog was bred by Bert Sorrells, from Marana, Arizona and sold as a pup to a fancier in California.  The fancier was down on his luck due to a split with his wife and needed some fast cash, so we jumped at the chance to buy this young dog. At the time we were unsure of his pedigree, but bought this dog based solely on the reputation of the breeder.  We knew that any dog directly from Bert Sorrells’ breeding program had to be quality bred.  After learning that Hurt had never been fully paid for and the paperwork was still in the hands of the breeder, we contacted Mr. Sorrells and made an agreement to send him two pups out of Hurt’s first litter for the paperwork. Once we received the registration papers, we were delighted to learn that Hurt was the product of a half brother to half sister breeding with the common sire, Sorrells’ Bull.  Bull was a stud, that Mr. Sorrells had purchased from the yard of David Koehler and was the product of a father to daughter breeding from Klaus’ Zeke.  My Father had a brother to Bull, Koehler’s Comino that he had used for breeding so we knew the quality of the bloodline. We were confident that Hurt would be able to produce his own quality into his litters, as he was the result of a linebreeding from a prominent sire who was inbred from an outstanding bloodline. Both linebreeding and inbreeding increases homozygosity (gene pairs being the same) in the dog’s genetic pool.  Brood stock with a homozygous gene pool will pass the genes for their positive or negative traits 100% of the time to their offspring.  Further research into Hurt’s pedigree revealed that Klaus’ Zeke was the product of an outcross breeding between Fitzwater’s Goldie, a stud from Howard Heinzl’s breeding and Bates’ Susie, a female from Carver breeding. As Zeke was the result of an outcross breeding, there was plenty of variability within his gene pool to counteract breeding depression that sometimes occurs with extensive inbreeding and linebreeding.

Hurt was a dog typical of the Sorrells bloodline, with lots of athletic ability, an eagerness to please and a never give up attitude.  Hurt went on to earn titles of excellence in conformation showing and weight pulling events with the American Dog Breeders Association, as well as produce outstanding offspring  from a number of different bitches.  One of his pups, Burford’s Hearns was sold into Australia as a young pup.   Many of Australia and New Zealand’s outstanding APBTs today have Hearns as a part of their pedigree.

A discussion of prominent studs and use of a pedigree analysis can not be complete without the example of Maloney’s Davis.  This dog was bred by Don Maloney from Mustang Oklahoma and purchased by my father, Ralph Greenwood in the early 70’s as a stud dog.  Don Maloney had been a protégée of Earl Tudor at an early age, and regarded Earl as the biggest influence in his career with the dogs.  Don was so fond of Earl, that he named his first son after Earl.  Many of the foundation dogs in Maloney’s breeding program were dogs from Earl Tudor’s kennel. I believe that Earl Tudor needs no introduction to Gazette readers, as he is considered by many as one of the founding fathers in modern American Pit Bull Terrier history.

A look at the pedigree of Maloney’s Davis, reveals that he is the product of an uncle to niece breeding (linebreeding) from offspring from the breeding of Tudor’s Spike to Carver’s Black Widow.  Maloney’s Toot and Howard’s Rose were littermates.  In addition, the ¼ out in Davis’ pedigree, Howard’s Tobe, was the product of a half brother to half sister breeding from the common sire, Tudor’s Dibo.  Tudor’s Dibo was also the sire to Tudor’s Spike, so the influence of Dibo in the pedigree (and gene pool) of Maloney’s Davis is 44%. It is no wonder, that the use of Maloney’s Davis in my father’s breeding program was tremendously successful, based on the quality of the individual dogs in his pedigree and the linebreeding style of breeding that produced him.

I am hoping that by looking at the pedigree analysis of these prominent stud dogs of the past, readers will begin to understand and be able to utilize some of the principles of breeding that I have presented in the latest issues of the Gazette. For novice fanciers that are interested in becoming breeders and would like to know more about their dog’s bloodline, the ADBA is now offering pedigree analysis on all ADBA registered dogs.