Shop pet related items

German Shepherd Dog > Planned Breeding by Lloyd C. Brackett (14 replies)

by bcrawford on 03 December 2012 - 19:12

Posts: 164
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 06:15 pm
In my quest to one day actually have a understanding about the topic I found a web version of a book named Planned Breeding written by Lloyd C. Brackett. I'm certain a lot of you already were aware to it and maybe you even can find fault with it but to a amateur like me it answered some questions but also made me have more.

Anyways - here is the link:

A few statements I found interesting:

Selection by pedigrees alone, without consideration being given to the physical traits of the mating pair, is the chief danger in this system of breeding. The writer can state in the following few words the most important counsel to those who would attempt linebreeding: Physical compensation is the foundation rock upon which all enduring worth must be built. A linebred pedigree is valuable or dangerous in exact proportion as the individuals have been selected. Linebreeding does not replace selection but, on the contrary, demands the most discriminating choosing within the line. If the breeder selects by pedigree, and without consideration to physical compensation, undoubtedly dogs with notable faults will result, and thus linebreeding will ensure failure quicker and more certainly than will any other known system of breeding.

The word “confined” is used advisedly for, after linebreeding has been practiced for a few generations, the end result is the development of what is in effect a pure breed — a breed within a breed, so to speak. When that has occurred, any attempt to introduce “cold” blood (that of unrelated dogs of other strains) is likely to result in the penalties of hybridization. The departure from linebreeding is a kind of “crossing” in a small degree, for when the blood of line bred animals becomes intensified they assume all the attributes of a distinct strain, which in truth they are, and they will likely behave as such for a long time.

In saying that linebred dogs tend to become like pure breeds, or strains within their breeds, and that their progeny from a union with unrelated animals are like hybrids, I do not mean that such breedings should never be made, or that the results would be like breeding into an entirely different breed of dogs. While in some strains of animals linebreeding and inbreeding have been intensified to a point where a herd or flock would be practically a breed of their own, I do not personally know of such a family in any breed of dogs today. However, there have been strains developed in some breeds to a point where their blood has become so dominant that it will not yield for several generations to any noticeable blending when outcrossed, the characteristics of the inbred or linebred parent always showing up. This is, of course, to be expected.

Fortunately there are in almost all breeds of dogs a very few fanciers intent upon consistently producing dogs superior to the average of the breed. Many of these know that the quickest and most certain way to do this is by linebreeding.


Of course there is more.. But I'm assuming this will give enough to talk about for a while.


by J Basler on 03 December 2012 - 22:12

Posts: 268
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 05:33 pm
Yea he has something called the Brackett formula for breeding. I wonder what Lloyd would think of a Bitch that comes into heat every three months.

by bcrawford on 03 December 2012 - 22:12

Posts: 164
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 06:15 pm
I thought GSD's were supposed to heat every six to eight months?

by EuroShepherd on 03 December 2012 - 23:12

Posts: 978
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 04:52 pm
bcrawford, what are your questions?  

I agree with Brackett's article.

not sure why a 3 month cycling bitch is brought up, other than referencing the other thread about the advertisement of such.   Females who cycle so frequently are almost always unable to get pregnant because the uterine walls are not thick enough to hold the eggs and build the support system needed for the puppies to grow. 

by J Basler on 04 December 2012 - 02:12

Posts: 268
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 05:33 pm
Their is more to it look up Brackett's Formula by Carmen L Battaglia.

by Rik on 04 December 2012 - 02:12

Posts: 2197
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 03:41 am
Breed the best to the best. Carmen preached (and was paid for doing so) his stick dogs for years. The only secret to breeding is to breed a good dog to a good female and sometimes you end up with a good offspring.


by Preston on 04 December 2012 - 05:12

Posts: 3020
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2003 04:19 am
Brackett's methods had a serious darkside to it.  Brackett's favorite saying was:  "I bury my mistakes" and there were plenty of them, far too many for the tolerance of most.  With his extensive close inbreeding, he had many, many mistakes.  He competed in the showring with many GSDs that all looked the same due to his intense inbreeding and closely linebred breeding program.  Because he considered GSD livestock only IMO, he culled ruthlessly and very, very frequently, many would view as running a puppy factory.  He had a few great dogs like Chimney Sweep, but in general his work did not endure and the valuable dogs of GSD breed today are based on West German and European bloodlines only (WL & SL) and not any American Shepherds.  Personally I view his practices as disgusting and prefer the best breeding practice to be one litter at a time with careful vetting for health in advance of both sire and dam.

Vetting the sire and dam or any puppy purchased is very expensive, thus few do it comprehensively and some that do basic vetting knowingly sell dogs or puppies with serious issues without telling the buyers. My recommendation of good vetting in sire, dam and puppies:  screening hip xrays in puppies and young dogs, diagnostic hip and elbow xrays in older GSDs (1+ year); barium swallow in puppies for mega-esophagus dx; thyroid test; TLI to screen for EPI (pancreatic exocrine insufficiency); basic blood chemistry test; stool sample analysis with flotation method; heart worm test with snap tests for anaplasmosis, lyme for adult GSDs; and complete vet exam.  This is the responsible thing to do and sets a baseline to drastically decrease the odds of heartbreaking issues in puppies. A reputable breeder will allow any buyer to have a puppy vetted if the buyer assumes the cost with the right of first refusal.  

Those who know the about the most successful breeding practices are the old German and European SV breed wardens who have access to what lines click and which selections are best. It is no coincidence they typically use 5-4, 4-5 or 5-5 breedings.  There is a reason as this pulls out the very best male traits at that location in the pedigree without breeding too close. Anything closer decreases health and vitality in most cases. If you want a male with  strong type, use the sire and dam with an ideal male at the 4 or 5 level, one per each side of the pedigree.  Since the bitch is probably responsible for at least 65% of the quality, acquire the best bitch you can, a known producing bitch or one from a known producing line of bitches.

by J Basler on 04 December 2012 - 06:12

Posts: 268
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 05:33 pm
It's all good information to practice.

by Ibrahim on 04 December 2012 - 18:12

Posts: 6547
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2008 12:39 pm
Excellent post Preston

by SitasMom on 04 December 2012 - 21:12

Posts: 7873
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2008 01:33 am

"My recommendation of good vetting in sire, dam and puppies: screening hip xrays in puppies and young dogs, diagnostic hip and elbow xrays in older GSDs (1+ year); barium swallow in puppies for mega-esophagus dx; thyroid test; TLI to screen for EPI (pancreatic exocrine insufficiency); basic blood chemistry test; stool sample analysis with flotation method; heart worm test with snap tests for anaplasmosis, lyme for adult GSDs; and complete vet exam"

Dnerative Myelopathy, LAD3, Mucopolysaccharidosis VII, Hyperuricosuria, Multi Drug Resistance (MDR1), Pituitary Dwarfism, Von Willebrands Type II are all DNA tests now.

Eye and Cardiac which can also be included in the vetting.

Every year more and more tests are available...


by Preston on 05 December 2012 - 05:12

Posts: 3020
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2003 04:19 am
Yes, SitasMom, very good point. There are some breeders that carefully vet all their dogs and puppies. Often they end up with superb working temperament and just good physical conformation (but not winning or excellent conformation), not extreme movers or having extreme curbside appeal, what I would call the golden middle or good looking GSDs, but GSDs that will not win in the SV showring often. 

My point is that there is often a price to pay for establishing correct working temperament, good health and robustness in one's lines. To me the most frustrating aspect of breeding is that even if a sire and dam are healthy and clean of defects, recessive traits can still be passed and activated in some of their puppies which decrease health and in some cases are very serious.  This is why repeat breeding from proven clicks are valuable.

Numerous good looking GSDs with proper working temperament have died suddenly in mid life from genetically based aortic arch stenosis which is very difficult to DX in puppies and young dogs. Only a very experienced vet or an EKG will identify these.  Use of an amplified stethoscope can be helpful.  There is far too much EPI, mega-esophagus, and hip and elbow dysplasia in the breed IMO. And elbows cannot be suitably DX'd until 9-12 months old, sometimes a bit later which is problematic.  Abnormal elbows or even mild DJD should probably not be bred at all IMO due to the much higher apparent heritability of these issues which include patchiness, pre-arthritic changes and un-united anconeal process.

Proper vetting of a puppy stateside typically costs between $550-$950 depending on what tests are done. This is expensive, but over the life of an acquired GSD can seem reasonable if it prevents buying a GSD with chronic health problems that are expensive to treat and heartbreaking.

Conclusion: when someone ends up with a healthy good looking GSD with great working temperament, one should celebrate that and feel exceedingly fortunate. Temperament and health must always be primary over any other considerations IMO.

by Hundmutter on 05 December 2012 - 09:12

Posts: 4347
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 08:43 pm
And another. Preston you are on hot form at the moment. !!!

by Blitzen on 05 December 2012 - 13:12

Posts: 12416
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2004 06:49 am
Welcome back, Preston.

by Preston on 06 December 2012 - 07:12

Posts: 3020
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2003 04:19 am
Sad part is almost everything I have learned about GSDs in the last 40+ years has been learned the hard way by making mistakes.  When I got started folks were not even X-raying hips or elbows. There was little help and little information available.  Oli's site and all the access to great information on the world wide web has certainly created a good situation for those that want to learn from others mistakes (because truthfully that is what it all comes down to).

A good friend of mine just recently bought part ownership is a top WL import female and has a litter of puppies from similar breeding.  He was into showing AKC American Shepherds until he spent time around some very great WL GSDs.  He was so impressed with their temperament, vitality and agility, that he is now into WL imports. Their conformation is not ideal, but he says their temperament is so impressive that he doesn't care if they can't win in the show ring. The older I have gotten the more important i value temperament and health before anything else.

by aaykay on 07 December 2012 - 14:12

Posts: 391
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:46 am
The older I have gotten the more important i value temperament and health before anything else

Very wise words....Temperament and health !  IMO, way more important that external beauty, as long as the overall structure is fully functional.  

I personally find the WL structures to be ideal and not a big fan of showline structures. 

You must be logged in to reply to posts

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!