边境牧羊犬繁殖 ·

顶级繁殖者教您如何挑选幼犬

繁殖者所要面对的最严峻的挑战之一就是如何正确评估您的幼犬——无论你从事繁殖多长时间,总会活到老,学到老。在第一部分中,一些顶级繁殖者与我们分享了他们在幼犬评估上的一些意见。接下来,我们将继续请其他繁殖者为我们提供一些相关的想法或建议。

区分组别
2008年AKC年度最佳繁殖者——来自俄勒冈州Joan Savage——在Stagedoor犬舍名下繁殖了60余只AKC冠军英国雪达犬。她的登陆冠军犬Ch. Stagedoor Rock It Man荣获2006及2007年美国国家展英国雪达犬协会颁发的最佳繁殖犬种,同时还赢得2007年在墨西哥举办的世界犬展BIS。Savage也是AKC的代表及裁判。
如同其他众多成功的繁殖者,Savage将每一只达到一定年龄的幼犬都进行“分组管理”。“我喜欢满8周的幼犬组别。当然,我观察它们在窝里互相触碰打闹。我对它们的相互堆挤动作用绘制表格和拍摄照片的方式进行记录,包括正面,侧面以及后面的静态角度。我可以在同一天用电子邮件的方式将这些图片发送给别人。此外,我也很关注它们的动态。”

如同其他经验丰富的繁殖者那样,随着时间的推移,Savage造就了一双“慧眼”,她能根据幼犬的特征迅速做出评判。Savage说:“我首先要观察的是幼犬在步态过程中的平衡能力,肌肉张力以及运动天赋。此外,我也注重头版,咬合力,背线以及竞技状态。要想培养出一只优秀的赛级犬,就必须配以良好的身体结构和头部轮廓。”

Savage从犬早期就开始研究它们的特质和个性。她说:“我注意观察它们在成长过程中与其他同伴间的互动。性格的呈现始于幼犬的第六周。而各自的社会等级则从它们嬉戏打闹中得以表现。英国雪达犬其中一些天性自信,而另一些则相对比较腼腆胆小。我喜欢挑选那些活泼外向的幼犬,来进行繁殖——赛级计划。”

对于Savage而言,某一些结构性的缺陷将导致一些原本优秀的幼犬失去参赛或进行繁殖的可能。“剪式咬合,八周龄时双睾应明显下垂。严重缺陷,包括幼犬体态不平衡,前驱或后驱薄弱,背线不理想,或者头版不佳(吻部不充分,平面有缺陷)这些都是不希望在赛场上出现的状态。我对于挑选那些要准备拿去打比赛的幼犬就便得非常挑剔。我只会原谅一点小小的失误。”

“如果一只幼犬在其八周龄时仍然缺乏平衡能力,那就永远得不到进展了。”她继续解释说。

“一般来说,它们的发展趋势就是从8周大的时候开始定型。当然,它们的成熟速率有所区别,但是,如果那个时候表现良好,那么待它们长大后也会变得很出色。”

罗得西亚背脊犬(幼犬)

8周:对于许多犬种而言一个“神奇的”年龄段
来自阿拉巴马州莫比尔的Sandra Fikes,是一名AKC裁判,长期繁殖罗得西亚背脊犬。她拥有形态及临场发挥两方面的竞争优势。许多冠军犬都出自Kalahari犬舍,其中包括Ch. Wetu of Kalahari(多犬种赛冠军,全场总冠军,并于2002年首度赢得西敏寺猎犬组冠军)。

如同Savage及其他许多有经验的繁殖者们一样,Fikes也发现8周龄对于一只幼犬的结构发育尤为关键,这不仅指某些具体的特性形成,同时也包括犬自身整体平衡性的情况。她发现,对大多数犬种来说,背线是可以预估的其中一个特性。她解释说:“从第八周到第十二周,背线呈现仍然较为准确,极有可能幼犬长大后也不会改变。如果在幼犬八周大的时候就发现背线出现缺陷,那么从某种角度上讲,该犬长大后仍然会保留原有的背线。“

此外,她还发现,在这个阶段评估一条犬的骨量也是可行的。她指出:“骨量由骨骼和肌肉两部分组成。如果腿部肌肉架构良好,即使骨骼呈椭圆形,整体构架看起来还是非常饱满。如果幼犬肌肉量太轻,则表示这该幼犬长大后会显纤细。”

Fikes认为在犬8周大时所需观察的另一些结构的方面还包括:头版,后背,尾部,前躯结构情况以及胸深。

她说:“我喜欢那些胸深良好,并恰好处于前躯正中的位置的犬。站立静态及步态运动时,肘部应包住肋骨。这就要求肩部与上臂的角度恰到好处,且后仰良好。在我繁殖的犬之中,8个星期大的幼犬如果胸深到位,那么长大后亦会如此。随着它们发育成长,在一些犬系中,胸深会随着年龄而有所增加,但是肋骨仍然维持原状。”

寻求最佳平衡点
在关注某一些特殊部位的优点和缺点时,不能与整体的比例与平衡性相脱节。“对于一只八周的幼犬而言,比例也是它长大是否能成为一条优秀成犬的表现之一。”Filkes说:“一条平衡性不错都幼犬长大后也必定不错。正所谓种瓜得瓜,种豆得豆。”

但是,究竟怎样才能算是平衡能力好呢?Fikes是这么进行描述的,“如果你在观察一只幼犬时(无论是静态情况或是运动情况下),它身体没有一部分是凸显于其他部分的。你可以仔细观察幼犬,看看能不能根据这条法则来挑选。”

“我想要那些幼犬在受到外界吸引时,站姿呈四方形,保持平衡。”她继续说,“这就是为什么你必须站在它们的边上——才能近距离观察它们正常放松时的状态,并比较探究它们每一只最自然的站姿。”

在AKC裁判Pat Hastings所写的《Tricks of the Trade》一书中,她细致地描述了许多幼犬评估的技巧。书中还提供了一些建议——以幼犬之谜DVD及研讨会的形式展开——反映出她身为杜宾繁殖者和职业指导手在此课题上的深入研究。她给予我们以下有关幼犬平衡评估的几点提示:

“将幼犬尽可能自然地集中在一起。请记住,8周大幼犬的外观就是它长成成犬后的模样。”

“根据犬种的标准,查看幼犬的比例情况。换句话说,就是查看身高与身长的比较,胸深与腿长的比较。请确保你是根据权重标准进行测量,因为有些标准是允许出现身长大于身高,或者允许背线向下倾斜,等等。”

“幼犬随意地挤在一起时,你可以进行整体的观察。对大多数犬种而言,要掌握三线准则:”

1.       可见一条完整的背线。头部——颌以及其他——都应该在这条线之上。

2.       可见前躯垂直于地面的一条线。整个幼犬的头部及颈部应处于该直线的顶部。

3.       可见从臀部点到地面的铅垂线。铅垂线应收于脚趾尖。

“不断实践,使这些线能清楚地浮现在脑际……很快,这些线会在你评估幼犬时用到。一旦这么做,你就能立刻在脑海中出现整体的轮廓,并迅速发现结构上的缺陷,比如颈部偏短,前躯或后躯位置有偏差。”

一项持续性的教育计划
有关幼犬的问题我们已经探讨了数周。当看着它们在院子里调皮地嬉戏打滚的时候,可能你已经对其中的一两条犬寄予了厚望。以下是要做出的艰难的抉择:我应该在这几个月中训练哪一只?下周应该把哪一只幼犬送到宠物级家庭?又应该将哪一只送到专业训练敏捷性的家庭?没有预知未来的水晶球,就会出现太多的不确定因素——然而,有了持续的研究、观察以及繁殖导师的协助,你对幼犬可能的发展趋势的预估能力将有助于提高每一窝幼犬的品质。

作者简介:Arliss Paddock繁殖并展示英国可卡犬,曾担任AKC公报总编辑。

原文摘自犬展年鉴

Evaluating Your Litter:
Tips and Insights from Top Breeders (Part Two)

By Arliss Paddock
Learning how to evaluate your puppies is one of a breeder’s most daunting challenges—and no matter how long you’ve been breeding, there’s always more to learn. In Part One, several top breeders shared their comments on puppy evaluation. Following, we continue as more breeders offer their thoughts and advice on this important topic.
Grading the Litter
2008 AKC Breeder of the Year Joan Savage, of Banks, Oregon, has bred more than 60 AKC champion English Setters under the Stagedoor kennel name. Her Ch. Stagedoor Rock It Man was Best of Breed at the English Setter Association of America’s national specialty in 2006 and 2007, and he won Best in Show at the 2007 World Show held in Mexico. Savage is also an AKC Delegate and judge.
As do many successful breeders, Savage “grades” each litter when they’ve reached a certain age. “I like to officially grade the pups at 8 weeks. Of course, I watch them interact and move in their pen before that. I do table stacking and take digital photos, including stacked shots of the head straight on, side view, and rear. I can easily e-mail the photos to others on the same day. I also watch them move.”
Like many skilled breeders, over time Savage has developed an “eye” that allows her to quickly assess each puppy in terms of specific important qualities. “The first thing that strikes me is the puppy’s balance, muscle tone, and athleticism,” says Savage. “I also look for good head planes, good bite, topline, and attitude. A good show dog and breeding prospect has to have the attitude to go along with the good body and head.”
Savage observes each puppy’s temperament and personality from early on. “I watch the pups interact with each other as they grow,” she says. “Personalities start to show at 6 weeks. The pecking order starts to become evident as they play and tussle with each other. English Setters generally have great temperaments, and extreme dominance isn’t an issue. Some are more sure of themselves, and others can be timid. I like the outgoing, confident pups for my breeding-showing program.”
For Savage, certain structural flaws quickly eliminate a puppy from consideration as a show or breeding prospect. “The bite has to be scissors, and both testicles must have dropped by 8 weeks. Serious flaws include a pup that is not balanced, is weak in the front or rear, has a bad topline, or has a weak head (lacking sufficient muzzle or having bad planes). These are not show prospects. I am pretty picky about which ones I determine to be show prospects. I would be slightly forgiving of a mismark (a body patch).”
“If a pup is lacking in balance at 8 weeks, it will not improve,” she continues.
“Generally they grow into what they were at 8 weeks. Of course, they mature at different rates, but if they were nice at that age, they will mature nicely.”
Rhodesian Ridgeback pups. Courtesy Sandra Fikes.
8 Weeks: A “Magic” Age for Many Breeds
Sandra Fikes, of Mobile, Alabama, is an AKC judge and longtime breeder of Rhodesian Ridgebacks. She competes with the breed in both conformation and performance events. The many champions bearing her Kalahari kennel name include Ch. Wetu of Kalahari, winner of multiple specialties and Bests in Show and first in the Hound Group at Westminster Kennel Club in 2002.
Like Savage and many other experienced breeders, Fikes has found 8 weeks to be a key age at which to assess a puppy’s structure, both in terms of specific traits and overall balance. She has learned that topline is one of the traits that can be reliably predicted at this point for most dogs. “From 8 to 12 weeks,” she says, “toplines remain fairly true and probably represent what the dog will have as an adult. Topline faults that are apparent at 8 weeks will persist in the adult to some degree.”
She finds that substance, too, can be assessed quite reliably at this age. “Substance is made up in both bone and muscling,” she notes. “Good muscling on the inside of the leg will give a rounded look to the leg, even though the bone is oval. Too light a muscling is an indicator that the puppy may be too refined as an adult.”
Other structural aspects that Fikes evaluates at 8 weeks include head, rear, tail-set, front assembly, and depth of chest.
“I like to see a good width of chest and fill between the front legs,” she says. “The elbows should hug the ribbing when standing and moving. This requires adequate angulation between the shoulder and upper arm, as well as a good layback. In my dogs, puppies at 8 weeks have the depth of chest they will have as adults. As they grow, they may get a bit shallow as teenagers, but it does come back to what they had at evaluation. In some lines, the chest may drop as the dog matures, but the ribbing should remain about the same.”
Finding the Right Balance
Attention to the strengths or weaknesses of specific areas must not distract from the important consideration of overall proportion and balance. “Proportion in an 8-week-old pup is a good indicator of what it will be as an adult,” notes Fikes. “A balanced puppy will become a balanced adult. A square puppy will be a square dog.”
But what, exactly, is meant by balance? As Fikes describes it, “If you look at a puppy, whether it is standing still or moving, no one part of its body stands out from the other parts. Just let your eye settle on the pup, and see if something jumps out at you.
“I like to see a puppy that stands four-square in a balanced position when it is attentive to something,” she continues. “This is why you should sit with them in the yard-so that you can watch them in normal, relaxed surroundings, and observe each one’s natural stance.”
In her book Tricks of the Trade, AKC judge Pat Hastings describes many puppy-evaluation techniques in detail. Advice offered in the book—also shared through her Puppy Puzzle DVD and seminars—reflects her extensive research on the subject and years of experience (with her late husband) as a Doberman Pinscher breeder and professional handler. She provides the following tips on assessing balance in the puppy:
“Stack [the puppy] in as natural a position as possible. Remember, the shape of the puppy at 8 weeks is the shape it will grow into as an adult.
“Check the puppy’s proportions, in accordance with your breed standard. In other words, check the height in relation to the length, and the depth of the body in relation to the height of the leg. Make sure you are following your breed standard, as some standards require the dog to be longer than it is tall, to have a sloping topline, and so forth.
“With the puppy comfortably stacked, look at the whole picture. Learn to look for correct balance by visualizing three simple lines that apply to most breeds:
1.       Visualize a line along the entire topline. The head—jaw and all—should be above that line.
2.       Visualize a line up the front legs, perpendicular to the ground. The entire head and neck of the puppy should be in front of that line.
3.       Visualize dropping a plumb line from the point of the buttocks to the ground. The plumb line should land at the tips of the toes.
“Practice these visualizations … Pretty soon, these lines will come easily to your mind’s eye when evaluating puppies. Once they do, you will be able to look at the whole picture and immediately detect such significant structural weaknesses as a short neck or poorly placed front or rear assembly.”
A Continuing Education
You’ve hovered over the litter for weeks. As you watch them dash and tumble happily in the yard, you may already have high hopes for one or two of them. There are tough choices to be made: Should I run this one on for a few months? Which one should go to that good pet home next week? Which for the agility home? Without a crystal ball at your disposal, there’s much uncertainty involved-but with ongoing study, observation, and the help of breed mentors, your sense for how those pups are likely to turn out will continue to improve with each litter.
Arliss Paddock breeds and shows English Cocker Spaniels and is former managing editor of the AKC Gazette

参与评论