Join Date: Oct 2008
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Thanked 6,956 Times in 2,785 Posts
I'm copying my response from the other thread, since this is the more active one:
Oversimplifying the CoE is the mistake people are making here.
The difference between a BYB breeding a young dog and an experienced breeder doing it isn't the emperor's clothes: it's the risk factors. Clearances are all about reducing risk, right? When a dog comes from a huge, excellent clearance history and shows good joints early, it's a teeny chance that he'll turn out to have failing joints by 24 months. As I've said a few times, a litter produced by a younger sire wouldn't be for me. I need to see rock solid clearances on the breeding dogs, not prelims.
But a wide and deep clearance history in the ancestry is actually more predictive of the ability to produce healthy dogs than the clearances on the breeding pair itself. Personally, I want both, but the bare minimum for an ethical, low-risk breeding isn't a black and white issue.
So I really see the math as pretty different when somebody experienced breeds a young stud out of a wide, deep history of passing clearances and when a BYB breeds a young stud without that clearance history because he happens to be at hand and intact.
Lumping a respected breeder in with BYBs because they didn't conform to one aspect of the CoE is a mistake. The issue isn't black and white, so black and white thinking doesn't cut it.
Where do you draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable risk in a litter? For me, there are at least two lines. The first is where I draw my personal comfort line. That's pretty darn high. I want an established stud dog. In fact, one that's 24 months old is going to make me uncomfortable. Because of PU and early cancers, I want to see a stud dog make it to 6 or 8 if possible before I'll feel really good about the litter. The older, the better, because you can see final health outcomes all cross the vertical pedigree. How long did they all live? What cancers came up? How many late CERFs are there?
It's not realistic to expect the dam herself to be on the older side, but I want to see allllll the information possible there too.
But the basic line of an ethical breeding isn't as high as that. The CoE helps you define it, but if you don't understand the purpose of each item in the CoE, you'll miss the forest for the trees. When you're talking about breeding age of boys, you're talking about having them be old enough to be sure they can pass heart, CERF, hip, and joint clearances. CERF and heart can be done at a year, so it's really hip and joint clearances we're talking about when we're talking about a boy's breeding age.
If you use the letter of the CoE, it draws the line at a sire and dam who have their 12 month heart clearance, and 24 month hip and elbow clearances, with a CERF done in the last year. It says nothing about vertical pedigrees or even grandparents. The risk of a cleared sire and dam is about half the risk of uncleared dogs. So that's our baseline, right?
So how risky is a boy at 12 months with preliminary clearances and a long history of passing hips and elbows behind him? That breeding doesn't pass the letter of the CoE, but it's probably a much better risk than two 24-month cleared dogs with no history.
Neither breeding is for me, but I'd pick a 12 month old sire with a long history of clearances over a litter with just parents cleared at 24 months, hands down. It's simply the less risky.
So when you get the urge to cast stones, remember what the CoE is for. It's not for lumping respected people in with BYBs by holding them to the letter of the thing instead of the intent of it.
Added note: I'm not defending any particular breeder here. I'm just pointing out that if the CoE is about reducing the risk of health issues, you can break some of the rules in it and still produce litters less risky than one that technically follows it. Enough breaches, though, and your risk is no better than that of a BYB. I too have felt severely let down when I've found out on several occasions that people I regarded as highly ethical and successful turned out to be producing risky litters in pursuit of the potential for one magical competition dog. And I've felt REALLY let down when I've learned about famous dogs whose owners have hidden negative health information, information that would help other breeders reduce the incidence of terrible diseases.