Sunday, September 9, 2012

Breeding Boston Terriers for Color and Markings

The system adopted in our kennels some years ago to obtain seal brindles with correct markings and the desirable luster and reddish sheen to the coat is as follows:

We take a rich red, or light mahogany bitch, with perfect markings, that comes from a family noted for the brilliancy of their color, and without white in the pedigrees for a number of generations, and mate her always to a dark seal brindle dog with an ancestry back of him noted for the same color. The pups from these matings will come practically seventy-five per cent. medium seal brindles. We now take the females that approximate the nearest in shade to their mother, and mate them to a dark seal brindle dog always. The bitches that are the result of this union are always bred to a dark seal brindle dog. The females that come from the last union are bred to a medium seal brindle dog, but now comes the time to introduce a mahogany brindle dog as a sire next time, for if these last bitches were mated to a seal brindle dog a large per cent. of the pups would come too dark or even black. This system is used indefinitely and desirable seal brindles with white markings can thus be always obtained. To the best of my recollection we have had but one black dog in twenty years. We have demonstrated, we trust, so that all may understand how golden, mahogany, and seal brindles are obtained, and how they may be bred for all time without losing the brindle so essential, and we now pass on to the consideration of a far harder problem, the obtaining of the rich seal brindles from all undesirable colors, and we present to all interested in this important, and practically unknown and misunderstood, problem the result of a number of years extended and scientific experiments which, we confess, were disheartening and unproductive for a long time, but which ultimately resulted in success, the following rules to be observed, known as “The St. Botolph Color Chart.”

In presenting this we are fully aware that as far as we know this is the only scientific system evolved up to date, also that there are a number of breeders of the American dog who maintain that this is an absolute impossibility, that breeding for color is as absurd as it is impractical, but we can assure these honest doubters that we have blazed a trail, and all they now have to do is simply to follow instructions and success will crown their efforts.

We will enumerate the following colors in the order of their resistance, so to speak:

No. 1. White. This color, theoretically a combination of red, green and violet will be found the hardest to eliminate, as the shade desired will have to be worked in, so to speak, and it will take several generations before a seal brindle with perfect markings that can be depended upon to always reproduce itself can be obtained. Starting with a white bitch (always remember that the shades desired must be possessed by the dog), we breed her always to a golden brindle dog. The bitches (those most resembling the sire in color being selected) from these two are mated to a dark mahogany brindle dog, and the females from this last union are mated to a dark seal brindle dog. It will readily be observed that we have bred into the white color, golden, mahogany and seal brindle and this admixture of color will give practically over ninety per cent. of desirable brindles. Always see that the sires used are perfectly marked, from ancestry possessing the same correct markings. This is absolutely imperative, where the stock to be improved is worked upon is white.

No. 2. Black. This color is the opposite of white, inasmuch as there is an excess of pigment, which in this case will have to be worked out. Breed the black bitch to a red brindle dog (with the same conditions regarding his ancestry). The females from these matings bred always to a dark mahogany brindle dog. The females from the last matings breed to a medium seal brindle dog with a very glossy coat, and the result of these last matings will be good seal brindles. If any bitches should occasionally come black, breed always to a golden brindle dog. No other shade will do the trick.

No. 3. Gray brindle. This is practically a dead color, but easy to work out. Breed first to a golden brindle dog. The females from this union breed to a rich mahogany brindle, and the bitches from this last litter breed to a seal brindle dog.

No. 4. Buckskin. Breed bitch to golden brindle dog; the females from this union to a red brindle dog (if unobtainable, use mahogany brindle dog, but this is not so effective), and the females from last union breed to a seal brindle dog.

No. 5. Liver. This is a great deal like the last, but a little harder to manipulate. Breed first to a golden brindle dog. The females from this union breed to a seal brindle. The bitches from this union breed to mahogany brindle dog with black bars running through the coat, and the females from last mating breed to seal brindles.

No. 6. Mouse color. Use same process as for gray brindles.

No. 7. Yellow. A very undesirable shade, but easy to eliminate. Breed to mahogany brindle dog as dark as can be obtained, and bitches from this mating breed to a seal brindle dog.

No. 8. Steel and tiger brindles I class together, as the process is the same and results are easy. Breed first to a red brindle dog; bitches from this union to a dark mahogany brindle, and then use seal brindle dog on bitch from last mating.

No. 9. Red brindle. No skill is required here. Breed first to mahogany brindles, and bitches from this union to seal brindles.

We have now enumerated practically all the less desirable shades, but let me observe in passing, in the process of color breeding that the law of atavism, or “throwing back,” often asserts itself, and we shall see colors belonging to a far-off ancestry occasionally presenting themselves in all these matings. Once in a while a dog will be found that no matter what color bitches he may be mated with, he will mark a certain number of the litter with the peculiar color or markings of some remote ancestor. Just a case apropos of this will suffice. We used in our kennels a dog of perfect markings, coming from an immediate ancestry of perfectly marked dogs, and mated him with quite a number of absolutely perfectly marked bitches that we had bred for a great number of years that had before that had perfectly marked pups, and every bitch, no matter how bred, had over fifty per cent. of white headed pups. We saw the pups in other places sired by this dog, no matter where bred, similarly marked. We found his grandmother was a white headed dog, and this dog inherited this feature in his blood, and passed it on to posterity. The minute a stud dog, perfect in himself, is prepotent to impress upon his offspring a defect in his ancestry, discard him at once. I have often been amused to see how frequently this law of atavism is either misunderstood or ignored. Only recently I have seen a number of letters in a leading dog magazine, in which several people who apparently ought to know better, were accusing litters of bulldog pups as being of impure blood because there were one or two black pups amongst them. They must, of course, have been conversant with the fact that bulldogs years ago frequently came of that color, and failed to reason that in consequence of this, pups of that shade are liable once in a while to occur. It is always a safe rule in color breeding to discard as a stud a dog, no matter how brilliant his coat may be, who persistently sires pups whose colors are indistinct and run together, as it were.

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