SELECTING THE FIELD TRIAL STUD DOG IN THE NINETIES

THE COST OF IGNORANCE

A half decade ago the cost of ignorance in breeding bird dogs was addressed in The American Field. At the time the economy was booming, and concerns on costs were probably not timely. It is said that we are now in a recession; perhaps concerns over costs are now more timely. In breeding bird dogs expenses can be lowered by becoming informed.

In this booklet information will be presented that should reduce the cost of breeding and lead to the improvement of the breed. As background, a couple of examples of how costly not being informed can be will be given.

An out-of-state caller once bemoaned the dollars spent on training bills of dogs - without significant results. Further inquiry into the breeding of his dogs revealed that he used only "the best" -the three sires dominating his bloodlines having, in combination, produced well over three hundred winners and close to a couple of dozen champions. On this point he was informed; on the fact that the three dogs in combination had sired close to several thousand pups he was uninformed. There's an old saying that if you throw enough mud on a wall, some of it will stick ( or in bird-dog lore, breed to a mediocre stud enough times and you will probably get winners and maybe a champion or two). What is "enough" separates the grain from the chaff. The chaff may require hundreds of breedings whereas the grain may require only a few.

On another evening a caller related that he had purchased three pups from a major circuit professional trainer. They were littermates. When asked what I thought, I commented that I had not noticed many of the sire's progeny winning. He replied that the trainer said that the sire (eventually selected for the Hall-of-Fame) had not been bred very much. If that individual had been informed he would have known that at that time the sire had already had 144 pups registered. He hadn't been bred much? None of the pups were successful in field trials. Not being informed is costly.

One of the more insidious costs of ignorance, after ignoring the more objective ways of deciding what stud to use, is the common practice of giving puppies away. This takes many forms. In one familiar scenario the individual breeds any old bitch to any old sire (frequently the individual's own dog or a friend's dog). The pups won't sell. Frequently the individual knows that they won't sell and doesn't even advertise them in The American Field. Many experienced field trialers won't even buy pups because it has been their experience that this seldom works out (most pups that they purchased didn't turn out to be good field trial dogs). They figure that it is more economical to purchase an older proven dog or one that demonstrates field trial potential. The hole in this argument is that they have never purchased a well bred (change that to best bred) pup. The expression "best bred" means that the sires on the top and bottom line are the best in terms of the criteria spelled out later in this booklet, and the dams are shooting dog or all-age winners themselves and also have good production records. In the extremely rare instance when, perhaps, they did purchase a best bred pup perhaps even that didn't work out. Here their ignorance statistical sampling comes through. The odds against any pup becoming an outstanding field trial performer are high. The fact is that when one has a best bred pup the odds are not quite as high as they are with other pups. It could be that 30 out of a 100 run of the mill bred pups might make it, whereas 40 out of a hundred best bred pups might make it. Those ignorant of sampling might not realize that they are likely to get "loser" in any case, but the odds of continually getting losers are more against them if they don't get best bred pups.

Back yard breeders themselves take on another shade of the above. Instead of utilizing the best studs and the best bitches in order to increase the probability of producing good ones they utilize the "freebies." When they don't sell they give them away with the following message to the recipient. If it turns out to be too much of a dog for foot hunting, and it has the potential to be a field trial dog that they will buy it back! This practice is one of the worst ever in terms of the main objective of field trials - to improve the breed. Of course they will get some good ones this way - but how many sorry ones are produced along the way? "Throw enough feces against the wall and some of it will stick" seems to be the philosophy here. These sorry ones are increasing the population and competing with more ethical breeders who are trying to improve the breed by breeding only the best to the best and are trying to sell the pups rather than give them away. Ignorance costs everyone. Hopefully those engaged in these practices will read and understand what is in this booklet.

Most lists of major pointer bloodlines would include the Builder's Risk, Elhew, Endurance, Fiddler, Flush, Gunsmoke, Rebel, Red Water Rex, Spaceglider, and White Knight lines. Perhaps some would add others. Both the foundation sires of those bloodlines and some of their descendents have been major contributors to the pointer breed. Yet, even among these greats, some were far superior producers to others - to the magnitude of the best being as much as ten times more likely to produce a winner than some of the others. Ignoring that information has been very costly in terms of money and time. "More likely" means just that; we are dealing with likelihoods or chances. i.e., probabilities - not certainties. That is what genetics is all about. The only certainty is uncertainty. Hall-of-Famer Jack Harper has stated that 75% of breeding is luck, and he said that we should try to make the best of the 25% that is not luck. Ignoring that 25% has been very costly to many.

When you make the decision to breed your bitch how do you decide which stud dog to use? Frequently bird dog people breed their bitches to a particular dog solely on the basis that "they like him." What a costly waste of bitch power!

Your breeding decisions should be fact-driven. Relying on the statements in stud dog ads such as "the best I've owned," "ask anyone who owns one," "the judges said," "a leading trainer said" are indicators of the kennel blindness of those who use anecdotes, old wive's (good ole boy) tales rather than the the recorded facts. Such are the testimonials of those kennel blind individuals who own second rate stud dogs. Such testimonials may be honest quotes, but they are not valid indicators of quality such as some indicators that we will be examining in future editions of this column. They are statements of desperation of those whose dogs don't measure up. It is not at all unusual for such individuals to go through dozens of dogs that are poorly bred and finally come up with a top-notch one. As stated above - throw enough mud on a wall and some of it will stick. They finally come up with a good one by chance or luck. Some of these top-notch ones might even have good sires, but their dam line often has holes large enough to drive a Mack truck through. Good sires seldom come from this pool.

Just what is it that we should look for in a stud dog? A number of factors seem relevent. Some are: (1) his natural abilities, (2) his breeding, (3) his productivity record, which should include both the traits of his progeny and the field trial performance records of his progeny, and (4) his field trial record. They have been listed in order of importance (most important first). A logical argument might be made for switching (2) and (3). Owners of good bitches not considering all four of the criteria have probably cost the breed a great deal. The first two are closely related. It makes no sense,in breeding for certain qualities, to select an individual from a bloodline that characteristically doesn't have the quality, nor does it make sense to breed to a dog that doesn't show the trait although it is characteristic of the bloodline. The collection of traits called natural abilities is the most subjective of the four criteria. Criteria two through four are more objective and a matter of record. Yet, for example on criterion three, it is too infrequent that a stud is selected that has the best production record of any available dog. With the thousands spent to develop and campaign a good bitch it would seem logical to get all the available facts and breed to only the best sire available.

After considering these factors you might come up with several possible candidates, and it becomes difficult to make a final decision. You must then decide which of the dogs is most likely to produce a winner. The best answer to this question is factual information about the dogs' stud records -not the opinions of trainers, breeders, field trialers, etc. It was to that end, i.e. making factual information available, that the Pointer Breeders' Almanac (PBA) was first published over a decade ago (editions were also published in 1985 and 1990). That publication presented the production records of stud dogs and their alleged performance traits. The production records incuded the frequency of breeding as suggested by the various types of wins by the offspring of the dogs. The performance traits were a synthesis of comments about the dogs in major circuit field trial reports. The PBA is out of print; in this booket some of the data from the PBA will be summarized. Data from old PBA's will also be updated.

SELECTION OF THE STUD DOG: HIS FIELD TRIAL RECORD

One of the criteria listed for the selection of a stud dog is his field trial record. In terms of a dog's field trial record it would seem to make sense to use the criteria used for the selection of dogs listed in the Pointer Breeders' Almanac. Data in the original edition of that document (1980) included only the top open all-age major circuit dogs. The reason for that was simply to keep the lid on Pandora's box, which would be open if all pointers were included. It would not have been possible to "track" all males that were registered.

The reason for confining the data to all-age was an elementary tenet of modern genetics (i. e. Galton's law of filial regression). Those who continually use champion shooting dogs as studs demonstrate a lack of comprehension of the principle of regression if they are trying to produce field trial dogs. Such individuals are referred to any good biology book to address themselves to this subject. The top open all-age major circuit dogs certainly give us a starting point to create a pool of possible sires. "Major circuit" has different connotations to different people. "Major circuit" in the context of this booklet means those trials which attract representatives of the best strings of dogs in the country (best according to the record). To qualify as "major circuit" under this definition a stake would not be called major circuit unless two or three of the following strings were represented; Solid Brass and his kennel-mates, Black Crude and his kennel-mates, Bisco Big Jack and his kennel-mates, Barshoe Brute and his kennel-mates, Barshoe Vintage and her kennel mates, and Dunn's Fearless Bud and his kennel mates. Needless to say, a stake might be major circuit one year and not major circuit another year according to this definition. Some trials that fall into this category (some, but not all, years major circuit) are the Tarheel Open All-Age Stake, Texas Championship, All-American Championships (both Chicken and Quail). Some trials that, at least recently, have always been major circuit are the Border International, Oklahoma, and Continental Championships. A dog can't be faulted because his major competition isn't entered, but he can't be given the same credit that he would have been given if he had beaten them.

"Top" is defined as those dogs which have competed against and defeated such dogs as Rebel Wrangler, Whippoorwill's Rebel, and Redemption's Reward. For example, circa '85, any dog on the major circuit which had never been placed over Whippoorwill's Rebel could not considered.

As a starting point for creating a pool of sires from which to select the best stud for your bitch the field trial record should include certain kinds of major circuit stakes. To be included in the dogs should have won on the major circuit in Canada and in the South. The reason for the Canadian stake is that the required boldness and range in them represents the ultimate of all-age standards. The major circuit win in the South is required because of the bidability required in them. Also the stamina required in the South, because of briars, terrain, humidity, and temperature, represents the desideratum in a potential stud dog. One hour at Quitman or Albany, in some cases, requires more stamina than three hours at Grand Junction.

Using the above stated criteria for field trial record results in a sizable pool of dogs from which to consider. They represent the "cream of the crop" of pointerdom. Included would be Barshoe Barbarian, Barshoe Brute, Berrong's Flatwood Bobo, Bisco Big Jack, Blackbelt's Spellbinder, Bronzini's Doone, Chinkapin's Addition, Classic Editions, Condo's Rebel, Double Rebel Jack, Fiddler's Pride, Flatwood Bill, Flatwood Hank, Flatwood Joe, Hall's Main Addition, Hamilton's Big O, Jedi Pilot, Kilsyth Jack, Mac's Reelfoot Chief, Miller's Chief, Quillen's Ramona Rex, Rebel Wrangler, Redemption's Reward, The Kodiak, Thunderclap, Whippoorwill's Rebel, and Woodridge Bear

PERFORMANCE TRAITS (Natural Abilities)

What are the performance traits of the individuals? This needs to be considered from two perspectives: those of the dog himself and those of his offspring. It makes no sense to breed to a dog if he isn't transmitting his traits. The weighted sum of all of the traits about which one can observe give an operational definition of the "class" dog. Fourteen factors may be relevant. The problem is that different factors are considered more important by different individuals. It is certain that all are not equal in importance, but it is totally uncertain as to which is most important and which ones are more important than others. There is no right answer here. It is a matter of personal opinion. This causes disagreements with judicial decisions. It isn't impossible to agree on what one observes, but the task of deciding which factors should carry more weight is the source of many disagreements. In selecting the stud one must make the decision as how to weigh the factors.

The performance traits can be grouped into two categories. Traits pertaining to a dog's ground work are strength and stamina, boldness, biddability, pattern, running style (gait), speed, and selection of objectives. Traits pertaining to bird work are accuracy (percentage of points that were productive), positiveness, intensity, style, location of game, relocations, and the handling of game.

Three ways to determine the traits are (1) direct observation, (2) ask someone, and (3) read field trial write-ups. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Most of us are not fortunate enough to be able to ride the major circuit and to see the potential stud many times. That is the disadvantage of #1. Seeing a dog only several times isn't enough. Only a few observations could capture his best efforts or his worse efforts. The biases that could come through are obvious with #2. The problem with #3 is the labor involved in collecting the data. I can speak to this from personal experience. What follows is what I did in preparation from "Performance Traits" part of the PBA.

The reports of every major circuit trial in the past twenty years were carefully analyzed for each of the above mentioned traits for each dog that met the field trial performance criteria previously mentioned. Most comments on these traits had either a favorable or an unfavorable "ring" to them. A count was made for each of each of these traits. From these counts those traits which had the highest number of favorable statements and the highest number of unfavorable statements were selected as performance traits for the particular dog in question. Neutral comments were defined as unfavorable. The traits were reported as "Strongest" and "Weakest." In most cases the top three traits were included; in some instances there was an insufficient number of statements (i. e. not significant) to include three traits. The traits under "Strongest" were those traits which received the highest number of positive comments by reporters in U??U"The American Field?, and the "Weakest" were those traits which received the highest number of unfavorable comments.

Just because a dog had a trait listed under "Weakest" did not mean that the dog should be characterized as weak in that trait in an absolute sense. It meant only that of the fourteen performance traits, the dog received more unfavorable comments on that trait than on others. All dogs are better, or worse, in some traits than in others. Even the greatest of dogs, under this system, usually had three traits that had more unfavorable comments than others. These traits would be listed as weak, although the dog might not be really weak in the trait at all; one might say that such a trait was not one of his strongest traits.

It must be emphasized that these traits did not represent the my opinion. They were only a summary of what field trial reporters have stated in their reports of trials. They represent a numerical tallying of all of the comments written in The American Field. It seems logical that if different reporters at different times repeatedly say the same thing about a dog that there might be a degree of truth in what they are saying. None of the traits that were listed under each dog are isolated incidents; they are based on repeated comments of the same nature about that dog.

Once the performance traits are known then you are able to match up the studs that are strongest in your bitch's weak traits. At that point you can go to the production records of those with the desired performance traits and select your stud dog.

EXAMPLES OF PERFORMANCE TRAITS

The basic idea is to match up the performance traits between the brood bitch and the stud. The approach of analyzing your bitch for her weakest attributes and selecting a stud dog that is strong in those attributes would seem to make sense. What follows is a summary the reported strengths by way of listing dogs (from the PBA) which have been reported to be strongest in the various attributes.

The pool which is sampled for those attributes is: Addition's Go Boy, Arcanum's Hurricane, Barshoe Brute, Barshoe Buzzsaw, Bisco Big Jack, Blackbelt, Buckboard, Builder's Free Boy, Chinkapin's Addition, Classic Editions, Condo, Condo's Rebel, Dunn's Fearless Bud, Elko Go Boy, Evolution, Fiddler, Fiddler's Pride, Flatwood Bill, Flatwood Hank, Flush's Reedy Rogue, Haulmark, Heritage's Premonition, High Fidelity, Jedi Pilot, Merryway Blackbelt, Miller's Chief, Miller's Happy Choice, Miller's White Cloud, Palariel Stormy Clown, Rebel Wrangler, Redemption, Redemption's Reward, Strongman, The Texas Squire, Texas Squire's Hank, The Kodiak, The Master Craftsman, Thunderclap, Whippoorwill's Rebel, White Knight's Button, and Yoshi Blackbelt Fargo. Others did not meet the criteria specified at the time of preparation of this booklet, or they have not been reported enough to make generalizations.

If your bitch doesn't run enough almost all of the above will do. They are all-age dogs and have plenty of run. It is the other attributes that separate them. Suppose, for example, your bitch could use some more running style. The studs noted for good running style wereAddition's Go Boy, Barshoe Buzzsaw, Condo, Merryway Blackbelt, and Miller's Chief. If pattern is problem, then you would have wanted to consider Arcanum's Hurricane, Blackbelt, Buckboard, Condo, Evolution, Fiddler, Fiddler's Pride, Flush's Reedy Rogue, Heritages Premonition, Miller's Chief, and Whippoorwill's Rebel. Suppose your bitch tires sooner than you like. Then you might or might have considered Barshoe Buzzsaw or Bisco Big Jack. Addition's Go Boy, Barshoe Brute, Bisco Big Jack, Blackbelt, Buckboard, Elko Go Boy, Fiddler, Fiddler's Pride, Flatwood Bill, Flatwood Hank, Merryway Blackbelt, Palariel Stormy Clown, Rebel Wrangler, Redemption, Redemption's Reward, Strongman, The Texas Squire, The Kodiak, The Master Craftsman and White Knights Button are or were noted for their style on point.

At times inconsistency was reported. For example there were 39 comments of praise for Addition's Go Boy's big running proclivities, yet five times he got negative press for his boldness. The same was true for Barshoe Buzzsaw (21 positives and nine negatives). Evolution had 25 positive and five negative comments about his pointing style. All isn't perfect. Reporters perceive things differently, dogs have good and bad days, and they change over time. This highlights the importance of not passing judgement on the attributes of dog based on only a few observations.

One of the problems that readers might observe is that most of the above dogs have deceased. Unfortunately it takes so much time to establish quantitative data that by the time it is accumulated the dog has died. The best that you can do it terms of this dimension of the variables to consider is to look for the transmission of the traits through several generations. Certain traits seem to go with certain lines. We have data of the same traits passing through four or five generations in some cases. Look for sires and sons from the above examples.

Space does not permit the full exploration of the fourteen attributes that one might consider, nor is there space to describe the reported strengths and weaknesses of the several dozen dogs listed above. If readers wish specific information on reported strengths and weaknesses of specific dogs please refer to the PBA.

QUANTITATIVE MEASURES OF PREPOTENCY

Before getting into some of the quantitative measures that have been developed it might be worthwhile to briefly mentioned what should not be used. First, popularity must be included in the "should not" category. Historically, this has been a very poor indicator of prepotency of a stud. The regrettable factor in this is that it snowballs. People notice many of the stud's get winning, and they erroneously conclude that he must be a good stud. They then breed their female to him, and the snowball rolls on and gets larger. What is ignored here is the fact that the stud was utilized so much that just by chance, long-shot though it may have been, he produced some good ones. No quantitative measure of prepotency should be used that doesn't take the frequency of breeding into account. The simple fact is that in most cases the more popular studs are not extremely prepotent. There have been only two exceptions to that generalization over the past quarter of a century. They were Guard Rail and Evolution; both were used extensively as stud dogs with well over 500 of their offspring having been registered. Evolution was the third most popular major circuit all-age stud of the eighties, and Guard Rail was the second most popular major shooting dog stud of the eighties.

A second "no-no" is the collection of catchey phrases that one reads in the stud ads. Some of these are "Ask any one who owns one," "a legend in his time," "his record speaks for itself," "proven himself as a stud dog," and so on ad nauseam. Such ads tend to focus on successes; they conveniently forget to tell of the failures. Ads focusing on field trial credentials or personal attributes of studs are interesting, but they don't focus on his ability to transmit those traits.

Quantitative measures can be divided into two groups - both very important. One group, not addressed here, focuses on the quantitative aspects of major circuit production records. This group deals with the number of major circuit winners (or number of wins) produced per breeding or number of offspring registered by various sires. Also addressed might be total winnings in dollars of offspring. Data might include number of entries per stake. Parts of this first group will be addressed in the next (1995) PBA. A second group of quantitative measures ignores the type of stake. It is this type that will be addressed here. Both are important, and the truly top-notch sire will do well in both types of measures.

Five types of measures of the second type will be presented. The first is the Prepotency Index. This is probably the best known and probably the best available predictor of quality of a stud dog. This is particularly true if you are interested in the senior level wins of a stud's offspring. This indicator ignores puppy and derby wins. It is the ratio of the number of shooting dog and all-age wins of a dog's progeny to the number of the dog's progeny that are registered. Pups whelped during the previous two years are not included. The use of this indicator as well as the next is questionable if only a small number of pups have been registered. This is because it can be manipulated by breeders who place their pups with individuals who are likely to get wins on them at field trials. This is difficult when you start dealing with dozens of breedings. The number that was used in the PBA was 100. Calculations on studs with fewer than 100 pups registered were not reported. Any dog with a Prepotency Index over .5 would have to be considered good, and those with over 1.0 might be exceptionally good (even great if confirmed by other measures).

Another quantitative measure is the percentage of offspring that have won. This includes the junior level as well as the senior level wins. A dog with fewer than a third of his offspring winning is probably not very prepotent. A reading of over 50% on this measure would have to be considered extraordinary. This particular measure is much more difficult to track than the next one which gives the same sort of information.

Winability is similar to the Prepotency Index except that it takes into account all types of wins. It is the number of wins of the progeny per 100 dogs registered. It is calculated by dividing the total number of wins of all types by the number of pups registered and multiplying the result by 100. The dividing line between the better and the worst on this measure appears to be 150. Very few have a Winability over 200, and some have a winability of less than 100.

The Prepotency Index, Percentage of Winners, and Winabilty are the three most important measures of prepotency of sires. The two remaining ones, Number of Wins per Winner and Run Factor are more of interest than importance. The Number of Wins per Winner of offspring is self-descriptive. Number of Wins refers to average number of wins. It ranges from one to seven with three being most typical. The Run Factor is the ratio of the number of all-age wins of a stud's progeny to the number of shooting dog wins of his progeny. This might be of interest to those whose interests are more toward the running dogs.

Next the advantages and disadvantages of the above measures will be addressed, and then the big question of which is the best stud dog will be considered.

It would seem that the Prepotency Index is a valid indicator of prepotency because of the importance of shooting dog wins and all-age wins. A valid addition to this position is that wins in puppy stakes may not mean much because the only way second rate breeders using second rate sires and dams can produce winners is to register their summer and fall pups as January pups thus securing tremendous advantage over honest breeders. This also carries over into the derby year.

Winability gives some indication on whether or not a stud is putting much run into his puppies. That is a requirement for a pup to win. On the other hand a high ranking on this and a low PI could indicate that his pups tend not to continue their winning ways into the shooting dog and/or all-age years. It might also indicate over-age pups not continuing. Because of its nature one would expect a good stud to show up here before he would achieve a high Prepotency Index. This is because a good record in terms of puppy and derby stakes could make a high winability whereas it takes a number of years for a good PI to develop.

The Percentage of Winners and Winability measure the same general type of thing. The problem with the former is that it is difficult to "track" or obtain. It involves keeping records of the names of all of a stud's offspring whereas the other two measures can be "tracked" quite easily with a tally sheet.

The question in the reader's mind at this point might be "Which is the best stud?" This is a judgement call and here only what dogs have the highest Prepotency Indices, the highest Winabilities, and the highest Percentages of Winners will be reported. All things are not perfect, and these three indices don't always match up on the same dog. The dog might be high on one and low on another. Other things being equal I would look for confirmations i.e. one measure should confirm other measures. When this is, in fact, the case then you have a high probability of a good stud. When these measures are also confirmed by good, although quantitatively small, production records for producing major circuit dogs, then you are probably looking at a potentially great stud dog. It is certain that all of the measures mentioned in this paragraph are better indicators than any other readily available source of information. The information contained in the following covers the time period from 1980 through the first half of 1992.

For the dogs meeting all of the criteria mentioned in previously the ones with the highest Prepotency Indices? are (1) Double Rebel Jack, (2) Blackbelt, (3) Barshoe Buzzsaw, (4) Evolution, and (5) Go Boy's Shadow. Their PI's ranged from .93 up to 1.18. Rounding out the top ten are (6) Mississippi Rifle, (7) Miller's Showcase, (8) Fiddler, (9) Rebel Hawk, and (10) Buckboard. Most of these have deceased so one must to look to their descendants for the hoped for prepotency. A Rambling Rebel and Flush's Country Squire had the highest PI's of the seventies; they are represented in the above list by Barshoe Buzzsaw and Blackbelt. If one ignores the criteria of having at least 100 pups registered then several Rebel and Squire descendants show up. Such a list would include Mortlach, Barshoe Brute, Buzzsaw's Stormy Bud and Understatement. Fortunately a couple those are still living.

The highest Winabilities were attained by the same five dogs (thus a confirmation) except that Buckboard displaced Go Boy's Shadow from the top five list. The range was from 165 to 246. Rounding out the top ten are (6) Rebel Hawk, (7) Go Boy's Shadow, (8) Understatement, (9) Pike Creek Mike, and (10) Redemption. Of those with less than 100 pups registered the same group would also be included. Krug, with a Winability of 169, would also be included. Black Crude with 188 as would his sire Barshoe Brute with a Winability of 193.

Those that had the highest percentage of their offspring winning as of 1/1/92 were Understatement, Barshoe Buzzsaw, Pike Creek Mike, White Knight's Button, and Blackbelt. The same "under-utilized" studs would be included if they had had at least 100 pups registered.

You now have the information to determine the "best" stud. Next information on what studs produced what types (puppy, derby, etc.) of winners from 1985 to the present. Such information, while not vital to breeders, is of general interest.

THE TOP TEN

First let's answer the question of which were the most popular stud dogs from 1980 to the present (7/1/92). They were, in rank order:

  1. Miller's Chief
  2. Evolution
  3. Mississippi Rifle
  4. Addition's Go Boy
  5. Whippoorwill's Rebel
  6. Redemption's Reward
  7. Blackbelt
  8. Fiddler
  9. Fiddler's Pride
  10. Buckboard

Thus one can see that the popularity of stud is not an indicator of quality. From the previous section recall that only three or four of the top ten studs in popularity were, in fact, prepotent sires as measured by the Prepotency Index, Winability, or Percentage of Offspring that Win. Please note that the next four lists are biased against dogs that have been dead for the greatest length of time. An example would be that most of the wins of Evolution's offspring were prior to 1985 and not included in the list.

What dog's offspring won the most puppy stakes from 1985 to 7/1/92?

  1. Miller's Chief
  2. Flatwood Hank
  3. Addition's Go Boy
  4. Whippoorwill's Rebel
  5. Understatement
  6. Go Boy's Shadow
  7. Redemption's Reward
  8. Double Rebel Jack
  9. Pike Creek Mike
  10. Redemption

The top derby producers in rank order were:

  1. Miller's Chief
  2. Addition's Go Boy
  3. Redemption's Reward
  4. Whippoorwill's Rebel
  5. Understatement
  6. Go Boy's Shadow
  7. Flatwood Hank
  8. Pike Creek Mike
  9. Fiddler's Pride
  10. Evolution

The studs which led the statistics in terms of number of shooting dog wins of their offspring during that period of time were in rank order:

  1. Miller's Chief
  2. Evolution
  3. Mississippi Rifle
  4. Fiddler
  5. Addition's Go Boy
  6. Barshoe Buzzsaw
  7. Blackbelt
  8. Flatwood Hank
  9. Redemption
  10. Redemption's Reward

The top all-age producers were:

  1. Miller's Chief
  2. Evolution
  3. Addition's Go Boy
  4. Understatement
  5. Mississippi Rifle
  6. Fiddler
  7. Whippoorwill's Rebel
  8. Double Rebel Jack
  9. Rebel Hawk
  10. Redemption

Foot hunters and shoot-to-retrievers might be interested in this sort of information on shooting dogs as studs. We will look at that next.

THE TOP TEN SHOOTING DOGS

From Galton's law of felial regression we can infer that if we are interested in producing only foot hunting dogs and shoot-to-retrieve dogs then we should look to the best studs among the shooting dog ranks. We will take a look at the top ten shooting dogs' stud records in various categories. First let's answer the question of which were the most popular stud dogs among the shooting dogs. They were, in rank order:

  1. Pork Roll
  2. Guard Rail
  3. Arrival
  4. Little John Boy
  5. Elhew Strike
  6. Gateway Matador
  7. Hook's Bounty Hunter
  8. Elhew Brass
  9. Bases Loaded
  10. Fiddler's Ace

What dog's offspring won the most puppy stakes?

  1. Elhew Strike
  2. Guard Rail
  3. Gateway Matador
  4. Bases Loaded
  5. Arrival
  6. Hook's Bounty Hunter
  7. Pork Roll
  8. Fiddler's Ace
  9. Quailrise Big Buck

9. Elhew Brass

The top derby producers in rank order were:

  1. Guard Rail
  2. Elhew Strike
  3. Bases Loaded
  4. Gateway Matador
  5. Pork Roll
  6. Arrival
  7. Hook's Bounty Hunter
  8. Little John Boy
  9. Quailrise Big Buck
  10. Black Ebony

The studs which led the statistics in terms of number of shooting dog wins of their were in rank order:

  1. Guard Rail
  2. Pork Roll
  3. Arrival
  4. Gateway Matador
  5. Hook's Bounty Hunter
  6. Little John Boy
  7. Elhew Strike
  8. Bases Loaded
  9. Black Ebony
  10. Roll Call

The Best Studs Among the Shooting Dogs

All of the above is interesting, but it is of limited value in identifying the best stud dogs. For that we must go to the Prepotency Index and Winability. Guard Rail stands alone in both. The only other shooting dogs with decent Prepotency Indices are Arrival (second highest), Gateway Matador, Bases Loaded, Black Ebony, and Fiddler's Ace. In terms of Winability behind Guard Rail (in rank order) are Arrival, Bases Loaded, Gateway Matador, Black Ebony, and Elhew Strike. The early returns suggest that Rail Dancer will rank as the shooting dog sire of the nineties just as his sire Guard Rail was of the eighties. Only infrequent breeding appears to deny Third Rail andDouble Rail the same status. Fiddler's Ace statue is also rising with time.

With this consideration of shooting dogs as studs we conclude this booklet. May you have the best of luck in your breeding program.

Frank Thompson