Consider Age Of Breeding Stock?

by Jan Shaw

I've probably read most of the theories on breeding championship caliber bird dogs and I've tried many with modest success. You all know that this is no simple task and any advantage one may gain from those who have been successful should be taken into consideration.

A few years ago, after the running of the National Amateur Walking Shooting Dog Championship at Pinelake (won by PineKone King), I had a short conversation with Linda Hunt. Stephen Walker owned 6X Ch. Oliver Warhoop Jane, and Jane had recently been retired. Rebel Wrangler, also owned by Walker, was then winning championships at a record pace; thirteen open titles. No one could deny that "Ole Earl" was a once in a lifetime dog but he as to date produced one champion. My question obviously was, "are there plans to breed Rebel Wrangler to Oliver Warhoop Jane"?

To my surprise Linda explained that her husband, Bill Hunt, had concluded after years of experience that breeding older bitches seldom produced championship caliber dogs. He usually bred younger bitches, many during their first heat cycle, and younger studs were also preferred. I put this information into memory to be used at a later date.

Well, some of you know that I enjoy keeping statistics on all-age and shooting dog pointers and setters. I've looked at how dogs are bred by various successful people. I consider the age of the stud, whether the stud is a champion, the pedigree of the stud, line breeding, inbreeding and out crosses. I've looked at the field trial record of sires and dams and I've considered production records. So, what have I learned?

Of 64 living pointer shooting dog or all-age producing studs, 123 champions have been produced. There are 37 champions represented that have produced 85 champions, leaving 27 non-champion producers of 38 champions. Here is what I found interesting.

Age of Stud When                     Number Of Champions Produced By All   
Champion Was Produced                Studs At Various Ages                 

1 year                               9                                     

2 years                              18                                    

3 years                              25                                    

4 years                              30                                    

5 years                              20                                    

6 years                              11                                    

7 years                              7                                     

8 years                              3                                     

9 years                                                                    

10 years                                                                   

11 years                                                                   

Admittedly there are more than 64 living pointer producers of champions. This information was quickly pulled from my files out of curiosity, but I am all the same startled by the results. Hardly scientific and to be sure open for debate, this does indicate that studs five years old and younger seem to produce a larger percentage of champions than do older dogs. What do you think?