We are getting very close to breeding for our spring litter. Shiloh has been visiting the vet regularly to have her progesterone levels tested. We anticipate that the procedure will occur within the next 3 days. All of the progesterone testing that we have been doing enable us to perform the mating at just the right time which is the best way to ensure a successful breeding. There are many factors that contribute to an exemplary breeding, with timing being one of the most critical components.
However, long before the actual breeding takes place is when the majority of decisions are made that will determine the outcome of each litter. The decison of which sire to father the litter is critical, and the process of finding just the right Sire takes a great deal of detective work. The goal is that the offspring of the two parent dogs will surpass each individual parent, and will lead to improvments in the Labrador breed. Every ethical breeder wants to better the breed that they adore and with each litter that comes into the world, they have the opportunity to do just that!
Bettering the Labrador breed, requires excellent combinations with exceptional parent dogs that are healthy and have been genetically tested to weed out possible genetic conditions that may afflict the breed. Today, as I was reading the Sunday paper, I happened to come across an article by Lawrence Gerson, V.M.D. in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, that mentioned this very topic. The article entitled, "Detecting Hip Dysplasia Early Can Be Critical for Dog Breeders" expounds upon the notion that breeders are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the breeding stock they are mating are healthy and genetically sound.
This is absolutely central to our breeding philosophy here at Kingridge Kennels. We understand that each puppy that we raise and train will go on to become a loved and cherished member of a special family. We would be heart-broken if one of those puppies was not able to lead a full happy life because of a genetic condition that could have been prevented. That is why we require tests for genetic conditions known in the Labrador breed. These include: x-rays for OFA hip and elbow certification, along with OFA screening for congenital cardiac disease, CERF eye exams, blood tests for Progressive Retinal Atrophy, and genetic testing through cheek swabs for Exercise Induced Collapse. We hope that by screening our breeding stock thoroughly, we will produce puppies that will remain healthy and happy throughout their life!