The Most Important Quality for Top Breeders is to Keep Mind Open. - By Juha Kares
I feel one of the biggest weakness breeders have is. That so many of them can´t keep their mind open. Most breeders start breeding by guidance of the well experienced mentor. That is good. However it is not good if the beginner has adapted limits from the mentor. Unfortunately personal relationships and chemistry among the breeders has much too important role in dog breeding. Over the years breeders has different opinions or their values are very different. As a result there are disagreements and hurt feelings. As an outcome there are blocks and camps who do not co-operate with each others. Even worse is that there is no open mind. No matter how good the dog might be – it is out of the question in your own breeding because personal reasons. That is sad. Very often more experienced breeders also set other kind of limits. They get so deep in the details that the whole picture is forgotten. I have been there and done that. How to keep mind open and why?
Keep the doors open
Social skills and personal know how is important part of top breeders work. Top breeder should keep fair or if possible good relationships to every other breeder around the World. Rather than judge and give very negative opinions about other breeders job, top breeder should follow and learn. Trying to understand is more difficult than judge. Top breeder should also greet and say some nice words to other breeders every now and then. This wise breeder can keep all the doors open in a long run.
What if total novice breeder who has difficulties at the beginning has superior dog ten years from now? If you been correct you can use that dog in breeding. This novice may buy dogs from you later on. You can co-operate and have great benefits from each other. Too often bridges are burn in early stage and fruitful co-operation is not possible. Do not gossip around but rather have direct contacts with other breeders.
Top breeder should also travel a bit. It is so that often the first trips may be wasted. As it is very common that you see only the major differences and faults at the beginning. After some more traveling you often start to open up your mind a bit. Real deep conversations with other top breeders from other countries should help you to see things you been taught in different light. I would say that the kennel blindness is still the most common illness among the breeders.
Do not let the details block your mind
It is also very common that as the first generations have been bred. Breeders have chosen some important details that they do want to carry on in their breeding. This can lead to very limited breeding and limited way of thinking. Very often people do choose the line they stuck forever. They do keep line breeding generation after generation to very same dogs. They only see the good in own line and the bad in other lines. Over the years they do not see how fertility or vitality keep falling. The big picture is lost.
Head shape or the sudden expression may take over. As a professional you easily keep getting better and better with the understanding of the fine details. You are respected because of you deep knowledge. Unfortunately too often this professionalism of details may take over the over all construction and movement. Which after all is the big picture and the key to sound dog. It is terrible to see a great dog totally wasted as one detail is wrong. This outcross dog could help the breeding a great deal – but blocked mind can´t realize the value as the focus is too deep in details.
Do find your own way to do things. Try to keep you mind as open as possible. Do listen and see all that you can. Follow and try to understand what is happening in your breed. Do trust yourself and make up what is right and wrong. Sometimes the most resected names can give you opinions or even fault information. All the people have their own motivation and reasons. Do keep that always in mind and follow your own common sense. Unfortunately pedigree dog breeding gets often very very personal and subjective. Try to fight against that . Try to be as rational and objective as you simply can. Make that principle as my way to breed dogs.
Do not take sides too often. Travel and see the World. Say nice words as often as you can. Work for the breed clubs and educate yourself. Do never forget the study the basics: anatomy and health. Try to be a judge and use the knowledge your organizations and kennel clubs can offer. Try to build bridges rather than burn them. Most of all try always keep the big picture in mind. That is wellbeing, easy life of your beautiful, fertile and vital dogs with some beautiful details that are important to you. Keep the soundness always in mind and try to avoid the extremes.
Breeder´s should keep their mind open. It is better to build bridges rather than burn them. It is easier said than done.