Keeping Dog Breeding Records
The keeping of records is an important phase which must not be neglected. I keep individual records of every puppy from the time it is born until it passes out of my possession, and should any information concerning its progress in the ring come to my ears later, that is also added. I am a strong believer in card files, and each dog or puppy in my kennels has its own card or cards.
Let us see how this system works.
Before the litter is whelped, a sheet is prepared on which are kept all comparative records for the first three months. This sheet is cross-ruled, and is designed to form a comparative chart for all the puppies in the litter. The horizontal lines divide the records of the individual puppies, while the vertical columns are as follows: The first is for the time of birth. Column two is wider, and is for the description of the puppy. Later on his name will be inserted here. Column three is his weight at birth, while numbers four to fifteen are to be used, one for each week, to record the weight, illness, worming or death. By keeping these records on one sheet, it may be seen at a glance which puppies are thriving and which may need a little extra attention.
This form of chart is of inestimable value when comparing one litter with another, as well as one pup with another of the same litter. The whole life history of each member of the litter is there on one sheet, and comparisons may be made at a glance.
As each puppy is whelped, the time of its birth, its description, and its weight are entered on this chart. Later, when time allows, all this information is transferred to an individual card, one for each puppy, which goes into the "General Records" section of the card file. On these cards are kept complete records of each individual dog, bitch, and puppy in the kennels. Every time they are wormed, an entry is made. Every illness or accident, with the treatment used, is also recorded. Nothing which might have any bearing on health or future reproductiveness is omitted. A glance at one card will give all the information concerning that particular dog or bitch without making it necessary to thumb through lengthy records which might be kept in a book. My Litter Record sheets appear as follows:
LITTER "A" Sire: Douglas of Beauvale Whelped July 21/43 Dam: Sweet Sue of Timberlea
Time Birth DESCRIPTION Wt. Birth 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
1.30 M. Black &W. R. Ff. white 7 oz.
1.55 M. Black & w. F. legs black 7Joz.
2.15 F. Buff & W. L. H. Leg W. 6f oz.
2.50 F. Orange & W. F. legs W. 7 oz.
3.20 M. Buff and White 71 oz.
Abbreviations: M. Male; F. Female; L. Left; R. Right; F. Fore; H. Hind.
As the fifth puppy was the only male buff and white, no other description was necessary. Use any abbreviations desired, but be sure that it is possible to tell each puppy from its brothers and sisters. When recording solid-colored pups it is often necessary to use some form of marking, such as clipping a small bit of hair in some specified location. Thus: Solid black, M. Clipped on R. Fore-leg. A very small clip is all that is necessary.
Each dog, bitch, and puppy has its own individual card in the "General Records" section of the file, but there is also the "Stud Records" section, and the "Brood Matron" section. As soon as a dog has been used as a sire, he rates a card in the "Stud Records" department as well as his one in the general section. On this card is kept a record of all his matings, with their results. The number of puppies is entered, together with their type and whether there appeared to be any hereditaryfaults. Suppose that three out of the five puppies showed out-thrust lower jaws when their permanent teeth appeared. This would be noted, and steps would be taken in an endeavor to trace the origin of this fault. It might be a dominant characteristic of the stud. On the other hand, it might be inherited from the dam. At any rate, it would be a black mark against both stud and dam until its origin had been determined either by investigation of the ancestors of both or by breeding each to a different mate and checking results.
The other section in the records, "Brood Matrons," contains a card for each bitch that has whelped a litter while in my possession. This card also shows the number of puppies in each litter, the sire, and the characteristics of the pups. This information is very similar to that contained in *' Stud Records,'' and keeps the whelping record of each bitch on one card. If a bitch were bred to the same stud each time she was mated, there would be no necessity to keep two cards, but since this is unlikely, having her record on one card saves the trouble of looking through those of several studs when information is required concerning her.
The remaining part of the card file is taken up with information gathered from clippings and other breeders concerning every angle of canine health. This is a very useful thing to have, and every beginning breeder would be well advised to start collecting all the information possible if he has not already done so. Make clippings of all articles appearing in dog magazines; make notes of all information gleaned from breeders, and file them away. You never know when this file may repay your trouble in compiling it a hundredfold.
Do not confine yourself to ailments with which you are familiar. For instance, if you see an article on encephalitis, do not pass it by because you do not know what encephalitis is. The day may come when it will be brought sharply to your notice, and some information ready to hand may be the means of saving the life of a puppy.
Do not read this section on the keeping of records and pass it over lightly with the resolve that some day you will start a system, but that there is plenty of time for that. The earlier in your dog-breeding career you commence the habit of keeping complete records, the easier the task will be. Start from the beginning and let your record system grow with your kennels.