S'Dandi Shih Tzu
All Rights Reserved
2000 - 2008
Sally and Dick Watkeys
8235 Outer Drive South
Traverse City, MI 49684
Graphics courtesy of:
S'Dandi Shih Tzu
Just BePaws . . .
If you keep puppies long enough to watch their development, whether for the ring or personal breeding, certain characteristics appear that can be traced back to parental heritage. I’ve seen it personally in the puppies I’ve watched for show prospects. This observation can’t be done in a single breeding. Sometimes, one does have to have several generations to see some of these quirks appear again and again in the offspring.

We have four generations at S’Dandi. I am very proud of the original dogs but am equally proud of what we have accomplished in a few short years. We have been patient, determined, committed and lucky. This in not to say that there haven’t been several disappointments along the way. Each time there has been a “clog in the wheel,” we have tried to learn from it and move forward. I think God puts obstacles in our way just to see how committed we are to doing whatever it is we think is important. We just pull on those boots, and go. We do the same with the dogs.

Some of the characteristics I’ve observed in my puppies are truly funny. Each breeder has his/her own story, I’m sure. But…for the record, here is mine.

Crate climbing, the “monkey dogs”-Annie, Rush, mother/son
Ear sucking-Annie, Scarlet, Jenna and Sam, sisters/daughter/grandson
Sitting up at the edge of the crate watching the world-Rush and Sam, Marietta, Virginia, uncle/nephew/daughters
Standing up in the x-pen to go potty-Abbey, Sam and Glitz, Mama/son and daughter
Climbing up and over the side of the crate-Annie, Rush and Sam, Grandma/Son/Grandson
Front characteristics-Betsy, Annie, Abbey, Sam, Mama/daughter/granddaughter/grandson
Rear characteristics- Dolly, Mikey, Mama/son
Howling at the moon-Mowgli, Rush, Grandpa/Grandson

A breeder can only see these things by studying the puppies in consecutive generations of breeding. Anything undesirable should be bred out.

Our program began with a wonderful male who finished his championship mostly owner/handled. Actually, he finished totally owner/handled as his co-owner also helped put a few points and one major on him. The rest were with me at the end of his lead. Mowgli is a wonderful boy, now 10 1/2 years old. Where does the time go? It seems like just yesterday that we took this shy puppy and helped him to be a “showdog.”
We bought a bitch that didn’t like to show. She was a good example of the breed, from a good breeder with a great pedigree that complimented Mowgli’s. So, even though she didn’t get her championship, it was worth trying a breeding. Her first litter produced 5 babies. They were very nice for one of my first litters. We decided to keep one of the girls and see how she would develop.

This little bitch, that we called Annie, would eventually become the mother of my top winning male, Am/Can Ch. S’Dandi’s On Loan From God, aka, “Rush.” Was she worth keeping? You bet. She gave me a better rear, nice structure, good topline, and great pigment. Although she had her mother’s dislike for the ring, and after a careful evaluation, we planned a breeding with an outside stud. That was the best decision I ever made. Her first litter bred to Ch. Chi-Nees Zohio I’m So Sexy produced our Rush and sister, Abbey, “Ch. S’Dandi’s Kylemore Abbey.” Each had a great personality with that natural “look at me attitude” that is so necessary in the ring. Each finished totally from the bred-by class making this owner/breeder/handler very proud indeed. Was this a good thing? I think so. Some may think Annie should have been placed in a pet home. However, working with what I had, evaluating attributes and negatives and making educated choices, we produced a wonderful litter with two champions. It didn’t happen the first time I bred. These champions took two generations to produce. Some of us might just be in too much of a hurry without the determination or dedication to work for the desired goal. We need to remember that it doesn’t happen overnight.

Julia Gassow, renowned breeder of Springer Spaniels, said in an article from the AKC Gazette’s June 2001issue, pg.39, that a good breeder must know 6 generations behind the breedings before a real evaluation can be made.
As I’m working on 5 generations, I tend to agree with her.

Because I know the background of my dogs, I am able to explain to prospective puppy buyers what to expect in the development of each litter. Teething, coat growth, body development, personality and attitude come at different times for different combinations. One can only know that from breeding and watching each puppy for similar attributes.

This isn’t anything new for seasoned breeders. However, I don’t consider myself “seasoned.” So, each breeding is still a learning experience documented as to weight, development, qualities and negatives. If it’s a great litter, it can be repeated. If not, I don’t do it again. Depending on the bitch and the puppies, it may be her one and only.

If we can see the examples of genetics passing along in the idiosyncrasies listed above, can’t we also follow genetic health issues as long as we document those issues for the purpose of improving our breed?

Knowing this, we can use the knowledge of our own lines and those lines behind ours to improve this wonderful breed and try to eliminate major health problems in our dogs.

If the puppy is an improvement over his parents, you have accomplished the desired result. Now, chose carefully, and move forward improving again with the next breeding.

Each breeding dog should be judged on it’s own qualifications so that the best combination of sire and dam will give the improvements needed in the puppies. What does each mate offer the other? Make sure it’s a good characteristic.

Carefully, moving forward with awareness and knowledge of pedigrees, we can improve every time we breed. If we don’t, my humble opinion is that we shouldn’t be breeding. Each litter should be better than the last in the attempt to improve each and every time. After all, isn’t that the goal of breeding?

A puppy, bred by a friend out of my Rush, is doing some nice winning in the ring both in Canada and the states. Another breeder commented, “Well, I like him a lot better than his father.” That was one of the biggest backhanded compliments I could have ever had. That’s what I’m breeding for…to breed better than the time before. That’s what we all should be trying to do.

Other than knowing your lines and puppies from each breeding, putting it together in the best combinations, and simple luck, it’s just lots of work. It is wonderful fun as watching the puppies should only bring smiles to all who see them. They are sweet, little bundles of fluff that make us laugh. BUT…breeding is something to enter into carefully. Doing it correctly is not an easy job. Especially when there is the worry about where each puppy will live it’s life. However, breeding brings lots of rewards and lots of laughs. There is no alternative for puppy kisses and puppy breath. On top of that, many “good” friends are made through breeding and placing puppies. If you’re lucky enough to enjoy breeding and raising puppies, your rewards will be many. One of them may just be the next champion for your kennel. Good luck!!!
Idiosyncrasies or Genetics