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Developing a Philosophy of Breeding

A basic and guiding philosophy is the single most critical component of any breeding program. A breeder's first task is the development of a specific purpose in breeding animals. This may seem obvious but it is very often overlooked with the result that breeding is done with little progress toward any goal. Perhaps even worse than an aimless approach is a breeding program that chases after the fads dictated by the show ring or by other people. Such a program is constantly acquiring, discarding, and thus wasting genetic resources in a futile attempt to catch up to the current leaders in the breed.

A philosophy of breeding combines the elements of genetics, selection, and husbandry to accomplish a goal. If a philosophy is in place, every animal and every mating can be evaluated relative to the goal, giving purpose and identity to the herd or flock.

The above is an excerpt taken from A Conservation Breeding Handbook — D. Phillip Sponenberg and Carolyn J. Christman (with permission)