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  • Writer's pictureTim Hackworth

Breeding for Traits AND Pedigree

Some breeders like to try to match traits and don’t worry about pedigree.  Others focus on pedigree (paper breeding) and less on individuals.  I think the best method is to use both.  To breed without pedigree is folly, but you also must look at the individuals within a family of hounds.  For example, I like to stick to a family pedigree, but will try to match hounds so that they offset each other’s weaknesses, whatever that may be.  If I have a small female, I will try to match her with a hound that I think will likely increase size.  One that is weaker in conformation might be matched with something with more show blood.  One that is an especially hard driving individual might be paired with one with better line control, but always trying to select these hounds from within my same family (pedigree) so as to maintain my general type of hound.

I don’t want to look back and see poor performers in my pedigrees, which is why I only breed from hounds proven in the field to suit me – hounds that align well with what I am trying to produce.  Great foxhound breeder Ben Hardaway once commented that you may get in a situation where you have to “breed through bad hounds" to keep a valuable tail female line going, but I have mixed feelings about that even though I understand his desire to save the line.  I want to always be able to look back at my pedigrees and think “man it would be good to have old Madcap in my pack today” – and think that about every hound in that pedigree.  (And I would love to have big old Madcap back today!)

Photo: Woodpont Madcap - many of my current hounds carry her white blaze face.


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