The following is not intended to be a scientific discourse on the matter of outcrossing versus line breeding. My intentions are very simply to share a few observations and hopefully elicit some response, specially from those who are knowledgeable about genetics and those who have some experience when it comes to the breeding of staffords and other dogs breeds even if the outcome of their experience is at odds with my observations.


Rex Dutch kenstaff


The question  that needs to be asked is basically this**when does one need  to consider doing an outcross S In South Africa, breeders of special staffords oftenrely heavily on line breeding. This is partly to do withth the limited gene pools that we have here, but olso because once a particular line is deemed to be good , certain Staffords enthusiasts get right behind it to the exclusion of most other lines. This goes some way in explaining the establishment of distinct groupings supporting their particular lines of preference.


Heer Oliver Bommel Dutch Kenstaff


However, the past seven years has seen the increasing prevalence of outcrosses in the context of Staffords in South Africa. These outcrosses have often done excepionallywell in shows and furthermore, have frequently proved successful in producing winning stock: one only needs to review the stud dog and brood bitch results to confirm this. From a breeding perspective,this is quite plausible as these successful outcrosses have been reintegrated into the repective lines of either the sire or the dam - in so doing, an element of line breeding is retianed in the progeny. Also interesting is where these outcrosses are intergrated with other outcrosses possessing the same or similar breeding - once agian this seems to have met with some success in the South African context.



Not being a geneticist, I am at a loss to provide a satisfactory explanation. Furthermore, the fortuitous combination of divergent lines could simply have been by chance in the local contexs, as experiences with outcrossing have often met with poor or mixed results elsewhere, no matter how much knowledge, experience and careful planning was involved.


Black Hunter Dutch Kenstaff



The vexing questions remaining are basically the following - when is it appropriate to consider an outcross ? Should one wait until problem areas have clearly begun to emerge and when faults and or defects have reached an unsustainable level. What would constitute an unsustainable level in this context ? It also needs to be pointed out that the virtues associated with strong line breeding would have been amplified many times over, provided a good foundation had been selected from the outset-what then are the chances of irredeemably loosing these virtues?


Blach Hunter Dutch Kenstaff


Like many Staffords enthusiasts in South Africa, the occurrence of a particular Stafford some 35 times or more in a pedigree takes place regularly here although this is admettedly over quite a number of generations. Furthermore, one of the most successful breeder of Bull terriers dogs in the US, commenced his line on 6 closely related GSDs and never deviated from those 6 or their progeny. This was undertake over decades, so the level of line breeding was exceptionally high in this instance. Located within these 6 GSDs and their progeny was sufficient diversity to adress any potential problems that could arise with conformation, breed type, appearance, temperament, etc.


Tyson  Dutch Kenstaff


I must admit however to having viewed Staffords in the past where one begins to  wonder just how much further this particular line can be taken forward in its purest from. Remember that many Staffords breeders here tend to utilise classic forms of line breeding  over successive generations, such as half brother sister combinations and even in-breeding from time to time. Interestinly though, it is often these particular Staffords that prove to be highly successful when utilised on an outcross basis,sometimes much more so than when integrated into a line breeding programme. Nevertheless, the basis for deciding on the direction in which to go remains a difficult one for many, How many of us are objective and far sighted enought to realise when a stage has been reached where we need to take stock of our situations and make a conscious  intervention to sustainability. As it is those that do are often accused of selling out initially.

Dutch - Kenstaff   Sharbat


This article raises more and many questions than it  answers. The request therefore is for those that are capable of shedding light on the matter to untilise forums such as the chat line on this side to share their views and experiences many of which may differ from my own.

Tolkien Dutch Kenstaff




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