This comes from a thread on The Hunted Hare Board. You have to join to read and comment but this Board is well worth it. This post sums up what I believe a breeding program should base the foundation of their kennel.
Tom says:NorWester hit on the most important thing anyone can take away from this thread, selection works. It's by far the best tool you can use to breed dogs.
I try to base my selection on what the dog is born with, not on anything trained into it. I never solo. I always run pups with the pack from the time they are ready to start.
One trait I value is the ability to run the hare regardless of what the rest of the pack is doing. These dogs tend to be a little too independent and I get some splits when hunting spots with lots of rabbits, but I also get dogs that turn with the hare when the front runners go over the end.
This type of dog does not need to be solo'ed and they don't "blow up".
I also don't care if they start early or start late. I have both types and I can't see any difference in how well they run a hare.
But that's just what I like, I don't expect anyone to feel the same way and I don't try to copy what other people like.
I like this post.
Basing selection on what the pup is born with..... I agree and although there will be some training involved based on how Marty defined it in this thread, I think its best kept to a minimum when consideration is given for what you are selecting.
As for starting early or late and having it being a bearing on how the dog runs a hare....... in my opinion it boils down to this......
The earlier a hound is a productive member of the pack the sooner it is gaining experience at what it is designed to do.
Experience has to be considered a factor in how a hound runs a hare........especially in tough winter condiitons.
The more experience the dog has, the better it will be.....simple. At some point Id like to be able to select on pure bred in talent right out of the gate but for now we try to pull even thru hours in the woods.
So all things being equal I would prefer they start as young as possible and go from there.
As for dogs blowing up....... they do so because they are bred to.
Some will not like nor agree with this statement........but its true.
The vast majority of hounds are descended from stock selected for their ability to run the front end of a pack.
When these dogs sire or whelp pups that dont have their talent..... there is going to be a problem because they all want the front but now they dont have daddys gift.
Throw in the fact they have been soloed and babied along to bandaid any pressure related faults, its no wonder it becomes a disaster when the dog is packed too much, or exposed too young.
This is why I don't solo and start them in as soon as they can physically keep up in an effort to weed out the ones that will faulter under pressure and keep the ones that don't.
Thank you Tom and Keith for explaining what I hope to achieve with my dogs and the crosses I make. Although I may not always hit a homerun, you explained why I keep coming up to bat with hopes of getting a hit.