Developing Your Own Family Line

by Dwayne Neal, NY

Many new breeders and/or new buyers have asked me for my recommendation on how to get started with a good breeding program. Of course, they want to know how to get consistent production of hollands… here is what I tell them.

 1) Buy the very best herd buck from a reputable breeder. This buck should have many, if not most, of the qualities that you see to be consistent with the standard. This is very important, for if you have junk, you will breed and produce junk.  Bite the bullet, don’t be afraid to start all over if you realize that what you have is marginal at best, and purchase the very best set of genetics you can get your hands on.

 2) If you aren’t able to purchase a trio of animals (the herd buck with two does), try your best to mix your new herd buck with does that have something genetically that he lacks.  Compensate for his shortcoming and hope that the “blend” happens.

 3) Breed the doe’s female offspring back to the herd buck.  This is one form of “line breeding” and it is the fastest way to improve your chances of getting offspring that closely resembles what it came from.  In this case, since we are compounding the herd buck’s genetics you should end up with animals that look like him… thus emphasizing the point I made in tip number one!

 4) Keep the best animals after watching litters develop completely into adults.  This may sound like a lot of work to do, but it is the only way for you to be sure about the “family” line of genetics you are developing.  By watching a few generations you can learn how your line develops, bow quickly or slowly, whether there are growth spurts at certain points in time causing them to go through “the uglies”, etc.  With this knowledge, you can gain the confidence and accuracy required to effectively cull at earlier stages and not end up getting rid of all the “right” animals before you even know what you have.  How many times have you heard the story from someone about selling what they thought was an absolutely ugly junior, only to regret it later on as they watch it winning BOB at the shows?

The Hollander / Spring Issue - April 2000