Answers for some, information for others. (long post)

This is where to talk about Pit Bulls!

Postby Chris Fraize » March 24th, 2006, 11:42 pm

Hello all,

Before you read the post below I wanted to point out a few things. Many times people “skim” a post and think they get all the facts. Skimming just creates more problems and wastes time repeating covered debates. Another point is that folks tend to read with an internal “voice” in their head. They hear a certain “tone” to the text based on the mood they are in or how the feel about the subject. I did not write this post in anger and I am not yelling or preaching at anyone. I was asked to post on the subject.

Below are the answers to questions that some have asked (not to me personally) on the board. They pertain (mostly) to health checks and breeding practices. I give this information because I think it is important for people to realize that there are many ways to be “ethical” when breeding, training or owning dogs. I have come to the methods and conclusions below after much trial and error and believe they are the most “ethical” way to breed dogs. Because these checks work for me doesn’t mean that they are acceptable or work for you if you don’t work your dog. In posting these checks I am not trying to change anyone’s mind or say that your way is wrong. These are just my ways plain and simple.

It should be known that I NEVER posted or tried to post a litter or dog for sale on this board. I never broke any rules and have always tried to use this board in the spirit it was intended. I mention this because another person being a newbie (as I am) on this board might have taken the questions and concerns as an “attack” or “finger pointing”. It can be tough to have an open exchange of information and ideas when folks feel their experience and ideas are going to be attacked. I hope people can learn from this thread and have the courage to ask intelligent questions in a more proficient manner.

Health tests:

Hip testing – When I decide I am going to keep/buy (work) a dog I have my vet X-ray the dog in question and give me an educated opinion (After all if my vet cannot read an X-ray to tell me if my dog has dysplasia or not, I believe I should find anew vet.). If the vet gives me the all clear on the hips, we start testing the hips physically and regularly thru various types of training. I don’t OFA or PENN HIP because I don’t believe those organizations are the best test. If there is a problem after the vet’s “all clear” it will surface in the training. My test is more effective and conclusive. It may be hard to believe but I believe it is true.

Elbow testing - See above (same test)

Eye testing – If vision is in question we will test and treat. If it is genetic the dog is euthanized.

BAER Testing Deafness – If the dog is deaf it cannot work to my standards. If it is genetic the dog is euthanized.

Heart testing - If the dog’s heart is not 100 % (keeping the dog from working). If it is genetic the dog is euthanized .

Thyroid testing – I have never tested for Thyroid and have never had the need too.

Spinal testing - If the dog’s spine does not or cannot work to my standards (keeping the dog from working). If it is genetic the dog is euthanized.


Conventional health testing is splendid! However if the health is 100% sound and the temperament is weak, the breeder has just created a very healthy BSL production machine!

The ATTS temperament test only goes so far. Why was the ATTS founded? Because folks stopped testing their dogs through work and decided to keep dogs as pets. Basically the public was making more money and had much more free time with the arrival of the industrial age. Lets get a pet! With pets came temperament and health problems. Why? Because people could make easy money breeding and new owners lack of testing (working). The temperament and health bar was lowered when the work was stopped.

How many breeders test their dog’s temperament under stress? How many breeders even know how to test their dog’s temperament under stress? Many believe they know, few really do know. Most breeders/owners don’t ever want their dogs to be stressed at all! Most pet dogs will act fine in a home environment under ideal conditions. Take that pet dog and add the extreme stress of training, pressure of strange environments and the physical demands of personal protection work and many dog’s temperaments will shatter right before your eyes.

So Chris, (You may ask) Why put a dog in that situation to begin with? Because true character is determined under stress by how the dog responds too the stressors and then how well the dog recovers. (It sounds a lot worse than it is.)

Look at the (yahoo farm) video of Rumble (A personal protection trained dog) being asked to do obedience while he is being harassed by the decoy (A decoy he has been trained to bite). He obeys. Why? Sound temperament and training. That is a temperament test.

Breeding a dog to meet conformation standards (looks)? I just don’t get it. Form WILL follow function. Trying to breed dogs based on the idea that function follows form is (to me) just unwise. I realize that this can be difficult for folks to understand. This might help.

Before the mid 1800’s there were no real dog shows to speak of. People only had dogs (with the exception of royalty and the wealthy) to do jobs (Herd, Hunt, Catch, Kill, or Guard). If the dog wouldn’t or couldn’t work, it was put down since the owner couldn’t afford to feed it if it didn’t work and another dog that would work was found. If a better working dog was available, the owner would breed his best working female to it. It was survival of the fittest or form follows function or what ever you want to call it. The weak dogs were culled out of the breeding programs. Very few health problems existed. People couldn’t “afford” poor genetics.

Here is something else that might be taken for granted. I do not want the general public to have my A.P.B.T.’s as pets. If and when I breed a litter, I want the by-product pups (that is what I call the dogs I don’t keep or cull) to go to working homes. My Punchline Kennels website is for listing the achievements of my dogs and very occasionally making some by-product dogs available to working homes only. The “pet quality” dogs never leave here.

I guarantee you I hold my APBT’s to higher health and temperament standards than the AKC, UKC, ADBA, OFA, and the ATTS combined. My dogs have to do more than show, more than weight pull, more than agility, more than catch work, more than personal protection. They have to work tremendously hard in public on a daily basis doing work that would make a border collie beg for a vacation!

Anyway, my opinions and methods based on experience, not a puppy mill trying to cut corners or sell pups to make a living.

Safe training,
Chris Fraize

P.S.
“It is interesting to note that hip dysplasia is extremely rare in racing greyhounds, but it is seen frequently in greyhounds kept as pets. This highlights the fact that environmental factors are important as well as genetics.” –http://www.provet.co.uk/

“It may surprise people to learn that the cause of hip dysplasia is not known ! Hip dysplasia is a complex (called polygenic or multigenic) disease with many factors involved in the cause. The most important are genetic and environmental factors but, based on detailed analysis of inheritance in German Shepherd dogs the disease is only described as being moderately heritable in that breed.” - http://www.provet.co.uk/
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Postby cheekymunkee » March 25th, 2006, 2:45 am

Very interesting & informative. And I do agree with the show dog aspect. Pretty, healthy dogs that fall apart when they see their own shadows. I'm not saing ALL of them do but look at this year's Westminster Amstaff BOS.
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Postby SisMorphine » March 25th, 2006, 9:46 am

Very interesting stuff. Your standards are extremely high and as you pointed out they are for function, and form will follow. I have found any of the "function" breeders of dogs (any breed) to have similar checks to you, and rarely do they go for the tests that are accepted by AKC, UKC, etc, because they do their own on the field testing. I agree that it is more thorough. Those other tests are really only made for people who are not working their dogs.

“It is interesting to note that hip dysplasia is extremely rare in racing greyhounds, but it is seen frequently in greyhounds kept as pets. This highlights the fact that environmental factors are important as well as genetics.” –http://www.provet.co.uk/


Though I do agree with the first part of this statement, I am inclined to disagree with the second . . . or at least pick it apart. We would have to look at what they consider to be a "pet" Greyhound. Does this include retired racers? If so how do we know that the displasia didn't just start to show with age as most Greys are retired by 3 (I have never met a retired racer with dysplasia) as opposed to a side effect of being less active? Or are they just talking about AKC Greyhounds? Because I do believe that AKC hounds have far more incidence of hip dysplasia than a racer, but they also have a significantly different bone structure which could easily be the cause of the dysplasia. So I just don't feel that this is the correct example to use in a nature vs. nuture on dysplasia.

The crazy Greyhound lady thanks you for your time. :tongues:
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Postby Chris Fraize » March 25th, 2006, 11:12 am

Hi Sis,

When it comes to the Greyhounds, I defer to you! I only wanted to show that some things people (breeders) take as FACT are only FACT to them.

If we all come down from our "holier than thou" places and open our minds (and in some cases shut our mouths) we can all learn something that just might make the breed better!

Safe training,
Chris Fraize
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Postby SisMorphine » March 25th, 2006, 11:25 am

Chris Fraize wrote:Hi Sis,

When it comes to the Greyhounds, I defer to you! I only wanted to show that some things people (breeders) take as FACT are only FACT to them.

If we all come down from our "holier than thou" places and open our minds (and in some cases shut our mouths) we can all learn something that just might make the breed better!

Safe training,
Chris Fraize

I fully agree. I was more thinking outloud :)
"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." -Anatole France
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Postby Romanwild » March 25th, 2006, 11:43 am

Chris: Thank you for this post! I'm sure we can put this to rest and we can move forward. :D
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Postby Purple » March 25th, 2006, 12:10 pm

I have a question, the answer may be speculation....
My two year old was hit by a motorcycle when she was three months old. The rescue vet did a FHO on one side. When she was about a year and a half old, she was limping, and had to have FHO on the other side.
I am doing light weight pull with her, she loves agility, we keep the jumps low. Do you think this will help ward off any problems, such as dysplasia in her future?
She is incredibly active.
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Postby SisMorphine » March 25th, 2006, 12:15 pm

Purple wrote:I have a question, the answer may be speculation....
My two year old was hit by a motorcycle when she was three months old. The rescue vet did a FHO on one side. When she was about a year and a half old, she was limping, and had to have FHO on the other side.
I am doing light weight pull with her, she loves agility, we keep the jumps low. Do you think this will help ward off any problems, such as dysplasia in her future?
She is incredibly active.

Doing anything where you keep them active and keep their muscles built up will always help with joint stuff. But if it is a genetic thing as opposed to an environment thing she could develop it anyway, just theoretically it wouldn't be nearly as bad as if she wasn't in top condition.

But keeping the weight down and the muscles built up will definitely help.
"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." -Anatole France
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Postby Karen » March 25th, 2006, 12:29 pm

SisMorphine wrote:
Purple wrote:I have a question, the answer may be speculation....
My two year old was hit by a motorcycle when she was three months old. The rescue vet did a FHO on one side. When she was about a year and a half old, she was limping, and had to have FHO on the other side.
I am doing light weight pull with her, she loves agility, we keep the jumps low. Do you think this will help ward off any problems, such as dysplasia in her future?
She is incredibly active.

Doing anything where you keep them active and keep their muscles built up will always help with joint stuff. But if it is a genetic thing as opposed to an environment thing she could develop it anyway, just theoretically it wouldn't be nearly as bad as if she wasn't in top condition.

But keeping the weight down and the muscles built up will definitely help.



She can't develop arthrisis in that joint because there IS no joint there now. The ball part of the femur on both sides of her pelvis were cut off. The muscles are holding the hips in place and together. There is no longer any bone to bone contact. No matter what vets say the size of the dog does play a part in the success of the surgery. With Cuddles being so tall we chose not to have it done.

As for the weight pull, I don't think I would do it but if you can swim the dog it is awesome in building the thigh muscles and holding everything together.
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Postby Purple » March 25th, 2006, 12:41 pm

Karen, she's not pulling to compete, more to tone and build muscle. She swims like a fiend, I can't keep her out of the pool, but that is only four months out of the year here that the pool is open.
I agree on keeping her light, she is in the process of dropping some weight.
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Postby Purple » March 25th, 2006, 12:44 pm

....sorry Chris, I didn't mean to hijack your thread, you just got my wheels turning.......
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Postby Chris Fraize » March 25th, 2006, 12:56 pm

No sweat! Hjack away!

Safe training,
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Postby Karen » March 25th, 2006, 1:04 pm

Purple wrote:Karen, she's not pulling to compete, more to tone and build muscle. She swims like a fiend, I can't keep her out of the pool, but that is only four months out of the year here that the pool is open.
I agree on keeping her light, she is in the process of dropping some weight.


I figured that but you might want to look into carting instead. The shafts balance and the weight isn't really a drag weight. It is a different leverage point and easier on them. Added benefit is getting you out walking with them. Ha, I just send Kelly. She even carts with Phantom.
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Postby Purple » March 25th, 2006, 1:15 pm

I am not familiar with carting.....got any links?
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Postby SisMorphine » March 25th, 2006, 3:48 pm

Karen wrote:
SisMorphine wrote:
Purple wrote:I have a question, the answer may be speculation....
My two year old was hit by a motorcycle when she was three months old. The rescue vet did a FHO on one side. When she was about a year and a half old, she was limping, and had to have FHO on the other side.
I am doing light weight pull with her, she loves agility, we keep the jumps low. Do you think this will help ward off any problems, such as dysplasia in her future?
She is incredibly active.

Doing anything where you keep them active and keep their muscles built up will always help with joint stuff. But if it is a genetic thing as opposed to an environment thing she could develop it anyway, just theoretically it wouldn't be nearly as bad as if she wasn't in top condition.

But keeping the weight down and the muscles built up will definitely help.



She can't develop arthrisis in that joint because there IS no joint there now. The ball part of the femur on both sides of her pelvis were cut off. The muscles are holding the hips in place and together. There is no longer any bone to bone contact. No matter what vets say the size of the dog does play a part in the success of the surgery. With Cuddles being so tall we chose not to have it done.

As for the weight pull, I don't think I would do it but if you can swim the dog it is awesome in building the thigh muscles and holding everything together.

It would help if I had read her whole post, huh? That's what I get for doing things half-assed.
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Postby Pitcrew » March 25th, 2006, 7:58 pm

Chris, I hope I would meet your criteria for a pup some day.

Very good post. I agree.
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Postby Chris Fraize » March 25th, 2006, 8:39 pm

Hi Lisa,
Do you work your dog(s)? It sure looks that way from your avatar!

I have to say I LOVE your Tri-color. My old female ‘PR’ Punchlines Princess Pandora ASR EL, CGC/TDI threw a few tri-colors back in her day. How is your dog bred? Any other pictures?

I also LOVE your quote! I look forward to meeting you at the near future.

Safe training,
Chris Fraize
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Postby JCleve86 » March 25th, 2006, 9:06 pm

I agree with Charles...if your paying to have x-rays done, why not just finish and get the results recorded? Of course I realize you are not breeding for the public, and thus don't feel the need to please the public, but at the same time...why not? Why not get the monkey off your back?

As for not testing hearts...well...sound like the same ol' excuse game dog breeders use. As I'm sure your well aware, a pit bull is by his very nature going to be able to perform even with debilitating health issues. I don't think there is any legit reason NOT to use available health testing. And it's not about show verses working dogs, it's about breeding and thus producing the best you possibly can...REGARDLESS of whether your dog warms the couch or works.

Being better than most, or even being the best doesn't mean you shouldn't do EVERYTHING in your power to only breed the best of the best. And I'm not suggesting that you aren't, just that your reasons for NOT health testing are just as unfounded as any other.

That being said, I don't have a problem with you or your program, nor do I think that you are anything BUT a wonderful asset to the breed...I just don't agree with you on this one!
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Postby Hartagold AmStaffs » March 25th, 2006, 10:27 pm

Chris Fraize wrote:
Health tests:

Hip testing – When I decide I am going to keep/buy (work) a dog I have my vet X-ray the dog in question and give me an educated opinion (After all if my vet cannot read an X-ray to tell me if my dog has dysplasia or not, I believe I should find anew vet.). If the vet gives me the all clear on the hips, we start testing the hips physically and regularly thru various types of training. I don’t OFA or PENN HIP because I don’t believe those organizations are the best test. If there is a problem after the vet’s “all clear” it will surface in the training. My test is more effective and conclusive. It may be hard to believe but I believe it is true.

Elbow testing - See above (same test)

Eye testing – If vision is in question we will test and treat. If it is genetic the dog is euthanized.

BAER Testing Deafness – If the dog is deaf it cannot work to my standards. If it is genetic the dog is euthanized.

Heart testing - If the dog’s heart is not 100 % (keeping the dog from working). If it is genetic the dog is euthanized .

Thyroid testing – I have never tested for Thyroid and have never had the need too.

Spinal testing - If the dog’s spine does not or cannot work to my standards (keeping the dog from working). If it is genetic the dog is euthanized.


So basically you are saying that because the dog can work hard, it must be healthy? That doing protection work, etc proves that the dog has a good heart and doesn't need to be examined?

Gee I wish that was true. One of my good friends had an awesome male doberman (German lines) from parents that are now 12 and 14 years old. He was close to a MACH in agility, has been in the DPCA top 20 in agility, earned his SchH3 with a High in Trial in Dec. 2005.

UAG1, UKC Ch. Swift Run's Jetstream, SchH 3, MX, MXJ, WAC, AD, EAC, OGC, NJC, Ob3, CGC

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Unfortunately he dropped dead in her arms the other night - 3 months after that HIT - at age FIVE. Most likely something heart related, still waiting to hear. He had a holter monitor on when he died (the dobe people do this yearly, just coincidence that it was on him at the time) so they're hoping it tells something.

A lot of conditions don't start showing physical signs until the dog is getting older....long after it's been worked and titled and often bred. Why not just do the tests and at least set a good example for others??? :|
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Postby Sarah » March 25th, 2006, 11:19 pm

Good question, Lora. My agility instructor lost his beloved male Dobe, Raji, at just under 7 years, a little bit short of completing his MACH. They'd been training, Raji was racing back to his owner with his toy, and just keeled over. He tried to get up when his owner called to him, then died in his arms. He'd recently had a vet say his heart was "fine", but I don't think they'd done any of the more elaborate testing.

Chris, are you waiting until your dogs are 9 or 10 years old before breeding, to be sure they won't have heart trouble later? Or are your dogs not capable of working that long?

I really don't get the resistance to having X-rays read by OFA or Pennhip. It's not expensive. Hips and elbows both can be read by OFA for $35 total. No, it isn't the whole picture, but it's a part of it, which is very easy to get, and take into consideration.

Before I bred Tully, I had hips & elbows OFA'd. I got all the X-rays done, read by OFA, and a copy of the X-rays on a CD (it was a digital X-ray machine), so I can keep them for my own reference; $200 total cost. Cheap! The OFA rating wasn't the whole picture of how I made my decision about her hips, but it was information I was happy to have.
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