It is a common observation that the standard of quality of the offspring produced by females used in breeding programmes may be slightly lower. Is that really the case? Why isn’t it being done? Then why is it repeated such a large amount?
It is well acknowledged that breeder quality is a measurement that is made for females, and it is generally accepted that a breeder can be slightly more lenient in respect to the standard when it comes to choosing his or her breeding girls for his or her programme. [Citation needed] Permit me to begin by stating that, as a matter of generalisation, this is not accurate. It is essential to emphasise the fact that a female has exactly the same amount of influence as a male has on the physical characteristics, overall health, and genetic make-up of the kitten! As a result of the fact that a female passes on half of her genes to her offspring, there is no reason to suppose that the qualities of a male are more significant than those of a female in your efforts to produce the ideal Persian. Why, then, do breeders continue to assert this occasionally, and why do breeders apply the notion of “breeder” primarily, if not entirely, to female animals?
If you have read the article in the male’s page, you probably know that the natural behavior of the male stud makes it almost impossible for a small cattery to handle more than one or two stud cats. You may also know by now that in order to feel content a stud cat needs to have at least two if not three females in his harem. Females, on the other hand, are rather flexible when coming to live with other cats, and although they are still territorial animals, they quite easily adapt to living in groups. Farm cat females in a natural environment were even watched nursing each other’s kittens and helping one another give birth, so bringing all these facts together makes one realize a small breeder can and needs to actually have at least twice as many females than males.
The larger the number the cats you can properly house and care for without getting too much stress, the larger the flexibility in your breeding program. So although one should strive for the best queens possible, one can still leave some room and ‘give a shot’ to a few queens that are really nice, and yet maybe not as ‘finely tuned’ to show as a proper show cat.
It is also important to remember a few facts of life when criticizing a breeder’s choice of females. First of all, females in all breeding programs are twice as many, females are almost always in high demand – something that can make a new breeder’s life very difficult when coming to choose a high quality female from specific lines. Show quality females can be very hard to get, and a long wait may be needed.
Secondly, most breeders are financially limited in one way or the other. So although in an ideal world one would want to get the best females, many breeders find that they need to use their flexibility margin in order to give a shot to breeder quality girls so they can manage their expenses and budget.
A few tips for choosing a breeding girl:
- Many breeders realize in time, that some breeder quality girls may produce better quality kittens when bred to their specific males than a specific show quality girl who comes from different lines. Try and study pedigrees well before choosing a girl. Some lines ‘mesh’ better than others, and slightly closer lines usually produce more consistently. Try and do your homework well if you know you need to choose a breeder quality (or any quality) girl. Ask breeders and your mentors about the pedigrees. It will usually be worth your while.
- Look for a strong show pedigree. I have already mentioned pedigrees on my first tip, but this one refers to show consistency. If a girl is not of show quality herself, she better have a strong pedigree with many top show cats in it to ensure she at least carries the genes for show type.
- Upgrade. A breeding program constantly evolves, and better cats are born every day. Females, on the other hand, cannot breed forever. They should be bred once a year if possible and retire somewhere between the ages 4-6, otherwise it can take a heavy toll on their health. This gives you the opportunity to keep a successor to the girl from her own breeding that is of show quality, and gives a breeding queen the opportunity to retire to a home where she is a pampered princess. A girl that retires early is a happier pet so ‘learn to let go’, when it comes to girls.