The purpose of this document is to synthesize data from The American Field into a body of meaningful information for pointer breeders. Hopefully, this information will occasionally be used in the selection of stud dogs rather than the hearsay/folklore sorts of information which apparently is the chief source of breeding decisions today.
Two basic types of information are presented. They are the production records of the dogs and the allegedperformance traits of the dogs. The production records include frequency of breeding as suggested by the number offspring registered and the number of various types of wins by the offspring of the dogs. The performance traits are a synthesis of comments about particular dogs by various major circuit reporters for The American Field.
Data in the original edition of this document (1980) included only the top open all-age major circuit dogs. The reason for this was simply to keep the lid on Pandora's box, which would be open if all pointers were included. At any rate, most interest should center around the top open all-age major circuit dogs.
The reason for confining the data to all-age was an elementary tenet of modern genetics (i. e. Galton's law of filial regression). Those who continually use champion shooting dogs as studs demonstrate a lack of comprehension of the principle of regression if they are trying to produce field trial dogs. Such individuals are referred to any good biology book to address themselves to this subject. "Major circuit" has different connotations to different people. "Major circuit" in the context of this document means those trials which attract representatives of the best strings of dogs in the country (best according to the record). To qualify as "major circuit" under this definition a stake would not be called major circuit unless two or three of the following strings were represented; Builder's Free Boy and his kennel-mates, Flatwood Hank and his kennel-mates, Bisco Big Jack and his kennel-mates, Whippoorwill's Rebel and his kennel-mates, and Barshoe Buzzsaw and his kennel mates (today the Patterson, Roper, Downs strings would also, of course, be included). Needless to say, a stake might be major circuit one year and not major circuit another year according to this definition. Some trials that fall into this category (some, but not all, years major circuit) are the Tarheel Open All-Age Stake, Texas Championship, All-American Championships (both Chicken and Quail). Some trials that, at least recently, have always been major circuit are the Border International, Oklahoma, and Continental Championships. A dog can't be faulted because his major competition isn't entered, but he can't be given the same credit that he would have been given if he had beaten them.
"Top" is defined as those dogs which have competed against and defeated such dogs as Rebel Wrangler, Whippoorwill's Rebel, and Redemption's Reward. For example, in year 1985, any dog on the major circuit which had never been placed over Whippoorwill's Rebel was not included.
Some dogs have been excluded from this document because they have not won certain kinds of major circuit stakes. To be included in this document dogs must have won on the major circuit in Canada and in the South. The reason for the Canadian stake is that the required boldness and range in them represents the ultimate of all-age standards. The major circuit win in the South is required because of the bidability required in them. Also the stamina required in the South, because of briars, terrain, humidity, and temperature, represents the desideratum in a potential stud dog. One hour at Quitman or Albany, in some cases, requires more stamina than three hours at Grand Junction.
Any dog, with exceptions, not meeting the forementioned qualifications is not included in this document. Exceptions were granted nonsystematically. Possible major impact on the breed was the bottom-line for inclusion for otherwise unqualified individuals. Possible major impact was hypothesized in the following types of cases: (1) winning the Purina Award, (2) winning the National Championship, (3) media blitz via stud dog ads in "The Field," (4) actually having a current major impact. Builder's Addition would be an example of #1 & #2; Mississippi Rifle and Pike Creek Mike would exemplify #3; My Main Man and Understatement would be examples of #4. Knowledgeable readers will recognize other dogs in the above categories without their names being mentioned. The reader may judge for himself if any of these exceptions warrants the popularity of those dogs as studs; that is part of what this document is about. The performance traits of some category 3 and 4 dogs is not included because they did not compete in trials to any extent.
Statistics involving calculations were not included on dogs with fewer than 100 offspring registered. The validity of small sample calculations is very dubious, and they are therefore excluded. Small samples can be unduly influenced by careful placement of puppies. Chance and luck also play a more dominant role in small samples. Examples of calculations on living dogs excluded because of small samples are those on Double Rebel Jack and Barshoe Brute. Jack had 63 pups registered. Had he been included his Run Factor (=7.08) would have placed him #1 in that category. His Prepotency Index (=.73) would have him ranked #8. A Winability of 195 would rank him #3 in that category. Brute had fewer than 50 registered on the cut-off date. His Prepotency Index of .94 would have ranked him #4 in that category. He would have been #2 in Winability (=214). A Run Factor of 2.58 would have been #3. His percentage of winning offspring would have ranked him #1. Examples of statistics on deceased dogs excluded for the same reason of too few registrations are statistics on Hawk's Rex, Karate, and Builder's Free Boy. Their percentages of winners were 54, 50, and 52% respectively. Their PIs were .95, 1.31, and 1.75 respectively, and their Winabilities were 210, 260, and 192.
Because of the increase in interest in walking trials a limited number of the top shooting dogs were followed starting in 1982. The results are reported in the last section. Just as the logical gene pool, according to the law of regression, for shooting dogs are the all-age dogs, the logical gene pool for walking trials should be the top shooting dogs. The selection criteria were similar, but not identical to the all-age selection criteria. Extreme in range, the sine quo non criterion of all-age, should not be important in shooting dog competition. For that reason a prairie win was not essential to be included in the shooting dog section. Either a prairie win and a southern win or two wins in the States with both stakes having entries over 50 qualified dogs in the shooting dog section.
Small sample size also precluded some shooting dogs that, based on the data available, may turn out to be great studs. Third Rail would have ranked second among the shooting dogs on both PI (1.1) and Winability (325). Both Double Rail and A Rambling Yankee have good looking stats, but their sample size is so small as to make reporting them completely spurious. Some shooting dogs not meeting the selection criteria, as in the all-age category, were also included for the same reason.
In interpreting the data one must remember that data was not collected on individuals until they met the inclusion standards previously stated. Early data is, therefore, excluded.
The sources of data for this section were field trial reports in The American Field. Fourteen relevantperformance traits were selected. Traits pertaining to a dog's ground work were strength and stamina, boldness, bidability, pattern, running style (gait), speed, and selection of objectives. Traits pertaining to bird work were accuracy (percentage of points that were productive), positiveness, intensity, style, location of game, relocations, and the handling of game.
The reports of every major circuit trial in the past twenty years have been carefully analyzed for each of the above mentioned traits for each dog. Most comments on these traits have either a favorable or an unfavorable "ring" to them. A counts was made for each of each of these traits. From these counts, those traits which had the highest number of favorable statements and the highest number of unfavorable statements were selected as performance traits for the particular dog in question. Neutral comments were defined as unfavorable. The traits were reported as "Strongest" and "Weakest." In most cases the top three traits were included; in some instances there was an insufficient number of statements (i. e. not significant) to include three traits. The traits under "Strongest" are those traits which received the highest number of positive comments by reporters in The American Field, and the "Weakest" are those traits which received the highest number of unfavorable comments.
Just because a dog has a trait listed under "Weakest" does not mean that the dog is characterized as weak in that trait in an absolute sense. It means only that of the fourteen performance traits the dog received more unfavorable comments on that trait than on others. All dogs are better, or worse, in some traits than in others. Even the greatest of dogs, under this system, usually had three traits that had more unfavorable comments than others. These traits would be listed as weak, although the dog might not be really weak in the trait at all; one might say that such a trait was not one of his strongest traits.
It must be emphasized that these traits do not represent the opinion or interpretation of the writer of this document. They are only a summary of what field trial reporters have stated in their reports of trials. They represent a numerical tallying of all of the comments written in The American Field. It seems logical that if different reporters at different times repeatedly say the same thing about a dog that there might be a degree of truth in what they are saying. None of the traits listed under each dog are isolated incidents; they are based on repeated comments of the same nature about that dog.
In general, data (performance traits) was not collected on the dogs after they were seven years old.
PREPOTENCY INDEX the ratio of the number of shooting dog and all-age wins of a dog's progeny to the number of the dog's progeny registered (pups whelped in '88 & '89 not included)
WINABILITY the number of wins of progeny per 100 registrations
RUN FACTOR the ratio of progeny's all-age wins to shooting dog wins
ACCURACY percentage of points in which game was produced
The increase in sample size from the First Edition of the PBA precluded the inclusion of many of the younger and current dogs. Note that on the "Prepotency Index" page that the lowest reported was .31. PIs of less than .30 are not listed for two reasons. (1) This publication is primarily a ranking of the top producers, and those with PIs below .30 should not be considered "top." (2) The PI of dogs early in their career as studs have an unnaturally deflated index because some of their offspring take several years to make it into the winning column in all-age and shooting dog competition. That is why PIs tend to rise with age. Note the changes in the original PIs of those in the 1980 edition to the new figures in this edition. The PIs and percentages of registered offspring are correlated - but not very highly. Possible reasons for the low correlations might be (1) a dog producing a low percentage of winners, but those that do place win more often (see the "Number of Wins Per Winner" table), and (2) dogs producing a high percentage of winners, but most of them not making the grade to shooting dog or all-age competition. The addition of "Winability" gives still another factor to consider.
Which is more important? The answer to this question is unknown. The desideratum would be a stud that is high on all factors. If the breeder's interest is primarily in all-age, then the "Run Factor" also needs to be considered. An interesting confirmation of all of the statistical measures considered in this publication is the "quality of stakes dimension." Studs that tend to do well in the statistics reported here also tend to impress when one starts to consider the quality aspects of the stakes won. John Criswell of Stigler, Oklahoma probably has the most complete records of the breeding of major stakes winners. He has shared many of his records with the author of this publication, and there have been very few contradictions between the quality and quantity aspects. The top studs tend to be top no matter which direction - quality or quantity - one wishes to take.
The breeder would be well advised to heed the information in the "Performance Traits" section. There is more to breeding than just bloodlines. Analyzing the brood bitch's performance traits is essential. It wouldn't make sense to breed a bitch whose weakest traits are the same as the stud's weakest traits
|Rank||Name||Number of Offspring Registered|
|2.||Miller's White Cloud||949|
|5.||White Knight's Button||459|
|6.||The Texas Squire||398|
|7.||My Main Man||354|
|8.||Addition's Go Boy||335|
|11.||Miller's Happy Choice||284|
|16.||Palariel Stormy Clown||166|
|Rank||Name||Number of Wins|
|4.||My Main Man||68|
|5.||Addition's Go Boy||50|
|12.||White Knight's Button||34|
|15.||Pike Creek Mike||27|
|16.||Miller's White Cloud||26|
|Rank||Name||Number of Wins|
|3.||My Main Man||146|
|5.||Addition's Go Boy||136|
|11.||White Knight's Button||69|
|13.||Pike Creek Mike||65|
|14.||Miller's White Cloud||62|
|18.||Double Rebel Jack||45|
|19.||Texas Squire's Hank||41|
|24.||The Master Craftsman||29|
|25.||Spy Hill Buddy||28|
|27.||Miller's Happy Choice||27|
|28.||The Texas Squire||26|
|Rank||Name||Number of Wins|
|3.||White Knight's Button||208|
|5.||Miller's Happy Choice||168|
|5.||Miller's White Cloud||168|
|10.||The Texas Squire||78|
|13.||Palariel Stormy Clown||56|
|15.||My Main Man||53|
|17.||Addition's Go Boy||47|
|20.||Builder's Free Boy||30|
|22.||Texas Silver Spur||27|
|Rank||Name||Number of Wins|
|3.||White Knight's Button||177|
|4.||The Texas squire||147|
|7.||Miller's Happy Choice||140|
|12.||My Main Man||70|
|13.||Texas Squire's Hank||60|
|14.||Addition's Go Boy||56|
|16.||Builder's Free Boy||54|
|17.||The Master Craftsman||51|
|18.||Double Rebel Jack||39|
|18.||Flush's Country Squire||39|
|1.||Miller's Happy Choice||1.08|
|5.||White Knight's Button||.84|
|9.||The Texas Squire||.57|
|13.||Palariel Stormy Clown||.40|
|15.||My Main Man||.35|
|16.||Addition's Go Boy||.31|
|3.||Pike Creek Mike||50%|
|4.||White Knight's Button||45%|
|6.||My Main Man||43%|
|11.||Addition's Go Boy||35%|
|14.||Miller's Happy Choice||32%|
|15.||Palariel Stormy Clown||31%|
|2.||Miller's Happy Choice||197|
|3.||White Knight's Button||188|
|10.||My Main Man||121|
|12.||Pike Creek Mike||108|
|15.||Palariel Stormy Clown||95|
|16.||Addition's Go Boy||92|
|17.||The Texas Squire||85|
|19.||Miller's White Cloud||76|
|2.||Miller's Happy Choice||6|
|4.||White Knight's Button||4|
|4.||The Texas Squire||4|
|8.||Miller's White Cloud||3|
|8.||My Main Man||3|
|8.||Palariel Stormy Clown||3|
|19.||Addition's Go Boy||2|
|19.||Pike Creek Mike||2|
|5.||The Texas Squire||1.88|
|7.||My Main Man||1.32|
|8.||Addition's Go Boy||1.19|
|10.||White Knight's Button||.85|
|11.||Miller's Happy Choice||.83|
|13.||Pike Creek Mike||.70|
|15.||Miller's White Cloud||.66|
|22.||Palariel Stormy Clown||.20|
This list of a few famous sires gives the number of their sons which produced open all-age or shooting dog champions or runner-ups per 100 registrations (w/o regards to sex).
How does one decide on what stud dog to use? Before even attempting to answer that question one should be certain that you have a good brood bitch. She should be "good" in terms of (1) bloodlines (as evidenced from data this publication), (2) performance (field trial results), and (3) if it is possible she should be a proven producer. She also should be "good" in terms of behavior - her pups will learn how to act toward humans during the first 8 weeks with her. To answer the stud dog question it might be interesting to turn it around to how would you answer the question "Why did you breed your bitch to XXX?" The answer should be defensible in terms of the data presented in this document. If not, your true objective, unknown to you, might have been to produce as many sorry dogs as possible. The best of all choices would be to use data from this document in combination with data from John Criswell's data on "home-run" hitters. The best of the latter half of this century, A Rambling Rebel and Flush's Country Squire, were both; they hit the homeruns (the major circuit winners) as well as they scored highest in the kinds of statistics presented in past editions of the PBA.
There are two kinds of poor judgement that can be costly. One is to use data such as either the yearly or the ten year summaries on numbers of winners by different types of categories (ie. puppy, derby, etc.). This ignores the frequency of breeding of the stud dog. In most cases dogs which are tops in these categories were bred many times, and the results do not truly represent true prepotency. This information was presented only as a matter of interest. It is the PIs, the Winability, the Percentages of Winners, and Run Factor that count - not the absolute number of winners.
The second type of poor judgement is relying on your personal observations of the stud dog and testimonials - whether they be what someone told you or ads in "The Field." Your personal observations are particularly dangerous and "kennel blinding" if you see the dog only once or twice. The point is that, unless you see the dog many times, what you may be seeing may be very atypical. Another problem with personal observations is the difficulty in distinguishing between man-made traits and inherited traits. Many, perhaps most, observed traits, other than style, can be heavily influenced by training. Just because a stud is a "class" performer is no guarantee at all that he will transmit his attributes. If his dam and sire had the traits, and his offspring have the traits, then he is probably transmitting them.
The Field is loaded with testimonials in the advertisement section. ["Ask anyone who owns one." "The best I've ever owned.." "A leading trainer said..." "Those who have judged him said.."] Such are the testimonials of those kennel blind individuals who own second rate stud dogs. The testimonials may be honest quotes, but they are absolutely invalid indicators of quality as measured by the indicators presented in this publication. They are statements of desperation of those whose dogs don't measure up. It is not at all unusual for some individuals to go through dozens of dogs that are poorly bred and finally come up with a top notch one. Pure chance favors this approach. Even if they might have good sires, their dam line often has holes large enough to drive a Mack truck through. Good sires seldom come from this pool.
The environment vs heredity argument has another dimension added to it in field trial competition - luck. Too often luck and environment produce multiple champions (and sometime even good producers!) Breeding alone cannot produce winning performances. When luck and environment work against it, breeding comes in a distant third. Nevertheless, breeding can influence and make a difference. Bloodlines do make a difference and can enhance the effects of luck and environment.
We must constantly remember that there are many good stud dogs in someone's backyard that we have never heard of. Maybe they didn't trial, or maybe their owner chose not to promote them as studs. In the interest of possible breed improvement one dog that did not qualify for inclusion by virtue of performance or numbers registered must be mentioned. He might even be the best stud dog in the country. If the stats that are available are valid and reliable, then such a possibility is likely. The dog is Mortlach. Only a few dozen of his offspring are registered thus any attempt at quantification must be questioned. For what it is worth, he would be, if included, #1 in three categories and #2 in another. His PI is .96, Percentage of Winners= 74; Winability= 233, and Run Factor= 27.
Much more data is available than is published herein. Please feel free to contact Frank Thompson, 134 Pettigrew Rd NW; Milledgeville, GA 31061 (phone 912 452-4653).
We were disappointed in the availability of technology to help us with this effort. We visited "The Field" offices earlier in the year, but didn't get much encouragement in terms of technological support for future efforts. It could be that future developments in information availability on the part of "The Field" might render the need for this publication obsolete.
There is a possibility that this might be the last edition of the PBA. If this turns out to be true the information will still be available via seminars or possibly computer disks.