It was about 6 years ago that I bought Patricia Craige Born to Win but it was only recently that I actually read it. I guess I just didn’t have the motivation back then, being dog-less for most of those years. Hot dang was I missing out!
Everything you need to know, and everything you didn’t know you needed to learn, is in this book. Although it’s intended for breeders, current or wannabe, anyone who shows dogs can gain from the work of Patricia Trotter (formerly Craige). Today Mrs Trotter is primarily an esteemed judge, but for decades she bred some of the winningest and most influential Elkhounds in AKC history. A former history teacher, she has a very readable style of writing that is blessedly easy to learn from. In addition she has over a half century of experience breeding and showing dogs, plus a knack for thinking creatively and being open-minded. Is there a better teacher?
The whole purpose of this book is to guide the reader into thinking like and becoming a master breeder: one whose purpose is to raise the classic dog and positively influence current and future generations. If you just want a litter of cute puppies and have no interest in becoming an “artistic genetic engineer” then this book is too much for you. But if, like me, you want to someday be remembered as an icon of the fancy then you couldn’t find a better starting point than Born to Win.
A few of my favorite sections include…
– Learning plan for the fledgling breeder
– How to develop selection criteria
– Breeding methods (line, out, and “close”), patterned pedigrees, importance of tail male and female lines
– Historical giants in producing champions, both dogs and bitches
– Selecting a “true foundation bitch”
– Selecting a truly great sire
– Anecdotes from classic shows like Morris & Essex, Westminster, and others; stories of the journey to the top
– Conditioning your dog (my new fave topic)
– Federico Tesio, breeder of classic Thoroughbreds like Nearco and Ribot, inspiration to small-scale breeders everywhere
There just aren’t enough superlatives to describe this book, but there’s one that sums them up: it’s a gem. Meaning go buy it now! And no, I gain nothing from you clicking that link. I just want to proselytize you to the good work of Patricia Trotter!