And now, I'm majorly stressing myself out.
What I know: I don't like her front movement. What I don't know: What is throwing it off. Shoulder layback (or lack of same)? Short upper arm? Round rib cage that pushes the elbows out? I'm enough of a newb that I can't say for certain where exactly the problem lies. I'll be taking her along for the ride when I go to Macungie and will have an experienced breeder look at her there. I've also sent photos and video (and will be trying to take better video) to another breeder to see if she can share any insight with me.
But these questions lead to larger ones for me. I know there is no such thing as a perfect dog, and all of them will have some fault or another. My biggest question is where to draw the line when it comes to breeding? I mean, obviously I would look for a dog who would be most likely to correct her faults without introducing new ones that I don't already have. But there has to be a point where you say I'm not going to try to correct all this; let's go a different way.
I just don't know where that point is. My little hamster-in-the-wheel brain keeps spinning and spinning. Do I breed her? To this dog or that dog? Can I realistically expect to improve on her? Will anyone buy one of the puppies? Will other exhibitors point and say, "Look at her, she bred that bitch that she couldn't even put points on!" And yeah, what other people are going to say and a collection of ribbons (or lack thereof) shouldn't be the driving force behind my decision making, and it isn't, but I know how the dog show world works well enough to know that there may be at least some of that.
Or, if I decide not to breed her, where do I go from here? Buy another bitch puppy from a promising litter? Look to buy an older puppy so I have a better idea of what I'm getting? Lease a bitch? Pay for the stud-fee and co-breed a litter with someone who has a bitch I like? Wait to see how Magnum turns out and hope that someone wants to breed to him and take a puppy back? And if I do that, do I try to title Elli in agility myself, or place her in a performance home with someone who is way better at or more committed to agility and herding than I am?
I know, I know, we all have to start somewhere. Most people don't start with a Nationals-winning bitch, and I don't expect to be the exception. But I DO take breeding seriously, and I want to make sure I'm doing it in a way that produces sound, healthy, quality dogs, and in a way that is up front and can be respected by my peers. That's the only way to build a solid foundation for the future.
*spin spin spin whirl whirl whirl*
Gah! Thoughts? Comments? Observations? Am I just being a total spaz who needs to calm the eff down and stop worrying and over-analyzing everything to death? Someone throw me a bone!