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 Post Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:57 pm 
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I didn't want to get Steve's thread on this article off topic, viewtopic.php?f=8&t=954, but the Hortaya is an amazing example of only breeding proven working dogs. Because they have done this for hundreds of years, they now have a population of dogs that is of a consistently high quality, even when outcrossed. And knowing the way Lacys were originally used, this was probably true of our breed not too long ago, since ranchers would only breed their best working stock in an effort to replace the dogs they had. Getting back to that practice would certainly improve the consistency of Lacy Dogs.

Qualifications for breeding from the International Network of Hortaya Breeders
( ... 69&lang=en)

"Qualification depends currently still largely on where you register your hortaya. However, ever since people who are not rural hunters have begun to keep and breed these dogs, discussion has begun on how to maintain the high standard of aptitude and genotypical hunting qualities of the hortaya.

Most serious breeders, as well as the Russian Hortaya Borzaya Association, are of the opinion that it is absolutely necessary to continue breeding for these qualities, and thus to keep testing them before dogs are used as breeding animals. For several centuries the hunters who evolved this sightdog breed solely bred seasoned, experienced and capable individuals to each other. A hortaya who could not ensure game on the table of its owner would not be used in breeding at all. Hunters bred exclusively for performance and health.

In modern times and especially in western countries it may seem to be difficult to ensure continued selection for the hortaya's special work, as quite a few countries forbid the sighthunt with dogs.

In Russia to the day it is a question of honour, even for the breeders in towns and cities, to prove that their dogs are well capable of catching prey. Several hunt trials are used to discern the abilities of a dog. It is trialed on hare, fox and wolf, and receives certain levels of hunting diplomas according to the outcome of the various tests.

The few current western aficionados and breeders are so far also resolved to adhere as best as possible to this need for qualification. For one thing it is not impossible to hunt trial a dog at least once during a visit of Russia. Belgium, Finland, Hungary, Slovakia, Spain and Italy are also a countries where hunting with dogs is still possible. Additionally, conventional lure coursing or coursing after a lure pulled behind a car can both be done in European countries to thoroughly test health and sturdiness of a dog.

So, potential breeders are strongly urged to help us all to not turn the last pure hunter into a mere show animal. Especially as these so far voluntary qualifications may become mandatory at a later stage."

They then go on to describe the various hunting trials that are used. If this has worked for centuries with the Hortaya, it would work for the Lacy.

"You must be a very small minority no matter who you hang around with. Maybe you should start a magazine, Vegetarian Hog Dogging Monthly, find some like-minded individuals."
- Inspiration for my next project from TBH

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