by Virginia Matanic
GINGER WIRES; Thoughts and Experiences
While I have not had many gingers, in over 34 years of breeding and showing, I have seen a lot of Wires, mostly tri’s but a ginger here and there. There were great ones, good ones and adequate ones and while I did see a few gingers I liked, most of them were females. I saw a few males I considered as breeding prospects, but there always seemed to be a tri waiting around the corner, ready to catch my eye. It wasn’t until I happened to see Ch.Seaton Halls Ace is the Place in the ring, in tip-top condition and showing his heart out, that I felt he could be the one. When I looked at his pedigree, and found that his father was one of mine and that any breeding would be a line breeding, I decided to use him on a good producing bitch. Out of that breeding I had a litter of 5, 3 of whom were gingers and the two best ones were Amber, the female I kept and Dexter, the brother owned and finished by Mike and Donna Johnson from Fargo.
I tend to ask a lot of questions and do as much research as possible and now after three litters of ginger breeding, I can truthfully say they are different, especially in temperament. Gingers, mine at least, are very talkative, confident and dominant. Even as puppies, they expect the first and best of everything and if they don’t get it, they let you know, loud and clear, that they are disappointed. They are brave to the point of foolishness, and really friendly and loveable to people. They do tend to squabble quite a lot as babies.
In my research, I found that there seem to be many rules that have been made over the years regarding the breeding and selecting of top gingers. They are not always correct, but I will list them and give you my opinion.
- Ginger heads tend to be “fat” and have too much stop. Yes, as pups they do seem that way. However my experience, and that of others who have bred gingers is that they continue growing and actually become quite good. So, don’t throw away that good ginger pup because you don’t like the head. Wait it out.
- Ginger coats are not as good as that of a tri. Yes, I would have to agree with that. However I found that with work (actually a lot of it, one needs to top them every 4 days) you could get a really nice hard coat. Amber stayed in show coat for 3 years and one litter. I will let you know if it continues after this litter. I think one should always breed for that hard coat. Be sure one of the parents has a spectacular coat and that would most likely be the tri parent.
- Depth of color can be hard to get. I am still not sure of just what color ‘ginger’ is. I tend to think it refers to the color of the spice and should be a golden reddish brown. Too deep a color and it will approach red, which is considered a fault in our standard. Too light and the dog looks dowdy and washed out. The more you strip, the better the color gets. I do not like to “color” a dog so tend to work a coat until it pleases. I have seen a few clippered gingers and they have very little color. Believe me, Amber will always be stripped.
- One of the parents must be a ginger if you are to get gingers in a litter. True as far as I know. It seems to be an incomplete dominant, but since I am not an expert in genetics I will leave the particulars of that to others.
- Never breed a ginger to a ginger. I am not sure about that. They say the color will fade and coats will get soft. It does sound likely, but I have not had any experience there. There is quite a bit of breeding for gingers happening and perhaps we will find out more about this soon.
So, go ahead and try it. After all, this is a gamble and a passion. We love it; all the uncertainties, the love and affection we get and give, the tight bonds developed between dog and handler, and the great feeling when we have done well. Those ribbons may be just strips of cloth, but there is more meaning behind them than meets the eye.
Kindly reproduced from NewsWIRE 2009.