I’m often asked to explain my personal breeding project (Backcountry Companions). Sometimes it’s people who are against crossing dog breeds asking, and other times it’s people who are open minded and interested in what I’m doing.
Recently there has been some misinformation floating around the interwebz about it, so I figured it was time to write down what I’m working to create. This blog post will act as a temporary place to share my thoughts on my program until I have completed my website.
My name is Brad Anderson, I am a dog lover and breeder. I have worked with many different breeds, but the breeds I have focused the most attention on is the Kai Ken (Yamabushi Kennel), Kishu Ken (Hakuzan Kennel), Central Asian Ovcharka, Caucasian Ovcharka, and the West Siberian Laika. My efforts in these breeds has always been focused on increasing diversity in the North American populations via introgression with dogs from their country of origin.
About The Project
First, I want to be clear about something – I’m not working to create a new dog breed. I never plan to give a name to this cross or work to get it registered in any type of club. This project is a personal project – I’m working to create the type of dog I want.
Also, I am not trying to “fix” things I don’t like in other dog breeds. I am not trying to improve on any of the dog breeds I use in the cross. That’s not the point of this project.
What I’m working to create is a weather tolerant spitz-type backcountry companion, with natural predator aggression, that’s biddable and easy to hike off-leash, quiet, and clean. Size is not very important to me, however I would like the dog to be large enough to pack, but small enough to be carried out of the backcountry if injured. It’s my goal to minimize dog aggression and reactivity, and breed for solid nerves and health.
I want this cross to be efficient (not requiring large amounts of food or water) and able to spend weeks in the bush with their companion without the need for much gear – comfortable in hot and cold, rain or snow.
While some of the pups produced will likely make good hunting dogs, I am not actually trying to create a hunting dog cross.
I’ve owned and loved many dogs of many breeds, some of which, on paper, one would think would fulfill the role I am looking to fill with this cross. However, in my experience that is not the case. Dog aggression, quarrelsome behavior, weak nerves (fearful behavior) and hypervigilance, poor health, no “off” switch, and obsessive barking are just a few of the things I have seen in dog breeds I’ve owned in hopes of fulfilling this role. Sure, one could find a dog that could fill this role, but I would like to be able to produce dogs where the majority consistently fit this role.
Dog aggression is a particularly difficult thing to deal with in a dog meant to be a backcountry companion and/or a hunting dog. Hiking along a trail, or even off trail, there’s always a chance you’ll run into a fellow hiker/camper/hunter with a dog. Often this happens when you are least expecting it and not prepared for the encounter. Having a companion dog who acts indifferent toward the random dogs you run into is a huge advantage.
People in dogdom tend to obsess over what breed is used in a cross. I’m not one of those people. The dogs I have selected to be used in my project have less to do with their breed and more to do with the individual dog. If I have a dog that I feel will add some traits I am looking for, without compromising other traits, then I will use it in my program – breed doesn’t matter that much to me.
With that said, because I know people still want to know the breeds used in the cross, here is a list of the breedings I have done so far. Please keep in mind I am in the very early stages of creating the foundation for my project so all the crosses so far have been using Smokey as a base for the foundation. I’m looking forward to reaching the point where I can start crossing my foundation dogs while adding some new dogs to the cross. My hope is to keep a COI of below 5% – so I will be working to minimize inbreeding.
Breeding 1: Juko (KBD) x Smokey
Embark example: http://embk.me/flash30
Breeding 2: Kaiju (Shikoku Ken) x Smokey
Embark example: http://embk.me/aurora92
Breeding 3: Ike (WSL) x Smokey
Embark example: http://embk.me/sothis
Tentative future litters…
Riki (Yushoku Kishu Ken) x Smokey
Flash (Juko x Smokey) x Vega (Dogo x Kangal x Dane x Tosa)
Picasso (Ibizan Hound) x Aurora (Kaiju x Smokey)