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Tough question to answer, but I will give my thoughts and then maybe more others will chime in also. I have no set formula. I now go many years between full outcrosses. I did more outcrosses 30 years ago when I was trying to gather the bloodlines I admired so I could carry them forward into the future. Mostly these were lines I had seen while judging SPO trials, which is a great way to acquire knowledge about what you want (and don't want) in your own kennel. After I had the lines I wanted in the kennel, I went outside less and less, and seldom go out today. Everyone's situation is different, so you may already have what you need right from the start. But you should never be totally satisfied - there is always something you can improve in your hounds.

I prefer now to work with a partial outcross, meaning the hound I am breeding to is related to mine, but has some lines in his/her pedigree that are different from mine. Outcrosses give you hybrid vigor, so you may get a super hound in that first generation after the cross, but outbreeding also scatters the genetics you already have, so they need to be done carefully and only after much research into the lines you will be introducing into yours. Outcrosses can also be failures and have to be discarded. And I agree with Will, sometimes it can take years to get it out of your kennels. (Been there and done that!)

Speaking of research, if you find the owner of the outcross hounds you want to use will not openly discuss with you the positives and negatives of his/her line, you may want to look elsewhere. There is nothing worse than the owner who hides information, perhaps for his/her own gain, and lets you find out later about a serious problem you have injected into your lines. An example might be something like not mentioning the hound you want to use will sometimes have epileptic seizures, and the dog's grandsire had them too. Maybe that's a poor example, so it could be just that his line has poor feet, or bleeds heavily when hunted, or is known to die by age 10, or sometimes produces bad bites, cherry eyes, etc, etc. Better to deal with honest, open people you can trust to tell you what you need to know. No hound or bloodline is perfect and without weaknesses in some way. As Will said above, dig, dig.

The more satisfied you become with your own lines, the more reluctant you will become to add new lines. It may also get to be harder and harder to find other lines that interest you, or that you think will add something positive to your lines. When you do find an outcross that works, you may decide to add more of that bloodline later, but the second and third time it's not really an outcross any more, is it?

I think the time to outcross is when you decide there is something lacking in your hounds that you cannot get from within. For example, some of my biggest outcrosses have been to show champions to add conformation to my hounds. I knew I could get conformation quickly that way, as opposed to breeding and selecting for it using only my own lines. We don't have the lifespans of Methuselah, so sometimes an outcross is preferable to selecting for a trait over time. You might decide you want more size in your hounds, or stronger noses, or more hunt/search, or whatever, and maybe the best way to get it is to crossbreed to a GREAT INDIVIDUAL from a FAMILY that is known to be strong in the trait your hound lines might be needing. If you know that individual is a strong producer of that trait, all the better.

Just remember the outcross will likely bring other traits too, so some culling of the offspring may need to happen. If you can't cull, you should not try your hand at breeding, because sooner or later you will need to cull hounds from your program. But culling does not have to mean you are putting hounds down. Often a cull to you will be a brag hound for someone else. I used to smile when I would hear John New refer to FC. Indian Hills Majer as a "cull dog", knowing how the rest of us felt about Majer (a dog John was breeder of). The Walker brothers, when developing their famous Kentucky foxhound lines, were known to cull severely, in ways most of us would not have a heart to do today. Times were different then, but that does not mean culling is no longer important to a breeder.

Outcrossing should make you a little nervous. It takes courage. Sometimes you might rather let someone else try it first.
Good post Huntsman
The only thing I can add is
Know exactly what you expect from your out cross. As mentioned dig dig and dig some more but keep in mined don’t go off anyone’s advice without seeing first hand how the dogs offspring turn out is he/ she putting the Traits your looking for in there pups. Iv drove meany miles over the years to go watch pups run from a dog I was interested in making an out cross with
I especially liked your statement about making partial out crosses That’s how I always tried to make an out cross IMO it’s safer Not as Likely to get those hidden bad traits back behind the dog that occasionally rises from the dead
Once agin good post Tim
 

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I have a question for you guys who are more knowledgeable on breeding. I know Red dog is breeding dogs that have a lot of Weir Creek behind them. Would you consider it an outcross if he bred one of his females to a male that had no common ancestors in four generations but still had Weir Creek Buzz 40 times in his pedigree. How about no common ancestors for five generations? When I look at some of my pedigrees I don't see a lot of line breeding up close but when I get deep into them a lot of times the same dog will show up 30 to 50 times but it is way back.
VERY good question. Yes, I personally would probably consider it an outcross if no common ancestors were seen back say 5 generations, but it kinda depends on the situation. If you looked at the 6th and 7th generations and saw each side of the pedigree has 8 crosses of Buzz, then maybe it's more like LINE breeding (to Buzz). Five generations is as far back as most people will print a pedigree on paper, as the form gets much larger after that. However, this is a good question because really all of our beagles are related. If you trace them back, you would find they ALL go back to multiple crosses of hounds like FC. Gray's Linesman, FC. Sammy R, FC. Wilcliffe Boogie, CH. Yellow Creek Sport, CH. Stoke Place Sapper, and many others hundreds (if not thousands) of times. I expect my own hounds have crosses of show CH. Sapper 10,000 times, or probably more. Field and show breeders both were using him heavily 100 years ago.

Probably the most unrelated you could get in beagles would be to cross a hound bred for cottontail onto a hare bred hound, since most cottontail bred lines have a lot of Pearson Creek and Boogie, whereas the hare lines mostly evolved using hounds like FC. Trigger XVIII and FC. Mt. Zion Pete, who came along about the same time as Boogie but had no crosses of him. This might be why hare hound crosses have been so popular and successful - stronger hybrid vigor.

Crossing a field beagle onto a show beagle is even more of an outcross, since the show and field lines split 80 or so years ago. They are still related, but only distantly. There is much less diversity in the show lines, so breeders of that type have a much smaller gene pool to work from, making true outcrosses harder to find. Lately, many show breeders have used hounds from Finland, Poland, Australia, England, and other countries, so that widens the gene pool for them a little.

If you trace your pedigrees back, you will be amazed at how many times the same hounds appear. So the question about FC. Weir Creek Buzz being in the pedigree 40 times just depends on how close those 40 crosses are (6th gen?, 10th gen?, etc), and also how much is he diluted with other unrelated lines mixed with his? How much influence would a hound that far back really have? It's a good question for debate.
 

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Like I said I don't raise many litters. I will never have my own line of beagles because of time restraints, but I do enjoy studying pedigrees. I have traced a lot of my pedigrees back to the hounds you mentioned. Mt Zion Pete shows up over 50 times in a couple of my pedigrees. I have never counted but Weir Creek Buzz shows up a bunch in one of my females pedigree but I guess none of these dogs would be considered line bred.
I have owned a lot of beagles and every once in a while I come across an exceptional one that should be bred, but I usually don't make the effort to do it and then when it gets too old I think man I should have bred that one.
 

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Outcrossing should make you a little nervous. It takes courage. Sometimes you might rather let someone else try it first.
Very good statement above. A true outcross is very much a crapshoot. It is not like mixing paint. Line breeding gives you small calculated improvements. There are so many varieties and styles of established beagle lines that it is easier, quicker, and cheaper to go with a line that suits your desires rather than putting years in to trying to produce a desired hound.
The issues with a true outcross are time and repeatability. So, you make a true outcross and after 2 years of evaluation there is one pup that is close to the cross objective. Now, what can you breed that pup back in to to reproduce those traits? Your gene pool is now a mixed bag and after 2 more years you may be lucky enough to have a pair of pups that fit. So before you know it, you are several generations deep, years gone by, and you still do not have enough generations of selective breeding to consistently reproduce the desired traits.
Networking with others that have similar bred hounds and not being kennel blind have served our kennel well. I am always looking to linebred to the best to preserve and reinforce desired traits. I have learned over the years that line breeding is all about the magical cross that works. You and I can have very similar pedigrees and our hounds can be very different in hunt, style, drive etc.
 

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So, you make a true outcross and after 2 years of evaluation there is one pup that is close to the cross objective. Now, what can you breed that pup back in to to reproduce those traits? Your gene pool is now a mixed bag and after 2 more years you may be lucky enough to have a pair of pups that fit. So before you know it, you are several generations deep, years gone by, and you still do not have enough generations of selective breeding to consistently reproduce the desired traits.
Good post ww3. The problem you suggested is why I would never go “all in” on any outcross too quickly. I think to have lasting success breeding hounds (or anything else), it helps so much to have enough hounds in your kennel (or in working with others) to be able to outcross AND linebreed simultaneously, so you can discard the outcross and carry on with your regular lines if need be. Even when linebreeding, I don’t want everything in the kennel to be sired by the same dog, or out of the same female. If a problem arises with that line, you could breed yourself into a corner unless you have others you can use. So I like to linebreed using different (but related) male and female lines, and if I were to outcross, I would give the outcross time to “perk” before mixing it in too heavily with my main lines.
 

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You and I can have very similar pedigrees and our hounds can be very different in hunt, style, drive etc.

Look instead for individuals from strong families/pedigrees, and deal only with good people.
don't put all your eggs in the same basket. Keep your regular linebreeding program going at the same time you experiment with the outcross. Outcross your linebred hounds to others from another linebred family. Better to breed to hounds where the others in his/her litter were good also. Look for a good family, not just a great individual.
A true outcross is very much a crapshoot. It is not like mixing paint. Line breeding gives you small calculated improvements. There are so many varieties and styles of established beagle lines that it is easier, quicker, and cheaper to go with a line that suits your desires rather than putting years in to trying to produce a desired hound.
The issues with a true outcross are time and repeatability.
Networking with others that have similar bred hounds and not being kennel blind have served our kennel well.
I like to keep strong female lines going,
you should never be totally satisfied - there is always something you can improve in your hounds.
Another quote from Huntsman...Outcrossing should make you a little nervous. It takes courage. Sometimes you might rather let someone else try it first.
 
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