Line breeding is the mating of two individuals that share one or more common ancestor. There are many different degrees of this type of breeding, such as close line breeding. Close line breeding is often used to describe matches like a uncle and niece, two half siblings, or a grandfather and granddaughter. The purpose of this type of breeding is to ultimately make the breed stronger, such as the Dutch Shepherd, this is done by using one ancestor as a “pivot point”. This means that each generation is planned to utilize the genetic benefits of that one Dutch Shepherd ancestor. The breeder will keep combining the dogs in ways to eliminate weaknesses through the generations. The goal for the breeder is to maximize and build on the strengths of that Dutch Shepherd ancestor. Many species line breed naturally, however, many do not because of the limited number of available mates.
Along with other types of breeding there are both advantages and disadvantages to line breeding. An advantage is that the breeder mostly knows what they are going to achieve as a result of this type of breeding. Line breeding is the most common form of breeding used by hobby breeders. This is because it allows them to learn the strengths and weaknesses of the dogs they are working with. For example, it allows they to know what types of physical and temperament traits will be present in each litter. Overall it gives the breeder the opportunity to set desired characteristics. There are a few disadvantages that this type of breeding has however. One being that there is a chance that some characteristics could be set in your line that you do not want. These unwanted traits are then usually very hard to lose. Also, because of the fact that the breeder is working within a small gene pool, they risk the loss of hybrid vigor. Hybrid vigor is when a offspring is born with stronger, healthier characteristics. For example a Dutch Shepherd puppy could be born with a much stronger build and temperament than its parents. Without question line breeding can be both beneficial and risky, but like always it is the breeder’s decision on what chances they are willing to take when breeding dogs.