What next?

There's multiple goals in front of today's breeders. The first and a most urgent one is the increase in number (this might sound unreasonable in wiew of ever-present owerflows of unwanted dogs, but I am not wasting my resourcers on arguing here, because whoever doesn't think an ancient breed should continue, is not reading this anyway). The prospect is good, last year (2000) there were 35 pups born in Croatia, not as much as in 1999 (65), but an increase over 25 the year before that (1998). Next goal is toward the uniformity. There's still much diversity in exterior appearance, which should be chiselled out without diminishing the diversity in unseen genetic inheritance, such as disease resistance, endurance, and the work-related properties such as nose and voice. To make the exterior more uniform that way, it should be done either with great knowledge of genetics or very slowly. It is progressing slowly at the moment. The drive in the 80es was to make the colour more uniform, which is not exactly the same as my own opinion of uniformity. I would like to keep various colouring, and watch that the proportion of particular colours does not change - that is, neither should the rare colours vanish, nor should they prevail: if about 2% of dogs today is yellow - I'm evaluating from the dogs entered at shows - that percent of same colour should be retained. This would make the percentage of "e" gene itself around 15% (in plain language, this means that if we breed close relatives generation by generation we will end with 15% of the dogs being yellow). There is no sense in throwing away 15% of something that is in no way harmful. Eradication of this colour was the aim of the 80thies when the uniformity of colours was in vogue, but on the other hand there are hunters in some areas (like on the Dalmatian - Hercegovinian border) who prefer it, and ask for pups of this colour particularly.
If all this is achieved, there is the prospect of improving the breed. The goals are mostly two: one is to watch over the possible genetic disease. There was none observed at the moment, but something is bound to happen in such a small base population some day. We should be on an outlook so such problems should be noticed immediately, luckily today there are numerous tests available for an increasing number of inherited faults. In our breed they must be stopped before spreading as happened in some breeds that suffer so heavily today. Best practical method is to create several inbred lines - Croatian and Bosniad breeders do not like inbreeding, but several lines have been formed over the years, mostly through geographycal limitations (breeders prefered to breed their bitches to dogs that they have seen and heard at work, than to show winners), some are: In the future other lines may spring up or replace these. One scenario might see one line specializing in boar hunt, another in blood trail search, or obedience, SAR for instance. Establishing a breeding population in some foreign country will be also mean creating a new line. Thus, I beg all those owners not from Bosnia or Croatia, do NOT spay-neuter your Baraks and DO take them to shows, unless the dog is lame or toothally toothless - you are without competition and very likely to win some (well, inexpensive) cups and ribbons :-)!
And finally, is there anything else left that has to be improved in Baraks as a breed? - Schematically, it can be summed up like this:
goals:
 - increaing numbers - more lines               
 - uniformity                      
 - improving - genetic disease watch - more lines
 - improving - anything else
This is always an open question in any breed - where do we go from here? Obviously we do not want some extremes as longer or shorter coat or change in size or general anatomycal changes. More emphasize on the hair lenght pattern could be done (7cm on back, longer on tail, quite short on legs, 1 cm on ears). Also in my opinion the quality of the voice can be improved upon; the problem for some breeders might be that they might never actually hear the prospectuous sires if they choose them at the shows (which should be the means if we are to strive for more uniformity in exterior). The improvement should go for a fuller and longer-lasting howl, some of today's hounds give out a funny high squeaky sound that does not carry far enough, suitable for a pet pooch, but not quite the real thing. Already all the hunting dogs in Croatia should pass the hunt test, so there'll be more info on prospective sires. Yet, selecting towards these goals is almost impossible with so few registered males around - so you see I do know what I mean when I say that the next first imperative is the increase in numbers. So I am willing to help anyone who wants a barak puppy, I can locate the breeder(s) and help arrange the deal. The average price in Croatia is readilly affordable for outlanders, including possibly more investing that may go into transport, additionall shots etc. Though I admit I am not too keen on sending dogs to non-FCI countries where they are lost to the pool. Even in some FCI countries you will not be able to register a litter locally untill the number of the dogs of a breed reaches some preset number, which is darn difficult if puppies can't be registered. True catch 22 situation. Still, people from central/north Europe might find it fitting to come to spend holidays in Dalmatia, visit the breeder(s) and take a pup back returning home - this is certainly not the so much despised buying-on-an-impulse!
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