by Stephen K. Bishop – Bishop’s Place Loft & Kennel


Prepotency can best be defined as the unusual ability of an individual or strain to transmit its characteristics to its offspring due to dominant genes.  Genes contain DNA.  DNA serve as the basis of heredity.  Without getting scientific, genes transmit hereditary characters by specifying the structure of genetic material.  It is what people are referring to when they say he’s a chip off the old block or the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, etc.  Let’s say a child who was separated from his father at an early age meets his dad when he’s twenty years old.  The twenty year old notices that both him and his dad have quiet dispositions and frequently smile.  These can be said to be inherited traits.  These tendencies come from genes containing DNA which predisposed them to have quiet, amiable dispositions.


Filial Degeneration can best be explained as the tendency of an individual of a line to revert to the average of that line.  What exactly does this mean?  Well a good illustration of this would be if a family of three generations of short, unattractive people gave birth to a daughter who grew to be both tall and pretty.  Filial Degeneration would dictate that this tall pretty girl would probably give birth to short, unattractive children.  This is due to the fact that the preponderance of her genes contain DNA coded with the short unattractive blueprint. 


Now, knowing that an individual of a line has a tendency to revert to the average of it’s line gives us something to work with.  We can strive to establish a line of high performance prepotent racers.  How, you ask?  Well if we start with proven racers, breed youngsters from them and cull severely, we will be left with proven racers who are bred from proven racers.  The birds remaining after the culling process are those that inherited the winning characteristics/genes from their parents.  With each generation bred and culled you are narrowing your gene pool. 


What you are doing in effect is increasing the probability of future youngsters inheriting the genes responsible for the winning characteristics of your foundation pairs.  A bird receives 50% of its genes from it’s sire and 50% from it’s dam.  When you breed from a pair of winners versus a pair of diploma-less birds, you increase the likelihood of producing winners greatly.  Lets break it down.  Say you place 20 balls, 4 red, 4 blue, 4 green, 4 yellow and 4 black in a bag.  Now, you can reach into this bag and extract two balls at a time.  Red balls are the designated winning balls.  Two reds win.  One red with any other color also wins.  Two of any other color, or combination of colors, other than red lose.  Now if after every draw you throw away the non-red balls and place the red ones back in the bag, you are increasing the probability of getting a red ball with each subsequent draw.  After every draw and disposal of the non-red balls you are increasing the percentage of red balls to the total amount of balls.  Eventually you will be left with all red balls and each and every draw will be a winning draw.  Now substitute red balls with winning genes and substitute draws with youngsters.  If you cull the losers (non-red balls) and only put the winners (red balls) back in your loft, you are increasing the probability of getting winning genes passed on to future youngsters.  The name of the game is limiting the gene pool.  I once owned a performance bulldog named Red Feather.  She was a caramel colored red nose dog.  She was the daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter of a dog known as Triple Ott Red, a litter brother to CH. Yellow John.  Her pedigree was as follows.




                                    Tramp Red Boy (grandsire)


            Triple Ott Red            (sire)                                         

                                                Tramp Red Boy                      



Red Feather


                                    Triple Ott Red (grandsire)


            Whaley’s Red Feather (dam)      

                                                Triple Ott Red (great-grandsire)





Red Feather was genetically 87.5% Triple Ott Red.  This is calculated based on the fact that an individual receives genes as follows.


50%       from each parent

25%       from each grandparent

12.5%   from each great-grandparent


The objective here was to produce a dog as close to Triple Ott Red as possible without cloning (not an option back in 1983).  Although Red Feather was a female, she would lift one leg up when urinating as male dogs do.  She acted like a male dog.  Now I might not race a bird bred like Red Feather, but I sure as hell would do this type of breeding, which I call “Triple Crossing” to preserve an old multi-diploma, proven prepotent producer.    The same principle, but not as intense, could be used to produce a consistent family of winning birds.  This is the route to increase consistency in a loft.  Start with top notch birds and limit the gene pool.  Now, to produce the world beating, set the combine on fire, ten times first, type of racer, you would probably have a greater chance outcrossing two diploma winning individuals from unrelated consistent families, but that’s another article.  This write-up should give you an idea on how to take advantage of Filial Degeneration to establish a consistent prepotent line of racers. 



 Yours in sport, Steve.