When it comes to selecting a good hunting dog, everything depends upon bloodlines. Finding the best line of dogs with proven genetics and the disposition you want is most greatly influenced by the dog’s sire and dam.

Too often today it seems that more emphasis is placed on the sire’s accomplishments and lineage. While selecting a sire with titles, hunting experience and a decorated pedigree is important, the dam’s genetics, disposition and pedigree are just as important, if not more so.

There’s a theory out there, one that I like to keep in mind when looking at pedigrees, which says the bottom line of a dam’s pedigree is as important as anything in your dog’s genetic history. And it makes sense.

Both parents supply 50 percent of a puppy’s genetics, so of course a prospective dam should have breeding, training and testing credentials on par, or at least somewhat similar, to the sire’s accomplishments. The bottom-line theory takes it step further and points out that by looking at the base line of a pedigree, you can get a quick, accurate and nearly all-encompassing historical look at a pup’s history.

I’m not sure I’d take it quite that far, but looking at that bottom line and not seeing dams with field titles and/or other accomplishments for generation after generation should send a red flag up. Even if the dams are paired with accomplished sires, their progeny only possess half of those tried and tested genes, and each successive generation without a balanced pairing only dilutes those genes further.

Of course you can’t dismiss the importance of either side of your dog’s pedigree in favor of the other, but your goal should be to find the most balanced ancestry possible to ensure strong hunting traits like drive, nose and trainability.