Understanding Brackett—An Introduction
Dr. Robin R. Lyle
"Let the sire of the sire become the grandsire on the dam's side."
Lloyd C. Brackett
As you move among breeders of the German Shepherd Dog, it is inevitable that you will often hear the
name “Brackett” dropped in the conversation. "Let the sire of the sire become the grandsire on the dam's
side" is the single most recognizable Brackett quotation. However, understanding Brackett goes much
deeper than knowing this single foundational principle and striving to apply this axiom to one’s breeding
What I will attempt in the articles that follow will be to analyze the writing of Lloyd Bracket by utilizing his
booklet entitled Planned Breeding. Brackett’s booklet is a compilation of articles written for Dog World
Magazine in 1960. These articles won for him the Dog Writer’s Association Award as the best non-
professional work in the dog press that year (1960). Dog World Magazine published these articles in
booklet form in 1961 as a result of the hundreds of requests from their readers. I have gleaned ten (10)
insights or principles from Planned Breeding based upon my careful reading and analysis.
As a preface to sharing my summary, I enclosed the following editorial notes about Brackett which are
included in the booklet:
“One of the fathers of the German Shepherd in this country and the oldest living continuous fancier of the
breed in America (since 1912) his theories on breeding have been more than proven in the Long-Worth
Kennels where he established his own strain in the breed and produced more than 90 champions in only
12 years—a world’s record for any breed.”
“Known affectionately as ‘Mr. German Shepherd; he has proven beyond doubt the soundness of his
Carmen L. Battaglia wrote an article entitled Brackett’s Formula in which he noted the following:
“By the early 1950's, Lloyd C. Brackett had become a legend in his own time. In part because of the quality
of the dogs he produced and in part because of his candor when addressing problems related to the
breeding of canines. He had much to say about the selection of sires, how to correct problems and how to
make improvements. . . Brackett was well read and a quick learner. Through his writings he shed light on
the confusion and misunderstandings associated with line and inbreeding.”
Battaglia espouses Brackett’s breeding program indicating that his methods and ideas were not new.
However, he points out that Brackett “combined the study of pedigrees with the results they produced.
After years of watching what combinations produced the better offspring he refined his ideas about how to
select breeding partners. Out of these experiences came a formula that later would make him famous.”
The German Shepherd Dog Club of American (GSDCA) has even designated an award (Lloyd Brackett
Award) in memory of Brackett’s contribution to the breed. This award is for a member of the GSDCA
whose breeding program exhibits a vision of improvement to the breed, tempered with the wisdom to exhibit
strict attention to the standard of the German Shepherd Dog. The recipient(s) should be someone whose
dogs display a consistency of breed type and have created a line of German Shepherds easily
recognizable within the breed.
Briefly outlined below are the ten foundational principles which I find within Brackett’s planned breeding
#1 Learn What a Good GSD specimen is!
#2 Build a Strain!
#3 Build Your Kennel on the Selection of Bitches!
#4 Linebreed/Inbreed Wisely!
#5 Outcross—But Only for Definite Purposes!
#6 Know What to Expect through Inheritance!
#7 Know Faults for Correction through Physical Compensation!
#8 Use Only Outstanding Studs!
#9 Always Select the Best Bitch Puppies!
#10 Breed Back to Your “Toppers”!
In the next two parts, I will elaborate upon these foundation principles. First, principles 1 – 5 will be
expounded and then principles 6 – 10 will be detailed. I conclude this brief introduction with an implied
underpinning as we consider applying these principles in future articles:
“Perhaps the easiest fault for a beginner to recognize, as well as the most important in many breeds, is
that of temperament (again not the result of a single genetic factor), . . .”
Lloyd C. Brackett
i Brackett, Lloyd C. Planned Breeding, page 2 (Editorial Notes).
ii Carmen L. Battaglia, Brackett’s Formula. Accessed from http://www.breedingbetterdogs.com/bracket.html January 27, 2008.
iv Brackett, page 27.