Percentage pedigrees usually encompass four to six generations of heritage and 32 to 48 individual progenitors. When looking at the whole pedigree, each time an individual appears that individual is given percentage points of influence within the pedigree. How many percentage points can vary depending on ones point of view. Some percentage methods just divide 100% by 32 or 48. Other methods reduce the influence by 50% for each individual because each parent only contributes ½ his or her available DNA to the breeding mix. Which method to use can be decided by the individual doing the calculations. This author tends to use the simpler 32 or 48 divisible method because it is the whole dog supplying his or her look to the mix. Coefficient pedigrees discussed next do the job of reducing percentages within a pedigree quite well so this author considers that sufficient mathematics to explore on her own. Occasionally the amount of influence of one background individual can be considerably higher than any one of the immediate parents or grandparents, and this is sometimes responsible for that surprise puppy. Sometimes the breeder says, “Where did he come from?” And, the answer is clearly, “From the Pedigree.”
Generally speaking, the closer a progenitor is to the first 3 generations of immediate pedigree, the more influence he or she can exert on the get of the litter, but this does not always follow. If a single grandsire appears as the sire of both parents, usually the breeder had better like him because that individual may well have provided close to 50% of the inheritable features of the mated pair and, as such, is becomes as powerful in the breeding as the actual sire of the litter. Couple this incidence with even a single repetition of one of his parents from another source within the pedigree, and influence is again, slanted or statistically skewed. A form of this type of line-breeding is called backcrossing. This author once bred a Boxer litter seeking an improvement in shoulder layback. However, neither parent actually displayed good layback phenotypically. But the ‘doubled-up upon’ grandsire had exemplarily layback. In the resulting litter, four out of the eight pups all had the good layback feature sought in the breeding. In fact, breeders often make this kind of decision. Using the pedigree to provide information necessary to take this kind of calculated risk is one of the factors that makes breeders unique, and puts the excitement into breed development.