Friday, December 30, 2011

Miffy and Susan

Miffy learns to take on the Big Dogs! This is my sister's youngest and oldest Spinone enjoying our mild winter weather.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Eve Macarons

I am obsessed with these beautiful French cookies!

Sleepy Girl

Looking for Claire? Here's where you'll find her...sleeping at my feet wherever I am. Claire is so subdued during her pregnancy that it's confusing to the other dogs. They don't understand why she doesn't want to play! Every day we go out for a good walk to keep her moving. She is very content and is spending most of her time in the house relaxing.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

AKC Invites Rare Breeds on TV Showcase

Claire was invited by the AKC to appear on a news segment promoting rare breeds before Meet the Breeds in New York City. We were so lucky as the tv taping corresponded with a trip to Eastern Pennsylvania for one of Claire's inseminations.  Claire got to appear with a Berger Picard, a Cirneco dell'Etna, and a Mudi. Several people who we talked with at Meet the Breeds visited with us because they had seen Claire on TV. Who wouldn't want to give a Barbet a big hug??

Thanks to Dr Brian Voynick and Gina DiNardo for including us.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Incredible Rugged Lark

Lark at 22
Any visit to Bo-Bett Farm is a reminder of the many, many great animals produced by Carol Harris. None of them have had more success and fame than Rugged Lark, the beautiful bay stallion who won so many awards, then toured the country entertaining crowds at the Olympics and major horse shows. Carol and Lynn showed the world how a properly raised and carefully trained horse could change people's perceptions of a Quarter Horse. Lark had an incredible presence, a knowing personality, and the most beautiful head and eye I have ever seen. I am lucky to have two of his sons still living here on the farm, and they have the same inquisitive nature and soulful eye of their father.

Carol let me saddle Lark up and ride him all over her farm. I'll never forget what a thrill it was for me, riding this priceless and famous horse, as he silently cantered over the sandy ground swapping leads every few strides. I'd stop him, spin a few times,then lope off again, smiling to myself and enjoying how incredibly lucky I was to be sitting on top of this magnificent animal. Truly one of the highlights of my life!

This video was taken from Lark's Farewell Tour in 1997. It is a true demonstration of trust.

My parents with Carol in front of Lark's Memorial

Rugged Lark's grave at Bo-Bett

Monday, December 12, 2011


Isabel and Carol at Bo-Bett Farm
We are now home after a wonderful week in Florida. As always, we visited with our dear friend Carol Harris at Bo-Bett Farm in Reddick. Some of my most favorite days have been spent with Carol talking about horses, dogs, puppies, and the dog shows, and this visit was no exception. Carol knows more about dogs than I could ever hope to learn and I feel privileged to have her as a great friend. Everyone needs a mentor/friend like Carol...someone who has seen it all but is still thrilled with every birth, every puppy, and the possibilities offered by every new breeding.

Claire's belly is getting tight and she spends much of her day sleeping. It is easy to tell that she is pregnant just by the change in her demeanor. She is very snugly and extra-sweet. Only two more weeks until her next check-up and X-ray!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Haircut for Claire

Claire's Shorter Hair Cut
Now that Claire is finished with her exhibitions and is confirmed pregnant, it was time for a haircut. Although I love her hair when it is really long, it would be very impractical to try to keep while she is nursing puppies. The easiest way to trim the coat on the Barbet is to brush it all out so that the hair is very bushy and full, then use excellent quality shears to both take off length and shape the coat. Once the scissoring is completed, it's time for a conditioning bath. Today I let her air dry. Sometimes I blow her out at the roots as it seems to help keep the hair from matting as quickly. Even with her trim, she still looks appealingly messy and fun. I would never want to have her shaved close. I prefer a long haired Barbet, which means constant vigilance with coat care.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Happy Day at the Vet!

Claire at 12 weeks
Today I took Claire to the veterinarian for her ultrasound pregnancy check. Happily we were able to see a few puppies! Claire's very short loin made it difficult to see much more than her bladder and intestines but every once in a while a puppy would pop into view on the screen. I suspected that she was indeed pregnant, as her personality and activity level have changed significantly, but it's nice to know that there really are little babies developing. Good job, Claire!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Meet Miffy

This is Miffy, my sister's new Spinone Italiano puppy. Bred by Jenneke van Doorn and Trudie van Lieshout-Pennings in Holland, she is pictured here at 8 weeks.  Out of Montecani Cuba il Divo [Brando] x Isole e Olena dal Podere Antico [Mila] she will stay another 2 weeks before she will fly with Jan to the USA. I am looking forward to showing her next year. It will be interesting to show her with a full tail in a ring of docked Spinone.  Jenneke and Trudie breed lovely dogs and we look forward to welcoming little Miffy!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Press from Meet the Breeds includes Barbet

Click here to read

Although a few of the facts aren't correct (Barbet are the foundation for Poodles, Bichons and Bouvier) it's nice to have the breed highlighted in the article. Thanks

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Farm Girl Claire

Historically, Barbet were used as farm dogs and water retrievers in France. Claire is happy to carry on the tradition with a joyous attitude. She is very loyal to us and always stays nearby. Today we worked on some new fence beside the area where we are building our new barn. I just love having her around while we work on outdoor projects. Her smiling face always makes us laugh.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Our Barbet are popular at AKC's Meet the Breeds

On November 19 and 20, New York City welcomed over 200 breeds of dogs and cats to the Jacob Javits Center for AKC's third annual Meet the Breeds. Even though the Barbet is not fully AKC recognized, the FSS breeds are invited to participate and Tracey Schnabel and I were happy to bring our furry friends, Tug and Claire, to share with a very interested, dog loving public. Expos like this are so important to our breed. Most people start their conversation with, "I've never heard of this breed" and Tracey, my husband David, and I were happy to educate people about the grooming, temperament and history of this wonderful breed.

Kids almost always asked, "How do they see?" as their first question. Tug and Claire were extremely patient and accepted the pats and hugs from hundreds of people for over 7 hours each day. They posed for many, many pictures and we were interviewed by newspaper and pet publication reporters. Several people who stopped by had seen Claire on television the week prior.

The attendance of Meet the Breeds is over 40,000. In addition to the dog and cat breed booths, there are many pet vendors selling art, grooming equipment, and pet supplies as well as artificial grass surfaces and pet insurance. There were demonstrations of Police dogs, agility dogs, and earth dogs. AKC does a wonderful job with this event and we were honored to be there. We hope that in future years more Barbet and their owners will participate!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dogs In Review November 2011

What's Happening?

Several people have asked me what exactly happens during a dog's pregnancy. The following chart demonstrates the changes taking place during each week. For now we wait until we find out whether Claire is indeed pregnant or not.

Pregnancy Calendar for Dogs
Date: Wed 16 Nov 2011
Sire: Bango du Pre de Redy
Dam: Claire - Neigenuveaux's Ermagarde
Breeder: Judy Descutner
Sat 5 Nov 2011
  • First day of mating.
  • 48 hours after the first mating Claire was bred again. Subsequent matings occurring over a period of time enhance the chances of fertilaziton taking place.
  • The spermatozoa migrate up through the cervix. (The Trans-Cervical Insemination process deposits the semen into the uterus, eliminating this migration)
Sun 6 Nov 2011
  • Sperm travel searching for a mature ripened eggs.
Sun 6 Nov 2011 -
Sun 6 Nov 2011
  • Spermatozoa reach the eggs in the oviducts.
Sun 6 Nov 2011 -
Mon 7 Nov 2011
  • Fertilization occurs in the oviducts which lead from the ovaries to the uterus.
Mon 7 Nov 2011 -
Wed 9 Nov 2011
  • Fertilized eggs migrate down the oviducts and into the uterine horns.
  • The migration continue to enable even spacing of the embryos.
  • During this migration the eggs will grow into a blastocysts.
Tue 15 Nov 2011 -
Thu 17 Nov 2011
  • The blastocysts implant in the wall of the uterus.
Tue 15 Nov 2011 -
Tue 29 Nov 2011
  • The blastocysts will grow into an embryos.
  • During the next two weeks the important organs will develop.
Fri 18 Nov 2011 -
Fri 25 Nov 2011
  • Dams nipples begin to pink and enlarge.
  • The fur on the dams belly and around the nipples may become thinner.
Thu 24 Nov 2011 -
Thu 1 Dec 2011
  • Morning sickness might occur due to hormonal changes or stretching and distension of the uterus. Dam may appear a bit apathetic. She may be off her feed for a while and vomit from time to time.
  • Feeding the dam several meals spaced throughout the day might help.
Tue 29 Nov 2011 -
Sat 3 Dec 2011
  • An experienced person (a breeder or a veterinarian) can tell by careful palpation whether the dam is pregnant. Ultrasound can also be done now.
  • It's now the best time to do this because the embryos are walnut-sized now and easy to count.
Fri 2 Dec 2011
  • Start to increase the dams food ration.
  • Don't overfeed, excessive weight gain should be avoided.
  • The fetuses are now and are fully developed miniature dogs.
Thu 8 Dec 2011
  • The Dams abdomen starts to get larger.
Sun 18 Dec 2011
  • It's very easy now to feel the puppies; counting them might be a bit more difficult.
Wed 21 Dec 2011 -
Thu 29 Dec 2011
  • Dam begins to spend a lot more time in self-grooming.
  • Her breasts become even more swollen.
  • She may become a bit restlessness and begin to search for a suitable place to have her puppies.
Fri 23 Dec 2011
  • The dam might lose her appetite during this period. Her abdomen can be crowded with puppies.
  • It is better to feed several smaller meals spaced throughout the day.
  • You can easily detect abdominal movement now.
Fri 23 Dec 2011 -
Sat 7 Jan 2012
  • Nipples and vulva should be gently cleaned with warm water, you might want to trim the hairs surrounding the nipples, to allow easier access for the puppies to suck.
Mon 2 Jan 2012 -
Thu 5 Jan 2012
  • Milky fluid may be expressed from the nipples.
Tue 3 Jan 2012
  • You might want to start taking the dams rectal temperature each morning and evening.
Fri 6 Jan 2012
  • Twelve to 24 hours before she is due to deliver, the dams rectal temperature may drop from 101 to 98 degrees.
  • Clear discharge from the vulva might occur.
Sat 7 Jan 2012
  • Expected date of whelp. Of course this is just an average. Whelping may take place from the 59th to the 65th day. Puppies born before the 58th day will probably be too young to survive.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Busy Busy Busy

Claire at Cobble Close Farm
Claire and I had a busy week. Friday and Monday we went to the Clone Bucks clinic for her TCI procedure. What a simple and easy way to do an AI! The semen quality was excellent and I was really pleased with how Dr Mantell's skill put Claire at ease.

We were lucky enough to spend a few days with Rachel and Nigel at their amazing Cobble Close Farm in Red Bank, NJ. I enjoyed going to the Jersey Shore, seeing the sights of Monmouth County, and watching Rachel ride her gorgeous Holsteiner jumper, Wasco.

Finally, Claire was a guest of the AKC for a tv segment on rare breeds. NJ News 12 broadcasts throughout the New York City metro area and a lot of people got to see four beautiful and lesser known breeds: Berger Picard, Cirneco Dell'Etna, Mudi, and Barbet. We all were very appreciative to the AKC for promoting rare breeds.
The Pet Spot - NJ12 News

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Barbet Face!

Today I had lunch with Pat Cohen and we took some pictures for the AKC of her gorgeous bitch, Batterikullens Come What May. May is the first Barbet I ever met and she and Pat are responsible for much of my interest in the breed. Pat personally went to Gotland, Sweden, an island in the Baltic Sea, to pick up Miss May as an 8 week old puppy. May is a litter sister to Clos, Batterikullens Come to the Caberet, the fabulous Best of Breed winner at the World Dog Show for the past several years. Breeder Marie Lidblad can certainly be proud of this litter.

I love this picture of May because it demonstrates the clownish nature of the breed.

Batterikullens Come What May

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Baby Claire

This video was taken two years ago when we first brought Claire to live with us. She has brought so much joy and happiness to our home. She is a complete delight!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Safe and Sound

Finally I can breathe a sigh of relief...Bango's frozen semen is safely frozen at CloneUSA in Philadelphia.

Last Thursday, Bango du Pre de Redy, a five year old Swiss Barbet male, was taken by his owner to a Clone facility in Switzerland for collection. Renate Zuber took her recently in season bitch Flora along to aid Bango with the procedure. Collection was achieved quickly and easily, and Dr Hiltbrand evaluated the semen and found the quality to be excellent. He then froze it slowly and allowed the semen to rest in the nitrogen filled container for the weekend. Monday morning, Ziegler Logistics picked up the shipping container from Orbe to truck the container to Geneva. From there, the container was flown to Frankfurt, Germany.

On Tuesday, the container was put on a cargo plane and flown to Philadelphia, PA, USA. Thursday I was contacted by the US logistics company, Pilot Freight Services. They needed me to fill out a power of attorney giving them the authority to retrieve my container from US Customs. Friday morning I emailed Pilot for an updated status on the journey through customs. As they had not heard anything by 1:30 pm, they told me that it would probably be Monday or Tuesday until the container was released from customs. This made me very nervous. Even though the nitrogen would more than likely last through the weekend, I tend to obsess over everything that could go wrong and I kept picturing damages or leaks in the tank.

Then, at 3:30 pm Friday afternoon, I received an email from Pilot stating that the shipment had been cleared and that they had a driver who could pick it up in 15 minutes from US Customs at the Philadelphia Airport. They anticipated that the 30 mile trip would put their arrival at the clinic between 4:30 pm and 6:00 pm depending on customs release and Friday Philly traffic. I called the veterinary office to confirm that someone would be there to accept the delivery. Although the vet clinic closed at 5:00 pm, they assured me that someone would wait to meet the truck. At 5:36 pm, I received a call from Angela at Clone Bucks letting me know that the shipping container had arrived in excellent condition, properly sealed and frozen, and that the semen was now safely stored in their big freezer at the vet clinic. What a relief!

When the Swiss vet had such difficulty arranging the shipment of the nitrogen-filled container, he hired the courier Ziegler Logistics to handle everything. I paid for the collection, evaluation and freezing of the dog; a new Brucellosis test; tank rental, liquid nitrogen, and shipping both directions for the container. I spent a small fortune in freight but I am truly comforted that through all of this stressful shipping, my beautiful dog has been safely lying at my feet in her own home.

I am chronicling my experience with importing frozen semen for anyone who is interested in the procedure or who may be considering it for future breedings of their own. I have learned that Switzerland is definitely not the easiest country to import semen from, but it can be done! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Now to wait for Claire to come in season...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sheep Breeding 2011

Today was a fascinating day spent with my West Virginia sheep friends and Oregon repro vet Martin Dally assisting with the insemination of 45 sheep via laparscopic AI technique. Many sheep breeds are limited in their genetic diversity and frozen semen has enabled Dr Dally to travel internationally collecting different bloodlines from many sheep breeds. He then flies to locations throughout the United States where progesterone and PMSG prepared ewes all ovulate simultaneously. Six of us had a great system lifting the ewes on the cradle, shearing their bellies, and cleansing them with Betadine and alcohol while Dr Dally administered Banamine, Penicillin, and Lidocaine. They were then tilted into position and Dr Dally made two small incisions, then inserted the lighted endoscope into one and the probe into the other. When he was satisfied with the positioning, the semen was injected into the uterus. We then lowered the sheep down and clipped their incisions with stainless staples. Finally, we untied their legs, rolled them off, and they got up and walked outside to the grass. From start to finish, no sheep took more than 6 minutes! A hectic day for sure, but we worked great together and accomplished so much. I can't wait to return in a few months to see all of the babies!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Me? On TV?

We are very proud to announce that Claire has been asked by the American Kennel Club to appear on News 12 New Jersey's "The Pet Stop" on November 9. They are featuring four rare FSS breeds - Barbet, Berger Picard, Cirneco dell'Etna, and Mudi. An AKC Breed Spokesperson will discuss each breed and explain their unique qualities and traits. We are looking forward to this wonderful opportunity to showcase the Barbet.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Our Sire Selection - Bango du Pre de Redy

Bango is a lovely brown dog who has sired some beautiful puppies in Switzerland and the Netherlands. He is 58 cm, normal eyes, and A hips. At this year's World Dog Show in Paris, his easy way of moving and correct conformation won him RCACS. I am grateful to Margrit Zbinden and Renate Zuber Morganthaler for all of their work in making this breeding a reality. 

Pedigrees for this breeding can be seen here

How to Find the Right Stud Dog

 A great article from my favorite magazine, Dogs In Review

How to Find the Right Stud Dog

Monday, October 3, 2011

Meggie is 16 1/2!

Meggie today at 16.5!
Today Meggie is 16 and a half years old. She is the last living pup from the wonderful litter I had from Darlin x Lover and she is the sister to our sweet Gus. Meggie has lived with my sister Jan and her daughter Lindsey her entire life. She escaped for a few days several years ago and spent her time traveling the countryside, and was miraculously returned unscathed.

It's so nice to have a dog reach such an advanced age, especially for all the other dogs who weren't so lucky. Happy Birthday, Meggie! You are a beautiful girl!

One year old Meggie winning a 5 point major

My New Full-Time Job

I have decided that I am unwilling to ship Claire to Switzerland. Expecting to start a healthy pregnancy while enduring 24 total hours of flight and crate time coupled with the stress of a foreign environment is more than I think is fair to ask of her. It is also against the Live Animal Regulations of the International Air Travel Association to fly bitches in season. This leaves frozen semen as my only alternative to access the beautiful Swiss dog who I have chosen for Claire. Kindly, the Swiss Kennel Club and the Swiss Barbet Club have granted their approval for this. The CLONE Switzerland clinic is scheduled to collect and freeze the dog. Everything appears to be in order when I get an email from the vet in Switzerland stating that he is unable to locate an International shipper for the frozen semen. DHL, UPS and FedEx are not possibilities. Of course this makes no sense to me as there is a huge industry in Europe shipping frozen semen to the United States for horses, cows and sheep. Trying to go back and forth with our emails in different languages proves to be tedious but the bottom line is that in Switzerland, semen has to ship through Geneva or Zurich. FedEx flies through Basel. DHL and UPS just will not ship the semen. Ultimately, we have hired a courier to transport the semen from Orbe to Geneva, where it will be flown to Frankfurt, Germany. From Frankfurt, it will be shipped to Philadelphia. Now we just have to hope that the collection goes smoothly, the sperm freeze well, and the transport is successful. 4,500 miles for the semen to travel from Switzerland to the USA, all for an implantation that takes about ten minutes. SO many things have to go well for a successful pregnancy. We are ready to roll the dice.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Calla celebrates 6 months

Calla has just turned 6 months of age! We have so much fun with her and we all enjoy her demanding and talkative nature. She is really growing into a nice young girl and I am anxious to begin her show career. I am so grateful to Carol Harris of Bo-Bett Farm for sharing her with us.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dilemmas of International Breeding

When I first considered breeding Claire to a beautiful European dog who I saw in Paris at the World Dog Show, I assumed that I would have frozen semen imported from my chosen stud dog and delivered to a canine cryo facility in North America to patiently await Claire’s coming into season. The further I got into Frozen AI, the less likely it seemed that it will work for me.

·         FCI frowns on AI breedings for bitches that have not yet produced a litter through live cover.
13. Dogs should be able to reproduce naturally. Artificial insemination should not be used on animals which have not reproduced naturally before. Exceptions can be made by the national canine organisations to improve the health of the breed, for the welfare of the bitch or to preserve or increase the genetic pool within the breed.

While I feel that the case can definitely be made that this breeding will increase the genetic pool within the breed and definitely within North America, this determination is out of my hands.

·         The very short window of frozen semen viability (12 hours) requires careful progesterone testing, surgical implantation, and lowered fertility rates.
·         The cost for collecting, freezing, and shipping an International semen shipment is about $1,600 - $2,000, enough to buy me a plane ticket and a visit to an amazing country that I've never seen. (As it turned out, this estimate was very low. As I also had to pay for the courier fees and the container to be returned to Switzerland, the total was about $2,700)
·         The European paperwork feels daunting to me.

Eventually I realized that it may be cheaper and easier to take Claire to Switzerland for natural breeding. This would give me the chance to have several live covers instead of the singular breeding that I would have with frozen semen.

Problems with flying with Claire include:
·         Inability to plan an expensive International flight ahead of time due to the need to wait until Claire is in season. Ideally I will do at least 2 progesterone tests here to assure me that her heat is progressing to ovulation, and then fly to Switzerland for at least two covers. Hopefully she will be ready to breed when we arrive; otherwise we will be waiting days for her to be ready.
·         Limited airports that fly straight through to Switzerland from the US.
·         Expense of storing crate at airport, traveling by train or renting a car, staying in Switzerland for several days, dealing with a foreign language that I don’t speak, read or understand while caring for a dog in standing heat.
·         Stress on Claire created by 9 hours of flying to a foreign country.
·         Additional veterinary visits in Switzerland for progesterone testing and health certificate to get Claire back into the US
·         Paperwork is still daunting!

At this point, I feel overwhelmed at the trip and am back to wanting to keep my dog comfortably at home and try frozen semen. Dr Gavotte’s technique of trans-cervical insemination does not require the unsettling operation of a surgical implantation and he has a facility in his cryo network in Switzerland. The FCI requirement for a natural first breeding affects the stud dog owner, who I assume would need special permission from the SCS to allow the dog to be collected and shipped. In the US and Canada, which are not FCI countries, there is no such requirement, but FCI countries all follow FCI rules. I wish I had more experience with European kennel clubs to know whether we would be granted permission for an exception. By using the stud dog that I have chosen, a line of Barbet that has not yet been imported into North America will be available to help with the health and genetic diversity of Barbet breeding programs. Questions, questions.

I think we may be packing our suitcases after all.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sheep for the Spring

Wensleydale Ewes
For a long time I have wanted to have a few sheep on our property to help with the grass on the more hilly areas. Originally I was interested in the Jacob Sheep; a double horned goat type sheep with a striking black and white fleece. In more recent years, I find that I like large sheep with a classic look, a short level neck, long wool, and an interesting history. Last month we went to visit a farm in West Virginia where they raise rare Wensleydale sheep. We had a very enjoyable day learning about the British artificial insemination program used to breed the sheep.

Last weekend I went to the West Virginia Fiber Festival where I found another breed of sheep that I think will be the perfect addition! Leicester Longwool sheep have a fascinating history as the original sheep kept by George Washington. Colonial Williamsburg began an important breeding program to bring the dwindling breed back to prominence in the United States. Although still very rare, the Leicester Longwool is maintained by many owners who shear and spin their fleece into gorgeous yarns.
Leicester Ewe

Both the Wensleydale and Leicester Sheep look like Barbet! They have long fleece that forms the same kind of curled strands as the dogs. Now all I need is some fence, then to wait for a few wethers that I can raise in the spring.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Preparing for our trip to Europe!

Today Claire went to the veterinarian to have a full check-up and to get her paperwork for flying into Switzerland. Although she is not due in season for a month, I want to have everything in place ahead of time. We will fly from Washington DC so that our flight goes directly into Zurich without having to change planes.

Another thing I've done is purchased a new travel crate for Claire. When I went to the dock diving event at Cabelas a few weeks ago, I saw a one piece heavy duty crate that is much more secure than a Vari-Kennel type of flight crate. I have always been leary of the two-piece, plastic crate, and aluminum flight crates have gotten ridiculously expensive. Ruff Tough custom made a crate for me with ventilation on three sides, as required for International flights. I highly recommend them!  Talk to Doug at Ruff Tough Kennels Although they specialize in selling to hunting dogs and their owners, Doug was incredibly helpful and willing to customize a crate for Claire's needs.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Finally...Claire's OFA Results are in!

Over a month after Claire's xrays were taken by Dr Gardner, we finally have excellent news from OFA. Claire's elbows are Normal and her hips are Good. In FCI scoring, her hips would be A-2. Thankfully, we can continue to pursue a breeding program based on winning show records, great temperaments, proper conformation, and healthy dogs.

OFAFCI (European)BVA (UK/Australia)SV (Germany)
ExcellentA-10-4 (no > 3/hip)Normal
GoodA-25-10 (no > 6/hip)Normal
BorderlineB-219-25Fast Normal
MildC26-35Noch Zugelassen

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dock Girl

Claire spent a nice weekend at the lake house where we had chilly, rainy weather due to the hurricane. Since we had time inside, I completely brushed out her hair. Then she didn't want to get wet! She is now extra puffy from being brushed. Usually when she is combed out, we follow it with a swim or a bath. Apparently she thought it was too cold!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Perusing Pedigrees and Studying Sires

Breeding dogs is an art. Mixing pedigrees in complementary ways requires vision, luck, and honest information from friends and breeders who are familiar with the bloodlines being considered.  I've been spending a lot of time these past few weeks searching for just the right stud dog for Claire's first litter.  So many factors come into play trying to fit together a perfect puzzle of temperament, size, coat, movement, type, and health factors that will complement Claire's strengths and improve on the areas where she could be better.  Pedigrees must be carefully researched so that unwanted characteristics aren't emphasized through related dogs.

I've now settled on just a few dogs and am consulting with the owners as well as other breeders who have used the dogs for their own litters.  All of the dogs are European so Claire and I will be taking a long journey later this fall.  She is due in season mid-October and if everything goes well we will have puppies for New Years.

I have a perfect dog in my head that I will be striving to breed.  Claire is a beautiful, stylish girl and I hope that we are able to find the ideal match for her.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

French Macaron - the Unofficial Cookie of the French Water Dog

Isabel and I sampled macarons in several French bakeries while we were in Paris, including Laduree and Pierre Herme. After I fell in love with the beauty, texture and taste of these almond flour and fruit cookies, I came home to find a Pittsburgh bakery that makes authentic macarons.  Then I had to wait for his vacation to end! Today I finally made it to Jean-Marc Chatellier's French Bakery in Millvale...mmm...they are delicious! They lasted just long enough for this picture before we devoured them.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ava's Final Summer Shed

Today Isabel and I spent a few hours removing the rest of Ava's hair from her annual summer shed.  She looks so beautiful!

Ava is a wonderful dog with the most loyal, affectionate and sweet disposition.  Her severe dry eye issues cause her to require many different medications each day.  Unfortunately there is no cure for her and she will always require frequent application of her eye drops and ointments.  Her eyes have remained stable and we continue to monitor them.

The only other option is a parotid duct transposition surgery and it really may not solve her problem. Poor girl. Fortunately she is extremely patient about her medications.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Calla at Canfield

Today I got to do one of my favorite things in the world -- watch a big entry of whippets at the Midwest Specialty. I had the pleasure of hanging out with Cheslie Pickett and we saw a lot of beautiful dogs. Cheslie also helped me get some new pictures of Calla while she was enjoying her first dog show. I was really happy with Calla at the show -- she took it all in as though she had been to twenty other shows. I am so excited about this puppy and I cannot wait to start her show career. Thank you, Cheslie!

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Ears of a Growing Whippet

Calla is a little over 4 months old and her ears are going through that wonky stage where they are different every time I look at her. Sometimes they are the perfectly folded rose ears that she will have as an adult and other times they are folded over her head like a hat.