The puppies are 3.5 weeks old and, I confess, I started stacking some of the puppies on a table today. For those who don’t show dogs, “stacking” refers to posing the dog for examination: standing with legs squarely placed beneath the dog and head erect. At this age, attempting to stack a puppy is something akin to shaping warm jello but you have to start somewhere. I hope to be able to shape them into some semblance of a stacked pose when they are four weeks old. Stay tuned… 😉
It’s pouring down rain today but we were blessed with beautiful weather for the past two or three days and I was able to get this photo of the puppies’ great-grandfather, “Herbie“, yesterday, relaxing in the sun. Herbie will be eleven in July and he keeps us all in line, and on time, at Talbot Hill.
Herbie has a beautiful head, something that has been an important consideration for me long before I started breeding. A correct head is an important element of breed type and I want the dogs that I live with…and the dogs that you live with…to have beautiful heads with the soft, pleading expression that is typical of the breed. Continued emphasis on beautiful heads for multiple generations allowed me to…yes, take a deep breath…use a stud dog, both this year and last, that his breeders/owners will agree does not claim “beautiful head” as one of his strengths. I did my homework and learned that there are clean heads behind him and he has produced clean heads with other bitches. There are some aspects of his head that have complemented my bitch nicely and the result has been fourteen puppies with very nice heads.
The thing that I have loved most about the combination of Brian and Tiny is the temperament of the puppies that they have produced. Tiny has a loving, sweet, affectionate temperament and Brian has a confident, “go out and take on the world attitude” while maintaining a “beta” attitude in the company of other dogs: confident but “no need to get involved in a kerfuffle”. The puppies from the 2016 litter are happy, outgoing, “bombproof” puppies and that’s a quality that breeders, exhibitors, and pet owners can all appreciate. I expect to find the same temperaments again in this year’s litter.
I share all of this in response to a few questions that I received in some of the puppy applications: “What were your goals when you chose to breed Tiny to Brian?” Each dog and each pedigree brings with it positive aspects and things that you might want to improve…”there is no perfect dog”. I relied on Tiny’s ability to produce beautiful heads and I chose Brian because I needed to consider size when selecting a sire for Tiny. Her first litter produced some gorgeous puppies but, with one exception, they were too big for me to keep. Brian is a 13″ male that offers a pedigree with many moderately sized dogs. He had shown a proven ability to produce moderately sized puppies and clean, wrinkle-free heads; something he has continued to do when bred to Tiny.
Now, a few photos taken today…
Mercer is a plain, brown-faced boy and at this age, the brown-faced puppies are perhaps not quite as appealing as those with white markings. Last year at this age, the puppy that I ended up keeping did not have the most attractive head in the litter but as she grew older, she became a very pretty brown-faced girl…the first that I’ve ever had and the first that I’ve kept, Talbot Hill Dukeang Road Less Traveled.