This year’s litter is now 5.5 weeks old and I’ve had several people ask if I’ve made a decision about the placement of the puppies. For the waiting families this is an anxious time, wondering if they might get a puppy and which one it will be. I’m equally anxious, having bred this litter with the intent to keep a puppy for myself. I have specific goals with each litter that I breed and the things that I’m looking for reveal themselves over time.
The sire and dam of this litter are my all-time favorites of the many beagles that I have had over the years. Admittedly, much of that favoritism is emotional and sentimental for a variety of reasons. Herbie accomplished a great deal in the show ring and more importantly was there with me through a very difficult period in my life. He’ll be twelve this summer and this could be his last litter and my final chance to have a puppy sired by him. He represents several generations of my breeding, many dogs and many qualities that I know well, and I would very much love to have a Herbie puppy, representing Talbot Hill “Act One” and the work that I had accomplished prior to my cancer diagnosis.
If I were done breeding today and had to choose one beagle to live with for the rest of my days, CoCo would be that beagle. She has the most wonderful personality and I love living with her. She has many other nice qualities but as a breeder I still see things that I would like to perfect…and I still love breeding beagles. CoCo represents Talbot Hill “Act Two”; a puppy out of CH. Dukeang Tiny who gave me three litters before she retired to a great home in Arizona. With each litter that Tiny gave me, I learned something new about the new gene pool that I was working with and as I move on to the next generation with CoCo, I observe these puppies each day for traits that I am trying to strengthen and the appearance of traits that I may be trying to eliminate.
When my puppies reach 4 weeks of age, I start teaching them to “stack” on the table, ie. to stand squarely so that I can see them in profile and assess their structure and overall balance. A bad cold this past week delayed this process so I’m getting a later start on training than I would ordinarily. I hope that I’ll be able to get some good photos this weekend. I’m constantly making observations about the temperaments of the puppies and the way that they move. At 6.5 weeks I’ll do a series of measurements that will help to predict the adult size of the puppies. Herbie and CoCo are both just over 14″ tall and they each have a 13″ parent. Hamish and Claire are the largest puppies in the litter, Hanne is a bit smaller, and Matilde is the smallest, with the potential to be a 13″ beagle. Of course, we won’t know until they’re full grown which variety they will be.
So, with all of that said…where does that leave us in the process of making a decision about this litter of puppies???
Decision 1: Claire will be staying at Talbot Hill. I bred the litter hoping for a male puppy that would carry on after his father but I’ve fallen in love with this little bitch puppy. 🙂
Decision 2: I have received eight pet applications and no inquiries for show/performance puppies. One of the pet applications is from a Talbot Hill family that got a beagle from me nine years ago and they have been notified that they will be the first to be offered a pet puppy when I make a determination about Hamish, Hanne, and Matilde. The other applicants will be contacted soon (by April 1st).
Factor 3: While I don’t have anyone waiting for a show/performance puppy, my breeding partner in Argentina, Dukeang Kennel, may choose to keep one of the three remaining puppies. We have not yet made a decision to send one of the puppies to Argentina.
What To Expect In The Next Three Weeks
March 24th/25th (Palm Sunday): Stacked Photos
March 31st/April 1st (Easter): Puppies will be measured. Applicants will be contacted.
April 7th/8th: Applicants will be invited to visit the puppies
April 14th/15th: Puppies will be ready to go to their new homes.