Stars in the show ring and the whelping box
Just because a girl is a star in the show ring doesn't mean she will be the best in the whelping box. For this reason some of our girls will have one litter and be placed or retired for the following reasons: not able to deliver on their own, not care for pups or produce pups of inferior quality in conformation and/or health. Those girls that do produce well, will have three litters and then retire.
As breeders we have tried the inexact science of breeding dogs for 26 yrs. Whilst we have researched and drawn up pedigree options and potential love matches on paper, we have like many other breeders suffered disappointment and heartache at the final outcome. Either we get puppies that have not taken on the improved aspects we were hoping for in conformation, temperament and health. Sometimes it's worse still we have not been successful in whelping any puppies at all or litters of singletons. Newcomers to this taxing and frustrating hobby often don't stick to if for more than 5-6 years.
The Stud Dog may well be potent, but the ovulation of the bitch is critical in presenting eggs for fertilisation into embryos. Once achieved, the ability to carry the litter for the full nine weeks, to whelp, rear, nourish and feed a litter, is a massive demand on any mom. Along the way moms can face the problems of potential bacterial infection, fading puppies, and accidental loss of offspring. The moms often have no clue their back foot has stepped on a puppy's belly or they are so tired they accidentally roll over one during the night. Very devastating for any breeder to find a cold dead puppy in the morning. That's why it is important to care for the mom and pup over night. The larger the litter the higher the risk. If the pups survive that first week they have a 99% chance of making it to eight weeks.
If these horrors are avoided you have the drain on the bitch from milk production, and feeding the pups on demand for every waking hour of the day. This in itself is a drain on the strength and will power of any bitch. Also the calcium drainage from the bitches system can cause more health issues in the dam such as "Eclampsia" if not treated early this can cause the death of a bitch. Calcium must be provided to prevent a sudden loss of levels of calcium. We like giving moms ice cream and cottage cheese.
She has to put up with and manage the demands of 5 to 13 puppies. These puppies demand all her attention, they need her to go to the washroom and to clean up after them, to feed them, and to nurture them and be warm. Our job as breeders is to make it as easy as possible for her. He food is brought to her water is included in the food. to prevent dehydration. More cold fresh water is in a pail near her bed. She is checked daily for signs of mastitis. She is washed and kept clean and comfy on clean blankets. No saw dust or wood chips.(All that stuff collects bacteria and cause eye irritations.
At three weeks mom spend less time with the pups and because they have a full mouth of very sharp teeth they prefer staying as far away as possible because their nursing becomes painfull. That when the really hard work starts for the breeders. The minute the pups are on solid food the mom will no longer clean up after her pups this becomes part of our duties. Not a job for the faint of heart or sensitive stomachs.i
Why do we do it because we enjoy the bond we develop with these wonderfull moms because we treasure and value that unique contribution our bitches make to the future of our breed. We owe a deep and lifelong tribute to all of our girls and to all the potential mothers of tomorrow. In their care and devotion, lies the future of our wonderful breed. We appreciate that in all we do and when we give credit for some of the outstanding show dogs in the ring today we remember where these Champions came from, how they came to be here, and most important of all give credit to the female line and the contributions she has given to any Champion that graces our kennel. All plaudits belong to the bitch. Thank you girls!