Many of you will recognize this photo from the main page of my website. Donovan, I lost in 2000. And I’m very sad to report that Abbey has gone to join her wolfhound sisters Darby and Erin at the Rainbow Bridge also.
Abbey, from my Heart litter, was the well-loved pet of Diane and Brent Nicholls, who raised her for me from a baby. Together we attended shows ad their daughter became involved in Junior Handling. Abbey had two litters for me both sired by Hunter – the Hannukah litter and the Spice Litter. She is behind the pedigrees of Megan, Sabra’s and Cinder’s puppies.
After the loss of her Wolfhound siblings Abbey became inseparable from Dolly (the Dalmation-Alligator cross) who had been Diane’s father’s dog.
In a final painful act of unselfishness, they chose to let the two girls go together, knowing that one would pine to death without the company of the other.
Rest well sweet girls. I’m sure Diane’s Dad will be very happy to have Dolly at his side again, and that Erin is once again wearing a corgi pendant on her collar.
Saturday was a bit of a repeat of Friday, but the final results were mixed, better in Sweeps, worse in the breed.
Both Amigo and Chaverah were first in their Sweepstakes classes under Susan Lasilla, and Amigo was awarded Best of Opposite Sex in Sweeps – way to go little man!
Poor Dragoon, was once again Reserve Winners Dog, this time to a different 6-9 month puppy. He must be feeling like the bridesmaid who is never a bride. This is his THIRD Reserve Winners in the last 4 Western Reserve specialties!
Although Dolly made the cut for bitches, she didn’t even get an award of merit. Hunter came second in the stud dog class (a mixed emotion since Amigo was progeny of the 1st place Harvey), and Rocky again won the Brood Bitch Class.
I think this was Hunter’s last specialty to actually compete in the classes. He can still go into the parade at the National but there are a lot of young veterans now who can outmove him. Just don’t tell him he’s old, he hasn’t figured it out yet.
I was talking at ringside on the weekend with a breeder judge, and we both agreed that the faults that we, as breeders, work the hardest to remove from our own lines, are the ones that we seem to be the most unforgiving of when we are doing ringside evaluation of other dogs.
I had the opportunity to watch a lot of the judging this year, since my dogs were handled by others, and I realized that the two things that I have the most trouble moving past, are bad toplines and restricted movement. I can forgive a head that isn’t “pretty”, a slightly longer coat, less clarity of colour, and feet that aren’t as “fat” and round as they should be, but I still can’t get past a herding dog that can’t move.
I love digital because it gave me a lot of opportunity to shoot and shoot and shoot without worrying about the developing cost later. Here are a few of the things I noticed in my own dogs.
Amigo at 10 months, is a little high in the rear. I love his rear and I think when he gets himself levelled out and in total control he’s going to be quite the contender. He has tremendous reach and gets his rear well under him too. He’ll be a lot of fun in the future!
His litter sister has grown at a much more even rate. Although she wasn’t my pick bitch from the litter, (Miss Amie Fluffernutter appealed to me more structurally), she definitely has virtues that are well worth carrying on with. For what I consider a short upper arm, and a straighter reat than I prefer she does exhibit good reach and drive, and that topline! I couldn’t ask for that to be any better. In both these puppies the issue I’ve been battling recently of tail carriage doesn’t seem to be a problem at all.
Then there is the Goon. It was hot, and he was already worn out by the time that this picture was taken. Just like Amigo I love the rear on this big boy, and he too has that great reach and drive. I love the croup and tailset and I can’t wait to see what his first two litters look like!
And then there is the Princess, Dolly. The thing about Dolly is that she just floats and never really appears to be working hard. She has what I would call a true “farm dog” demeanor – she would move along with those cattle all day and never get weary. Like Chaverah, yes I would like to see a little more rear on her, but perfect has not yet been achieved.
What I do stress in all four of these photos, is that nowhere is there a roach to be found, and none of them are restricted to not being able to move their rears beyond the vertical. To me, those are two serious breed issues, and if I had to pick numbers three, four and five – long tubular bodies, temperaments and coats. I saw a lot of all three and I hope that we aren’t going down those roads because we will take a long time to recover from the trip!