Category Archives: General

Back in the Saddle Again – October 2017

I’m not sure if anyone is still following my web site but just in case there are a few determined souls out there I thought I’d give an update on the craziness at Spectrum House.  Between my (paying) job and a variety of significant but not dangerous human health issues there has been  little time to post basset news.

So, in one fell swoop I’ll bring things up to date:

  • Libby & Puppies.  No success, again.  I bred Libby (GCH Vision Spectrum Topsfield Love A Mystery CD BN RA NJP CGC) using surgical implantation to Wheaties (CH Topsfield-Sanchu Wheaties) but there were no puppies.  I am very sad and disheartened.  The sperm was good so Libby must not be able to either produce viable ova or retain fertilized ones.  She’s approaching 7 years old so she’ll retire from the whelping box and spend full time on obedience and rally from now on.  She may even make an appearance in the Veteran Class at some conformation specialty shows.
  • Pippin.  Pippin (CH Spectrum Topsfield Pippin of Sanchu BN RN) has been training hard in agility, obedience and rally with very good results.  Due to a shoulder injury (torn rotator cuff) that eventually required summer surgery I have not been able to run Pippin at full speed.  His agility instructor, Karen Hocker, has been graciously running him in class and then competed with him at the Wachusett Kennel Club agility trials in September.  Pip earned Novice Preferred FAST and Novice Preferred Jumpers with Weaves legs with Karen!  At the Basset Hound Club of America National Specialty Shows & Trials I was able to compete with Pippin in Rally and Obedience.  He earned 2 Beginner Novice Obedience legs to complete his BN title!  He also earned 2 Rally Novice legs to complete his RN title with an extra leg!  Next up for Pippin is taking the TDI qualifying test.  If he passes we will look for an organization to start therapy visits later this fall.
  • Beatrice.  Bea (Spectrum Topsfield Vision Dante’s Beatrice) continued with conformation training but due to injuries she has not been in any conformation competitions since February.  I hope to be released from restricted running at my next post-op visit and then start Bea in conformation again this fall.  She just needs a few non-major points to finish her championship.  Either way, we will breed Bea when she next comes into season and hopefully have some puppies this winter.
  • Noodles.  Noodles (MBIS MBISS CH Topsfield Vision SilverNoodles CD BN RA NJP NAP CGC TDI) continues to enjoy retirement.  She turned 14 years old in August and all things considered is doing well.  She has been battling a yeast infection and may have lymphoma (biopsy inconclusive) but she doesn’t know it and is as mischievous as ever, opening gates and peeling back Velcro from the dog food bins so she can have an unscheduled snack.  To keep her from getting bored I have started teaching her Scent Work.  She is amused but still willing to work for treats.

So what’s next for the Bassets of Spectrum?  We’ll try to finish Beatrice’s AKC Championship and then breed her.  Libby will complete her AKC Open obedience training and begin competing.  Pippin will compete in agility and hopefully complete his AKC Novice Standard, Jumpers and FAST titles. Noodles will continue to enjoy life and maybe try a scent trial or two.

More news next month.


On Your Mark … the Puppy Plan

Most people don’t understand the care, thought and money that goes into the careful breeding of dogs by responsible hobby breeders.  As I begin the journey again I thought I would journal the steps I use to give you an idea of what is involved.

“Libby” – GCH Vision Spectrum Topsfield Love A Mystery CD BN RA NJP CGC

If you have read my site you would know that I bred Libby back in the winter of 2014.   She had one litter in February 2015 and was an excellent mother.

She produced four healthy and happy puppies, three of whom had or are having good show careers.  The fourth is having an excellent career as a canine companion in a loving home in Bedford, MA.  Based on the success of this litter I decided after careful consultation with my co-owners to try again.

[If you are wondering how a black-masked, open tricolored dam produced four red-and-white puppies, chalk it up to the vagaries of color genetics in bassets.  Libby’s dam was red-and-white and her sire was tricolor, and the sire of the litter was red-and-white, so we were pretty certain to get most or all red-and-whites.  The sire of the next litter is a classic black-saddle tricolor dog so I hope we get some tri-colors!]

As a team we reviewed pedigrees, discussed conformation strengths and weaknesses and reviewed the detailed pros and cons of each puppy from the first litter and first sire.  After going back and forth for a while we decided to do artificial insemination using frozen semen from a dog I had always admired for his intelligence, personality, and conformation; he also had the correct pedigree to bring in characteristics that would hopefully produce even more beautiful as well as happy and healthy pups.

However, Libby had other plans, coming into season six weeks early while we were over 1000 miles from home attending the BHCA Nationals in St Louis, Missouri.  By the time we got home Libby’s progesterone levels were at the high end of target for breeding.  I decided to give it a try anyway but it didn’t work out and there were no puppies.

In order to have the maximum probability of success this time I took Libby to Dr. Ann Huntington, our reproduction veterinarian, for a full battery of tests in January, well ahead of Libby’s next cycle.  We tested for any medical conditions or underlying illnesses that might prevent pregnancy from occurring:  broad spectrum tick borne diseases (Idexx), detailed thyroid levels (U Michigan), reproductive system infections (Cornell U).

We found a minor vaginal infection that we are treating now so that Libby will be 100% ready when she comes into season.

So now we wait.  Normally Libby is on a roughly six month schedule of seasons meaning late March or early April would be her next cycle.  However, since she was over a month early the last time, I am preparing for her to start as early as the end of February.  I continue to feed her a high quality food (Purina ProPlan Grain Free) and high quality supplements (VetriScience Glycoflex III, Wholistic Pet Canine Complete, Wholistic Pet Salmon Oil), make sure she gets plenty of mental and physical exercise through play and formal training, and hope we have luck on our side this time.

Welcome, Summer!

The weather has finally turned summer-like in New England.  After the coldest May in recent history we have had four straight days of weather with temperatures 70-80 degrees and sunny.  The dogs are spending most of the day outside basking in the sunlight.

My garden is finally fully planted and growing.  This year’s crop should feature english cucumbers, cherry tomatoes (Sun Gold, Sun Sugar, Super Sweet 100), plum tomatoes (San Marzano, Borghese, Roma III), hanging tomatoes (Tumbling Tom Red), eggplant (Black Beauty) and bush beans.  On the herb side, I have pots of rosemary, Genoa basil, Thai basil and lavender.

Writing about and working in my garden always reminds me of the first Spectrum Basset Hound, Winnie (Lady Winifred of Simpson CD CGC).  She was a great lover of vegetables and routinely raided my garden.  One year I could not figure out why my Roma tomatoes were not ripening.  I would get many green fruit but none would turn red.  Then one day I caught Winnie dropping a mouthful of green tomatoes in her crate for later consumption!  She was also the guilty party who was pulling up carrots and leaving me naked carrot greens.  Once I put up a fence I had a bountiful yield of tomatoes and carrots but a very sad basset hound.

Our first basset hound

Winnie, convited garden thief

Back Home Again: Anne

I’m not sure who was happier to see me when I got back from China early Sunday morning – my husband or the dogs!  It was a very long journey home that included a 5 hour delay departing from Shanghai, a scramble to rebook after missing my connection in SFO, and a successful stint on the standby list for the final daytime flight to BOS.

China is an interesting country.  I have spent a reasonable amount of time there over the years and have come to appreciate how quickly they have adopted capitalism.  :^)

The one thing that is odd is that I saw very few animals – a few cats wandering the streets but no dogs until my 6th day in country: a young woman was trying to walk three lovely miniature poodles and not having a lot of success.  It’s odd considering that China gave us many wonderful breeds including the Pekinese, Chinese Crested, Chow, Pug and Shar Pei.

Chow-chow in Tallinn.JPG

It will be interesting to see if China redevelops a culture of companion animals along with the other business and cultural changes the country is experiencing now.

Travel Time

My job occasionally takes me unusual places and tomorrow I head for a six day trip to several cities in eastern China.

The weather is similar to what is expected this week in the greater Boston area although I imagine it will be a lot more humid in South China.  When I come back it will be time to ramp up for the summer outdoor dog show season and a pile of indoor agility trials.  Bjorn will take good care of the hounds while I am away although we’ll both miss our fun training sessions.