Category Archives: General

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.