Committed to the improvement of the breed by breeding for health, temperament and better structure in dogs that have the ability to herd.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Trip West 2012 and dog update.

The first year I went out west to Black Sheep Gathering it was truly only for the sheep. Last year I took sheep AND four dogs out west, switched out three and brought two home. This year I'm planning on bringing out 3 (hopefully 4) and coming home with two! The great dog switcher-oo of 2012.

So updates on the dogs:

Due to my limited income (due to trying to play catch up with the bills and try and get ahead) I am not planning on many dogs shows this summer.

The Higgins x Ell puppies won't be ready to show until Lake Elmo Herding Specialty in August. I've got my girl I'm keeping, Denley, and then Ditty is also here (her home decided not to take her 2 days before being picked up). I'm liking a lot about her and if she continues to grow on as nicely as she is, she will for sure wait for a show home. I have 2 males still available. Dago (who I wouldn't mind keeping anyway! lol) and Dinham. I've had interest in Dinham but nothing solid. These pups have amazing rears and their side gate is incredible. Some of the boys are wide, but I was told that is a growth thing. We'll see how they mature. No rush. you know me, Mr. Patient :P

Campbell is out of coat and in the tubey teenage stage. She's also starting to challenge the older bitches (her mom Daisy was a hard bitch too). She needs a boot camp at someone's house for a few weeks. it would help as she's never been away from me without another dog with her, so I think she still needs it.

Bolin is out of coat too and looks leggier and more tubey than I think she really looks. Bolin is the sweetest bitch who just wants to snuggle and doesn't want to fight ever. We'll see how her and Campbell's coats look and might show them in Lake Elmo in August, but probably nothing else.

Ballantyne needs 4 singles to finish her Grand Champion. She's been shown 5 times as a special and has earned 5 GCH majors! I'm hoping one day in Fargo she'll get another GCH major to finish her title with all majors. After that she is going to Boot Camp out west for a few months. I don't have any intention of specialing her until she's more mature,but might take her out for specialties and such. She did well at the National and had lots of compliments.

Ava needs 3 singles to finish her Grand Champion. She has 6 GCH majors and would be nice to finish her with another major, maybe in Fargo?! After that she will be special-ed on a limited basis and I am hoping to breed her this fall. And depending on how that goes, take her out next year to more local shows. She did well at the national too, and had a few people offer to take her to special her in their neck of the woods. I was flattered but they couldn't have been serious?!

Ell is going out west to learn to be an AKC and ASCA herding dog. I'm hoping to get a few legs on her between now and the National and hope to have her competing at the National next year for AKC legs. its something Ell really loves to do and she's good at it. I figured we should try and be professional at some point! Ell will be spayed at some point. Her contribution to the Cardigan world is pretty good in her two litters and there is no reason to breed her a third time. She was more miserable the second time and had difficult time breathing the last two weeks so for her to pop out 11 pups freely, was a sign to me that she wanted to be done :) Plus her daughters are improvements on her, in my opinion and I can't wait to do some herding with her. Once she's back in October, I'll try and get her out to agility class because she also excels in that and try and get some agility titles on her in the next year. Maybe also at the national?

Sadie Princess. Ah yes. SG. (Sadie Girl). She also loves to herd but isn't as confident with the ewes who try and challenge her (she's afraid they'll bash her bad hip) Ever since the accident Sadie knows which side is her 'vulnerable' side and tries to keep the sheep away from it. I'm thinking if she and i took a herding clinic nearby with sheep who were more trained and more obedient that might help her confidence. I also want to do  more agility training. We haven't been to class since the rules changed two years ago so would need to learn the new rules. Sadie also needs to lose a few pounds and i'm not sure how to do it, as she seems to gain weight on air and water. Suggestions? She's eating barely anything as it is.

Mitcham is trimmed down. his coat is still a nightmare, and his ears never fully came up. Even though he has his 3 majors for his Grand Champion title, I don't think he'll ever get his title. he will not ever be in a 'specials' coat while he lives here with me, and he is extremely active and always wanting to be with me. He loves to herd but he needs massive obedience and again, when funds are short, the show dogs win. Since I don't have a lot to show this summer, I'm hoping we can change that.

Margot is getting a lovely coat in. Her coat is no where near as bad as Mitcham's and can be groomed weekly or every two weeks if I am gone or busy. She's very much a puppy yet, but extremely smart and I hope to be able to show her in Lake Elmo where there should be points, and then Saint Paul. I'm in no rush to show her. Apparently black is hard to finish in Briards. And so are natural eared ones. So she is both and her breeder told me to let her coat get some length before she would be shown so she could be competitive with the cropped eared dogs.

While out in OR I will be helping to evaluate Minnie's litter (Ava's litter sister). If there is something wonderful there, they will come home with me, but only if I can find homes for these brindle pups that are available here. So if you know of someone looking for a brindle boy (or a show girl!) let me know!

Shows I plan on attending: Fargo, Jordan, Lake Elmo, Northwest Cardigan Fanciers Regional Specialty in September.

Shows I might attend: Western Reserve and Duluth. I always enjoy Duluth and they have their health tests there so will get a few of the dogs done there if I go.

Hope to see everyone out somewhere!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Dunbar - available

clearly picasa 3 is not working properly after i re-sized, cropped and rotated the photos...but here is Dunbar

He is a gorgeous brown brindle with a lovely darker face with minimal white (kinda like his momma Ell). He is a very sweet, happy boy who is working very hard on his house training and crate training. He is micro chipped, vaccinated and ready to love a new family! We had to hang on to him to take photos because he doesn't really STOP ever (except int he photo to eat some Guinea poop) so this is what you get! :) Serious inquiries are welcome!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Dinham - available

Dinham is the clown and jokster of the litter. He's the "toe thief" and always trying to nibble your toe, sock, shoe to get you to play with him. He was also in another home getting socalized and although no kids, they did have dogs, and he spent a lot of his free time at the neighborhood kids backyards. He truly loves to play and snuggle and go-go-go. If Dinham is more your kind of boy, lemme know!

Dago - available

Dagois one of the brindle boys available. He is a huge snuggle bug, and LOVES his people time. He'd rather snuggle up with me on the couch than play with his siblings (although he does enjoy that too, just not as much as people time). He was one of two boys I started to fall for until we did evaluations.  Nothing too terribly wrong with him...he's healthy, genetically won't get PRA or DM and the vet visit showed him free of parasites, good heart, no hernias and his disposition is just fantastic.

He loves kids, adults, big dogs and litle dogs. He spent some time in a home with a family with a 4 year old girl and he loved every minute. I think they did too :) If you know of someone looking for a boy, send them my way!

Nationals and thoughts(ramblings)

As a relatively new breeder and in general newbie to the dog world (less than 8 years), I always find the Nationals to be such an educational time.

Not only do we get to see each others' dogs and how they are growing on, but we can get our hands on the dogs we have seen photos of, read about in the bulletin and heard about.

My first year I was so overwhelmed. I thought the specials being shown were all amazing and how would I ever choose a stud dog.

As the years have gone by and the 'vision' in my head has narrowed to a specific type of Cardigan, and the things I will not give up when doing a breeding, the list of prospective stud dogs narrows greatly.

To say I was thrilled with how well Ava and Ballantyne represented Ebonwald is an understatement. I do however feel that just going and seeing who else is in the ring, is more important that who won, or who didn't.

I over heard several people numerous times comment on how much they loved such and such about a certain dog, only to look at the same dog and shudder at the thought that those people thought that dog had a lovely side gait (when it really didn't) or huge bend of stifle (when it was straight in the rear)

It also amazed me that although there was a generous attendance at the breeder's ed seminar, it seemed that those who truly could benefit from such a seminar, weren't there. I'm not slighting anyone, but feel that there is always room to learn, always room for improvement and always should attend breeder seminars, and ringside shadowing, whenever possible. Especially at Nationals and especially when given by long time breeders.

You don't have to agree, like or do anything these seminars tell you, but its nice to hear other opinions and perhaps bring away something that you didn't know or think about from these seminars.

This year was one of the first I was able to go over numerous other dogs, more so than have people critique my own. While I still had people go over my dogs, I really wanted to see what dogs were out there (stud dogs) that I could get my hands on, and see if they truly had what my bitches needed. I also liked the ability to watch their get in the ring, and see promising puppies  that I made note of for future evaluations.

The bitches I have in my home are truly different from one another. Consistency isn't really here yet, aside from a few things like long upper arms, side movement, ability to free whelp, and herding instinct to name a few. There is a long way to go in other areas, but also overall pleased with the improvement that I've seen in my first generation of breeding.

I also like MANY of the stud dogs out there, but most seem to have the same faults my bitches do, and I don't want to double up on that. I'm also a huge fan of moderation. The dogs I went over were on the small/medium scale as far as overall size and weight. Its something that appeals to me and something I don't want to lose.

Things I immediately need to work on: more bone. I don't want them overdone, but bitches like Campbell and Ballantyne need more bone. I also need shorter hocks. Not more, but shorter than what Campbell and bolin have, that is for sure. I also would like more shoulder lay back. I think our breed overall needs more lay back. Finding dogs that have that PLUS other virtues I'm looking for is harder than it looks.

I would like stronger rears in a few of my bitches (Ava, bolin) and tail sets to be lower on them. Obviously each bitch needs different things to improve on, and using the same dog on all of them, would be counterproductive.

I also don't want to just breed to my own dogs just because they are mine. I also don't want to breed to today's 'flavor of the month', or breed solely on pedigree.

After talking to several longtime, well respected breeders last week and it was reaffirmed that you must breed on phenotype as well as genotype, regardless of color, and use health tests as tools to get to a healthier, more sound dog. pedigrees are good to get a grasp on how the pups/dogs will grow, but shouldn't be an end all be all.

When i first started with dogs everything was very black and white. It happened or it didn't. It passed or it didn't. It was a show dog or it wasn't. It was healthy or it didn't. It became a champion or it should be shown. Shades of Grey are now filtering in on all levels and in every area of the dogs...showing, breeding, testing, placing, etc. And as a person who is in it for the long haul, I feel that my shades of grey will be different than everyone else, and we must respect each other for these decisions and yet, still support and encourage one another and hope we all get to the same end result.

Did this make any sense....

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Two week recap!

Phew..... where do I begin?

It started back on April 19th. I had Rita VanHorn and The Lassila's stop by on their way to Nationals to help evaluate the litter. I had my ideas on who I liked from the litter but hadn't had the help to stack them and stand back and really go over them. A few things I knew and they agreed with were they all had really pretty heads. Nice moderate bone and round, tight, feet. Carrie was there to take her show girl home and she chose Duffy. Wine, and good conversation late in to the night finally wore us all out and we went to bed late, to get up very early.

Friday afternoon the 20th, I had my first guests arrive for the puppy party! Lynn and her boyfriend Jeff came to stay over and it was a much needed get together! I hadn't seen either of them in a long time and it was fun to catch up again.

Saturday morning the 21st the house became instantly busy and we had guests from 10am (excluding Jeff and Lynn) up until about 6pm. the second puppy Delta, left for her home in Plymouth and even though there was non stop play for the pups, they didn't seem phased by the amount of dogs, people and commotion in the house. It was a great day with lots of laughs, good food, wonderful people and a huge thank you to everyone who came to see the litter and brought their big cardigans with too. The adult cardis were more pooped than the puppies were!

Sunday the 22nd I left for the Nationals with 4 adults and 5 puppies. I dropped two off in the Minneapolis metro for socializing and another went to her show home in California. The couple flew in to pick her up and I couldn't be happier with the placement. I ended up driving to Monroe to stay with Kelly and Mike, some Shetland sheep friends before heading out again on Monday.

Sunday was also the day I became a Grandpa! Ava's littersister, Minnie, gave birth to 7 puppies! 3 blue males, 2 blue females and 2 black females were born that evening via one natural whelped and the remainder by c-section. some big pups were in there but all were alive and are doing well!

Sunday Brewer also became a champion by earning his third major (another 4 point!). Many thanks to Mandy for all your dedication to this boy!

I arrived at the Sawmill Resort in Ohio mid afternoon. I made great time got the grooming area set up and dogs pottied and played with. I delivered a show boy, Dietz to his new owner Krystal and couldn't be happier with the placement. Monday Brewer earned his first Grand CH major (4pts) by going Select over another special, to his dad who went BOB.

Tuesday I was supposed to help with the agility but got so involved in the going ons in the grooming area that I barely had enough time to bathe my two girls who were entered in the Megan Competition. It was my first Megan and I entered Ballantyne in black bitches and Ava in blue bitches. I believe there were 10 or 11 black bitches and Ballantyne made the cut to the top 5!! She was the youngest and smallest bitch in the remaining top 5, but it was a thrill to be recognized by fellow breeders (and longtime breeders at that!). Ava was then shown in blue bitches. There were only 4, but she made the cut to the final two and ended up Runner Up blue bitch! I was told it was a close call, but Ava too, is still quite young, so was very proud of her and ballantyne for doing so well in my first Megan!

Wednesday was Sweeps. I had showed both Cass and Campbell in sweeps but they were JUST about a year old and out of coat, gangly, tubey and very much in their 'teens'. I didn't think they'd be Mandy's style and I was right, but I was told ringside by several that they liked my kids and that was very nice to hear.

Thursday I didn't show Cass as I felt he was too immature to be competitive. Friday I showed Campbell and although she showed well, again was just too immature and out of coat to do much in the classes.

Saturday was Best of Breed and I had Ballantyne and Ava both entered in it. Ava went first, and made the cut. Ballantyne was in between Libby and Dolly and to be in such great company was quite difficult! ballantyne was out of coat, and smaller and although the judge gave her quite a bit of consideration she did not make the cut. I am glad however that she saw merit in her enough to consider her for the cut. Ava went back in for another cut and made that one too! out of 36 bitch specials, Ava made the final cut and top 7 bitches! I was so tickled!! I had no intentions of making the cuts at all, just wanted fellow breeders to see my dogs, and so i was floored, honored and humbled that my girls would be considered even for cuts, and was even more thankful for the ringside congrats.

I was really happy that Higgins (the sire of my current litter) received an Award of Merit at the National, as well as Brett (cousin and family to my merrymoon/pluperfect stuff) receiving an AOM too. It was a very lovely lineup at the end and it could have had many other lovely dogs in it to receive AOMs.

I have to say that the dog showing is all great and wonderful but I missed half of the classes getting ready to show my own dogs. I will have to see the videos at some point so I can look at all the dogs that I missed! I also was told that I have continued to improve as a handler and showed my dogs very well, to the best of their ability. And I heard that from several people so that was fantastic. Onward and Upward!

I was able to room with several different friends and had a great time doing so. thank you's go out to Jessica viera and Kim keifer, as well as Karen Lyons for all putting up with me :) I've been told I'm an 'easy keeper' so it wasn't too stressful on them, and many laughs were made along the week.

As always at Nationals, there was so much to do and see and so many friends to sit and talk with. I felt like I didn't get to see anyone, yet talked to so many people and was able to go over dogs, ask questions and learn a lot. nationals are always about learning more, renewing friendships and solidifying those I've already made. I can't believe I am already home and the dogs are back to their daily 2 mile walks.

On the way home Cass was dropped off to his new home in Milwaukee where he will grow up some before he shows, and my pick boy is now with Jeri and her family in Denver, getting spoiled rotten and socialized beyond belief.

Thank you everyone for making this a Nationals I soon won't forget!! Truly Ebonwald was well represented in all venues :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

National photos

These photos were taken from John Phillips flickr website. I do not own these but will maybe be buying some from him! He took photos of every dog entered and even when they made the cuts!

So please enjoy a few of the photos of my dogs that he took.

I'll fill you in on the rest of the big news tomorrow! :)

Ballantyne in the black bitches in the Megan
 Ava in blue Merle bitches in the Megan.
 Ava again
 Ava being pulled the first time in Best of Breed, champion titled bitches

 Ballantyne in the Megan
 Cass man in sweeps.
 Campbell in sweeps
Above is Kim Keifer and I waiting for our sweeps class. Below, Ava being awarded runner up blue merle bitch
 Ballantyne in breed.
 Campbell moving in sweeps.
 Cass man moving in sweeps
 Ava again in the Megan.
 Campbell in bred by bitch
 Ava in Best of breed.
 Campbell in sweeps
 Campbell again
 Campbell on the table in bred by
 Ballantyne in Best of Breed.