Wouldn't that be a great name for an H Litter puppy -- Kaibab's Here We Go? And that is my way of sharing that we are getting ready to make the H Litter (cross all paws and fingers and toes).
Cadi came in season on Wednesday. As usual with us, nothing is simple.
The choice of husbands is one that should be carefully considered, and unlike humans who choose with their fickle hearts instead of sensible brains, dogs have the advantage of matchmaker services -- in this case, that would be me, with poor Dear Husband as the Assistant.
I glare angrily at all those who just put two convenient dogs together because -- oh my heck, as they say in Utah -- this Matchmaker business is a really difficult one.
Playing Matchmaker is a game of Compromise -- and oh how I hate compromises!!!!! Cadi has a lot of strengths and that helps but there are a few things -- for example, we want to avoid Lymphoma. While we do not know if it is inherited or genetic, her littermate died of it and other family members have also had it. Therefore, even though it is a relatively common canine cancer, it seems prudent to avoid breeding to a boy with close relatives who had Lymphoma.
So that eliminated candidates, and then there is the longevity thing -- one boy we looked at had a grandmother the same age as Cadi!!! WTH?! (That would be "what the heck"?). If three generations of a pedigree are young, how are we supposed to know important info such as age at death, cause of death, etc.?!
And guess what? They all die! And they all die of something! So, we cannot eliminate a dog because of dead relatives or because an 11 year old berner died of cancer -- but we still have to stack the deck as well as we can, and that is not an easy task.
So hopefully you get a sense of the balancing act that is -- or should be -- breeding Bernese Mountain Dogs. And this, combined with my feelings about compromise, is why Dear Husband is presently Poor Dear Husband!
So, long story short -- Cadi will be bred soon. On Wednesday we will start checking progesterone and once it goes over 1.0 we will start counting days and breed on the fourth and fifth days after that magic number.
And who is the husband, you ask? We have two good candidates and will be letting a DNA test make the choice. Cadi is a carrier for Degenerative Myelopathy (DM). This is not a big deal since you need two carrier parents to have a chance of being affected, but I will not risk producing affected dogs so will only breed her to a DM clear male.
Lots and lots of boys are not even tested -- this reality is problematic for me and I won't take a chance since there are MANY DM carriers in the breed. So, you eliminate all those DM carriers and unknown DM status dogs, and dogs with less than perfect structure/type and pedigrees with problematic longevity, orthopedics, cancer, etc. and etc. and pretty soon there is nobody left -- so you have to start over with a less idealistic sorting method :)
After trying on about 50 sorting methods -- and faced with a deadline -- I believe we have a plan. If Dog A tests clear -- and we will know later this week -- he will be the husband. If he is a DM carrier, then Dog B will be the husband. Both are excellent candidates, with known strengths and weaknesses that we have weighed out over and over and over and over -- you get the idea.
I know you will want to make your puppy visiting plans so I can tell you now that we expect bouncing baby berners on/about May 2 - 4, if all goes according to plan (everything crossed please).
This means the babies would be ready to head to their new homes right after the planned Camp Kaibab (June 23 - 25)! WOW -- how perfect is that? You can come to Camp and visit baby berners -- and then take yours home if you are one of the lucky new families :)
Now we will all await the DM test results and then we will announce the name of the husband -- and describe what we are hoping to accomplish with the breeding, including perceived strengths and (that hateful word) compromises...
Stay tuned, H Litter fans... and I hope you are having a GREAT weekend!!!!