Trying this again... Me and Irish Wolfhounds
So... some of you may have seen my rather long (and incomplete) post about my breeding Irish Wolfhounds. The forum somehow decided I was a spammer, so I've had to start over now So... thanks for responding if you did, and if not here goes again.
I've been warned by Dekka that breeding and breeders can be controversial on here, so I want to get this out in the open so I can post freely without having to hash through all my breeding philosophy etc again. So this will be long (and likely in sections) so grab some popcorn and enjoy the read
I have owned dogs most of my life, but only got interested in breeding in the last 10 years. The way I got into it is perhaps a bit unusual. When I was little my mom owned an Irish Wolfhound named Caleb. She adored this dog, of all the dogs we have owned over the years I think he was her heart dog. Sadly, as is typical of Irish Wolfhounds, she was to loose him far to young. Caleb got bone cancer at 6. We amputated his leg and he did fine for a while. You'd be amazed how well he got around on three legs... But sadly the cancer spread to his lungs and we had to make the decision to put him down.
After Caleb died my mother wanted another Wolfhound, but couldn't bear the thought of losing another so young. So in the meantime we owned an Irish Water Spaniel (clown on four legs), a rescue who we think might have been an Irish Wolfhound x Black Lab (imagine a Wolfhound on Lab legs), and a Collie cross. But my mom still pined over her Wolfhound.
About ten years ago I decided it was time to do something about it. So, I spent a lot of time looking up breeders and seeking out one who would be willing to sell me a bitch puppy with breeding rights. My thought was that by breeding a single litter and keeping a girl we could always have a little piece of the beloved dog with us.
It took a while, but finally I found a breeder willing to work with me. She agreed to selling us a breeding quality puppy as a co-owned dog. That way when/if it came to the point where we wanted to breed her she would be involved and able to help us make the right decisions as we went.
And so Oldline Eringael of Freehold came into our home (aka Erin). Erin was a lovely bitch and my mom was thrilled with her birthday + Christmas + birthday + Christmas present (lol Wolfhounds are not cheap). And so life continued.
Erin and my mom - Erin is about 6-8 moths old here, still very much a puppy.
I had intended to show Erin, but at that time we were far more heavily into the horse breeding and showing world, and they came first. After a while we realized that Erin was of age to be bred, and we'd not gotten her into the ring. There was no doubt that she was more than nice enough to gain her Championship, but we'd not gotten there.
Now Wolfhounds have a relatively narrow window for breeding. They shouldn't ever be bred before 3 years old (2.5 at the absolute youngest), and shouldn't be bred past 5 years old. We didn't have a lot of time. So, I contacted Erin's co-owner and began looking around to see if anyone would even talk to me about Erin without the show wins.
Erin all pretty so I could show her off to potential stud owners.
As I looked around I found a stud I really liked, who happened to be owned by the breeder from whom Erin's dam's line came. I sent her photos and she liked Erin a lot from what she saw, and understood how life can get in the way of showing at times. She was willing to take the risk as she knew the lines (both her own line and the outcross Erin's litter was from).
The stud I liked was a younger stud, and the breeder (Barbara Daley, who happens to be one of the top Canadian Wolfhound breeders) suggested that if I liked the son I should breed to the sire. So, we decided to take Erin to breed to Manuka.
I proceeded to do hip x-rays to make sure she was clear of displacia, and had a general check-over done by the vet to make sure there was nothing of concern. Then when Erin came into heat she went to Barbara's to be bred.
Mod edit: Tinypic photo changed into, well, not a dog. Photo removed.
Erin at the breeder's.
Barbara loved Erin even more in person and was thrilled to have her there to breed to her boy. About two months later we had our first litter of puppies.
It was a big litter with 9 babies. Two were runts, one of which we hand fed for a day before it nursed on its own. (I'll tell the story of the runts another day - it's long and quite interesting). We decided to keep "Rose" (collar), who we later named Freehold Oldline Renee (aka Renee). Barbara took a few puppies for her clients, and decided to keep "Brown", who she named Moa. The entire litter sold well, and we actually ended up turning down homes for the runts as we discovered there was more than runtishness going on with them close to when the puppies were ready to go home. We still own Java, but sadly lost his brother Mocha - but more on them another time.
Renee at 8.5 weeks old.
Barbara's boy, Aotearoa Oldline Freehold Moa, turned out to be a super nice boy. She showed him to his Championship and he ended up 4th Wolfhound in Canada in 2008. He's since stood at stud and had 5 litters of his own with her.
Sadly we lost Erin about eight months after she had her litter. An outbreak of Kennel Cough affected our vet clinic (where I was home from on Maternity leave). A friend who worked there was staying with us temporarily, and despite her best efforts brought the virus home. From first cough to dead in 36 hours including vet visit and antibiotics... It was truly horrible I've learned enough now that I can help prevent a repeat, but it was a hard lesson learned. Renee ended up spending a week in hospital with IV and careful treatment, but thankfully pulled through just fine.
(more to come soon...)
Last edited by eddieq; 08-26-2013 at 06:28 AM. Reason: Removed a photo that changed into something else.