Archive for wendyllbehrend

Happy Holidays 2019 and Status of Puppy Availability

22 December 2019

Season’s Greetings to everyone!

Monsieur Moustache (Beckham x Ziva), in the front of the crate. Crate training begins at six weeks with a crate included in the X-pen setup.

It has been a terrific year for Kensington Tibetan Terriers and we are grateful for so many things: our FIRST Non Sporting Group 1 awarded by Judge Mrs. Cindy Meyer, several litters of healthy puppies born & raised, great new forever families who’ve been welcomed into the fold, our second Top 20 Breed finisher (like mother, like son), Grand Champion and Bronze Championship titles, Medals and Awards of Merit won and television performances at Westminster AND in The National Dog Show on Thanksgiving Day 2019.

We simply couldn’t ask for anything more.  We have snow outside – heat inside – smiles on our faces – and plenty of Stella & Chewy’s on hand.  ;>)

Kensington’s Questa o Quella’s sire Yogi in show coat – not to be confused with Erbosedition’s Yogi.  ;>)  July 2019.

And now, with the high holidays upon us?  We look forward to holiday dinner parties and the departure of Beckham x Koko and Beckham x Ziva’s last puppies.  I finally got my litters out of Beckham, Shadeacre Fast Love at Kensington.  And Kensington’s future will include breedings of my female and male pick Beckham-sired puppies to Yogi-sired Questa and Yogi-sired Piccolo.  We remain dedicated to the breeding & raising of healthy, happy and smart Tibetan Terrier puppies for the best forever homes who find us.

Applications for 2020 puppies are now closed.  We are holding plenty of applications with deposits and wanting to fill the wishes & wants of these forever families, before we open applications up again.  There are a number of applications that have not yet been returned and we will do our best to breed and raise puppies for those folks, too – but then?  We will next accept applications only for 2021-born puppies.

Oh, how our Kensington-bred sable Leo loves being the center of attention! With a bunch of 8 year old girls in Newton, MA.  2019.

It looks like I’ll be traveling to Slovakia in April 2020 to pick up an Erbosedition sable male puppy bred by my friend Veronika Kucerkova.  I am very excited about V’s latest litter, as the puppies are out of Waterley, Falamandus and Kashi bloodlines.  There are two sable males in her litter and I am letting Veronika select the one for Kensington.  We got to know one another in 2016, when my Billie (GRCHB Kensington’s 1st Dance with Michael) and her Yogi (Erbosedition) traded Best of Breed wins several times during the late fall.  Our dogs are similar in style and I will need another outcross in about two years.  Who better to breed our future boy than a gal who grooms, breeds & shows her own conformation Champions AND performs agility & rescue with them?

Happy Holidays, eh! Canadian Whittaker enjoying a moment with Santa. Whit is one of Billie and Annabel’s brothers. December 2018.

September 2020 will find Lady Cheryl and me traveling to France for the next Tibetan Terrier World Congress, just north of Paris.  I love France and ANY excuse will do to get me on a plane bound for the country I love.  I never tire of practicing my questionable French on the shop girls.  ;>)

So, Joyeaux Noel! and Bonne Annee! to all of you great people who keep me laughing, when the going gets tough.  And thank you for staying in touch and for sharing the great stories of life with your Kensington TTs.  Together, we are making the world a happier and smaller place.

Yours truly!

Wendyll Behrend, a Grand Champion in my own right.  ;>)

 

No wonder we have cave paintings . . .

If I didn’t write things down, I’d be lost.

Daily weigh ins are vitally important, so that I find out early, if anyone is having a problem.

Think about it.  The shopping list.  Directions to a destination (before GPS).  The times you administered a medication.  Who’s eating which kibble?

There are 19 dogs in this house right now and that is down two, because Mlle. Campari and GRCHB Questa are both competing in Springfield, Massachusetts under Rebecca Bradley’s professional hands.  Three of the girls here have litters and we hope that dear Piper will come into season in the next three months, get bred and have puppies.  We’ve been hoping that, since she was bred last April and did NOT conceive.  But I have way, way, WAY too much on my plate now to worry about when Piper’s coming into season!

How else can I keep it all straight? The easel pad sheets from Kensington’s September 2018 litters.

You should see the clipboards and easel pads that hang around my house.  And scales – I have three.  And hygrometers and thermometers – there are at least six of those.  My own office gets repurposed, with every litter.  For the first four weeks, the new litter and their mum hang with me in my office off of the kitchen, as I attempt to stay on top of daily weighing, note taking and mummy dog care.  Once the puppies can climb out of the whelping box (and that will be happening within days)?  It’s time for the 2″ height extender that will buy me most of a week’s more time, before we move the puppies down to an Xpen in the AGA room at about five weeks of age.  This year?  That is scheduled to happen, just as Ziva’s puppies begin leaving for their new forever homes.  Thank you, Mother Nature!  A four week gap between litters is just about perfect.  Now, she needs to work on her ratio of males to females.  ;>)

Monsieur Moustache, in the front of the crate. Crate training begins with a crate included in the X-pen setup.

And then we have the oldest litter which will be the first to leave, beginning on December 14th.  At nine weeks of age, Monsieur Moustache will depart for a wonderful new home that’s been grieving the loss of their Golden for some time.  He will move to Richmond, Vermont to live with an athletic couple and their seven year old son.  Mrs. will be home 24/7 for the first week with the new puppy, as they have their own contracting business.  I’ll get to see the puppy occasionally and will always offer him board & room, when requested by his humans.  His first day on Albon was Thursday – boy, THAT was fast!  They just met him on Wednesday and moved quickly with their decision making.  The Albon protocol is important, as we proactively treat for the potential of coccidia by putting each puppy on a ten day course of Albon liquid, timed ten days backward from the departure date.  And Pinot and Preta’s Albon protocols began yesterday.  Kuro starts today, as he’s leaving next weekend, too.  Yvette (formerly Chesty and no laughing  ;>) is staying with me and so, she won’t need it.  And then, depending upon Preto’s departure dates, we’ll add him to the Albon calendar, too; that will be five out of six in that litter.

The big blue balls provide first exposures to unexpected touch and moving obstacles.

Koko’s litter is only four days behind Ziva’s and I’m keeping Eddie, one of the Beckham x Koko puppies and, yes, named for Eddie Redmayne.  That puppy won’t need the Albon (as he’s staying with us) and I now have departure dates for the other two; have figured it out and added their Albon protocols to the calendar.  And the only tricky thing to remember and calculate about the Albon protocols is that the first day is a double dose: .5ml per pound for the first day vs .25ml per pound for the next nine days.

Piccolo’s puppies are too young to have to worry about anything other than the Nemex II dewormer protocol (administered at two, three, four, six, eight and ten weeks), although the two females are going to Dallas by jet plane on January 16 . . .  count back ten days and add those two to the Albon calendar.

My desk, after a big Questa win – like his BOB and Group 2 placings on 6 Dec 2019! ;>) Perrier Jouet rose on my laptop. Panacure, show photos and temperature data in the background.  Cheers!

Understandably, sometimes I just want a break and need to take it down a notch or we celebrate a Questa win!  Where’s the wine?  Only issue there is that with my overnight sleeping interruptions?  I sleep better without the alcohol.  And I remember in the early 2000s, when my dear Italian aunt was still alive and suffering from Alzheimer’s with me as primary caregiver . . .  I’d meet my brother for a two martini lunch at Legal in Chestnut Hill to ‘dumb’ myself down . . .  only to realize that she was exactly where I left her, upon my return.  I drank to make her go away, but it didn’t work!  (Anyone out there who’s done the same?  It’s pretty funny and absolutely pointless, in retrospect.)

So, the training routine continues and morphs a little bit with each passing day.  Puppies are now outside playing in the freshly fallen snow, twice daily.  Car training is in full gear (pun intended).  Lady Bernadette is here daily and becomes more highly valued with every passing day and tomorrow?  Nothing will have changed.  Clean laundry will await folding by early morning – dirty laundry will predictably be waiting my morning arrival down in the AGA room – the Albon’s sitting on a windowsill to keep cool and the ladies will greet me with circular wags of their happy tails – and out they’ll go to bark at the world and announce the beginning of another day.

One day at a time.  Nevermind the wine; where’s the coffee?  ;>)

When the nights become days and the days become nights

Questa’s sire Yogi in show coat. July 2019.  Very handsome and prolific sire!

It is quite normal and has become part of my routine to be up between ~ 12:30am and 3:30am every night.  It’s either the ladies down in the AGA room who ‘boof’ for a potty break . . .  or dear Piccolo who comes to the gate between the kitchen and my dining room/bedroom to make her request clear.  As I’ve said innumerable times in the past, it’s a good thing that I live alone!  The doggies need care 24/7 and long ago?  I happily signed up to be the caregiver, laundress and chef extraordinaire.  ;>)

Beckham x Ziva’s puppies out for their first adventure. 30 November 2019.

Ziva’s puppies are seven full weeks old and they’re quite mature physically.  Still finding their emotional ‘sea legs’ and trying on all sorts of behaviours including biting something soft, until they get a blood curdling scream.  I think we’re almost past this stage, as I’ve come to the rescue more than a dozen times and by now?  They’re on the brink of realizing that it’s not fun to be on the receiving end.

Koko’s puppies are only four days behind Ziva’s puppies chronologically, but they are hard to tell apart visually from their older friends.  All are on straight kibble & water, 4x per day.  Carrots and apples come next.  Both litters are producing tootsie roll stools and I am very pleased about that.  The Royal Canin kibbles I use seem to yield smaller and less fragrant tootsies than other kibbles we’ve tried, ESPECIALLY the salmon based kibbles.

Look hard! There are five puppies nursing on Lady Piccolo. Oskar x Piccolo.

And then, there are Piccolo’s five beautiful babies who are still nursing: two females and three males.  Today is Day 19 for them.  I only wish that I could handle more for the wonderful forever families out there who are waiting ever so patiently – but three litters is my max.  This time?  It’s more like two, as the first two are only four days apart – but the laundry doesn’t lie and it feels like three litters to me!

But what is life without the occasional upset? Even with apparent total quarantine for the youngest litter, one managed to catch an upper respiratory infection.  How now, brown cow?  Well, apparently, his mummy Piccolo must have brought the germs into their whelping room and for whatever reason? He caught a cold.  Three .1ml doses of Clavamox later?  The apparent congestion seems reduced and it truly is 24 hours, since I noticed it yesterday morning.  I know that with humans, we think very seriously about whether to ingest antibiotics and I, for one, prefer to ‘tough it out’.  But when the patient is 18 days old with newly opened eyes?  Give me the drugs!

This morning?  We had our second outdoor snow experience with Ziva’s puppies.  The first car training with outdoor snow fun happened on Saturday, this past weekend.  With Koko’s puppies about four days behind Ziva’s?  Car training will begin tomorrow.

Winter is upon us. Maple Street in Stowe, Vermont, December 2019.

We didn’t get the 20″ of snow they got in southern Vermont and boy! would we have liked that!  But the 2″ dusting we got makes for a pretty morning and shortly, I am off for my solo walk to town.  Wishing everyone a terrific day!

 

Weigh ins, feedings, laundry, indoor/outdoor play; REPEAT

Our lovely GRCH Piccolo and her five babies. 26 Nov 2019.

The lovely Piccolo has hit her stride and seems to have settled into her maternal routine and is FINALLY back to eating her kibble.  Here she is, comfortably nursing her brood of five in her whelping box.

Ziva’s enjoying playing individually with the October born puppies, whether hers or Koko’s.  We let them out individually to scamper around the perimeter of their Xpens.  It gives them a great opportunity to taunt and tease their littermates, as they test out their newfound freedom.

And Koko’s enjoying outdoor sunshine and the best that the Maple Street kitchen has to offer.  She has learned that patience pays off in the kitchen.  What could be better?

A life without puppy poops on the linens, I’d say!  ;>)

Oh, how Leo loves being the center of attention! With a bunch of 8 year old girls in Newton, MA.

All is well, here at Maple Street.  Thanksgiving is only days away and Piccolo’s puppies will be two weeks old that day.  There are five of them: three males and two females . . .  and they keep Pic and me MORE THAN BIZZY!  I still have the baby monitor on their pen, so that I can hear any nighttime calamity . . .  but they’re all happy and quiet.  We’ve got the temperature stabilized, nursing is happening predictably & every four hours – and everyone’s digging Jazz Piano on Pandora, while yours truly plays in the kitchen.  Life is good.

Meanwhile, we await the second television broadcast with a Kensington Tibetan Terrier up on the big screen – please watch with us on Thanksgiving Day!

Here we are: like mother, like son, thanks to Photoshop!

Questa took Best of Breed down in Oaks, PA on 16 November 2019 at The National Dog Show.  THIS is the dog show that is televised annually at 12pm on Thanksgiving Day.  Watch it on NBC.  They are airing it in every time zone at 12pm.  Tibetan Terriers are in the Non Sporting Group.  We already know that he did not place in the Group – but that’s ok by me.  He’ll be up on the big screen!  Questa is out of a Yogi x Billie breeding and he has a number of brothers and sisters out there including Gryffin and Bodhi.  If you’ve got the time?  Please ‘watch’ with us!

Meanwhile, it’s back to the laundry for me right now.  I am changing pen linens today, so that I can have a couple of hours off on Thanksgiving to WATCH THE DOG SHOW on NBC!  Join me at noon on Thanksgiving Day, as we root for one of Kensington’s finest.

Woof.  ;>)

You’d think I had it made, playing with puppies all day . . .

Young Ben, enjoying our CH Oskar x CH Gigi puppies, Memorial Day weekend in Marblehead, 2016.

I’m REALLY clear that I’m wonderfully fortunate to have an opportunity to live my passion during my retirement by breeding & raising the dogs of my dreams in a place that’s clean and beautiful.  And that is exactly how it looks, from the outside. . .

With or without a litter in the house, I begin my day between 5 and 6am, if not earlier. Usually, it’s the sunlight that wakes me. These days? It’s Piccolo who ‘boofs’ at midnight, again at 3am and by then?  I walk down the hall to the other mums in the house and let them out, too, hoping that between the three of them?  They’ll let me sleep until 6am.

This morning, I got lucky – but it was a tricky day.

Sable Louis in the Puppy Warmer incubator and Oxygen Concentration equipment. Staying warm, as he dries. Newly born!

Last evening, we lost the second sable male and Piccolo & I each had emotional reactions.  I cried and wished the little animal well on his spiritual journey . . .  and Piccolo washed him, so that he’d be clean for his trip.  This morning?  She and I were both despondent.

I was in a bit of a trance walking down to the big doggies to let them out into the snow – but was crystal clear that I needed a triple Nespresso this morning.  Piccolo appeared out of sorts and stuck very close to me, through my morning routine.  She walked with me to the laundry to grab the fresh load and bring it back to the kitchen for folding.  As soon as I put the basket down?  She burrowed into the basket and emerged with the pink monkey.  Piccolo took her monkey dollie back to the whelping room with her puppies.  The poor little dear curled up around the dollie in the corner under my desk, in the same manner as she does with her live puppies, and I couldn’t help but think that it was a substitute for little Ralph.

Rebecca Bradley with GRCH Kensington’s Questa o Quella?. In the ring at Westminster, 11 February 2019.

We got through the day and tomorrow will be another day.  Questa’s in the ring down in Springfield for the first of four days of Conformation competitions.  Ziva and Koko’s puppies are now five weeks old and starting to act like precocious puppies.  Lord, help me!  There are nine of them!  And I spend 15 minutes with each of those puppies every morning, handling them & letting them play individually on the towels that ring the puppy pens.  In this way, they begin to show me their unique puppy personalities.  I make notes and use these notes, as I begin studying each puppy with the forever home lifestyles we have ‘on deck’. 

From yesterday morning to this morning, weight gain was great for three of Piccolo’s puppies but not so great for the other two.  We now have five vigorous and apparently healthy puppies from Oskar x Piccolo.  I think the latter two will have plenty of time on the nipple overnight tonight, as I gave Piccolo some freshly cooked liver from The Frozen Butcher and the B vitamins, iron, minerals & other trace elements will be good for her pretty little head.

We will have a better day tomorrow!

 

Kensington’s first FIFTH GENERATION litter has hit the ground! Welcome GRCH Piccolo’s puppies!

So many thoughts about an opening line for this post – not sure which one to choose.

The lovely Lady Piccolo and her seven babies. Day One: 15 November 2019.

There was the thought that sleeping on the tile floor of my office last night next to Piccolo and her new puppies reminded me of traveling in Europe in the early 80s by Eurailpass and sleeping in some of the MOST uncomfortable positions on night trains.

There was the thought this morning that I was losing my first puppy out of the litter and it was only constipation-inspired lethargy.  All he needed was a fanny irrigation, a bowel movement and a drop of Karo syrup by mouth to get him revved up.

And there was the thought that Miss Piccolo seemed to have found her groove, after having lost it last night – although, you can’t lose something, if you’ve never found it, right?  ;>)

Can you count the skulls in Piccolo’s tummy? Monday, 11 Nov 2019.

Tuesday evening, earlier this week, I thought for sure that the puppies were coming within 24 hours, as Pic went off her food at 4pm and that’s ALWAYS been the sign to date with every one of my girls.  Down in Wyndham, New York, Lady Cheryl hopped into her car – arriving in Stowe before 11pm – and no action.  I slept on the floor of my office with Piccolo in the whelping box, thinking that we’d have action – but it never came.  And the lovely Lady Cheryl went upstairs to her room for a restful night’s sleep.

Wednesday morning?  Piccolo ate a healthy breakfast of poached chicken, mashed sweet potato, Monterey Jack cheese, Helm’s dried liver and Golden Delicious apple.  Shot my expectations to hell and Cheryl & I proceeded to just live through the day.  But Wednesday evening?  I had my doe eyed girl acting like she wasn’t EVER going into labor and so, I decided to bring her to my VT repro clinic and have a progesterone blood draw done to see where she was on the downward progesterone curve that happens before labor.

She came in at 2.5ng/ml and Dr. Cindy Pratt estimated 12-36 hours, before we’d have puppies.  That was at 7:30pm Wednesday evening and all I needed was a number, so that I could manage the household and know whether I had to sleep on the tile floor AGAIN on Wednesday night.

Sable Louis in the Puppy Warmer incubator and Oxygen Concentration equipment. Staying warm, as he dries. Newly born!

Well, I didn’t have to do that and so, Piccolo and I slept on the blow up mattress in the dining room.  She woke me up on Thursday at 4am panting and I knew that ‘all systems were go’.  By 6am?  I got Cheryl out of bed and said, ‘We’re on’.  And by 9am?  We had our first puppy: solid sable Louis, butt first and all 9 1/4 ounces of him.  As in humans, the ‘water breaks’ and it breaks for each puppy.  Solid sable Louis was first – then, solid black Dolce (another male) – then, boldly marked B&W Pierre (another male) – then, Ralph who is sable with bold white markings – then, Chanel who is black with a pearl necklace – then, sable Kate with white markings and finally, Calvin, our black boy with four white paws.

https://youtu.be/UWSaVSkQqd4

Kate’s delivery was the most memorable, as it took 23 minutes for her placenta to emerge after most of her body and during those 23 minutes, she kept going for the nipple to nurse – but couldn’t quite reach it, while her little umbilical cord stretched as much as it could.  That, I’d never seen before and I believe she is a seriously food driven little rascal who is both vigorous and beautiful in structure.

Scampi and puppies – what could possibly be more fun?

Every litter makes me nervous and I maintain that this is a good thing.  These are the words that come out of my mouth – but I think I’m always trying to convince myself of this.  Lady Cheryl was an angel to come and help, as she is experienced in the art of whelping and always brings scampi for dinner.  The girls know her well and love her energy; we are so grateful for her friendship.

Last night was our first night with new puppies in the house and I slept on the tile floor next to Piccolo in the whelping box, yet again.  She’s a first time mum and is learning the ropes, as she goes.  While potty training has been a recent issue, she woke me every 90 minutes last night to pee.  Making milk for the puppies requires that she drink an awful lot of water – so, in addition to fresh water, we feed her a soupy mix and make sure she has ice cubes available, when she needs a break from the warm heating pad.

It is unclear whether we have puppies available from this litter.  If we do, we have only one or two males.  If you are interested in a Kensington puppy, please know that we are planning three breedings for 2020 and expect our 2020 puppies to begin coming available in late Spring.  Applications are required, as are visits and deposits – and puppies are offered in the order of the dated applications and by the wishes and wants of our forever families.

TTCA 2019 National Specialty. Award of Merit for Questa, handled by Rebecca Bradley. Very exciting! May 2019.

Last to mention is the latest Canine Chronicle national standings in our breed.  They were just released TODAY through October 31, 2019 and our boy Questa (GRCHB Kensington’s Questa o Quella?) is now ranked #9 Nationally in our breed against all other TTs competing in AKC Conformation.  We hope to have him finish in the Top 10, having bested his mum Billie who finished #14 in 2016.  All very exciting and we are forever grateful to Rebecca Bradley, Questa’s wonderful handler, for loving him and handling him to the top of his game.  Whoo hoo!

Piccolo has seven puppies in the hopper!

12 November 2019

The lovely GRCH Kensington’s Pic, Pic, Piccolo! Littermate of Penny and Paisley. DOB 24 August 2017. Au naturelle in the snow. Stowe, VT.

And yes, we knew she was pregnant.  But yesterday we learned and saw that our dear GRCH Kensington’s Pic, Pic, Piccolo! is carrying seven very well developed puppies!  Obviously, we won’t know gender or coat color until they’ve arrived, dried and we’ve had a chance to study them – at least the markings will be quite apparent, upon arrival, and those markings will help us tell them apart.  As we bred sable Oskar to charcoal Piccolo, we’re hoping for at least a few sable coated puppies.  Fingers crossed!

Ziva’s puppies are several days more than four weeks old now and have begun their weaning onto a gruel of Royal Canin’s Starter kibble and water.  The proportions of kibble to water are very important at this stage, as the puppies’ digestive systems are not yet totally mature.  We present them with their gruel three times daily, while Lady Ziva continues with her sporadic nursing.  I actually think she prefers nursing at night, when the house is quiet and the lights are low.  Whatever she’s doing has to be more than enough, as her puppies are growing about 4 to 5% in their body weight daily.  Coats are glossy black with small white markings.  Eyes are bright and heads are gorgeous.  I am very pleased with our Beckham x Ziva puppies.

Day Zero: Sunday, 13 October 2019. Lady Ziva and her babies.

Koko’s puppies will be four weeks old tomorrow and so, they’ve recently been introduced to a canned Starter Mousse slurry.  The starter mousse slurry is the first step in the weaning process.  Next comes straight canned starter mousse and finally, the gruel of crushed starter kibble with water.  Koko is a wonderful mum, when it comes to staying with her babies to feed them and keep them warm.  But same as last time?  She’s just not that interested in keeping her babies’ butts clean and so, that job falls to me.  We call it ‘irrigation’ and since puppy stools are pretty loose, it dries like cement.  More than you wanted to know?  Oh, you have no idea how much there is to this process that you don’t want to know!  Irrigation baths are just the beginning.  ;>)

Leo at two months of age. He and Campari could be twins.

Leo was here boarding for five days, during which time we had him successfully collected and his semen evaluated.  He’s shooting live ones, whoo hoo!  At fourteen months, he appears to be mature with all of his parts in the right places and we look forward to using him with Lady Piper, come spring.

Life is pretty good, today.  I slept well and am still on top of the laundry.  We cleaned one of the puppy pens yesterday morning and had a full load for the doggie Bosch.  Being efficient always gives me satisfaction and being able to fit everything in the machine keeps my house smelling neutral.  And my dear friend Lady Cheryl arrives tomorrow to help with Piccolo’s whelping, during which time my current routine will go to hell.

Lady Tracy holding Billie’s three puppies by Oskar, with Leo in the middle!

The heavy wet snow is still falling and the roads are quiet.  The only traffic going by seems to be the snow plows and an occasional commercial vehicle.  I continue to clip puppy toenails but really need Lady Tracy’s help.  I can handle the fronts with my jeweler’s headgear – but it’s tricky for me to do the little rears and having a second pair of hands makes a huge difference.  Lady Tracy raises birds, so she’s well experienced with toenail clipping of tiny creatures.

It takes a village!  And I am grateful to have the village of Stowe, Vermont in which to breed and raise our Kensington Tibetan Terrier puppies.  Thank you, friends!

Next up?  We are watching Piccolo intently and keeping notes that will become part of her litter file.  She’s still eating, although very selectively.  Once she refuses her favorite foods?  I’ll know to expect puppies within 24 hours.  Then, we’ll watch for the ‘doe eyed’ look – you know, the ‘deer in the headlights’ stare.  And soon, the panting.  And then, the contractions.  She is seeming very much like her paternal grandmother Georgie Girl.  Gigi was a terrific natural whelper.  Fingers crossed for puppies during the day!

I must prepare Piccolo’s whelping room today, as I have a hunch we’re going to see puppies within a very few days.  We’re going to use my kitchen office, as that’s where the incubator and oxygen concentrating units are located.  Oranges to Buddha and fingers crossed for vigorous & healthy babies!

Thank you for your support.

Technicolor Tibetan Terriers

18 June 2019

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Izzie and James, our foundation dam and stud. 2009.

(For the record, I began writing this blog post over one year ago, after venturing into the study and genetic testing of my personal dogs.  I have learned so much and yet?  There is still boatloads more for me to learn about this topic.  Wait ’til I get my microscope.)

In September 2006, Nina Wagner offered me a choice of puppies with which to begin my breeding program.  I vividly remember the two ‘red’ puppies who danced toward me, as I’d never seen that coat color before!  I asked Nina what it was and she told me that the puppies were red brindles.  Of the two?  One had better movement and so, I chose Izzie to be my foundation bitch.  Then, I had a choice of two black & white males and James was the little man for me.  We drove back to Vermont and introduced the babies to my old geezers Max and Mia – and the rest is history; actually, it is ourstory  ;>).

In March 2009, Alice Smith gave me a book to study: The Inheritance of Coat Color in Dogs by Clarence C. Little.  For many years, this book has been considered the pre-eminent book on the topic of coat color.

Talk about dense!  Little’s book is so technical, in 2009, I was barely able to manage the first 16 pages and I’d been a Neurology major at Mount Holyoke College, dreaming of becoming a neurosurgeon.  I believe Little’s book is written for geneticists – but I did get a couple of truths out of it, even back then:

Sweet little Bianca, not even 24 hours old. 19 March 2019.

White (as in ‘the absence of pigment’) is ultimately dominant genetically and black comes next.  After that?  My, oh my, so many genes and variations . . .  and then, we get down to recessive red brindle, if ‘brindle’ even exists in Tibetan Terriers.

Enter Hanne Mathiasen’s Tibetan Terrers – The Little People.  If you don’t have a copy?  Buy one!  It is a wonderful book that was published in 2006 and is a joy to read and share.  She’s also on FB, if you want to friend her.

In the beginning, I was sure about what to call different coat colors, as I had Nina telling me what they were.  I repeated what she’d taught me about the tri-colored (banded) ‘brindle’ hair and didn’t think anything of it, until after she’d passed and someone else corrected me.  This new person told me that red brindle = sable, not red brindle.  And they also told me that golden sable was the correct term for what I’d always called ‘gold’.  And that brindle didn’t exist in TTs.  And with that one comment?  I took issue and decided to venture into a study of the literature on coat color.

That’s Leo, front left. And Chewie, farthest back right. Two of our red boys. May 2019.

Dr. Helle Friis Proschowsky, DVM writes about the SABLE coat color on page 125 of Matthiasen’s book.  She also writes about the genetic tricolored coat and the ‘greying’ gene.  There are wonderful photos to study and compare how the different coat colors are described.  In the meantime, let me share some of what I have learned.

‘Many TTs have a wrong description of their colour, partly because breeders are uncertain about the colour names, and partly because some colours can only be determined when the puppies are small, while others appear later.’  This is a quote out of Mathiesen’s book from an article written by Proschowsky on page 124.  Many TTs ‘change color’ during their lives, with blacks going charcoal or silver and brindles going blonde.  The fact that a brindle hair is a tri-colored hair is also confusing, as keeping a TT in a ‘puppy cut’ allows only one color of a tri-colored hair to show; hence, a red brindle looking blonde, in a puppy cut.

The lovely AKC CH Copper Goddess. Mum to Billie, Annabel and Ziva. Grandmama to Yogi and Questa. Great grandmama to Piccolo and Leo. Her regal profile and fabulous coloration, courtesy of Oskar and Izzie. 2018.

Melanin is responsible for pigmentation.  It is present or absent in cells at the base of each hair follicle and is either black or red.  Both colors of melanin can be produced in a melanocyte, but only one at a time, according to Proschowsky.  This is what is behind the changing coat color in the TT.  Initially, the cell might have produced black melanin and later, it might switch to red melanin depending upon the genetics that are particular to each dog.  Or it might turn to charcoal or silver and I believe this would be evidence of two copies of the Recessive Black allele.  I have seen it in several of my dogs and their test results declare ‘two copies of the Recessive Black allele’.

Kensington Dogs April10 012_972 x 648

Izzie, CH Shalimar Izzie of Kensington. Our foundation bitch.

Proschowsky calls Izzie’s coat color ‘Sable’.  This is what I was taught to be ‘Red Brindle’.

There is a greying gene and it is a dominant allele.  Animals either get the greying gene or they don’t.  It is less common to NOT have greying in a dark coat.  (I wonder whether this is an expression of Recessive Black, as most of my black TTs turn charcoal and some with silver, at and after maturity.)

Proud mummy dog. Bellie with her puppies on their birthday, 22 September 2018.

Proschowsky discusses a Particoloured coat and this is our classic jet black and bright white coat, with a lot of white.  Not a ‘ticked’ coat, which I have seen and think it is beautiful.  Best described as very finely enmeshed black and white, almost like stippling.

There is also a genetically Tricoloured coat, where versions of black, tan and white comingle on the dog but in a particular pattern.  Genetic tris are most easily identified as young puppies by the tan at the base of the tail and above the anus.  It is quite obvious, when you see it.

And a Grey or Silver or Charcoal coat that is evenly colored was most probably a black coat at birth that greyed later on, sometimes early and sometimes later.  Gryffin was born jet black with some white.  By six months of age, he was thoroughly silver and a surprise to his breeder and his humans!  (I believe this is the phenotype expressing a recessive black genotype.)

Introducing Billie’s three puppies by Oskar!

Now, The Tibetan Terrier Book by Jane Reif uses different language to describe these same coat colors.  And beginning with the black coat, Jane introduces the idea of the ‘Buddha mark’, a touch of white on the head or chest of a black dog – not mentioned at all in Mathiasen’s book.  This mark is thought to bring ‘luck’ to the dog and its owner.  I interpret this as a detail of ‘coat pattern’ and not ‘coat color’.  And what Jane Reif brings to the discussion is the fact that there are several very highly qualified stewards of our breed and they use different language to describe the same thing.

When my fuse got lit about the lack of brindle in our breed comment, I decided to get serious and bought a microscope.  Soon, as in sometime this summer, I intend to do a visual exploration of coat color at the microscopic level.  I bought the most interesting microscope that will run off my phone and allow me to take photos of what is under examination.  I am so excited.  Soon, we’ll be able to broaden this discussion with photographs to compare and discuss.

With Billie’s most recent and final litter of brindle, black and black & white puppies, we’ve welcomed Campari into our lives.  She is what I’ve been striving for, as a throwback to our foundation bitch Izzie’s coat color: red brindle or sable, depending upon from whom you learned how to describe it.  She doesn’t have a Buddha mark (not to be confused with the Kiss of Buddha kink in your TT’s tail) – but she does have a big white collar, white blaze, white muzzle and the always entertaining white tip of the tail.

Leo, ne Rocky. Seven months old and stunning. 10 April 2019.

Going forward, I have more of my TTs to test and am about to test my second red brindle/sable boy.  I am lucky that my foundation bitch born in 2006 is still alive & healthy.  My plan is to test Izzie, Coppi, Leo, Campari and our new puppy from Slovakia . . .  all in an effort to better understand the genetic mechanics behind the coat colors I’m breeding.

Thank you for hanging in there with me.  I am developing a spreadsheet with photographs and genetic test results and would love to have more data.  If you have thoughts or breeding experiences to share, please do so by personal email to me at wendyll.behrend@gmail.com.  For the record, I have been using genetic coat color tests from vetdnacenter.com

The difference between buying a puppy and having a puppy bred for you

Well, may I say Happy New Year and Happy Spring to all!  It has been quite a while, since my last post and with good reason.

Oskar x Billie’s litter of three. Shot by Kate Carter. November 2018.

We raised three litters of Kensington Tibetans during the Fall of 2018 and they were my entire life focus – I barely left the house!  Fortunately, we were extremely well organized, the litters were timed each one week apart from the next – and – MOST IMPORTANTLY, I have the most wonderful friends, fans and doggie au pairs who support and help me achieve my goal of exceeding the expectations of both myself and my forever families, with the puppies we breed and raise.  A HUGE thank you goes out to each of them and they know who they are.  ;>)

Now, I wanted to address the above topic, as I don’t know that the world understands the difference between having a breeder raise a puppy for a family vs. buying a puppy from an ad in the paper or a pet store.  And, certainly, sometimes breeders use ads to broadcast the availability of a litter and that option is a bit of a cross between the two options I want to address.

Proud mummy dog. Bellie with her puppies on their birthday, 22 September 2018.

In my experience, my family ‘got puppies’ three times during my childhood.  Two were German Shepherds (both female) and one was a Boxer (also a female).  The Shepherds proved to be reasonably predictable in temperament, although one was a little skittish.  But the Boxer?  She had no consistency in her behavior whatsoever.  And it gave me the opinion that we got ‘lucky’ with one Shepherd – but the other two family dogs were nuts.

Perhaps that is why I searched for a pure bred dog in my adult life and my first was a Lhasa Apso.  He was a puppy out of litter whelped in a horse barn and no one seemed to know who the sire was – but I liked him and took him into my life as my companion.  It was an introduction to that breed and my experience wasn’t ideal.  While I fancied myself to be a fine animal trainer, having worked with other dogs (and parrots), his temperament did not seem to be the least bit flexible.  Had I known better or had the option?  I would have opted for a puppy with what I describe today as a more ‘chill’ temperament; a ‘watcher’ with a self-entertaining orientation.

WB in the kitchen with her girls. 6 August 2017.

‘Benjamin’ was eventually re-homed to a family with a farm and four daughters.  Benji needed lots of humans, as he was a stimulation junkie – and I needed a companion who could self-entertain in his or her crate, while I worked 9-5.

Eventually, I found myself ‘in the market’ for another dog.  I knew I wanted a pure bred but was unsure of the breed.  So, I spent some hours with a dog encyclopedia and determined that the Tibetan Terrier sounded like a great fit for my lifestyle as an athletic married businesswoman.  We had many people in our lives, both professional and amateur athletes, employees and their families, not to mention friends and family!  In 1992, people with litters placed ads in the Boston Sunday Globe and that is how I found the breeder of my new puppies.  She let me pick the puppies out of two available litters – and I sat with the puppies for an hour and chatted with her about what I saw and what I liked.  When I got home, my husband asked me how it went and I told him that I’d found a male puppy I thought would be terrific, as he was a great sleeper.  Can you imagine?  THAT was my most obvious character attribute and the one that swayed my decision.  I figured that if he was a good sleeper, he’d be less demanding as an adult.

My 12 year old Max and Mia, hanging with Max Coleman, their Jack Russell best friend. Hopkinton, MA, 2004.

Amazingly, that turned out to be true.  But unexpectedly?  My husband told me that we needed TWO, as if we had only one?  That single puppy would be ‘lonely’, during the day.  He was used to two dogs in his childhood and so, off I went – back to the breeder.  I chose a white female, as I thought the two puppies looked ‘cute’ together.

Well, many things happened and my life changed dramatically, during my 15 years with those two Tibetans.  They turned out to be THE MOST WONDERFUL ATHLETIC COMPANIONS and they had lovely temperaments, thanks to their breeder and their bloodlines.  I got really lucky, as I had no clue what I was doing.  I thought I did – but really?  I selected the second puppy because they looked ‘cute’ together?  Good God.  What would I say now to that idea?  Let’s not go there.  ;>)  But they do look ‘cute’ together, don’t they?  Mr. Snappy Tux and Ms. White Ball Gown.

When you have a puppy bred for you, you work with someone who has considerably more experience in the breed than you do.  The ideal dog breeder is very careful, honest, responsible and experienced.  Generally speaking?  Folks who breed dogs who are not careful responsible breeders don’t offer the same quality in the puppies they ‘offer for sale’.  Their puppies are usually less expensive and for a reason.  No genetic testing.  No AKC titles.  No understanding or care of whether the sire and dam conform to the Breed Standard.  And often, inconsistently cared for and unclean.

Young Ben, enjoying our CH Oskar x CH Gigi puppies, Memorial Day weekend in Marblehead, 2016.

When you work with a careful, responsible, experienced breeder?  They may hold back the privilege of you selecting your own puppy – but this is a good thing.  They will take into consideration your level of experience in the breed, your lifestyle, the make up of your family, the level of activity in your home lifestyle, whether you have a fenced yard or not, whether you live in an apartment/condo or a standalone house AND your personal philosophy with regard to what is important to you.  Trust me: no breeder wants to take a puppy back who is older and, perhaps, requiring remedial training.

When you work with a careful, responsible, experienced breeder?  They may not have a puppy available to you at that particular time and you might have to wait.  But they will be there to answer your questions, both before and after you’ve brought the new puppy into your home life – because they and we and I am committed to the long term emotional and physical health of every puppy we breed.  We all do our best to raise healthy, well socialized and fine examples of the breed to whom we’ve devoted our time and upon whom our reputations rest.  And we will NOT pair an inappropriate puppy with an ill-prepared human, as it is neither careful nor responsible.

My peeps submit applications that give me a bird’s eye view into their home lifestyles and quite a lot of information about their experience with dogs and what is important to them.  Based upon that application, I decide whether one of my puppies would be a good fit for them – or whether it makes more sense to refer them to a different breeder for any of a number of reasons.  Just because you reach out to a breeder with puppies doesn’t mean that you’ll get one.  However, if you reach out to someone selling puppies who is neither careful nor responsible?  Chances are you’ll get a puppy – and maybe even your ‘pick’ of the litter.

My peer breeders and I spend a lot of careful thought individually evaluating the puppies in a litter.  Pairing a puppy with a human has absolutely nothing to do with whether the puppy is ‘cute’ or not.  Don’t we tell our children that ‘beauty is more than skin deep’?  Well, the same is true in the canine world.

So, should you find yourself in the situation with a friend who might be considering ‘getting a dog’, do encourage that person to do some research, both into the breed and into the breeders of that breed.  Suggest they look at the AKC Breeder Referral page.  Your investment of time will pay off with the best puppy for your personal situation.

Oodles of Noodles and some thoughts about Doodles and TToodles

19 February 2018

Michael - BISS - Bay Colony 2013

Billie’s sire, GRCHG CH Rinchen’s Blazing Black Icon, with Nina Wagner, Mark Desrosiers and the Judge. BCTTC Specialty 2013.

Titles are important in the dog world.  You can’t put an AKC Title on a dog without an AKC registration number.  And you can’t put an AKC registration number on a Doodle or a TToodle or any canine who is not a member of an AKC registered breed.  Doodles, TToodles and other cross bred dogs cannot be registered with the AKC and the American Kennel Club is the primary registration organization in the American dog world.  The same is true in England and other countries around the world.  Only pure bred dogs of a registered breed can be registered.

I am extremely proud to be an AKC Breeder of Merit and pride myself on both the genetic quality and conformation to the Tibetan Terrier breed standard of my foundation stud, dam and all of the TTs in my breeding program.  That AKC stamp of approval is evidenced by conformation titles like Champion, Grand Champion, Bronze, Silver, Gold and other titles that can be earned in the Conformation ring.  You can’t compete in the AKC Conformation ring without an AKC registration number.  There are no mixed breed dogs in AKC sanctioned conformation dog shows.

billie-jean-110516-group-placing

GRCHB Kensington’s 1st Dance with Michael (Billie), Non Sporting Group Placing, 5 Nov 2016.

Kensington Tibetan Terriers is committed to protecting the Tibetan Terrier breed standard through careful selection of a minimum of second generation breeding stock AND the stamp of titled approval from the American Kennel Club.

The quality of the offspring is rarely better than the quality of the parents.  This is why responsible breeders seek sires and dams to improve upon the flaws in their breeding stock.  This is the goal for which all responsible breeders strive: to protect and improve the quality of the dogs in our chosen breeds.

Genetic management is critical, if we are to maintain and improve the quality of our dogs.  Genetic testing confirms whether your breeding stock carries the mutations for which each breed is known to potentially have.  When you breed dogs of different registered breeds, you DOUBLE the potential for mutant genetic and physiological conditions for which you must test.  Doodle breeders should be performing the genetic testing and registering the results on the parents AND on the offspring, for the two breeds being combined.  But they don’t.  Additionally, because breeding dogs of different breeds is SIGNIFICANTLY more variable than an outcross, you end up with the potential for behavioral and genetic diversity more akin to breeding a miniature horse with a Clydesdale.  Will the offspring be ‘cute’?  Maybe.  But what have you truly got?  A great big question mark, when it comes to genetic mutations that are linked to breed-specific physiological issues.

GRCH Kensington's Oliver Twist, winning his AKC Championship title at nine months of age.

GRCH Kensington’s Oliver Twist, winning his AKC Championship at nine months of age in 2010.

Responsible Tibetan Terrier breeders are proud to be members of our National Club, the Tibetan Terrier Club of America (ttca-online.org).  Not all breeders choose to be on the Breeder Referral List.  I choose not to be on the Breeder Referral List, because there is much more demand for my puppies than there are available puppies, and I see no reason to stimulate demand for something that is not available.  Forever families already choose to wait months for a Kensington Tibetan Terrier puppy.

Moses Sire of Beckham

Markus Gisslen showing Ti La Shu, Just Magic for Tazz Jazz (Moses), Sire of Beckham, 2016.

The idea that someone could improve the quality of a registered breed by breeding a member of that breed to a member of a different breed holds no arguable merit.  I suggest this, because there is no governing body over ANY of these cross bred combinations.  And as with any profession, members of that profession CHOOSE to be overseen by their National organizations and apply for membership and proudly display that membership certificate for all to see, especially to potential clients.

There are no membership organizations for breeders of cross bred dogs.  And you will find cross bred puppies available from backyard breeders, because no registrations are required and no genetic testing, either.  Breeders of cross bred dogs are not held accountable to any standards by any entity.

Pedigree Beckham

Three generations of Tibetan Terriers behind Beckham, Shadeacre Fast Love at Kensington.  All registered and many international Champions.

Until such day as any of these breed combinations is recognized by the American Kennel Club as a valid breed in its own right, I will question the validity that ANY of the Oodle combinations is ‘better’ than a properly bred animal of a single registered breed.  Why even bother on trying to improve upon the Poodle?  You have color and size options already available.  Just ask Wendell Sammett.  And the Labrador Retriever?  It has remained the top breed in the United States, with 2017 being the 26th year in a row.  Clearly, this breed has an extensive and loyal following.

If, however, you are committed to seeking a Noodle, a Doodle or some other Designer Dog of the Day, do your own research.  Don’t make a decision based upon emotion or assumptions.  Visit the breeder.  Be sure the dogs are being raised respectfully and in clean conditions.  ASK to see the genetic testing histories on both sire and dam.  Go to the parent breed club web sites or to the AKC web site and research the health risks of BOTH breeds.  ASK which ailments plague the sire and dam – and talk to a groomer, before you make your final decision.  Groomers have a wealth of experience earned by working with many, many breeds and many cross bred dogs.  Their opinions are valid.  Do your due diligence.

I, for one, won’t ever suggest a cross bred dog to a forever family.  I would rather see forever homes welcome a dog or puppy from a national breed rescue program, first – and from a local animal shelter, second.  The TTCA National Rescue effort can be explored on our National club’s web site:  ttca-online.org/html/rescue.html

As for a dog from your local animal shelter, just think about the photos we saw on television during the holidays.  Please support your local animal shelter and rescue a dog in need.