Acadia's One Very Special Puppy, OAP, AJP

OAP= Open Agility Preferred
AJP= Excellent Agility Jumpers with Weaves"A" preferred

Piper is a littermate to Dove. Heidi had another sheltie named Zoe when she got Piper as a puppy.
This news came from Heidi in July, but I wanted pictures too. So here is what Heidi had to say about Piper (her "doggy extraordinaire!!)

"Who Knew? I started agility as a means to help Zoe overcome her shyness. I had no expectations but to have fun and her success motivated me to attempt an excellent jumpers title. Enter Piper. It was natural to throw her into the agility ring and again i thought it would be nice to see if we could get a Preferred Excellent Standard Title and a Preferred Excellent Jumpers w/ Weaves title. Apparently she had other ideas. So far this year:

March: 1st Place- Novice Standard (2nd Leg) 2nd Place- Novice Standard (3rd Leg- Novice Title)

April: 1st Place- Open Standard (1st Leg) 2nd Place- Open Standard (2nd Leg)
1st place- Excellent Jumpers (1st Leg) 1st Place- Excellent Jumpers (2nd Leg)

May: 2nd Place- Open Standard (3rd Leg- Open Title)
2nd Place- Excellent Jumpers (3rd Leg- Excellent Jumpers Title)

July: 1st Place- Excellent Standard (1st Leg) 1st Place- Excellent Standard (2nd Leg)
1st Place- Excellent Jumpers B (1st Leg) 1st Place Excellent Jumpers B (2nd Leg).

So yes-- we are now working on our Master Excellent Jumpers Preferred Title with only 8 more Q's needed. In my wildest dreams I never would have thought we could get this far or that a Preferred Agility Excellent title would be in our reach. Piper is no speed demon on the course. She's consistent and very focused and think she's going to be dangerous as our team skills improve. But I guess all of this should be expected when the dog comes from an incredible breeder! We get to have more fun in Sept/Oct- will keep you posted on her next milestones!

Heidi and Piper (doggy extraordinaire!)"


How do you evaluate your puppies?

Although this post is long; it is not the definitive writing on our puppy evaluation.

When do you decide which ones you are going to keep? What age can I get my puppy? When can I come visit the puppies? These are a few of the questions people ask a lot. The answer to the last question is - I only allow people to "come visit" the puppies when it is time to take one home. It is only human nature to "pick a puppy"- and it is the answer to the other questions that will help you understand why I can't run the risk of disappointing people.

Evaluation begins at birth, but the puppies change, and grow, and change... so I just have to observe, until they have grown enough I can start to get "real" information about them.

1st criteria: No obvious Faults

The reason I have litters of puppies is to produce my next "show dog". There is a written Breed Standard for each breed which describes the perfect specimen of that breed (it is this breed standard that judges at dog shows are using to evaluate each dog in the ring). Sometimes when a puppy is born, you know it has an obvious fault that may (will) prevent it from being a show dog. (pictured is Bianca: more than 50% white is a disqualifying fault). Those puppies can go to their new pet homes at 8wks.

Unfortunately for sheltie breeders, the genetic makeup of this breed is rather diffuse. This breed is not very old and a lot of breeds and mixes of breeds make up the sheltie. Genes don't get "diluted"- they get inherited or not (that is very simplistic and not entirely true- but for the purpose of this blog post it is good enough). One example is, as recently as the 1930's collies were cross-bred with the Shetland Sheepdog to cement more of the "collie look"- but it also added "collie size". Our breed standard says that any dog over 16" or under 13" (measured at the point of the shoulder) is to be disqualified from the conformation show ring.

2nd criteria: Measurements

How do you know what the adult height will be when they are babies? Well, sheltie breeders have been dutifully measuring their puppies for years, and growth charts have been developed that are a very helpful guide. They are not perfect, but they do give a breeder a "best guess". We begin measuring our puppies at 6 weeks of age, but we like to see a few measurements to know how they are tracking along the chart. Puppies that are over the charts at 6 and 7 weeks can go to their pet home at 8wks. Puppies that are "in-size" and quality stay longer.

3rd criteria: Testicles (obviously this applies to males only)
Males must have two testicles to be shown. The testicles can be felt as young as 7 weeks, but I don't usually check until around 8 weeks. If a male is nice, and meets the standard, but I can only feel one testicle, I may keep him until 10 weeks of age. If he is really, really nice I might keep him until 12 weeks of age. Testicles have been known to descend as late as 6 months, but I don't want to keep dogs that keep me guessing that long.

4th criteria: Do they have virtues? Do they have a temperament I want to live with? So maybe they don't have obvious faults, but do they have virtues? I like to photograph them between 6-8wks to get a different perspective on how they look. The picture above of Liza is the type of picture we take. I want to get a sense of overall structure and build. I find these pictures to be very helpful and I usually see them in a different way than I do when they are just playing. With temperament, what I want to live with might be different than what someone else would like to live with in terms of temperament and personality. It is in my best interest, and the best interest of the puppy, to try and ensure that each puppy gets to live the type of life that will make it happy and where it can be successful.

Evaluation is a process. We are constantly evaluating our puppies. We get to see how their reactions to new things change, we get to see how their bodies change. By the time a litter is 8 weeks we usually know a lot and most puppies go to their new homes at that age.

Of the puppies that stay here, there are still things that can render them "pets" and not "show dogs".

6-7 month criteria: Teeth Did all of their teeth come in straight and are they all there. Sometimes we have puppies available in this age range because of teeth issues.

Statistics say that of "show" breeders, only 1 in 8 shelties ever becomes a champion (that number is different in different breeds). When they are born, they all look like champions, but as the weeks go by- they begin to weed themselves out. By 8 weeks of age I may be down to one or two that I want to keep longer.

Height is always a factor. Pipi is a good example of that. She was tracking up the growth chart just fine- and she was very pretty- so I kept her. She quite growing at 6 months of age and didn't reach 13"- so she can not be shown.
Temperment is also always a factor. Not all dogs want to be "show dogs". It is difficult to win with a dog that doesn't enjoy the shows. It can be done, but it is not as fun for me either. I do this as a hobby and a way to enjoy my time with the dogs. I want them to enjoy it too.
So- the answer is be patient- they are changing and I am observing!!


Dove's puppies


This past weekend was a busy one

Friday evening Josie had 4 sable and white babies- 2 girls and 2 boys. Saturday Faith had 1 tricolor girl. Two weeks ago Dove had 1 boy and 1 girl.


Acadia's Declaration wins Best of Breed from the 6-9 puppy class

"Cute Claire" is how I seem to always be referring to her at the moment. This weekend, two breeder/judges awarded "Cute Claire" Best of Breed on both Friday and Saturday for her first AKC championship points. I didn't show her in the groups as I thought she was too immature to handle the pressure, but on Saturday they had special groups for the Best Puppies of each breed. Since she was Best of Breed, she was automatically best sheltie puppy. She placed 2nd in the Puppy Herding group!! Claire is a Rincon x Allie daughter.
Sunday, Liza won Best of Breed for her first point! That was quite a weekend!


New *CDX* Acadia Angus Macphangus, CDX

This past weekend I was at a dog show in Bloomsburg, PA when I saw John and Acadia Angus Macphangus (aka, "Gus"). John told me that the week before Gus completed the requirements for the CDX title. I was really looking forward to seeing them in the ring together that day, but unfortunately we were both going to be in our respective rings at about the same time, so I didn't get to see them in action. I hope to be able to see them the next time. Congratulations to John and Gus on a great accomplishment.