Big News from Up North

Team Jordan (Sparklers) is on a serious roll, racking up the working titles so fast that it is hard to keep track. Her latest is quite the Accomplishment (yes, with a capital A) — the Canadian Kennel Club’s Draft Dog Excellent (DDX).


In the USA, draft titles are through breed clubs like the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America (BMDCA). In Canada, drafting is done through the Canadian Kennel Club, which has a draft program that our own dear Aysha described as “batshit” (as in crazy hard).

I pulled up the Regulations and Aysha’s comment is not actually hyperbole.

The requirements for DDX are very challenging and include working from behind the dog, a backpacking portion, three judges, and my personal least favorite — the dog may never sit or down during the majority of the test.

I thought the Americans had the corner on that whole Protestant work ethic thing but I guess our neighbors to the north are also a bit hard on idleness.

Anyway, Team Jordan passed that test — on a hot day, no less — before her 2.5 year old birthday. It is entirely appropriate to be super impressed and blown away by this young team.

As Dianne noted in her Facebook post — Jordan is aptly named: Kaibab’s Just Watch Me. This girl has been worth watching since she was tiny. She is something special.

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I am grateful to Dianne for ensuring that Jordan is living her Best Life and realizing her deep potential.

CONGRATULATIONS to Team Jordan on this significant title and all it represents!

Decisions, Decisions

rePete requested equal time on the blog.

Pete June 2019.jpg

This is Daisy.

Daisy June 2019.jpg

Let me give you a glimpse into the heart and mind of a Breeder. Since Daisy lived with Galen and Bethany for her first 2.5+ years (we co-own Daisy) — and may well return to them when they have a suitable housing situation — I am struggling between the desire to get various titles on Daisy or breeding her in August.

If I do titles first, I will not be able to breed her until Fall 2020 when she is 4.5 years. This is because our breeding plans always consider the National Specialty — we will not have a litter if it means missing the Specialty. And so it is this August or skip a cycle and breed Daisy in Fall 2020.

This is Claire.

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I am in a similar boat with Claire. I either breed her soon or I wait until Fall 2020.

This is Sparkle with a scraped up nose — more on that soon.

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Sparkle has not gotten pregnant — twice. Both times were high tech so semen quality could be the issue but I am concerned, to be sure. She is about to be six and so I figure I have just one more chance to breed her — that will likely be November.

I do not want to ever again be in a position of having such a wonderful girl and only having one litter from her as she nears the end of her reproductive life. That said, two litters is my limit with a girl but I want that second litter from Sparkle, who is the total Berner package — with a sparkly bow. And now we are down to the wire…

But what if I breed all three girls in the next few months and they all get pregnant?!

Think 101 Dalmatians.

What I have decided is this — Claire will be bred when she comes in season, which should be within the next six weeks. Hopefully I will know the status of her pregnancy before Daisy comes in season.

If Claire is pregnant, Daisy is off the motherhood hook for now. If Claire is not pregnant, Daisy will be invited to create my next puppy.

Sparkle will be bred in November regardless.

All that means show plans are up in the air — I do not compete with pregnant girls, and we stay home when we have litters. For someone who loves to plan, the uncertainties associated of what can we do when? is a bit disconcerting — but no doubt, good for me.

Breeding dogs well is definitely not for the faint of heart — for all kinds of reasons.

Claire Changes Things Up

Hang on to your hats, Friends, because we received some pretty awesome news.

Sparkle hat.jpg


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Claire’s original elbow rating on films done in January was a unilateral Grade One (DJD). I repeated the films four months later for these reasons:

  1. Both elbows were normal at 12 months.

  2. Both of her parents — and every one of their littermates (n=13) — have normal elbows.

  3. It was just one elbow and a Grade One, DJD.

  4. The opinion was not unanimous — one of the three radiologists who rated the elbow said it was normal.

None of those things means the original results were wrong but taken together, it seemed prudent to wait and repeat.

And so we did.

This time the opinion of the OFA experts was unanimous — all three radiologists who rated the elbows said they are normal.

I cried many happy tears.

But how are we to understand what happened? And how can we maintain confidence in OFA results when results can change in four months? I called Dr. Keller, the OFA’s Chief Medical Director, and posed those questions to him.

In his opinion, the positioning of the 25 month films created the illusion of a potential issue in one area due to shadowing. The 29 month films were positioned optimally and showed the area clearly, revealing no issue.

Why, I asked, were the 25 month films read at all if positioning was at all problematic. The answer — because they were considered good enough to read by the radiologists.

Huh?! And Yikes.

I met with my veterinarian to review the films and to get her opinion on all this. And that is why I think she is awesome and I want to be her best friend: Because I knew I could talk to her about this and she would be perfectly fine.

She studied the films and then agreed that there was a very slight difference in lateral positioning (how flat the elbow was) that created a wee bit of shadowing in the 25 month films.

We all learned a few things — here are my take home lessons:

  1. Positioning matters — a lot. And even really great veterinarians and their staff can have a slight shift of positioning that can cause issues.

  2. If you get failed results, call Dr. Keller at the OFA to discuss the positioning — was it optimal? He is very accessible. (Note: I did call him in January and he did not mention a positioning issue — I think the issue may only have been apparent with comparison).

  3. If there is reason to question results, repeat the films.

  4. It is a very good thing to have a questioning mind.

  5. Claire can be a MOM!!!!