Considering what last year has been like with lockdowns, tiers and social distancing, I guess all in all it’s a miracle that not only did 2020 managed to exceed 2019’s dismal number of puppies born – we almost managed 100 puppies!!
There were 16 litters born resulting in 92 puppies, 47 dogs and 45 bitches with some decent sized litters – 1×10, 2×8, 5×7, 2×6, 3×4 and 2×3 puppies, with just one singleton. Of these 16 litters, three were repeat matings, four were sired by one dog, three by one dog and two by another. For two lucky boys it was their first litter and there were six maiden bitches bred from.
But in what more worryingly seems to now be the norm, fourteen ‘misses’ have been reported, although I’m sure the true number is much higher. Of these fourteen ‘misses’ none of those girls has gone on to have a subsequent litter this year. Although half the dogs are proven, only one of the boys has sired another litter – in all this is a huge number and doesn’t bode well for the breed.
As I wrote in both breed club’s newsletters last year, part of the problem is that Keeshonds no longer have any large kennels that regularly produce several litters each year; we are all, in the main, what is classed as Hobby Breeders – low volume, but experienced breeders. (Recent figures from the KC suggest 81% of breeders who register puppies only breed 1 litter per year).
There is a huge demand out there for well bred, carefully reared keesie puppies. There is no shame in breeding for what many derogatory call ‘the pet market’; but why else would you have a litter – there aren’t any shows being held and won’t be for the foreseeable future either. There are so many people who have recently lost their keesie or their keesie is getting on and want another. Or just people who are new to dogs in general and think that Keeshonds are the breed for them. A lot of people forget that we were all ‘newbies’ once and none of us are getting any younger; we should all be encouraging newcomers to the breed who want to learn and begin breeding.
Only having a litter when you want something for yourself is really no longer a viable option if the breed is to continue. We all need to think about having an ‘extra’ litter and not keep a puppy for ourselves. Some attitudes are going to have to change, whether we like it or not, if the breed is to survive.
With the recent cold spell (and another ‘Beast from the East’ forecast), the lucky ones amongst you will have had well gritted roads. Dogs (and cats) walk through the substances left by the gritters clearing the roads and from car drivers defrosting their windscreens etc – they then lick their paws. Consuming rock salt can cause problems including dehydration, liver failure and pancreatitis; while antifreeze contains ethylene glycol – a sweet tasting chemical which can be lethal when ingested. Every year hundreds of pets throughout the country become seriously ill, sometimes fatally, because of the antifreeze substances used during a cold snap.
So please remember that if you walk your dog on gritted roads/paths, make sure that their paws are washed; either by walking them through fresh snow, unfrozen puddles away from the gritted surfaces or by dipping their feet in clean water once back at home.
Included amongst all the NoEKC annual ‘club stuff’ sent out recently, was information on how to pay your subs electronically. If any of you out there wish to save paper and postage, please email me & I will forward you all the relevant details.