41 Breed Notes – October 2020

Sorry there haven’t been any notes for a while, but the past few weeks have raced by in a blur and apart from shows being cancelled left, right and centre not a great deal has happened.

Andy Fitches is putting the Autumn issue of Walkee Talkees together, so please email him all your contributions (which will be gratefully received) by the end of October at the latest please.

I had delayed doing a ‘Doom & Gloom’ report in the faint hope that numbers might somehow have improved over the summer; but they are as bad as I thought they would be. At the beginning of this month we are three quarters of the way through the year and so far there have been 11 litters born resulting in 71 puppies, 33 dogs and 38 bitches with some decent sized litters – 1×10, 2×8, 4×7, 1×6, 2×4 and just one of 3 puppies.

More worryingly, twelve ‘misses’ that have been reported, although I’m sure the true number is much higher. Of these twelve ‘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. Although there are a couple of litters ‘in the pipeline’ there’s no way sufficient puppies are going to be born this year to boost the total into a decent amount.

Keeshonds no longer have any large kennels that regularly produced 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 with the KC 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 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.

Anji Marfleet