Puppies . . .

. . . growing up


Puppies change in such interesting ways as they mature . . . ways that I'm still learning about.  Let's take a look at the way my puppies have matured so far:

Here's Adora, born 6-10-07, at nearly eight weeks

Now, I would call this a nice puppy.  Let's look from head to tail.  Some of what I'm going to say is not as evident in this picture as it was in real life, but you can see a lot.

She's well-angulated front and rear and her topline and tailset are both good.  Her shoulders are well laid back, and although her neck is very much stretched out here, you can probably see that she has plenty of neck and a decent amount of forechest.  You can see she stands firm and four-square.  She's toeing out a little in the rear, quite normal for puppies.  You might well say that she is a bit long.


In the picture above, Adora's ear set is hard to see.  Here you can tell that she has a very pretty puppy head with excellent ear set.  She is also showing off her (undesirable) white chin and chest.  Given that her daddy was blenheim and her mother ruby, this minor extent of the mismarking is more cause for relief than otherwise!  These white markings are not sufficient to really hold an otherwise nice puppy back -- depending on the judge.
Can you believe this?  This is Adora at nearly seven months!  Wow, can you say 'skinny'?  Where did those legs come from??

This was Dora's first show, at a CKCSC specialty, in the super-competitive junior puppy bitch class.  I think there were seventeen puppies in that class that day.  Unsurprisingly, she did not place.  But she made the first cut, so not bad!  Nice topline, really quite nice angles front and rear, nice tail set.  Her head, though you can't tell from this picture, is quite pretty.

Okay, now you can see her head!  In this picture, Dora is about a year old.  She has the same scanty ear-fringe as her mother, unfortunately, but her head is quite pretty overall.  You can see that the white chin is much less evident, although there is still unmistakable white on her chest.
And here she is at eighteen months, picking up some AKC points.  This is her second time to get Winners Bitch, but I did not have time to have a photo taken when she won the first time, at about a year old.  I'm not very happy with this photo, but you can see that Adora has really filled out, even though she is by no means a chow-hound.  Also, you'll notice that this judge wasn't very bothered by the white markings.  I'll certainly show Dora to him again if I get the chance!

Look at the three stacked pictures one after another -- can you see the adult in the puppy?


And here's Effie, full sister of the above ruby.  
She is eight weeks old here.  She is not really happy on the table and has sort of sunk down on herself, which unfortunately is a behavioral trait that has never vanished.  Again with the stretched-out neck, but you can see pretty well what kind of puppy this is.

Look at that angulation -- very nice indeed. Even more forechest than her sister.  Nice topline, nice tailset. 

Here, Eff isn't yet eight weeks.  More like five or six weeks.  Even at this early age, her head is cause for concern.  She has noticably more nose and a narrower skull than her sister.  Let's see how that develops . . .
Here's Effie at seven months.  Plenty of nose . . . too much, and her skull isn't wide enough to make it work.  She lacks cushioning under the eyes, so her head is not 'plush'.  At this age, this is a not-very-good head, but it may still improve . . .
. . . and her body is nice.  At seven months, she is light and skinny, but her body is clearly good.  I'll add here that her movement is a touch better than her sister's, not surprising because honestly her body is a little better, too.  There's some room for change, still, though, given her age.  I really like her front, which is good, as that was one of the things I was really aiming for in this breeding.
Here she is about a year old.  She is cute.  But her head is not nice enough for the show ring, and she honestly doesn't show herself off very well, either.  She isn't shy, but doesn't strut, and she carries her head too low.  Adora bounces and twirls and stands up tall.  Compared to her sister, Eff is difficult to show.  I use a show lead with a wide band under the throat so I can get her head up without choking her.
Snow makes me want to take pictures!  This is Eff at a little more than 18 months.  Her head is not awful.  But it is not very nice.  Such a shame, because her body is very nice.  Off-lead outside, she has no trouble showing herself off!
Here you can see her head better.  Cute, yes, but just not that good in terms of the show ring.  At eighteen months, I have decided to look for a pet home for Effie.  There's no rush.  Not only does it have to be a truly excellent pet home, but also I would like to take her through her important 2-year heart and hip checks and breed her just once.  I would like a puppy with her body, but a prettier head and showier attitude.

It is difficult to let a puppy go . . . it is much harder to let an adult go.  But Effie is so affectionate!  If the perfect home does turn up, I know she would benefit from having the full attention of a devoted family, rather than having to share my attention with the rest of a pack.


This is Bree, half sister of the two girls above.  
Okay, this is Bree at eight weeks.  She had the best shoulder and front in the litter.  She is also a bit long.  Her angulation is fine, her tail set is fine, her head is . . .
. . . fine.  My guess at this age was that her head would be perfectly okay, but that both of her sisters would probably wind up with nicer heads (but worse fronts).  I went with soundness over beauty when I kept this puppy.
Here is Bree at five months.  She WOULD NOT stand without 'parking out' in the front -- that is, her front legs are too far forward.  Whatever, her front is actually just fine.  Nice rear, too.  Nice topline.  Beautiful neck.  Her head . . . eh.  At this point, I'm thinking it may not turn out very nice.  Her head isn't much like Eff's, but in her own way she also has too much nose.
Here she is in January 2009, our one-and-only snowfall of the winter.  Almost exactly a year old.  Her head is disappointing.  Although her ear set is nice, she's got too much muzzle, too 'jowly', if that's a word.  What they call 'flews' on a bloodhound?  Cavaliers are not supposed to have that.  Bree comes too close to that look.

You can see she has a good body, though . . .

. . . Yes, a very nice body.  She is less long in the loin than I thought she would turn out.  She's not showing it too clearly in these pictures, but I just love her neck and shoulders!  She is a big, blocky, 'doggy' girl, though.  Neither of her parents was all that large, but all the babies from this litter wound up big.  Both her sisters are even bigger!

I like her attitude and her body, and her head may still improve.  There's not much point to showing her unless her head does improve, but when she's in the ring, she shows herself beautifully.  She'd be fun in the performance ring, too.  So Bree's still a 'keeper.".