The dam of this litter, Hazel, has been one of the recent Camelot show stars. She earned her AKC championship when she was Winner's Bitch at the 2014 RRCUS National Specialty in Salt Lake City. Hazel was shown sparingly as a Special and finished in the Top 20 in 2015. She was BISS in the 2015 OCRRC Specialty. In 2016 she was BOS in the OCRRC Specialty and BOB and BIS in the Western Hound Show, both in Silverado, CA. She has had one previous litter, born in August 2016. Five of the puppies from that litter have already earned AKC conformation championships, which earned Hazel's addition to the RRCUS Register of Merit.
I fell for Hawk when I first judged him as a puppy in a show in Chicago in 2006. Later that same year he was Best in Puppy Sweeps at the RRCUS National Specialty. I judged him again at the 2007 Canadian National Specialty and awarded him WD/BOW. In 2008 Hawk was BISS at the Raisen River Specialty and the following day he was awarded BISS at the Canadian National Specialty by Breeder Liz Megginson of South Africa. He is the sire of several previous litters and has five champion get.
The thing I most loved about Hawk when I was judging him as a young dog was his amazing movement, true coming and going with powerful reach and drive.
As this is also one of Hazel's strong points, we expect the Hazel-Hawk puppies to be great movers as well.
The pregnancy has been confirmed by ultrasound, which showed 8-10 puppies on board. The puppies are scheduled to be born by C-section on April 9, 2018.
If you are interested in being considered for one of the Hazel-Hawk puppies, please download our new owner questionaire, fill it out, rename it with your own name (for example, Smith.doc) and return by email to Camelot.
Hazel is still home but I get regular updates from Debbie Bozarth. Here is a photo she sent me today showing Hazel's big belly, which rests on the floor when she sits.
The pups will be born exactly one week from today. Hazel will be coming to Camelot on Friday morning, April 6. Debbie wrote me that she can see and feel the pups moving around in Hazel's belly, and she sent me this photo of the Princess and the Pea.
The whelping box is all set up in my bathroom, ready for Hazel and her brood next Monday.
The day is here. I will take Hazel to Bishop Ranch by 11 am and Dr. Cain will do the C-section about 1 pm. I will video the whole proocess and post a YouTube link later today or tomorrow. Hazel is not happy with foregoing breakfast today.
We checked in at Bishop Ranch at 11 am and Hazel was taken back for blood work, intubation, and initial fluids. At 1 pm I was called back to witness and film the process, which may be seen here. The Bishop Ranch people are fabulous. Here are a few photos from the clinic in the recovery hour and a few taken at home.
Hazel is a very good mom. She is pretty much over the groggy phase of her recovery and paying close attention to the puppies. She did not have an appetite last night but did eat a little this morning. She also went outside to relieve herself and remembers how to use the dog door under the bathroom counter to visit the little garden outside the bathroom where her whelping box is set up.
The chore this morning is to weigh the pups again and record all of the physical attributes to start the daily weigh-in log. Here are a couple of photos of snoozing pups from this morning.
Hazel and pups have settled into their routine and her milk is starting to flow. As is usually the case with a large litter, the pups don't gain for the first few days. I expect their weights to take off now. They are a very strong bunch and don't cry much. Probably because Hazel is so experienced at this mom thing.
I will be headed off for Southern California shortly for the Orange Coast RR Specialty and two Hound Shows. I am being accompanied by Sheli Cardova, who owns two of the puppies from Hazel's first litter, and David Bueno, who will show most of the dogs I am taking. So no more blog until Monday.
Five of the puppies have rear dew claws. This is a dominant heritable trait and one of the parents must have had rear dew claws for the puppies to have them. It has a 50% penetrance, so on average, half of the offspring of a dog with RDC will have them too. In this case it was 5 of 8. We have the rear dew claws removed because, unlike the front dew claws, which we do not remove, we think the rear dew claws are a significant hazard for being torn. The RDC are often "not articulated", meaning that there is not an underlying bone that connects to the bone structure of the foot. In this case, of the five puppies with rear dew claws, one of the males has fully articulated rear dew claws on both feet and a second non-articulated dew claw on his back right foot.
Louise will take the five puppies with RDC to Bishop Ranch tomorrow morning so that Dr. Cain can remove them.
I got back from the dog show trip about midnight yesterday and am unwinding and unpacking today. The pups virtually doubled in size in the four days I was away and as you can see from the weight chart, they are in the rapid growth mode with six already over two pounds.
The pups are strong enough to scoot around pretty fast and Hazel is being a very watchful mom so I took out the bars that are in the box for the first week. They are to give the pups a way to crawl around between mom and the wall of the box, but the pups are big enough now that they are getting stuck UNDER the bars.
With the help of Sheli Cardova, who owns Leo and Galli, two of Hazel's 20-month-old kids, we are assigning temporary names based on coctails. The boys are Martini, Collins, Fizz and Daiquiri and the girls are Margarita, Mojito, Gimlet and Sangria.
No blog the last few days because of press of other duties. Pups are continuing to grow like weeds. They are in the "stinky poop" stage. I don't know exactly why this sometimes happens--our recent Oakley puppies did not go through it. It may be coccidia. This is a parasite that many adult dogs harbor without a problem but it can cause diarrhea for the puppies. Hazel's pups had the same thing in her first litter and about the same time. So we will be getting Marquis paste to treat them all and hopefully clear it up.
One thing I need to report is that I have been mischaracterizing one of the puppies. It turns out that Mojito, one of the show potential girls, is really a blacknose, not livernose. She is light and the nose pigmentation wasn't really strong and I had her down as liver. Today I had two other opinions and we all three agree that Mojito is black. So that makes four black and four liver, just what genetics predicts for a BL x LL mating. As of now, here is the show-pet breakdown:
Pet (all kinked tails): Blacknose male Martini, livernose female Gimlet, blacknose female Sangria.
Show (so far, could change): Blacknose male Collins, livernose males Fizz and Daquiri, livernose female Margarita, blacknose female Mojito.
Here is a video taken Tuesday of first steps. And following are a couple of candids over the last two days. One thing I will say is that the heads of these puppies are awesome.
I took the Oakley pups to Bishop Ranch today for their graduation exam and picked up Marquis paste for Hazel and the eight puppies. This will deal with the diarrhea if it is due to coccidia, as is probable.
The house cleaners were here this morning so Hazel took a ride to Starbucks with me while they cleaned the master bathroom where the whelping box is set up. When we came back she checked carefully to be sure all her babies were still there and sniffed the unusual odor of cleaning supplies, then settled in with the rug rats.
Yesterday was visiting day for the Oakley puppies, and graduation for two of them, Adrienne and Rocky. But everyone who came to visit also came back and had a peek at the 12-day old Hazel puppies. Hazel has become quite receptive to visitors, as long as Louise or I bring the visitors into her room. Here is a photo of Sherrie Ma with Gimlet, and it is likely that Gimlet will be going to live with Sherrie and James Han in 7 more weeks.
My regular routine each morning is to weigh the puppies, placing them into the carboard box lined with a GoodDogBeds blanket, so I can replace the bedding in the whelping box. Now that they have gotten to ba about 3 pounds each, they make a couple of layers in the box, but they don't mind at all.
Two-week birthday and eyes are opening. Five are over 3 pounds and Margarita is about 2 1/2 pounds. Hazel is ravenous and is being fed four times a day. She is not laying in the whelping box much now. She gets in from time to time to tend house, cleaning up any poops and licking the puppies. And she feeds them about every 4-5 hours. She is very pushy about being fed. But a very diligent mother.
We had a party in the master bathroom today. Cindi Pike, Marcia Anderson, and Karen Charney, friends from the Sacramento area came to visit the pups and then David Bueno, Sheli Cardova and her daughter Lindsey dropped in. So we had those six plus me and Louise all in the bathroom for awhile. We took advantage of all the help to weigh the pups, do their nails, clean their bedding and give them all some socialization. Cindi and David also removed the stitches from Hazel's C-section incision. After the party most of us went to Mona's Burgers for lunch.
The almost exponential weight gain is still going on and two of the pups (Collins and Fizz) are 4-pounders now. Margarita is still bringing up the rear, but is over 3 pounds.
Here are a few photos from today's whelping box.
Last night my son Steven and granddaughter Camille came for dinner to celebrate Camille's 17th birthday, so the pups had even more socialization. Hazel is still watchful but is being very hospitable to all the visitors.
While I changed the bedding and weighed the puppies, Hazel hung out in her bed across the room.
Pups are about 4 pounds and Hazel is growing weary of nursing. She will get in the box when they raise hell and do a little cleaning and then sit for them to nurse. Remarkably, they seem to find all the nipples this way and seem to be thriving in spite of mom's indifference.
You can see a 2-minute video here. I sense an early weaning, probably pan food by next Monday or Tuesday.
When I changed the bedding today the pups had their first tiime in a real dog bed. It was a success.
Then I went to the family room to watch the ballgame. An hour or so later I heard a very unhappy puppy setting up a wail and went back to the bathroom to find Mojito outside the box on the floor, wanting back in! This is the second time she has scaled the lower of the two partitions so I put in the higher one. Makes it harder for Hazel to get in and out, but it will confine the houdini.
I weighed and changed the bedding late today, which explains the larger-than-normal weight gains. They range from 4 (Margarita and Martini) to 5 pounds (Fizz), who is the adorable puppy depicted below:
After I changed the bedding I put the lower partition in and the pups immediately commenced escape attempts.
Big day--we moved to the kennel. The near jailbreaks and general uproar in the little 4x4 whelping box was becoming problematic and mom was clearly loosing enthusiasm for eight 5-pound puppies with razor-sharp teeth nursing. So we cleaned and set up the kennel room that is used for puppies in the second month. It is a 5x8 room with a 500 Varikennel, plastic water bowl, and oil heater protected with ex-pen enclosure. The floor is covered with pine shavings. The kennel room opens onto the main kennel room where food is prepared, baths are given, etc.
The dog door opens onto a 5x35 foot gravel kennel run that has a cyclone fencing roof to keep critters like racoons and hawks out. I built a little porch with bozes and pieces of wood.
Right away two of the puppies (Fizz and Collins) decided to try the outdoors and managed to find the only way that is NOT a way back up onto the porch.
Experience will win out. At 2 pm they had their first meal that did not come from mommy. They got 2 cups of kibble (Taste of the Wild Puppy Variety, Venison & Bison) that had been soaked in warm water a few hours to make it soft. Although this was the first time they have ever encountered solid food, they immediately dug in and polished off all I gave them.
They had another meal about 10:30 pm before heading to their crate for the night.
The first night in the kennel was a learning experience (for the breeder). The problem is that I have never moved the puppies permanently from whelping box to kennel before about 4 weeks of age and these guys won't be 4 weeks old until next Monday. However, I leave for a trip of unknown duration Saturday morning and I wanted to get the kennel life set up before I leave, so that co-breeder Louise Vangsgaard doesn't have to figure it all out by herself. She will have enough on her plate since I am also leaving a house-full of adults in her care while I am away.
Wel, things were going well until about 3 am when Hazel informed me by poking her wet nose into my face as I was sleeping that she wanted to go see her puppies. Since this was her first night away from the puppies I decided to take her out and let her into the two adjoining kennel rooms. She seemed happy with that arrangement and I went back to bed. But about 15 minutes later I heard puppies screaming so I went back out to the kennel. What had happened was that Hazel came in through the dog door to check the puppies, who followed her back outside the door to the outside, and then couldn't find their way back inside. So I rescued them and put them back inside, then in the Varikennel, and brought Hazel back inside.
This morning they all seem fine again and had a breakfast of softened kibble at 6 am. Here is a photo of Mojito, Collins and Fizz curled up in a dog bed after breakfast.
Here are a couple of photos of Margarita.
The blog has been silent for a few days. I flew to New Jersey on Saturday to judge Ridgebacks at the Trenton KC show on Sunday. Just before leaving I learned that my sis ter-in-law was critically ill and on Monday morning, rather than returning to California, I flew to San Antonio to be with my brother Jim. Pat passed away about the time I arrived in San Antonio and it was lucky that I was able to be there in time to help him with his grief. Our sister Peggy had flown to San Antonio a few days before and had given Jim support for four days before I arrived.
While I have been gone Louise has been dealing with an epidemic of puppy diaarrhea, which seems to have effected all of the pups, but not all at the same time. We are still not clear on the cause. It may have been the transition to kibble and letting them pig out. If you look at the weight chart you will see some strange swings over the last few days, but now they are all gaining again and playing like normal month-old pups. Here are some photos that Louise texted me the last two days.
I am back from my week-long trip and am amazed at how much the puppies grew while I was away. They are not yet five weeks old but they are already moving around like they own the kennel. They have not started venturing out of the kennel runs outside their room but the gate has been open all day and I expect the more adventurous ones to try the bigger world this weekend. While I was gone Louise had to deal with them having diarrhea, resulting in several having to go to Bishop Ranch for subcuteanous fluids. Part of the routine recommended by our vets, Drs. Hoff and Vega, was five small meals a day instead of three larger ones.
Now that they have gotten through those problems, we are back to three meals, which they have in the main kennel room. Then they mostly curl up in a dog bed we keep in there for a nap.
Of course, Fizz had to have his nap on the porch.
Later the nappers moved partly to the crate and a couple just crashed on the pine shavings.
We had a visitor this afternoon--Karen Charney, who is considering being mom to one of the girls, spent a couple of hours in the kennel helping do puppy nails and socialize by lots of holding and petting. Here are some photos from today. They totally grew ears the last few days.
The puppies love the round dog bed that we keep in the main kennel room. Yesterday when Karen Charney visited, I had swept the main room floor and had hung the dog bed over the wall of the washing area. Little Martini walked over to the place under the bed and started leaping up, trying to pull it down. Pretty crafty for a 5-week old boy.
This is Collins, snoozing in my lap. Thanks Karen for sending me the photo.
We invaded the back yard yesterday and had a great time. Discovered the adventure box, played with it, and then took a nap in it.
David Bueno dropped by this morning and stacked the puppies for their 1st audition. Considering they are only 5 1/2 weeks old, we were pleased with their ability to stand for photos. They weren't all that excited by the Hazen-Daz ice cream but they liked it fine when Louise put a few of their kibbles on top. We call this grain-free Hagen-Daz.
The pups now have a little fenced area on the patio where they can go play with their adventure box, have mid-day meals, and hang out in their favorite dog bed. It is separated from the rest of the yard by a wrought-iron gate that they can still squeeze through but which keeps the adult dogs out.
After the morning weigh-in and 10 o'clock feediing I shut their kennel gate and replaced the pine shavings in their kennel room. When I finished I opened the gate and four immediately came into their room, now clean and tidy. Two others climbed into kennel room #1 and the other two sacked out in the dog bed in their pen on the patio.
Busy day. We had a dog show in the morning and came home to meet our first visitors, Ken Peterson and his daughter Kathryn and her boyfriend, home from college at the University of Oregon.
After their visit we had other visitors for the rest of the afternoon. Michael and Tracy Ware were there with Maggie, our 12-week old Oakley daughter. Maggie was happy to be back here in her familiar terrain and had fun playing with the younger puppies.
Hunter and Serena Sheetz also visited and brought Cadence, a 21-month old half-sister of the puppies. Cadence was Pumpkin from Hazel's first litter.
And we also hosted a nice family from Berkeley--Jason Gardner and Maureen Phelan and their children Finn (11) and Sophie (7).
After their busy day Daquiari and Mojito crashed.
Pups had visitors again Sunday. After our morning dog show in Vallejo, Sheli, Karen, David and Larry dropped by to help socialize.
Molly surveyed behind the safety of an ex-pen fence.
Three are now 10 pounds or more and they are eating like crazy. They are now on three meals a day, with 4 full cups of kibble each time. So that is 16 cups of kibble per day for 8 puppies, two cups each!
I am flying to San Antonio this morning to be there for my sister-in-law's funeral tomorrow. So no more blog for a few days.
Pups are little dogs now. They can run faster than I can walk and putting my foot down is a challenge. The average weight is over 9 pounds.
We took a few stack photos today at 44 days age. But the real 7-week audition will be next Monday. (Fizz and Daiquiri signs reversed).
And now the four girls.
Here is a little video of Fizz being a playful stud.
Today I was doing some stuff in the yard and all eight puppies were following me in a pack, every step I took one or two would dart in front. It is getting hard to even walk. Our back yard is probably about 1/2 acre and is separated into a number of sections by wrought iron fencing (see following photo, taken by my drone a few months ago):
The pups can squeeze between the bars of the fencing and so they have access to all the sections of the back yard. So far they have colonized both of the grass areas, the little garden outside the master bath, and they have ventured into the garden area. They have not yet spread into the conifer area on the left, but that day should come soon.
Here are a few photos I snapped this afternoon.
The last week has been busy and I have been neglecting the blog. Pups are all well--they weigh between 13 1/2 and 16 pounds and are fully in charge of the whole yard and the kennel rooms and runs. During the night they are confined to the two 5x8 kennel rooms and the adjoining runs. After their breakfast, around 9 or 10 we open their kennel run gate and for the rest of the day they can go anywhere they please. We do hae a small ex-pen set up outside the dog door into our house so the big dogs can jump over and go in and out of the house, but the pups are confined to be in the kennel rooms, the yard, or the patio. They have a bed and their adventure box outside the family room door and then hang out there much of the day. They have pretty much destroyed the adventure box, but it has served us well.
Yesterday we had first vaccinations and tomorrow they are going to Bishop Ranch for a wellness checkup with Dr. Vega.
I got the results back for the RR IVA DNA tests. Four of the pups are heterozygous positive and four are homozygous positive. We knew that Hazel is heterozygous positive so presumably Hawk was homozygous positive. We aren't concerned about these DNA results since 85% of all Ridgebacks tested are positive. When these pups are juveniles (around 9 months) we will arrange Holter tests for all of them.
Here are some candids taken over the last few days, mostly by Louise.