Mojave-Sheila Breeding, Summer 2010

Sheila || Mojave

Sheila is an international dog! She was born in Australia but her mother was born in the United States (at Camelot) and her father was born in England and imported to Australia. Not only that, but her paternal grandfather was born in The Netherlands. Sheila's dam is Aust GrCh Camelot's The Fifth Element ROM, past winner of the Australian Rhodesian Ridgeback National Specialty (the only livernose who has ever done that). She was born at Camelot and was our house pet until she was sent to our good friend Lisa Barrenger in 2008. Her sire was "Red", Rekaylahn Kwa Red at Ujumaa, owned by Vicki Moritz. Red was lost in the tragic Melbourne wildfires in early 2009.

Mojave is also international, as he spent nine months in Australia in 2004. While down under, Mojave obtained his Australian championship and was the sire of seven litters of puppies. Upon his return to the United States in mid-2004, he launched into a show career that ended with six all-breed Bests in Show and Best in Show at the 2005 RRCUS National Specialty in Perry, Georgia. Mojave was also winner of the 2004 RRCUS Top Twenty event and was #1 Ridgeback in 2005 (in an exact tie with his litter-brother, MBIS Ch Camelot's Promise to Bakari).

The breeding was carried out by frozen semen AI on Sunday, May 9, and Monday, May 10, 2010. It is a line-breeding because Sheila is being bred to the half-brother of her dam. However, the coefficient of inbreeding is not very high because Sheila's sire is completely unrelated to Mojave. [For those interested, the ten-generation COI for Sheila is 0%, that for Mojave is 7.8%, and the puppies expected will have COI of 10.3%.]

If you are interested in being considered as a family for one of these puppies from this breeding, please download our questionaire and return it by email to Clayton Heathcock.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Louise and I took Sheila to Bishop Ranch Veterinary Clinic today for ultrasound to confirm our belief that Sheila is pregnant. The ultrasound did show at least six puppies. The nice thing about having ultrasound at 5 weeks is that you can really see the anatomical details, as shown in the photo below. Also shown below is Dr. Cain and a shot of Louise holding Sheila, who lies on her back in a foam cushion.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sheila has been here since Sunday. She is large but not as large as I would have thought. I think Dr. Cain's ultrasound count of six puppies is probably about right. Also, Sheila is a big-boned girl anyway so she probably just doesn't show her pregnancy as much as some of the smaller bitches. I took her temperature this morning and it was 98.9, which may already be an indication that labor will start in the next 24 hours. Dr. Cain did predict that whelping would be July 8, so we are on target. Because our master bath and bedroom remodel will start next Monday, I do not have my normal whelping room (which is a large closet that opens to the master bath). Therefore, Sheila's pups will be whelped in the kennel (and I will have the pleasure or sleeping in the kennel for a few nights!). I set it up this morning and the following photos show that Sheila and I have all the comforts of home.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sheila's temperature this morning was 99.3, about the same as yesterday. This is about two degrees lower than the average canine temperature of about 101, and this is normally a sign of impending labor. However, she has not yet shown any of the signs of nesting, restlessness, panting, or licking, so actual labor has not started. Her appetite is voracious and she is finally starting to look pregnant (see following photo).

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sheila is definitely in early labor. She slept on our bed most of the night and rose to scratch the bedding every couple of hours. In the morning she went into several of the dog crates and scratched up the bedding. She is also having occasional bouts of panting, another sign of labor. Louise came over this morning and will stay until the puppies are born and help take care that Sheila doesn't squish one for the first 24 hours or so. She is camped out with her computer in the kennel, as shown by this photo.

Thursday, July 8, 2010 8:59 PM

Sheila is now in heavy labor, with contractions about every 5-10 minutes. Here is a little video of the typical nesting behavior. Louise and I are with her in the kennel and it looks like this is going to be an all-nighter.

Thursday, July 8, 2010 10:18 PM

It took a long time for Sheila to push out the first puppy but she finally did at 10:15. It is a ridged male, 1 pound and six ounces!! No wonder it took so long for Sheila to get him out. He has a great long ridge, wide, with two crowns. A little on the tips of his toes on all four feet.

Friday, July 9, 2010 12:25 AM

The second puppy, a 21 1/4 ounce ridged female, was born at 12:15. Sheila is taking her own sweet time between puppies. This girl came out in the sac, butt first.

Friday, July 9, 2010 5:52 AM

After four hours with no more puppies, Louise and I took Sheila to the Emergency Vet. She had x-rays and blood work, which showed that her calcium and glucose were normal but she needed hydration. They also x-rayed her and the plate showed only two more puppies. She is now on IV and will get oxytocin shots if she doesn't start whelping again on her own within the next hour or so.

Friday, July 9, 2010 1:18 PM

It was a long long night. At about 5:30 the people at the Emergency Clinic sent us home and said that Sheila would have IV fluids for awhile and if that did not put her back in labor, they would administer oxytocin. They said that this might be 3 hours, so Louise and I left Sheila and the two puppies and came home. No sooner had we arrived when the Emergency Vet called and asked us to come back because Sheila was so disturbed by our absence that she would not even let the puppies nurse. So we went back, stopping at Starbucks along the way. When we got back we found Sheila in one of the private exam rooms, equipped with IV and on the floor with the two puppies on a mat (see following photos).

About 7 am the vet tech came in and administered an oxytocin shot and within about 5-10 minutes, Sheila gave a cry of pain and delivered a 20.5-ounce female, ridged but with muptiple crowns. After that delivery, we sat with Sheila in the little room for several more hours. During this time the shift changed at the Emergency Clinic and the night vet was replaced by Dr. Dannucci. Finally, about 9:30 am, I asked Dr. Dannucci to give another oxytocin shot because it was clear that Sheila had not had a single contraction since delivery of the 3rd puppy. He suggested that it would be prudent to take another x-ray first, in case the remaining puppy was poorly positioned. He did that and also examined Sheila by ultrasound. His report was that he was unable to detect a heartbeat by ultrasound, but he admitted that he is not highly skilled in interpreting ultrasound. By then it was about 10:30 am and Dr. Dannucci suggested that I take Sheila to Bishop Ranch and hopefully get Dr. Cain to do a more careful ultrasound.

So we checked out of the Emergency Clinic ($924 for the one puppy they managed to dislodge) and made the 30-minute drive to Bishop Ranch. Dr. Cain was not on duty, but Dr. Gilman took Sheila and did the ultrasound and examined the x-ray plates that I had brought along from the Emergency Clinic. His definitive diagnosis was that the unborn puppy was no longer alive and we discussed possible ways of dealing with the problem--oxytocin to stimulate contractions or C-section. Dr. Gilman was afraid that use of oxytocin to expel such a large puppy (it looked really giant on the x-ray) might have hazards for Sheila. At this point I told him to go ahead with the C-section. He took one last stab and called Dr. Cain, our reproductive specialist. Dr. Cain said that in such cases she prefers to leave the stillborn puppy in place and that over 2-3 days it would begin to be resorbed and become small enough that Sheila would probably deliver it.

So we headed home with the three live puppies and Sheila still carrying one large still-born. Our marching orders were to observe her closely for the next three days and bring her back for office exam on Monday. Well, as fate would have it, Sheila did deliver the stillborn puppy in the back of my car on the way home. So now we are settled down, Sheila and her three pups are in the whelping box and I am going to sack out on some dog beds by the whelping box and catch a few winks.

So the final count is one show-potential male, one show-potential female, and one pet female. The stillborn puppy was a large (at least 1 pound 6 ounce) show-potential female.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I used four of the Costco dog beds to make my own bed on the kennel floor outside Sheila's room last night. I was so exhausted that I slept like I was in a luxurious feather bed. There were no issues that need attention. One nice thing about a small litter is that the mother has no trouble keeping track of where all the puppies are so there isn't nearly as much worry that she will accidentally crush one. Sheila is turning out to be a very good mother, after her rough start with the long labor. She is very attentive to the puppies and takes special care when going into the box or repositioning herself in the box. The other good thing about a small litter is that there is plenty of food to go around. In larger litters it usually takes a few days before the puppies begin really gaining weight. But the three little musketeers all had substantial gains in their first day. The boy is 25 ounces, the first girl is 23 ounces and the second girl is 24 ounces. Here is a picture of the setup; I can hang out at the table outside Sheila's room and read or even do computer work.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

With only three puppies, they are gaining like little piggies. Cheri noticed this morning that Sheila's back boobs are very full because the pups are concentrating more on the more accessible front boobs. So now we have to practice teat management to avoid mastitis. Sheila is getting a little restless being in the kennel all the time. She naturally wants to be with the puppies but at home she is a house dog and around her human and canine house-mates all day. I have the kennel fences set up so that she has two outside runs and can go into either of our 5x8 inside rooms. One is where the whelping box is and the other has just dog beds. Sometimes I close the gate that separates the dog door into the house from the big grassy yard and open the gate to Sheila's runs so she can spend time in the yard, but still go back inside to check on the puppies when she wants. Tomorrow our big remodel begins (master bath and closet, part of the master bedroom) and today we are completing the move of all our clothing and furniture into the front part of the house. That is why Sheila and her pups are in the kennel and not in our master bath, as usual.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The three little piggies continue to prosper from the lack of competition for Sheila's abundant milk bar. This morning the boy weighed in at 2 pounds 2 ounces, the first girl at 1 pound 13 ounces, and the second girl at 1 pound 15 ounces. I have been referring to the 2nd girl as pet because her ridge has looked "interesting". I thought it might have extra crowns down low but now I am wondering if it was just dried milk; this morning it didn't look all that unusual. Time will tell--maybe we will have two show girls after all.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sheila is getting to the stage where she is just a little bored with the three puppies. She does have her maternal instinct fully engaged and she will not tolelrate the other dogs coming up to the door to the whelping box room. She seems to be especially irritated when 13-year old Dawn comes to the door. I have taken to leaving the kennel door into the large kennel feeding room open all day and during the night so Sheila can wander around and feel less confined. She also has both of the 5 x 30 ft out door runs as I leave the connecting gate open. So she has a lot of personal space and today I saw her out in the kennel run taking a sun bath on a dog bed I keep out there. One thing that many new mothers do is to "nest" the whelping box bedding. I change the bedding twice a day as she is still draining and the following photos show how I like it and then how Sheila likes to rearrange it.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

We are startiing to try out temporary puppy names for the three musketeers. Athos, Porthos and Aramis obviously came to mind but these are all guy names and we have a guy-girl-girl menage a-trois. Over the last week we have tried all sorts of names of three but today when I was weighing the little critters, it occurred to me that what is most appropriate is "fat" names. Here is a picture of our boy, who weighed 3.75 pounds this afternoon and looks somewhat like a beanie baby:

We are considering "Jabba", "Fat Albert" or "Manny" for him. Following is a picture of the pet girl (she really does have a creative ridge), who weighed in at 3.5 pounds this afternoon:

Our favorite name for this little fattie is "Gloria", the girl mammoth in the Madagascar movies. Finally, our show-potential girl weighed in at a slim and trim 3.0 pounds today (see following photo) and as reward for her temperance, we are considering "Leia" for her.

We will sleep on these names and make a decision in a few days.

Friday, July 23, 2010

We have decided on names for the pups. As a group we call them "the beanie babies" because they are so fat that they often sleep on their bellies with all four legs splayed out, just like a bead-filled beanie baby!

The boy is going to be Panda. Today he weighed in at 5 pounds, which is pretty remarkable for a two-week old puppy who weighed "only" 1 pound and six ounces at birth. Panda is named after Kung Fu Panda, the video character, and Pablo Sandoval, the Giants baseball player whose nickname is "Panda". The show girl, who weighs 4 pounds, is Gloria, after the girl hippo in Madagascar. The pet girl, who weighs 4.75 pounds, is named Pudge. There really isn't a namesake--Pudge just seems to fit her physique.

Following is a picture of Pudge's ridge. It is still hard to see even in this photo, but there is a third crown at the bottom of the ridge, on the left side.

The eyes and ears are all open now that the beanie babies can creep around the box. Day before yesterday Cheri heard the first growl!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The beanie babies are walking all around their box now. Well, walking doesn't exactly capture the image--more like staggering under the weights of their enormous bellies. Here is a photo of Pudge and Gloria:

And here is Panda, who is officially clinically obese at 5.5 pounds!

Monday, August 2, 2010

I am way behind on the blog! Being Show Chair for the National Specialty is cutting into my fun things! And now I am preparing to go away for a three-day business trip. Following are photos taken last weekend when Helen, Carlos and Johnathan Sandoval came to visit the puppies:

Following is a little video taken on July 30 that shows how well the pups are walking around in their whelping box.

Our friends David Bueno and Greg Castillo dropped by yesterday to see the pups and commented on their nice heads. Following are a couple of head shots of Panda that I took this morning.

Here are two shots from the whelping box this morning, and another video of mom taunting the pups before settling in to let them have a little mid-morning snack.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I was away on business travel until late Thursday and when I got home I could not believe how much the pups had grown in such a short time. This litter is ahead of schedule on almost everything. They were starting to try to climb out of the box and clearly were ready to have their quarters expanded. So I took the whelping box out of their room and turned it over to the pups and mom. Here is a photo of the "Camelot whelping box" standing in my garage. This box has been the birthing home for almost every Camelot litter since our first one in 1990. Hundreds of puppies have been born in this box, including some great ones (Bruiser, Marley, Mojave, Ruger, Leelu). It won't work in our newly renovated bathroom area and it will be dismantled over the coming days. The next litter will be born in a new whelping box that is a lot lighter and easier to dismantle and store.

Last night when I fed the dogs, I gave Sheila her raw chicken backs, as usual, in the kennel she shares with the puppies (who were out of the whelping box and very interested in what Mom was doing). I noticed that they were licking at the edges of the chicken backs when she was eating and when she was done they all licked out her bowl. So this morning I soaked some kibble and put the bowl in their kennel. They went right to town and scarfed it right up. I guess they are weaned.

Sheila isn't real happy being kept from the pups, but they need to start eating pan food for the simple reason that I have to be able to control how much they eat. They are growing so fast that they don't need to diet, but now that they are running around a lot and I will be able to control how much they eat, I expect they will start looking like Ridgeback puppies instead of Mastiff puppies in a short time.

They have already learned to use the dog door and after their morning meal Panda waddled out to poop on the gravel. So I guess they are house-trained, too. Here is a picture of Ruby, Molly and Salsa peering in at the new critters from the other side of the kennel fence.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The pups are well into the weaning process. I am feeding them kibble twice a day and Sheila still visits them from time to time and they manage to get a little nursing now and then. She won't lie down and let them nurse like in the good old days, but she stands and lets them suckle several times a day. The other big news is that they have already learned to do their pooping outdoors, so the first step to house training was pretty easy! I took three little videos that will show how active and nimble they have become:

  • video1
  • video2
  • video3
  • Friday, August 13, 2010

    Panda, Gloria and Pudge are settling into a routine. They have just about mastered the dog door from their innner kennel room to the outside run and now we can keep the inside rubber flap down at night, which makes it much warmer in their room. Our kennel dog doors are the kind that have two flaps, one inside and one outside. There is a 6-inch gap between the two flaps. When the puppies are young-4-5 weeks old, I tape up both flaps and leave the door open for a few days, so they get the habit of going in and out of their room. During this phase, they normally learn to go outside to do their business. Then I tape a hand towel over the opening so that they only have to push something light to go through the door. When they have mastered that, I take the towel away and put one flap down. After a few days I put the other flap down. By that time, they have come to rely on the dog door and have no trouble navigating both flaps to go in and out.

    They seem almost completely "house trained" if you define "house" as their 5x8 foot kennel room. I haven't had to even change the papers on the floor for several days. Here is a little video (taken with my new iPhone 4) that I took this morning.

    Right after I wrote the foregoing I went out to the kennel and found Panda in the inside room that had both its dog door flaps down and no step outside to climb up on. I was able to get this video of Pudge doing same thing.

    I also took a video of 5-month old Salsa playing with the pups in their run, and another video of Panda and Pudge exploring a part of the back yard where they haven't been before (and practicing their new barks).

    Saturday, August 14, 2010

    I don't know if it is because of the extra nutrition these puppies got because it is a small litter, but they have been about a week more advanced on everything they have done. They are amazingly resourceful for 5-week old puppies. Yesterday afternoon I settled down in my armchair in the Great Room of our house to read a book. I dozed off about 4:30 and about 5 I was awakened by Salsa, whose day it was to be a house dog. She was very agitated and was running back and forth from my chair to the laundry room. There was Panda. I had left the gate open to the kennel adjoining the room the pups were sleeping in after their lunch. Panda had figured the way out of the kennel, through the yard by a sidewalk that has three right turns, through a dog door that he had ever used before, and he was in the house and on the way to visit me.

    Today we took the 1st audition photos. It is usually hard to get 5-week old puppies to stack but Cheri did a pretty good job. They are still a little fat because of all the milk that Sheila gave them the first 4 weeks, but they are starting to look pretty nice.

    Friday, August 20, 2010

    Six weeeks old today! It hardly seems possible. David Bueno came over today and helped me stack the puppies for their 2nd audition photos. Afterwards, I took a little playtime video in the yard and then they had their midday meal and settled in for a nap.

    Saturday, August 28, 2010

    I have been delinquent in keeping up the blog. This week I had a business report that was due Friday and on Wednesday the entries closed for the RRCUS National and that dumped another huge load of work on my plate. But we are now at the weekend and time is again there to devote to the pups. Today started with the 1st DHPP vaccinations and then Cheri helped me stack and video them for their 2nd audition. Here are a couple of pictures that I took right after the audition photos:

    They have become very, very mature in the last week. When I am working at home I usually have them loose in the yard and they do venture into the house through the dog door occasionally, but they aren't yet really comfortable in here since it is still new. In the evening if I am watching a ballgame or fixing dinner, the pups have taken to napping on a dog bed that is just inside the back door between the family room and the patio. Here are links to the 2nd audition photos:

  • Gloria
  • Panda
  • Pudge
  • Saturday, September 4, 2010

    Busy, busy week. The pups have been having 1/2 hour in the house every morning while Cheri and I make coffee and prepare the morning Honest Kitchen meal. They are very interactive and enjoy scampering around exploring all the nooks and crannies of a new space. In the afternoon they get an hour or so in the yard to roll in the grass and dig in the gopher holes. The adults leave them alone but the three 5-month old girls torment them mercilessly so I keep them confined when the pups are having yard time.

    Today the first pup went to her new home--Pudge is going to live with Chris Barnes and Catherine Jasan in Mill Valley. Chris and Catherine own Wally, who is litter brother of our Napa.

    Also today Cheri helped me take 3rd audition photos of Gloria and Panda:

  • Gloria
  • Panda