Trying this again... Me and Irish Wolfhounds

Discussion in 'The Breeding Ground' started by Freehold, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. Freehold

    Freehold New Member

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    So... some of you may have seen my rather long (and incomplete) post about my breeding Irish Wolfhounds. The forum somehow decided I was a spammer, so I've had to start over now :cool: So... thanks for responding if you did, and if not here goes again.

    I've been warned by Dekka that breeding and breeders can be controversial on here, so I want to get this out in the open so I can post freely without having to hash through all my breeding philosophy etc again. So this will be long (and likely in sections) so grab some popcorn and enjoy the read :popcorn:

    I have owned dogs most of my life, but only got interested in breeding in the last 10 years. The way I got into it is perhaps a bit unusual. When I was little my mom owned an Irish Wolfhound named Caleb. She adored this dog, of all the dogs we have owned over the years I think he was her heart dog. Sadly, as is typical of Irish Wolfhounds, she was to loose him far to young. Caleb got bone cancer at 6. We amputated his leg and he did fine for a while. You'd be amazed how well he got around on three legs... But sadly the cancer spread to his lungs and we had to make the decision to put him down.

    After Caleb died my mother wanted another Wolfhound, but couldn't bear the thought of losing another so young. So in the meantime we owned an Irish Water Spaniel (clown on four legs), a rescue who we think might have been an Irish Wolfhound x Black Lab (imagine a Wolfhound on Lab legs), and a Collie cross. But my mom still pined over her Wolfhound.

    About ten years ago I decided it was time to do something about it. So, I spent a lot of time looking up breeders and seeking out one who would be willing to sell me a bitch puppy with breeding rights. My thought was that by breeding a single litter and keeping a girl we could always have a little piece of the beloved dog with us.

    It took a while, but finally I found a breeder willing to work with me. She agreed to selling us a breeding quality puppy as a co-owned dog. That way when/if it came to the point where we wanted to breed her she would be involved and able to help us make the right decisions as we went.

    And so Oldline Eringael of Freehold came into our home (aka Erin). Erin was a lovely bitch and my mom was thrilled with her birthday + Christmas + birthday + Christmas present (lol Wolfhounds are not cheap). And so life continued.

    [​IMG]
    Erin and my mom - Erin is about 6-8 moths old here, still very much a puppy.

    I had intended to show Erin, but at that time we were far more heavily into the horse breeding and showing world, and they came first. After a while we realized that Erin was of age to be bred, and we'd not gotten her into the ring. There was no doubt that she was more than nice enough to gain her Championship, but we'd not gotten there.

    Now Wolfhounds have a relatively narrow window for breeding. They shouldn't ever be bred before 3 years old (2.5 at the absolute youngest), and shouldn't be bred past 5 years old. We didn't have a lot of time. So, I contacted Erin's co-owner and began looking around to see if anyone would even talk to me about Erin without the show wins.

    [​IMG]
    Erin all pretty so I could show her off to potential stud owners.

    As I looked around I found a stud I really liked, who happened to be owned by the breeder from whom Erin's dam's line came. I sent her photos and she liked Erin a lot from what she saw, and understood how life can get in the way of showing at times. She was willing to take the risk as she knew the lines (both her own line and the outcross Erin's litter was from).

    The stud I liked was a younger stud, and the breeder (Barbara Daley, who happens to be one of the top Canadian Wolfhound breeders) suggested that if I liked the son I should breed to the sire. So, we decided to take Erin to breed to Manuka.

    I proceeded to do hip x-rays to make sure she was clear of displacia, and had a general check-over done by the vet to make sure there was nothing of concern. Then when Erin came into heat she went to Barbara's to be bred.

    Mod edit: Tinypic photo changed into, well, not a dog. Photo removed.
    Erin at the breeder's.

    Barbara loved Erin even more in person and was thrilled to have her there to breed to her boy. About two months later we had our first litter of puppies.

    [​IMG]

    It was a big litter with 9 babies. Two were runts, one of which we hand fed for a day before it nursed on its own. (I'll tell the story of the runts another day - it's long and quite interesting). We decided to keep "Rose" (collar), who we later named Freehold Oldline Renee (aka Renee). Barbara took a few puppies for her clients, and decided to keep "Brown", who she named Moa. The entire litter sold well, and we actually ended up turning down homes for the runts as we discovered there was more than runtishness going on with them close to when the puppies were ready to go home. We still own Java, but sadly lost his brother Mocha - but more on them another time.

    [​IMG]
    Renee at 8.5 weeks old.

    Barbara's boy, Aotearoa Oldline Freehold Moa, turned out to be a super nice boy. She showed him to his Championship and he ended up 4th Wolfhound in Canada in 2008. He's since stood at stud and had 5 litters of his own with her.

    Sadly we lost Erin about eight months after she had her litter. An outbreak of Kennel Cough affected our vet clinic (where I was home from on Maternity leave). A friend who worked there was staying with us temporarily, and despite her best efforts brought the virus home. From first cough to dead in 36 hours including vet visit and antibiotics... It was truly horrible :( I've learned enough now that I can help prevent a repeat, but it was a hard lesson learned. Renee ended up spending a week in hospital with IV and careful treatment, but thankfully pulled through just fine.

    (more to come soon...)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 26, 2013
  2. Fran101

    Fran101 Resident fainting goat

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    Welcome to the forum! lol Again!

    Irish Wolfhounds are just really awesome :) I dunno, I just always imagined them a bit like mythical characters from a children book or something lol
     
  3. ravennr

    ravennr ಥ⌣ಥ

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    OOH I see you're in Ontario! Well, I see nothing wrong with a good, responsible breeder, so you'll get no hate from me. :)

    I LOVE IW's, but I've only had the opportunity to meet one in person, and just a few times in passing mostly. I don't know where your town is, but if I ever see anyone with lots of tall, wiry dogs, just be aware, I'm going to stop you. :D
     
  4. Dogs6

    Dogs6 Plus One

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    Welcome to Chaz! So sad about Erin she was a beautiful dog.

    My mum and I have always wanted an Irish Wolfhound. However when we were able to have one we couldn't find anyone breeding dogs with the temperament we wanted/needed. So life went on and we ended up with our current motley crew. My mum eventually settled with an adult rehome Newfie . We did almost end up with an IW a few months ago but then we were dealing with our oops litter and it just wasn't the right time.
     
  5. Greenmagick

    Greenmagick New Member

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    Wolfhounds aremy top (tied with Danes) favorite breeds. My plan was to get a wolfie next but when a Dane litter became available in rescue it seemed meant to be. I may be visiting with 5 wolfie tomorrow:)
     
  6. Freehold

    Freehold New Member

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    lol :) They are kinda fairytaleish. When you get into the stories of Fionn Mac-Cumhaill it's pretty cool. Or my favorite is the one about Gelert. Really a fascinating breed when you get into the old tales. And not a terribly changed breed since then either, which is nice.

    But back to my story...

    With Renee things were a bit different. We still let her grow up before considering showing, but when she was about 2.5 we were less preoccupied with the horses, and more free to try showing. Unfortunately timing-wise we were in between handling classes, so I had a local friend of my mother's who breeds and shows Smooth Collies teach me some basic handling. Renee learned really quickly, and we were off to our first show that August.

    At Cornwall Renee got to go camping with us. We stayed in a tent with her crate behind the tent so we could look out the window at her. The tent wasn't big enough to have her in too... and my non-doggy hubby would have killed me if it got torn.

    [​IMG]
    Me showing Renee at Cornwall.

    The show was great. Showing Wolfhounds is far more fun outdoors as they don't like to move out in the closed environment of the indoor show. She did really well, earning 5 points at her first ever show weekend (if I remember right... might have been less, I'd need to look it up). What was really cool was that the day she had to show against her cousin Salt the judge actually had to look before he pinned Salt as Best of Breed (and Renee as Best of Opposite). Salt was the top Wolfhound in Canada at the time... practically unbeaten.

    [​IMG]
    Salt hanging out ringside.

    After that we went to several other shows. It's a bit difficult because Wolfhounds are relatively uncommon, so several shows don't get the entries needed. A Best of Breed against one's self is rather useless..

    Renee managed to finish her Championship by the end of December. While I've always thought her lovely, without the rose coloured glasses I now could say that she really is a nice bitch. She's also quite large for a bitch. The only one bigger than her that I saw lost her femininity which is not good.

    [​IMG]
    Renee at the show just before the one where she earned her last point. Sadly I couldn't afford to buy the pics at that show.

    Once Renee had earned her Championship and had her hips checked we looked to find her the right mate. I was debating between a line breed or an outcross. Pretty much everyone recommended a line breed, and considering the time limits for breeding I decided to try that first, then think of an outcross for a later breeding (if we wanted to breed her again).

    We ended up selecting a lovely young male called Manny (Aotearoa Oldline Tumanko). He was a relatively close line breed, but overall a lovely boy. This would be his first litter.

    Renee, like her mother, proved to be very fertile, and two months later we had a huge litter of 10 puppies (plus one stillborn). No runts this time - they were all super nice pups.

    [​IMG]
    Renee with her puppies - happy momma.

    This litter has ended up being a fairly international one, with one of the males, Tiro, going to a breeder in Poland. Another went out east to Newfoundland. We ended up keeping a lovely bitch who we called Freehold Cleopatra, aka Cleo. Ironically she ended up being "Rose" collar just like her mom. Considering we put the collars on as they are born there's no way that could have been planned :rofl1:

    [​IMG]
    Cleo at 6 weeks old.

    We had two late sellers, who we named Percival (Percy) and Galahad (Gally). Percy sold around 6 months old while Gally actually stayed with us until this fall. We thought of keeping him, but we are not set up to keep a stud dog with the girls, and with two cycling gals we didn't want to take any risks. Gally isn't stud material as he's a bit small, but very nice otherwise. He and Cleo are actually almost exactly the same size (well they were when he left). I didn't want to neuter him just because of management issues (I am pro neuter in many situations... but that's another topic for another day). I advertised him hoping that perhaps I'd get lucky and find the right home for him, and lucked out finding a fantastic couple who has wanted a Wolfhound for years but had not been able to get one before now (many breeders have very long waiting lists). They were experienced with sight hounds and had been fosters for greyhounds for many years. They adore him and have already finished his beginner obedience and plan to move on to intermediate.

    [​IMG]
    Gally in the dog yard before he went to his new home.

    Sadly the one male I really wanted to keep was lost to us. When the puppies are weaned, but not in their new homes, they get to stay in our barn at night. Well, the gate was fastened securely, or so we thought, but "Turquoise" aka "Turkey" escaped. It was a foggy night and he managed to get into a horse paddock :( Nothing could be done... Needless to say we are three times as careful now...

    [​IMG]
    Turkey - who I'd planned to call "Turkomann"

    (will continue with more in a bit)
     
  7. SarahHound

    SarahHound New Member

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    Hiya and welcome! Irish Wolfhounds are amazing dogs :)
     
  8. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Welcome. Fabulous dogs!
     
  9. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    Glad to finally see your posts . . . and your DOGS :D
     
  10. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    Yay it works.

    My fave part about your dogs is that there is no bending required to pet them :D
     
  11. Freehold

    Freehold New Member

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    So true, Dekka :) I love that too, though having a dog who can spring from the floor to arms in a flash like yours is kinda cool too. No way I'm carrying a Wolfie around with me.

    I will be adding more tomorrow. The posts are taking a while to pass through the moderator, which is why I'm slow adding to it. But it is coming.

    Thanks for the warm welcomes. Wolfhounds are certainly a different breed, and despite their short lifespans I really do love them.
     
  12. Candice007

    Candice007 New Member

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    Wow they are amazing dogs.

    Do they need alot of exercise?
     
  13. Pops2

    Pops2 New Member

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    do you hunt w/ them?
     
  14. Barb04

    Barb04 Love my pets Staff Member

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    Loved reading your story. They are all beautiful dogs.
     
  15. IceyBlueSibes

    IceyBlueSibes New Member

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    Welcome! Beautiful dogs!
     
  16. Freehold

    Freehold New Member

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    I do not hunt with them. Actually I breed specifically with the plan for them to be pets. Because of this I don't really want the prey drive that hunters would want. I want calm, friendly dispositions, confidence without too much dominance. There are some lines of Wolfhounds that had timidity issues - not something you want in such a big dog, especially if that is ever combined with aggression. Not that they are normally aggressive dogs, but it can happen.

    Of my girls, Renee has what I consider the perfect disposition. Erin was a touch timid, so I was very happy to get Renee's confident personality. The only aggression Renee has ever shown was to a pair of Wolfhound bitches she's met at the shows. I have no idea what it is, but this particular pair of girls just turns Renee the wrong way. Any other dog she's completely fine with... :confused: Cleo, my younger girl, is a bit more dominant than I like, though not too bad. As long as it isn't coupled with aggression we'll be fine, but if it ever were she could become difficult. With such huge dogs there's not a lot of room available for aggression - you physically can't pull these guys off if you needed to.

    I am considering trying the lure coursing, which is more like hunting. Renee tried once and was somewhat interested; I think with some training she might be better.

    As for hunting, I think my guys might do ok if they were raised and trained for it. Certainly at a physical level they would have the build and speed to do very nicely. I just don't want that mindset. I'd rather have a dog who will be best buds with the cats and other pets than one who might "accidentally" eat one...

    As for exercise, like most hounds, Wolfhounds like a good run here and there, but are otherwise quite happy to lounge around. Our mostly get free run time in the yard, but then hang out inside.
     
  17. Freehold

    Freehold New Member

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    Part 3 (the last part)

    So, from Renee's first litter I still have Cleo. I also still have Renee's brother Java. And now Renee has just turned 5.

    I really want to try an outcross breeding. There are several thing about Cleo that just make me... :confused: She's conformationally as nice as if not a bit nicer than her mom. Her temperament is a bit dominant, but still fine. But... I guess I just worry that there might be some odd recessive gene showing up that isn't quite right - particularly around her immune system. It's not... real.. if you understand. Nothing traceable or anything. It's just that she's had various little things happen that seperately mean nothing but together just make me cautious.

    Anyway, if Cleo has puppies and I see stuff wrong about them I don't want to lose my line from Renee. So.. I'm looking to a second breeding, an outcross this time so if there is some strange gene doubling up, I can avoid it.

    So I looked around for an outcross, but it was really hard. I found many studs that I don't like. There are a few Wolfhound types out there, many of whom are not what I want. Some are too "tubular", others are weedy. There was a stud owned by owner of the one bitch who had been bigger (but less refined) than Renee, but she wouldn't talk to me about it. Another stud I really liked lives in Texas, but he's still young and is only expecting his first litter now. The owner doesn't want to stand him until she's more confident of what he produces (thinking he might be nice for Cleo when she's ready though). He's be interesting as he goes back to the line that was Erin's outcross.

    After an outcross I'd plan to go back to the line. I know that things are less certain when breeding out of the line, but I also want develop my own line and breed true to what I want.

    Anyway, Barbara has a stud whose sire was an imported dog, so he's a half outcross. She thinks he'd make a very nice match with Renee, and I don't disagree. So Renee went to Barabara's to meet Heke. And now we are expecting puppies around April 28th :D

    Now, I try to be as responsible a breeder as I can. I offer health guarantees, try to match puppies to the right owners, don't let the puppies go until they are 10 weeks old, do vaccinations/deworming/dewclaw removal (which you do in Wolfhounds), and am always available to my buyers should they need advice, assistance, or if ever they can't keep their dog. I admit I don't have puppy buyers for every puppy lined up before they are born, but with litters of 8-10 puppies it's not exactly easy. I'm still so new on the scene that not everyone trusts me. But I am doing my best to do it right.

    And that's basically my story :) I've not shown Renee since she had her first litter - she's been enjoying the house/farm life. However since I plan to take Cleo out late this summer (after the puppies are gone) I will likely take Renee along. If Cleo really is nicer than her mom, as I suspect, it will help in situations where there is no other Wolfhounds that show up at the show. Though not sure who will handle the second dog... I am hoping that Renee will do obedience too, and possibly get her obedience title. Not something I've tried before (usually house obedience and basics have been enough), but I think it would be a fun challenge to try.

    I'm glad that you guys have been enjoying the story and pics. I need fresh photos of Cleo :rolleyes: I've been a neglectful photographer. Renee still looks like Renee, though a touch heavy at the moment since she's not in show trim. No - wolfhounds do not usually show with extra weight.

    When the puppies come I'd love to share puppy pics and such. Personally I'm hoping for a nice litter of 5-6 pups, but considering her last litter and her mom's litter we are more likely to see 8-10 pups... Ah well, the double nursing shifts don't last forever :rolleyes: and they are all so cute :p
     
  18. -bogart-

    -bogart- Member of WHODAT Nation.

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    AGAGGAGAGAGGAGAGAGGAGAGAG i am bookmarking that date/week. wolfy puppies . i demand/plead/beg/offerfirstborngrandchildren. for puppy pictures. I have always oogled and sighed over these dogs. I wish to god i could get in line right now , but the hubbs would kill me and the kids would revolt.
     
  19. Dizzy

    Dizzy Sit! Good dog.

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    I am not that far away from Beddgelert in Wales ;) When I was in school (no where near Wales) we went on a trip there to see his grave. I love that story :)

    And just for fun - it's pronounced bethgelert! dd = th.

    Lovely dogs - can't wait to see a LOT more pictures :D
     
  20. Freehold

    Freehold New Member

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    lol bogart :) Well, if life happens the way we'd like it to, we might have Cleo puppies in 18 months or so... :D

    This is the Texan dog I'm drooling over as a potential outcross: GCH Carnasserie Lodestone of Taryn I just need to figure out how to get them to agree... and how to arrange a trip to Texas :rofl1:

    Dizzy, that's too cool!! One day I'll travel the world and have to see that site.
     

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