Sunday, December 28, 2008

Profile on Willis Mc Parti


Many people who visit here or check out our website will comment on the 'pretty brown and white' doodle who lives with us. I thought you might enjoy a commentary on Willis and why she is not part of our breeding program even though she is well tested.

Education of the public on breeding philosophies can be a dangerous subject to write about, because it is such a personal choice. There is no right or wrong - just 'selective options'.

With Willis, I was very excited as she continued to pass each and every test so very well. Her coat is fabulous - a perfect fleece coat with a lovely crimped wave; her colors were such a surprise and delight; her confirmation is very nice and the temperament on that dog could not be better. She is such a lovebug and grunts when you hug her. Training Willis was a joy with hardly any effort and there are very few dogs I could say is perfect on a leash, but she is.

What happened? A bit over a year old, I took her in for a routine heart check to get 'certified' - it was our last test before deciding on her breeding career. I about fell off the chair when my dear vet told me she had a 'heart murmur'. Normally, a heart murmur is not an issue on a puppy as the heart muscles continue to develop and most go away but not when they 'show up' at a year.

This lead me to visit a Canine Cardiologist. I went for three tests and it was finally confirmed as 'Metrial Valve Dysplasia'. This is a condition that allows the bottom ventricle to 'backwash' with blood (leak) and creates a thicker wall then normal. It stresses that portion of the heart muscle and typically results in a shorter life span. There is no cure and no operation is available. I made the heart rendering decision to spay my beautiful Willis and keep her as our dear pet for the rest of her life.

Willis, is by far, our most physical dog. She is fast as lightening, jumps 4 foot fences, fetches like an athlete and has incredible hunting instincts. She shows no symptoms of being at all incapacitated, which makes us all happy. However, she should not be bred as her condition COULD be passed onto her pups. No, not every pup would be affected but I could not in good conscience breed a dog KNOWING she has a condition.

There is no possible way that any breeder can guarantee that a pup of theirs will not develop a health issue. In my opinion, there is a huge difference in producing pups from a dog WITH a condition.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


My vet called me today with Maple's progesterone numbers done yesterday. He said 'Breed! Breed! as they were 10.8 ng. That means Maple has finally ovulated and is prime for a mating.

I was a bit hesitant about Coriander being able to 'do his duty' and had 'Rumple' on standby, but this little guy performed with gusto! At the end of it all, both were smiling and quite pleased with themselves.

Let's keep our fingers crossed for a healthy litter sometime in February! Good going little man!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

An EXCITING new stud comes to Annabelle Doodles!

As a responsible breeder who frowns upon inbreeding, I feel it is necessary to contribute actively to the development of unrelated lines so the Labradoodle can someday stand on its own merits. I do this NOT to join the ranks of any organization like the AKC (American Kennel Club), but instead to hopefully prevent the future of this hybrid from falling into the same fate as our pure breeds.

I am sure many of you have read that the Australian Labradoodle is comprised of a minimum of three breeds used specifically for either temperament, size, color and/or coat type. Some of the mini and medium sized doodle lines were outcrossed with pure Spaniel types which include the American Cocker, English Cocker and Irish Water Spaniels. Later in this process of development, another popular hybrid called the 'Spoodle' (Australian name for a Cockapoo) was used to set the type further. Although these hybrids were introduced to improve a trait on the originals; - none of the reasons were more important than for the hybrid vigor that occurred. Without hybrid vigor, the Labradoodle will face the same end as most of our AKC breeds. The more times you keep breeding 'the same lines to the same lines', or close stud books, the more you increase the percentages of strengthening the good genes as well as the bad ones. By outcrossing to other breed types, you are able to 'dilute' common genetic issues that affect both health and temperament.

The American Labradoodle, which is only comprised of the AKC Poodle and AKC Labrador is the original Labradoodle hybrid. This is what Wally Conran created for a blind woman whose husband had allergies. Although Wally was successful in providing a non-shedding service dog to his client, his future endeavors were not and he sold some of the original stock to Australian breeders who further developed the Labradoodle by outcrossing to other breeds and the name 'Australian Labradoodle' was born. The beautiful, gentle, sweet natured, but shedding Labrador was only used once as a foundation parent. To my knowledge, the Labrador was never, ever bred into the Australian lines again like the pure Poodle and Spaniel types were.

When you look at the Australian Labradoodle, you can definitely see where repeated breed infusions have occurred. Too much of the Poodle influence shows particularly in the coat with tight curls and thickness. (see Maple Sugar) Although this type of coat is great for allergy sufferers, it is a costly upkeep. Another indicator is the narrow skull with a long, pointy nose. The body is rectangular rather than more square and their boning can be too light.

Those lines infused with the Spaniels/Cockapoo have a much different look. They are more 'boxy' with thicker boning and have a shorter, square snout. (see Willis and Rumple) Their heads are broader and many of their coats have a softer feel and loopy-er, not tightly spun curls. Most do not have an undercoat. Although smaller in size than the standard Australian Labradoodle, they are not fragile looking like a Toy or Mini Poodle. They tend to be less 'yappy' than backcrossing to pure AKC mini Poodles as well. You cannot deny the intelligence and beauty of the Poodle; however, it has always been my choice to pick and raise dogs from breeding stock which included more hybrid infusions than pure Poodles who tend to be heavily line bred.

So I searched for a well tested Cockapoo which was daunting because very little testing (if any at all) are done on this hybrid. Although the coat, color(s) and hybrid vigor of Cockapoos did make them a worthy addition to the Australian Labradoodle, I feel it is unethical to bring a breed into a line without a complete health testing protocal. A responsible breeder should stringently test all breeding foundation stock whether Cockapoo or Labradoodle or any other infusion breed for that matter.

To this end, my co-partner and I have had the good fortune to purchase a Cockapoo stud for infusions with some of our curlier/Poodle coated Australian/Multigen Labradoodle females. We are delighted to introduce 'CORIANDER' of Annabelle Doodles & Ocean State Labradoodles.

Coriander and Maple Sugar will have a litter available for homes in May of '09. The litter will consists of apricots, apricot-red and creams. I am also expecting some pups to have white markings and possibly partis as well. It is an exciting time!! :+)

'Cori' has been fully tested with qualifying scores and will be used in both our programs to improve coat, body type and promote the development of new foundation Multigen Labradoodle lines. His very desirable size of 16 1/2 inches and 27 lbs. is such a plus as he can be used for both our large mini and medium girls. Coriander has a wonderful, non-shedding, wavy coat and is a mellow young man. Coriander gets along beautifully with all dogs no matter the gender or size. He has a gentle manner and passive nature.

The Australian Labradoodle is STILL developing and requires numerous new and unrelated lines in order for this hybrid to actually become a true breed. We are both thankful that the originators of our unique hybrid saw the wonderful traits the Spaniel and Cockapoo gene pool brought into the Australian Labradoodle.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Our matriarch retires along with her daugher.

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Miss Annabelle Potts was spayed and 'officially' retired from having any more puppies. It was a sad day for me because Annabelle loves having and rearing babies. She was a remarkable mom who always packed her whelping pool with all of her stuffed toys to welcome her babies into the world. It was the cutest thing ever - even though it made cleaning time twice as long!

In her breeding career, Annabelle had six litters - all of them beautiful and well loved by their owners. Once both she and her daughter Harriet Potter (also retired) shared rearing litters. At that time, Harriet had ten puppies and Annabelle one. Although Harriet was a bit miffed, Annabelle bathed in the glory of nursing not one but four pups! Harriet doesn't know how lucky she was to have a surrogate helping her with that huge litter! By four weeks old, both mother and daughter would be in the same pen offering 'dining services'. :+)

An amazing level of intelligence and wit abounds in Annabelle. As a puppy, she was certainly mischievous and I often wondered if she was smarter than I was! Taking her to puppy classes was pretty much a disaster as she would be car sick going, pooping in the class, would not stay still when asked and would bark. Oi vey! Perseverance is something I am blessed with and I would not give up. It was many months later at a romp in Massachusetts that I realized what a character I had for a doodle. At insistent urging, I competed in an Obedience Contest. Trust me, I did NOT want to do it knowing full well how awful we did when we attended puppy classes. During the competition, Annabelle did every command with aplomb! She beat out some very, VERY good doodles (those that are good ALL the time), and we came out with the Blue Ribbon. To this day, I am still confounded. LOL! What I did learn is that Annabelle behaves when she wants to show off! :+)

Annabelle has provided me with some lovely offspring and I am so grateful for that. They include my creamy velcro girl - 'Harriet Potter', a curly redhead named 'Maple Sugar', our beautiful apricot and white parti girl 'Clara Belle' and the silken black delight - 'Olive Oyl'. All but Harriet (retired) will hopefully carry on Annabelle's tradition of producing wonderfully intelligent puppies with personality and character.

To explain Harriet's early retirement - her uterus got an infection during her third whelp. To save her life, we did a C-section first and then had to remove the uterus at a second surgery. It was a difficult time for her and for me, but she has pulled through and is a happy, healthy pet who loves to sit on my lap and give me a face wash each evening. :+)

So here is a pic of both my retired 'leading ladies' that has made Annabelle Doodles what it is today. Thank you girls - you provide sunshine on even the grayest of days.