Well Bred Dogs

Breeding puppies to the conformation standard is more than just “pretty dogs”.

I saw this illustration today and knew I just needed to SHARE it! It so perfectly shows how “purebred” dogs can look so different from well-bred dogs!

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Ahhh… My very first golden looked like the dog in the lower left hand corner. We loved her dearly and she was a very sweet dog but… She just wasn’t “pretty”. Fortunately, she had a wonderful temperament and lived a long, happy life with us. This dog started my life-long love for this breed and helped convince me I wanted not just “pretty” dogs but also dogs that were health tested (long before they were ever bred!)

Health testing is major event here held every year at a local health clinic put on by the Cavaliers of The West breed club. Why do I go to this particular clinic? I just love how organized and competent the gal that organizes and works so diligently every year to provide this service for the dog community. Every year, ALL of my dogs have their eyes dilated and are seen by a veterinarian ophthalmologist. They say “the eyes are the windows to the soul”. They can also be the first indicators of other disease processes!

Dogs over a year of age are also “heart tested” by a veterinarian cardiologist. Genetic heart diseases such as “SAS” (sub-aortic stenosis) along with other heart anomalies can be ruled out.

Then, all the paperwork is sent to OFA (Orthopedic Foundation of American); the registration organization that provides online access to health clearances.

The other big health clearances done in Golden Retrievers are x-rays of hips and elbows. I usually have my regular vet, who is adept at positioning for these x-rays, do them. Again, that information is sent to OFA. For a permanent “clearance”, dogs must be over two years of age. Another registration organization for hips is PennHip. These x-rays measure slightly differently than OFA x-rays; I usually have these done also. You can’t get too much information regarding “hip health” when considering a future breeding.

Copies of these health clearances are always given to new puppy owners. I just believe in total transparency in puppies I’ve bred.

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Deja (8 weeks old): April 2014

Other factors to consider when considering breeding a litter of puppies: Temperament! I live with what I breed and “good temperament” is a hallmark trait for this breed! By following the pedigree of any litter, I can generally predict the temperament of each puppy. Other factors of good temperament is socialization of puppies. We work hard here providing a LOT of early puppy socialization and send home information to new owners on how to continue that socialization for the benefit of that puppy as it grows into adulthood.

Last but not least is Longevity! Sadly, “man’s best friend” is never with us long enough. But through genetic research of ancestors, hopefully they live a long life for this breed. This is a big goal for us in any litter also.

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Doodle (7 weeks old): December 2014

“Looks”, by this time, that is almost icing on the cake! But by breeding to the Golden Retriever standard and after being evaluated by judges through dog shows, our goal is always to produce the next conformationally correct dogs! Do all of our dogs end up in the show ring? No! But many could be shown! And many live in “pet homes” pampered and loved that attract attention and praise when walking down the street! They are “pretty”!

Lofty goals for any breeding/litter of puppies, huh? This is what we’ve done over our thirty years being involved in this breed. Generation after generation, staying true to the golden retriever standard, improving each generation as we continue our life-long love for this breed.

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Grand Champion Tazo: Gone but never forgotten! Blessed to have had this dog in my life!

 

JEnnifer & MArk ~ Jema Golden Retrievers

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Puppies!

Breeding plans and puppies excitedly anticpated this summer!

I think the actual breeding of two dogs is always the most stressful! Many think the most stressful time is the actual delivery/whelping of puppies but to me, that has always been fairly straight forward. It is the actual breeding of the two dogs centered around timing, testing, and trips to the vet that stress me out!

After much consideration, we’ve decided to breed our two girls now. CH Deja is being bred to CH Journey who lives in Las Vegas, NV. Journey’s owner and vet have been wonderful to work with to make this breeding happen. So far, we have had one breeding done and are watching Deja’s progesterone level to time the second breeding that will mostly happen this Friday.

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CH Hillcrest Blessed Crossing to Avalon; “Journey”
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CH Jema’s Deja Brew; “Deja”

 

We have also decided to breed our “almost champion” girl, Doodle. We are going to use frozen semen from our Grand Champion boy, Tazo, who is no longer with us. Doodle’s cycle, like Deja’s, seems to be a quick rise in progesterone (ovulates early in her cycle) and it is only by chance that after taking her in for a progesterone test to see where she was at that we realized she had already ovulated! Because we are using frozen semen, we can successfully breed Doodle a bit later in her cycle so we haven’t “missed” with her breeding. Doodle’s first breeding will be this afternoon.

Tazo (New Champion)
GCH CH Jema’s Mocha Kiss; BISS “Tazo”
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Jema’s Rule The Roost; “Doodle”

Now I had hoped the girls would be a week or more apart of each other in their cycles but that is not the case. We potentially could have them deliver their puppies on or close to same days! Oh boy! In truth, they will likely whelp their puppies, if they actually conceive, a few days apart! I’m already thinking exactly how I will manage two litters of puppies at one time? Hmm??

The reason for breeding both girls is simple. In case either of them have problems, the other can “foster” any of the other puppies. I don’t expect any problems but you just never know. And if I’m going to be home with puppies, I will be home with puppies! It does seem like a good use of my time to give both litters the time and attention they will need to be the most well-adjusted, healthy puppies as possible!

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CH Gaitway-Jema’s Kiss And Tell BISS; “Rooster” as a 9 week old puppy

This week has been hectic; we will be at our vet’s office every day this week! Between progesterone tests and inseminations, we will have one or both girls at the vets. Thankfully, dear hubby is available to help most of the days. Other days, I will take the girls to the vet. The “plan” has been outlined, based on testing, so at least I have the support of my wonderful vet and her staff to help make all of this possible!

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CH Deja and her puppy, “Pixel” (Jema’s Focus On The Future)

I’m looking forward to having puppies again! It has been almost two years since we’ve had puppies! It seems so much has happened in those two years… we’ve lost our wonderful boy, Tazo and his daughter, Deja has now become a champion in that time. We are looking forward to the next generation of champions in the making! Crossing our fingers as we move forward here at Jema Golden Retrievers!

CH Jema’s Deja Brew, BPIS (x 2!)

CH Deja wins Top Conformation trophy for 2017! I am so proud to be not only her owner but also her breeder!

Dog names generally originate from a deep meaningful place no matter what a puppy’s future may hold. In my litters, I usually have a “theme” to help folks think of a registered name for their future puppy. The “call name”, of course, is whatever the person or family wishes to call their puppy/dog. In the dog show world, the call names usually include some part of the registered name. This is true with “Deja”. Her “call name” is in her registered name.

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Deja’s litter theme was “coffee”. All the pups from that litter have names that relate to coffee in one form or another. This is a repeat litter theme; one I did for Deja’s sire, Tazo (GCH CH Jema’s Mocha Kiss, BISS), many years ago although his litter included both coffee and tea. Hence Deja is a repeat of her sire or Deja Vu or… Deja Brew!

Deja, like her dad, Tazo, is a happy dog! She exudes confidence in everything she does. They both can be a bit “bouncy”; all that energy needs to go someplace! I remember showing her once and as I did a courtesy turn getting her lined up to do the down and back, she jumped almost six feet straight up in the air, landed and was ready to gait down the diagonal!  The funny thing about this is that I never felt her feet leave the ground! If it wasn’t for a friend who took a cell phone shot of her doing this, I would never have believed it!

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Almost ALL of my puppies have won Best in Specialty Sweepstakes or BISS! Deja did not being a bit slower to mature to be competitive in the ring. She did, however, take Best Puppy in Show not once but twice when she was young! Those memories will stay with me forever not only for the recognition of this puppy amongst many other puppies but also as a proud breeder moment!

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Deja finished her AKC Champion title with a professional handler. Finding (and winning) those bigger shows meant more travel than I could do at the time. But I believed in her and so did her handler. Deja won her second major fall of 2017 needing one single point to finish this title. Because I had not entered her in any shows after that major show, I had to wait two weeks after entering her in a local show where she won that last point needed. YEAH! Deja now sports the coveted “CH” before her name! Her sire, Tazo, would be so proud! And so would her paternal grandmother, Saga; a puppy I purchased so many years ago!

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On a lark (and because I was asked), I sent in Deja’s show record and points accumulated throughout her show career. Our dog club does an Awards Banquet every year where high-achieving dogs are recognized. I had not made plans to attend the Awards Banquet this year and in fact, completely forgot about it until a friend notified me that Deja had won “Top Conformation Bitch From The Classes”! I’m very grateful that my friend at the banquet accept this trophy on my behalf! WooHoo for Deja!!

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As my sweet girl lies here at my feet being the completely calm, well-mannered house dog she is, I remember her energy whenever anything is asked of her. I remember that enthusiasm whether being in the show ring or chasing a tennis ball in my backyard. Trophy or not, she is my perfect dog! I need only look at her for her to wag her tail ready for the next game we can play together!  And I look at her daughter, Pixel and think… It is almost time to have Pixel shown. She will be my next winning dog;  the fourth generation of Jema Golden Retrievers!