BREED A WINNER

BREED YOURSELF A WINNER THE SWANNDALE WAY.

Learn the Standard of the Lancashire Heeler in side out.

Attend at least a few Championship Shows in your area – so that you can see the really good examples of your breed.

Once you decide to breed a litter try to start with the very best bitch of the type you admire and which you can afford.

Make sure that she is clear from heredity diseases that effect the breed and she has her certificates from the KC/BVA that apply.

She should be fit, healthy not overweight and free from parasites.

If you like and admire the bitch, to start with, choose a stud dog for her from her male relatives [ Line Breeding ] that will complement her, strengthening all the good things that you like about her and hopefully upgrading some of her weaker points.

Choose a dog who is strong where she fails slightly - do not set a fault by having the same failing on both.

Choose your stud dog well in advance, and ask if you may use him – do not phone up the day before she is due to be mated and expect to be accommodated.

Be on Time for the mating - not early and definitely not late.

Beware of 12 DAY syndrome – GO ON THE DAY YOUR BITCH IS READY, not when it is convenient to you. There are tests that you can do at the vets , and signs to look for yourself. Lighter flow/ lighter colour/ soft vulva / tail swinging round – she should do some or all of these.

Treat her normally during her pregnancy, exercise is good for her, you may need to shorten the walks the last couple of weeks.

Get the room ready for her at least 1 week before she is due – have puppy box with your whelping aids ready.

Bitch drops and horns straighten out last week of pregnancy.

Take Bitches temperature the last week – normally drops from 101.5F- 99F/98F just prior to whelping- a good indicator.

First stages of labour can last for a couple of hours or day - bitch likes to tear up newspaper and make a nest - she will also ask every few minutes to go outside.

Once every hour or so with her on a lead and you with a torch [if its dark ] will be enough, she only wants to go and dig for a nest.

Once labour starts keep an eye on the time from real straining to producing each pup-do not let it go past 1- I ½ hours, call the vet and meet him down at the surgery , you are then in the right place.

Keep pups warm - they cannot shiver for the first ten days – not too hot or too cold and no draughts.

Have an area they can get out of the whelping box to be clean from 3 weeks old-and an outside run they can get into from about 4 weeks.

Do not let them stay out in to or to cold weather, just ten minutes after each meal is enough to start with.

Bring your pups up wisely, choose the food that you wish to use- make sure it is top quality and do not over feed - pups need to be covered ,not fat.

In bigger breeds it will only harm joints if they are grossly over weight as pups weight can slowly be added when pups have finished growing.

Assessing your puppy, Some can SEE them in the nest, I cannot, I stand pups up and write a critique on them at 5, 7, & 9 weeks, marking the pups so that I can compare with the earlier critiques.

What you have in bone structure at 7 - 9 weeks is in the same proportions as the finished adult – so no excuse for picking one with a bad fault from a litter.

I have usually chosen by 7 weeks, but need for my line to confirm heads at 9 weeks.

If there is nothing as good as your bitch or improves on her sell the litter and start again.

THE AIM IS ALWAYS TO GO FORWARD.

If you are keeping a puppy during the growing process - the outline will change greatly , they start maturing from the tail forwards, and the feet up, the lower jaw being the last part of the anatomy to stop growing.

Have faith - if it was a good puppy give it time to come back to that balance.

Socialise your puppy - the best shape will not win if no one can handle it.

Go to puppy socialisation classes if there are any near you and to show training classes, get the pup out in the car, and get it used to streets, people and traffic.

I like to get my pups used to benching at shows, so will take them out at six months, even if they are not ready – once they are used to the benches I will leave them at home to mature some time if it is necessary.

Do not over exercise your puppy - take it easy - it is so easy to damage joints or growth plates by DOING TOO MUCH TOO SOON.

With my Lancashire Heeler I start at ½ mile total as soon as the inoculation has taken effect at six months I lengthen it out to about three quarters of a mile, by 9 months we are doing a mile and one year plus [ when they have stopped growing ] 2 -3 miles with older dogs.

Finally do not wear rose coloured glasses when it comes to your dogs – assess them impartially – there is no perfect dog- show your dog to the best of your ability and try to let the Judge see his/her slight failings.

And so breed yourself a winner good luck.

Julia Swann.