Sunday, 30 November 2008

like parent, like offspring

Tarkka has been to visit a couple more times and he's looking more like his mum everyday. I know Jo & George were hoping for a boy with tan markings like his dad, but I feel he will end up with the bright tricolour markings that I love with distinctive white and paler tan. Sorry folks!

Here he is getting muddy with our gang yesterday.

And having a cuddle with me very much against his wishes - he'd rather be beating up on Maija as in the following photo.

You can just see the remains of their baby teeth in this one, and it might well be the last photo to capture them. Their adult teeth are quickly filling in the space at the front between the canines and the canines won't be far behind.

I should mention here that the puppies are 4 months old today. It's a real milestone as the girls are weighing in at about 10 kgs now and the boys even more than that. They are getting close to their adult height so that at first glance I can't differentiate between Neka & Maija when they are out running around. Happy 4-month birthday, puppies!

As Tarkka is looking like his mum, can you guess which one is Keskiyo and which Inko?

She certainly has her dad's looks and now we're hoping she's got her mum's brains. That combination might just produce the world's first ever perfect dog.

Yes, well, I would say that, wouldn't I?

Friday, 28 November 2008

cool it, baby

Thank you to Stacey & Shane who sent me this adorable photo of Tarmo sleeping in his favorite position. I particularly like the little tongue sticking out. Can you believe how bright his face is getting? If you look at the earlier photos of him you will see there is just no predicting the adult Lapphund's colour based on puppy colour. This seems particularly true of sables and wolf sables who change colour almost daily as they grow up.

If you own a Lappy, then this on-the-back, belly exposed, legs akimbo, is probably a familiar snoozing pose. Here is Viivi doing likewise followed by Maija then Neka showing off her belly about a week before having 9 puppies. Although it's not quite a cute-sleeping-on-back shot, I like it as part of this group if only for the big grin on her face.

I have a theory that Lapphunds often lie like this because they get hot in the house and that's a quick way to cool down as they lose body heat through their bellies. Keskiyo does it too, usually at night stretched out against the back door in the coolest spot in the house. He makes an excellent draft excluder.

And puppies start to sleep this way at a remarkably young age. Last summer's litter seemed to sleep on their backs most of the time. It was earlier in the summer and we had much hotter weather, so the cooling theory works. Check these babies out - a selection of puppies at 2 & 3 weeks old.





Karhu had another idea for cooling down when he got too hot. In the second litter, the one to perform this trick was Jaska. I truly cannot believe I don't have a photo of Jaska with his head in the bowl because it was always there! In fact, both these puppies were always wet due to their obsession with the water bowl. I'll bet they both love to paddle in the water now too.

Inko, on the other hand, try as she might, was always just too little to reach high enough to fully immerse herself. My, how times change! It's difficult to believe, but she's actually bigger than Tarmo these days. I wonder what Paula & Adam are feeding her? {Sarky suggestion deleted - far be it from me to suggest that "little" Inko is anything other than utterly angelic.}

Saturday, 22 November 2008

ugly puppies

That's right, I said ugly. You don't believe me, do you? I know I've said once or twice that puppies don't come in ugly. I've probably even said it on this blog. But I lied.

It all depends on the age of the puppy. And the breed, no doubt. There are very few puppies cuter than a Finnish Lapphund at the age of about 3 weeks to 15 or 16 weeks. (Ok, possibly these Shiba Inus. Beware this is a time-sensitive link to a webcam which is currently showing the most adorable little red Shiba puppies about 5 or 6 weeks old.)

Here is Viivi at 12 weeks, for example, in her usual position cuddled up with Jaska. Cute as a button, no?

And here is Maija at a similar age doing a like-father-like-daughter at the kitchen door. It's illegal in our house for dogs to actually enter the kitchen, but they do lie with front paws only over the threshold in the hope of being tossed a piece of cheese or, prize of prizes, a slice of green pepper.

And in a few days the puppies will be 16 weeks old. A full 4 months old at the end of November. Is that really all? It seems such a long time ago I had 9 of them here. And like everyone who gets a new puppy, I can't believe Maija has been with us such a short time - she's definitely an integral part of the family now and it's difficult to remember what it was like around here without her.

As there are few things cuter than baby Finnish Lapphunds, so the same dogs at the age of 4-5 months are barely fit to be seen in public. Those of us who are interested in the world of dog shows despair at winding up with such an ... unattractive specimen. Witness my beautiful Neka at the age of 4 months:

Shocking, isn't it? Gangly, skinny, big of ear and long of muzzle. Barely recognisable as a Finnish Lapphund. And so, even Neka's puppies, these most gorgeous of baby Lapphunds, are going through their ugly stage now. Maija's teeth are falling out much faster than the new ones are coming in, and I'm reaching the stage where I wonder if she'll ever grow into her ears.

And speaking of gangly... Tarkka came to visit yesterday. He is shooting up and is now all out of proportion with a long muzzle, head too big for his body and body too short for his legs. But, even in the throes of their ugly stage, I have to admit they're still pretty sweet. Here they are after exhausting themselves playing like maniacs.
BTW that's Tarkka on top - they're still so similar it's difficult to tell them apart when they're just a bundle of puppy rolling around the floor together. But Tarkka is noticeably bigger now so the similarity will likely become less marked as time goes on.

So, we all go through our puppies' ugly stage and hope that when we get to the end of it they will have turned into the beautiful dog we hoped for. Guess what? They always do!

To every rule, there is the exception, of course. Very occasionally there comes a Lapphund who is as beautiful at 5 months as they are at 3 months and as they will be at 3 years. They just don't grow through that skinny, leggy phase. They sail through adolescence without being touched by the ugly puppy syndrome. Who could be so perfectly formed?

Perhaps not the model of Lappy perfection that he is now at age 2 1/2, but Keskiyo didn't have many faults at 4 or 5 months of age. But, then again, some might say he never really grew up!