Wednesday, 31 December 2014

puppy news

Tuuli and Kuura are delighted to announce the safe arrival of 5 healthy puppies on the last day of 2014!   It was a fairly uneventful birth, for which I am very grateful.  Two of them did come bum-first which gave Tuuli a bit of a hard time squeezing them out, but she soon settled down with them in perfect contentment.

We have 3 boys and 2 girls, just like Tuuli's last litter.  Four of them are black, tan & white with bright face markings.  One of the boys looks a lot like Tuuli with more tan than white.  I apologise for the use of the flash in these photos.  It's far from the ideal way to photograph puppies.  But it's so dull and overcast here today that there was no choice.  So you will have to see the colours better on another day.

The jury is still out on the colour of one of the girls.  She might be brown, although she doesn't look anything like the browns I have had before.  I have been told I am in denial and that she is just brown, but to me she looks the colour of a Weimaraner - that's right - blue

Now blue is a colour that the Finnish Lapphund does come in.  Occasionally.  Very, very occasionally.  So occasionally that it is highly unlikely that this little girl is actually blue rather than simply a rather cool-toned brown.  I'm scrambling around to try and find out if a blue puppy is even genetically possible with this match.  I'll have to get back to you on that.

But if I am not merely deluding myself and she is, in fact, blue then I do believe she will be the first one of that colour ever born in the UK. 

None of these puppies have nicknames yet, and I can't yet figure out how I'm going to tell the boys apart going forward - the first one and the last one are particularly similar, especially with their pink noses.  I'm hoping they will become a bit more distinguishable as the week goes on.  In the meantime, here are the 5 new year puppies. 

Happy new year one and all!

Puppy 1  -  Dog
Birth weight:  300g

Puppy 2  -  Bitch
Birth weight:  300g

Puppy 3  -  Dog
Birth weight:  365g

Puppy 4  -  Bitch
Birth weight:  350g

Puppy 5  -  Dog
Birth weight:  305g

Saturday, 6 December 2014

happy birthday ...

... to the Persikka litter who are 4 years old today!

What a gorgeous bunch they are now at 4 years - and what a gorgeous bunch they were at 4 weeks.

I must confess that I raided some people's Facebook pages for some of these photos and just plain nicked them.  That's right, I'm shameless like that.  Had to be done. 

Persikka Kuura  -  aka Kuura  -  formerly known as Junior
Persikka Bo  -  aka Bo  -  formerly known as Budgie
Persikka Sonni  -  aka Buddy  -  formerly known as Kicker

Persikka Tippi  -  aka Tippi  -  formerly known as Honey

Persikka Marja  -  aka Marja  -  formerly known as Marilyn

Persikka Ukko  -  aka Ukko  -  formerly known as Kuusi

Persikka Kasari  -  aka Sisu  -  formerly known as Vee

Monday, 10 November 2014

beach & woods

Around about this time every year a bunch of southwest Lappy nuts meet up for a beach walk.  Some years the weather is wet and miserable and typically November-ish.  Other years it's freakishly warm (like the year it was 17C).  This year it was chilly but sunny - perfect.

Whatever the weather, the Lappies always have a really fabulous time, sleep like logs that evening, and the people are vacuuming up sand for days after.

It's usually a great opportunity for me to get some family photos, and this year was particularly good as there were a couple of sets of siblings present who are not often in the same place at the same time. 

Thanks to Emily for taking this photo of Neka with a selection of her kids.

L-R: sisters Kaija & Maija from litter 2, Neka, Taika from Neka's first litter

Taika (middle) with her kids Usko (left) & Minna (right)

Tuuli (middle) with her kids Talvi (left) & Kaito (right) - & the beautiful view behind us!

And a few close-ups.

Siblings Talvi & Kaito

Kaito was a bit excited to see us
Somehow I managed not to get photos of Emmi & Jaana, who I am lucky enough to get to see more often.  But a couple of weeks ago there was a walk in the woods and an opportunity for pictures of Emmi with her mum and half-brother, and we got some great shots.

L-R 3 generations: Neka, her daughter Keksi & Keksi's daughter Emmi

Middle: Neka & Keksi with Keksi's kids, half-siblings Kuura (left) & Emmi (right)

The whole gang L-R: Jaana, Neka, Tuuli, Emmi, Keksi, Kuura (Photo: Jane Treasure)

Monday, 3 November 2014

wham, bam, thank you sir

We had an eventful weekend around here.  Not only was there Halloween and Tuuli's 3rd birthday within 2 days of each other, but we also had a visitor in the form of Kuura who arrived on Thursday night in the hope of performing studly duties on the waiting Tuuli at some point over the next few days.

It was pretty late on Thursday when we arrived and all the other dogs were in bed so I took Kuura for a little walk and then put him to bed too.  After a few minutes of woofing and whining didn't elicit the hoped-for response from us, he happily went to sleep.  The following morning I took everyone out for a walk two-by-two, finishing by putting Keskiyo in the car out of the way and taking Tuuli last.  Then we came back and I let them all loose to have a play and hopefully for Kuura and Tuuli to start getting interested in each other.

I left Tuuli and Kuura saying hello at the front door and I must admit that the next thing on my agenda was a coffee.  Kuura had other ideas, though, because by the time I got to the kitchen door he had accomplished the task he was brought in for, they were tied and Tuuli was screeching in indignation that she was stuck to him.

You  might think that my house must be positively palatial in order to afford enough time to achieve a mating while I stroll from room to room.  However nothing could be further from the truth.  The fact is that it took all of 20 seconds from "hello, how are you" to "way-hey, job done".   So coffee had to wait for the 12 minutes or so that they were tied.

My experience of dog mating is restricted to the 6 litters of Lapphunds I have had, plus using a couple of dogs at stud with other bitches, plus two failed attempts, one of which was the unsuccessful artificial insemination of Emmi a few months ago and the other my very first attempted mating Neka more than 8 years ago.  So I don't exactly have years and years of experience, as such, but I do have a bit.  And in all those 9 attempted natural matings (usually more than once or twice), I have never - I mean, never - had it all happen so quickly, so easily, with so little fuss and bother and without wearing out my own knees and back in the process.  Not to mention having to get far more intimately acquainted with the dogs than I would prefer. 

And in case I was tempted to think that it was just dumb luck and good timing, the next morning he did the same thing again.  This time it took all of, oh, about 30 seconds instead of 20.  Wham, bam, indeed.  And thank you very much Kuura.  I am mightily impressed with his skills!

 In 5 weeks or so we will find out if he is as productive as he is efficient, and we hope to be looking forward to new year's day puppies, give or take 24 hours.

Handsome Kuura hanging out in the garden during his visit.

And rolling around barking like a fool after his performance, utterly pleased with himself.  Fair enough, I guess - I'm pretty pleased with him too.

Pretty boy with a rainbow

And if you're wondering whether there are any photos of the happy couple together, frankly there simply was no time.  I didn't dare let them spend any extra time together, otherwise who knows how many puppies we might end up with.

But here is Tuuli enjoying one of her favorite walks (top) and on her 3rd birthday on her favorite tree stump (bottom).

Friday, 24 October 2014

happy birthday ...

... to the Pippuri puppies who are 1 year old today.  Has it really been a year?  Surely it must be time for more puppies in this house.  That's what I'm thinking, anyway. 

Tuuli was a terrific mum to these sweet little black peppercorns who, apart from Tito who is the image of his dad, all looked just like her.

Here are the sweet babies all grown up (well, kinda).

Infindigo Pippuri Aatami (Tito)

Infindigo Pippuri Kai (Kai)

Infindigo Pippuri Fiia (Fiia)

Infindigo Pippuri Kaito (Kaito)

Infindigo Pippuri Talvi (Talvi)

Friday, 15 August 2014

World Dog Show 2014 Helsinki

And so to the dog show.

Last weekend the World Dog Show 2014 was held at the Exhibition and Conference Centre in Helsinki.  In their planning, the Finnish team decided to offer free entry to the national breeds, and so they had record numbers of dogs entered for Finnish Spitz, Finnish Hounds, Lapponian Herders, Karelian Bear Dogs and, of course, Finnish Lapphunds, who had the biggest entry of all at 526 dogs entered.   I must say it was a bit of a treat to see a Karelian Bear Dog (several, in fact!), as it is a breed I've only ever seen in photos before.  They have fabulous two-tone tails.

When I heard about the show offering free entry for Lappies, I thought it too good an opportunity to miss, as with free entry there was sure to be an enormous number of dogs to see.  So a bunch of like-minded Lappy nuts from Britain decided to visit Helsinki for the show.

If you read my Helsinki sightseeing blog post, then you will know that I had to scrounge photos of the show from other people.   I did, in fact, get a few early pics, but I only know who some of these dogs are as I haven't yet had the opportunity to sit down with the programme to puzzle it all out.

Strong boy with lovely tri markings
Bear face

Lapinlumon Ilo
Lovely Eisenfest domino boy

Another nice tri
Brown bear
Lovely male I think I know

Pretty little bitch
Even a tiny pup was there
Smiley boy

It was a lovely surprise for Jane and I to get to meet Jaana's dad, Dagolas Ferrari.  And as I was otherwise engaged when I spotted him, I have to thank Liz for grabbing some photos of him.

Photo: Liz Mowatt

Photo: Liz Mowatt

So, what on earth could I have been doing that would interfere with getting photos from this once-in-a-lifetime event?  Well you may ask!

When the show entry deadline came and went, Jaana's breeder, Sarah from Lapinlumon, posted on Facebook that she had entered a large number of dogs and was looking for extra handlers.  I have always wanted the opportunity to show at a big FCI event like the World Dog Show, and so Jane & I wasted no time in volunteering for the job.   We packed our show suits and hit the Exhibition Centre bright and early ready for a crash course in European showing.   So while 5 rings were full of Lappies all day, I didn't get to see much of the actual showing. 

Jane showed Lapinlumon Qumina in an enormous Open Bitch class who was graded Excellent, and I showed Lapinlumon Gloria in Intermediate Bitch, where she was also awarded Excellent. 

Me showing Lapinlumon Gloria

Photo: Liz Mowatt

Photo: Liz Mowatt

The show style was very different to what we're used to in the UK.  For one thing, the dogs line up in the ring in numerical order.  I don't know how the numbers are allocated - they don't seem to be alphabetical as they are here.  I was very impressed and grateful at how well all the judges and stewards spoke English.  As always when I travel abroad, I was humbled by their skills and embarrassed by my single language.  They were all so patient with a neophyte like me.

As the classes were so enormous, each judge would call in the first 20 dogs, judge that group and then move on to the next 20 until all the dogs of the class were seen.  Each dog is given a verbal critique (and a written critique later) and then awarded a grade, shown to the spectators as a coloured card held aloft - red, blue, yellow and green for Excellent, Very Good, Good and Satisfactory.  I must admit that I'm not sure about the last 2 grades and I also can't remember which colour goes with them.  Very few dogs seemed to be sent out of the ring with no grade, although I think there were some.  Perhaps these were considered "unsatisfactory" for some reason.

After all the dogs are seen and judged, then all those awarded an Excellent grade pile back into the ring to be judged again.  In the UK a judge will look at a class of dogs then either pick out their 1-4 or 1-5 choices, perhaps immediately in order or perhaps in a short-list.  Then all the other dogs leave the ring.  I much prefer the European style.  The judge looked at all the dogs again, then shook the hand of each handler in turn of dogs who were at that point excused from the ring.  Then she considered those that were left, got everyone to move their dogs again and excused a few more.  This process is continued until there are only the last 4 left for placing.  It's a style that builds a lot of suspense for the spectator and the handler alike.  It's so much fun!

In the end, I was absolutely thrilled to place 3rd with Lapinlumon Gloria.  Quite a feat, I thought, as she wasn't keen on standing.  Or keeping her tail up.  Or, for that matter, moving.  Mainly she was a cuddle-dog rather than a show-dog, but she did me proud.  And Jane and I got to keep the lovely commemorative ring clips awarded to each dog who was graded Excellent, which you can see at the top of this post.

At the end of all the showing, Jane and I then went into the Breeder Team competition with the Lapinlumon group.  It was quite impressive to see so very many teams of Lapphunds in one ring.  There were no fewer than 46 teams entered, although presumably not absolutely all of them turned up.  But take my word for it when I tell you there were a lot of them.  Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a Lappy lover.  It was so exciting to place second amongst such venerable company.

2nd Place Lapinlumon Breeder Team - Photo Berit Koehler

Photo: Alice Fowler

One of the very great things about going to a show like this is the opportunity to see so many of the dogs that you only ever knew from photos before.  Another dog I was thrilled to get to meet was a long favorite of mine, Dagolas Qultapoju (Max), who is owned by Christian Lauluten at Kennel Vintervidda in Norway.  If you think I love him because he bears more than a passing resemblance to my Infindigo Taito, then you would be right!  And having met him, I can confirm that he has the same adorable chilled temperament too.  It's no coincidence that they are so alike - their pedigrees share many of the same dogs.

Gorgeous Dagolas Qultapoju (Max) getting brushed


Me photographing Max - photo Liz Mowatt

Another dog I have admired from afar for a long time is one of Max's sons, Ukkonen av Vintervidda (Ukko).  So when Christian was looking for handler to take Ukko into the challenge of the Open Dog class, I said "I'll get my jacket"!  There were apparently 91 really outstanding dogs in the Open Dog class and this number had been whittled down to, perhaps, a third of that for the challenge where all the dogs graded Excellent returned to the ring.

As with my previous experience with Gloria, each dog was examined by the judge again and then she moved to shake the hand of a few to excuse them from the ring.  Then she had another look at the dogs and excused a few more.  Then she got everyone to move again and excused yet more.  The audience was enormous and the atmosphere tense.  My own excitement was mounting with each cut that Ukko and I survived.  Although I was concentrating hard on Ukko and remembering the scrap of Norwegian to speak to him in, I was very aware of being one of only 4 or 5 left in the ring.  The judge moved me into second position and then got us all to run around the ring again, calling out her 1 - 2 - 3 - 4! as we ran.  It was unspeakably thrilling for me, so you can imagine how the other two people from England in that lineup felt with their own dogs.  That's right - I was 2nd after Toni Jackson with Elbereth Matkamies and before Elaine Short with Glenchess Ilolas, sire of my Riemu litter.  In 4th place was Sarah with Lapinlumon Elämänilo, Ilolas's dad.  

Me showing the magnificent Ukko
Open Dog First-Fourth Place - Photo Helena Bergstrom

Open Dog First-Third Place - photo Helena Bergstrom

Open Dog Second-Fourth Place - Photo Helena Bergstrom

I found it incalculably entertaining to have the 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in the strongly contested Open Dog class taken by British handlers; I was only sorry that Ukko did not belong to me!   The whole experience certainly made for an unforgettable day.

And now I know how to say "stand" in several European languages.  Well, it's a start.