So the post reads ... "What health challenges are you facing with your GSD as he/she is getting older?"
In the replies I read so many sad stories of GSD's suffering with HD, ED, Arthritis and the dreaded DM. My heart breaks for the owners and the poor dogs, some of which are not "old" just older and really shouldn't be suffering from conditions of old age. But are HD and ED conditions of old age? Well no not really are they, there is a lot we can do to avoid them and it makes me wonder who is to blame that so many are still suffering from these genetic conditions? If you buy a cheap puppy from parents who are not health tested then you are asking for trouble. If you over exercise or incorrectly exercise a growing puppy, allow your puppy to become fat or neuter them before the growth plates have closed then there is a strong possibility that you have contributed to your dogs joint abnormalities. If we are ever going to reduce the pain and suffering from HD and ED then the general public really need to be educated .. and to be fair all the knowledge you need is at your fingertips these days. And of course buying a cheap puppy from an unscrupulous breeder just puts more money in their pocket to breed the next litter.
Test are now also available for one of the gene's that causes the dreaded DM (CDRM) - the next generations will also hopefully have less risk of inheriting this degrading degenerative condition. There is no reason why the future of this and many breeds can't be healthier, that is of course providing it becomes standard procedure to health test breeding stock. Currently it's just down to the breeder and the stud dog owner and the buying public to be ethical in their choices.
So looking back at older Blaniks, I guess we start at the beginning, Blade had a degree of HD. But I didn't ask the right questions .. if I knew then what I know now and if the availability of information was the same I would never have bought him. But of course I'm glad that I did, I wouldn't change a thing other than his health issues. The thought of having not had the pleasure of living with him .. well it doesn't bare thinking about. Blade also had DM in later years .. or CDRM as it was called then, of course in those days there were no tests .. just the bad luck of the draw, thank god things are better now. I got Nikki with more knowledge and she and her progeny did not develop difficulties that are often associated with older GSD's, they were fit and health into double figures.
I have always health tested my breeding bitches and with that in mind I hope the majority of Blaniks have live fit, happy healthy lives. But animals are not machines and sometimes the general make up of an animal has abnormalities. Storm was never bred from, never health tested but it was pretty obvious that she had hip issues .. we took care of her to make sure she was in as little pain as possible, sadly she died of a torsion at 9 years old. I can't think of any others other than Storm, Blade and Finlay who have had mobility problems here in old age. I hope the moderately active life I give them keeps them fit and healthy. I'm no weekend walker, it must be as damaging to joints to rest for 5 days and do strenuous exercise at weekends as it is to not walk at all?
Now I have 4 old dogs, old is over 7 in this breed. I'm careful of their weight and I'm currently in the process of trying to get a few KG off Jezi. Fat dogs are unhealthy dogs. I walk them, even at her 11.5 years Asha continues to do exactly the same as the others do. She has no obvious mobility problems and we'll keep going as long as she wants to. Jill Hubbards words will always remain in my mind .. Walk them as far as you think they needs .. and then just a little bit more. It sure does seem to be working here!
The top and bottom photos are of the 4 veterans out today .. the top photo is a little washed out but shows clearly 2 happy healthy veterans .. the middle photo .. well that was the main man, that was Blade!
With the weather being crap and Mr S hogging the TV as usual I decided to look up some Italian "K" names. I'm being optimistic and I thought with Sisco being Italian and the next litter being the Blanik K litter that it would be nice ... Well hell, like Welsh there is no "K" in the Italian alphabet, and no J,W, X and Y either! We live and lean. We don't have J, K, V, Q, X or Z in Welsh and I guess we manage perfectly well without them. Ah well back to list one then.
No Sammi is not in season ... but I'm willing her to come in now or leave it till the middle -end of Dec!
So here is the question .. if you know the judge likes your type of dog would you be foolish not to go, even if you have been friends for years? I'd say so and we went! Let's face it within this breed and others there are a lot of friends exhibiting, judging and breeding. All you can do is put your trust in the judge to be honest to themselves and their breed on the day. We went to Builth .. a friend was judging and we won, we went to Crewe a friend was judging and we lost, so yesterday we went to Stafford and we won! No one was nasty, but we did get a few off the cuff comments .. "Oh this is a long way for you" .. well you know, no not really. Not everything is on your doorstep in rural North Wales, we can and will continue to travel to these shows ... watch out The Blaniks keep on coming!!!!
I think atmosphere wise yesterday it was spot on, it was buzzing there. Loki was really up for it and showed the best he has for ages. In my opinion he and young Kasey more than deserved to win their classes. I was also really pleased to hear the result from the other show. The GSD still flying the flag, but I'm glad we went where we did, I'm glad we picked that show and despite the result if I had to choose again I would make the same decision. Huge thanks to everyone for the congratulations on Facebook, it means so much .. Even though I know they have seen the "extra" post ... Some of course have not bothered .. Well what did I expect? Giggles to one's self at the jealousy again!
Two shows on the same day .. what do you do? Well Ian and I opted to pick up Linda and join our GSD friends at Sedgley and Gournal Show today. There was a lovely atmosphere around the ring and we had a super time .. though I did miss my mates at WNC. Young Kasey won Junior and Loki was BOB, but though he showed his socks off nothing in the group for Loki.
Tonight I had a call from a rather tactless friend and within minutes she managed to bring me to tears. Why do people think it's OK to say ".. well you do have other dogs." I appreciate that I haven't actually lost a dog and hopefully there is still good news in the not so distant future but sometimes a little understanding and compassion goes a long way. It continues to be such an emotional rollercoster for me and now seeing all the puppy photos of Zalu being posted .. well I could just weep at how beautiful he was then .. and of course still is now.
Little miss cheeky at the front in the photo waiting for her "payment" for having her photo taken. LOL
Yesterday we joked on Facebook that Luther should go back to the rescue centre as I wanted a kitten not a feck off big black cat. Most people know me well and consider me to be a "true friend" not a "two faced person," (yes, the green eyed monsters is at it again) so most people joined in the banter. It's heartbreaking how many are taken back isn't it, mostly through no fault of their own. People are far to quick to give up on animals.
The boy is seven months now and I would think he still has quite a bit of growing to do, but my god he's such a handsome dude .. he's so black he glistens, but if you look closely he still has the lighter undercoat and the stripes are apparent in some lights.
We are all after the perfect show dog, but there never is one (well apart from Louis and Sammi 💖😁💖) and sometimes all our hopes and dreams are pinned on the shoulder of a promising puppy. Of the recent youngsters here Sammi turned out as I expected her to do so I guess, I've always been really pleased with her. Loki was always eye catching, even in the nest he had potential but he turned out better maybe than early indications, despite some minimal issues he is one handsome dog. Kaiah, Hmm Kaiah .. as close to where I want to be in the breed as I've ever been. I can't really think of much you could do to improve her .. she really is in my eye pretty close to ideal .. again I stress this is my opinion, my interpretation of the breed standard. Huge change from me pointing out the negative isn't it! I searched far an wide for my next dream.. a sable male. It was heartbreaking at times with Teddy not having early potential, then the owner of Chris deciding to keep him, though he has now been sold on and of course Sable 2 with his no show testicles! Of all I think sable 2 was the hardest to take. Then I found My Mr Poldark, my Ross. Now I won't kid myself that he has turned out as I had hoped. He hasn't! To be honest I've probably taken a step back. The serious show goer would rehome him, but I'm not in it for the glory my dogs are pets who go to shows. As regards to being a show dog, well he just quite hasn't made the grade. He lacks coat and furnishings which always goes against him, he has a slight raise in his back and he lacks the attitude so needed in the ring. Ross loves the shows, but he goes to play with his mates or to dig holes and find twigs .. not for the "showing!" He'll never be the stud dog I hoped he would be either. I haven't health tested him as it's too much money to pay on a dog I feel is not "quite" good enough. My dog, my opinion, my choice!
As regards to Ross .. the dog, the pet, well hell you could never get better. Ross loves life, he's as bright as a shiny button, obedient, affectionate, kind, entertaining and funny .. so funny. He's a huge presence in this pack and has made me smile everyday that I've known him .. that means so much more to me than any win in the showring.
With Nico aging we will soon be without a stud dog here, Ross was to be the next generation but as I've said it's not to be. Ideally I wanted a stud dog who was not related to Nico so I could use him myself and he could be used on the Nico daughters in the area .. but I'm not in a position to bring in another male. So I guess plan B on that count could be to keep a male from Sisco and Sammi. Having a male who looks like Sisco, well I would be so proud! Of course lots of ifs and buts aren't there, I'm more wary than ever that Sammi will not get pregnant and then there's the testicle issues. Both her sons from the Merlot litter had a retained testicle, what if that were to happen again? I must admit I was quite taken aback about that as I'd only ever had one pup before with a retained testicle and that was in the "E" litter of 2003. I can't therefore think that it carries in my line, Sammi's brothers had their testicles and to my knowledge Nico has never produced the abnormality. Now I'm not blaming Merlot, it takes two to tango and the combination of the bloodlines would have been to blame, not one parent or the other! So yeah the ideal dream now would be a male from Sammi who either looks like Sisco .. or Nico ... and a sable bitch pup from Kaiah later next year. We can dream can't we!
To know someone is breeding from animals who are not health tested is disappointing .. but for some ignorance is bliss ..sadly it goes on. To find people breeding from animals who are health tested and have bad results just makes a mockery of the whole system. To hear of someone using a dog at stud even though he already has pain from his hip dysplasia at a young age, well that is outrageous, shocking and damn right cruel. The "breeder" has signed up a litter of pups to a life of uncertainty and probably pain. H.D is about 50% hereditary - so about half of that litter will live in different degrees of pain. I'm so disgusted I can't find the words!
Luther seems better today, maybe he's eaten something? He's still odd after that night at the beginning of the month when something seemed to spook him in the front. He does get very worried when someone else rushes in through the cat flap. I can only think something was chasing him that night. I do hope there isn't another unneutered male about. We haven't got Billy to stand up for them now .. I guess Junior would be ready to take anything on though .. no seriously I hate it. Unneutered male cats are just a bloody nightmare!