Sunday, December 30, 2007

Is a Portuguese Water Dog the Right Dog for You?

Every breeder has criteria for the type of home they find suitable for
one of their puppies. My criteria include no children under five years of
age and a family that has the time for the puppy. This usually means
that someone is home during the day or the puppy can go to work with
a family member. As I like to keep track of my pups, I prefer owners
who are geographically close. If a family is open to having a show pup,
or they want to do agility or water work with one of my dogs, they go to
the top of my waiting list.
Many people think they can manage this active breed plus a toddler
and do both justice. Others suggest puppy day care, dog walkers, and
various other measures so the dog won't explode waiting for them to
return home each day. These arrangements are often suggested by
people who are really anxious to have a dog but who really don't have
time for a dog of this breed. Portys were bred to be with their person
and to work with them on their boat. Portys want to be with you and
languish when neglected.
Few people who have not had a Porty realize how boisterous this breed
is, how mouthy (children will say "he bit me!") and how little they respect
your space (jumping up, the hit and run maneuver, the head butt).
Recently two of my little devils ran down a hill behind me taking me right
off my feet. I just got the cast off my leg the week the Noel Litter was born.
It is true, most people who have a Porty will never have another breed.
These dogs are so bright and have so much personality. There is a whole
lexicon of terms for Porty behavior that Porty owners know (the woo woos,
the shark, counter surfing, stuffy on walks, destuffing stuffies, etc.)
But Porty ownership is not for the faint of heart. I tell people if they want
a dog with the personality of a lab, get a lab. A Porty is a whole different
There are about 1400 Porty puppies registered with the AKC each year.
Each of these puppies will have found their home placed by a dedicated
breeder who is going to be responsible to that puppy for the rest of its life.
We all have the policy that the dog returns to us regardless of reason or
age of the dog if the first owner is unable to keep the dog. It is the
antithesis of the ads you'll see in the newspapers for other breeds:"3 males,
2 females, cash only". Once you have your dog, they never want to see you
again. With a Porty, you get both a dog and a mentor for the life of the dog.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The timing of spay/neuter

Blue Run PWDs has a delayed spay/neuter policy specifying that pets are not to be neutered before reaching 14 months of age. This flies in the face of what most veterinarians recommend. They routinely advise neutering at 6 months of age.
Puppies need to mature before neutering to prevent spay incontinence in females and to allow joints and ligaments to mature in both sexes. PWDs are slow to mature and they continue to develop both deeper chests and broader skulls as they get older, making them more consistent with the breed standard. Premature neutering results in leggy dogs with slender chests and unimpressive heads. The following is a site with a balanced discussion of the pros and cons of early neutering. It is well worth reading regardless of what breed you may have.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Here is Honey's Noel litter!

Blue Run's Honey Bear delivered 10 beautiful puppies on December 23, 2007. The litter is sired by Best in Specialty Show (2002) BISS CH Watermark Toby's Black Jack AWD, CGC, TDI. The puppies are healthy and robust and number 6 boys and 4 girls.
Honey works as a therapy dog and has a wonderful gentle and calm personality. The owners of puppies from her first litter, known as the Valentines, have been delighted with the
temperaments of their puppies.

All of my dogs participate in the Georgie Project, a research project exclusively for the Portuguese Water Dog. Preliminary data from this research suggests that dogs, like Honey, who carry a protective H allele, have a decreased likelihood of contracting Addisons Disease. Half of her puppies will carry that protection. Ultimately, participation in the Georgie Project will improve our knowledge of and health of the PWD. Each of these puppies, when they are a bit older, will participate in that research by donating blood samples for the ongoing research.

And here is the sire Watermark Toby's Black Jack owned by Jan and Norm Mosher:

Jack is a popular stud because of the wonderful health and beautiful conformation of his get. He has produced many titled offspring. Perhaps some of the Noel Litter will be adding to that number.

First Post

Welcome to, the personal weblog of Cheryl Hoofnagle, a Portuguese Water Dog breeder and enthusiast.