Do I really want to do a litter of pups this winter? Have I recovered from Pauli's litter? Am I ready to keep another puppy that will only be 6 months younger than Fern? Gotta do some serious thinking here! It's been many years since I've done two litters this close together, probably not since Jess still lived at home. If I'd raised Lucy's litter I would not even consider it, but because that was Patti's litter and because they did all the work, it's not really part of the equation. This would be MY litter.
I've been talking to the owner of this lovely Dal for a long time about "leasing" her to breed to Argus. Because Argus is already 7 years old, and because I don't own (outright) any Argus kids, I need to think seriously about that. Other than Fern, my own dogs range from 7 to 14+ years. There's also MY age to consider - if I want to keep another Dal Boy, I'm going to have to do it pretty soon. What I'd like from this combination is a liver boy for ME. When we are looking for black girls we always get liver boys, so I'm probably jinxing myself by even thinking liver boy . . .
One of the issues was health testing, since this Dal's owner doesn't do it regularly, and many of the dogs in her pedigree didn't even have their hips x-rayed. It's a rule here that we do no breedings from dogs who have not (at the very least) had hips, hearing, and eyes certified. Holly passed everything, including elbow x-rays, and will be able to get her CHIC number, so that issue does not stand in our way.
Winter pups are "easy" in that I'm usually home, and there isn't much else going on. On the other hand, depending on the weather, it's hard to get the pups in for vet visits, and it's a lot harder to socialize them, plus all socialization has to be done indoors, in the family room - so much easier to do it outside! Sure saves on the paper towels! Then there is the issue of puppy placements. Although I have a very long list of people wanting pups NOW, how many of them will want a winter pup? Actually, we've been lucky that way and only once had trouble placing a winter litter. That happened during the popularity crash, when there were NO homes for Dals - well do I remember having to housetrain 4 pups in February! But we got it done, and got those pups placed too. I've always found winter housetraining goes very quickly! It's tough on the owner for a few weeks, but the pups sure catch on quickly.
So much to consider . . .