|Am/Can Ch. Avalon Taylormade By Paisley "Taylor"|
As I look around the family room, I'm reminded that it's time for a new liver! Nope, my health is fine and hopefully my own liver will last as long as the rest of me does, but it's time for another Liver Dalmatian. I do wish we called them chocolate Dalmatians or red Dalmatians, as the color is referred to in certain other breeds. Think chocolate Labs or red Dobes - genetically the same color as liver Dalmatians or liver Springers. Actually, liver Ch. "Argus" is listed as "red" at one of the Vet clinics we use and I've never asked them to change it. We often refer to livers Dals as Brownies.
When I was looking for my first Dal in the 1960s, I wrote to all the kennels advertised in "Dog World" magazine, looking for a show quality female, either black or liver. I'd never actually seen a liver-spotted Dal at the time, but had no preference as to color, thought liver sounded cool, and ended up with liver-spotted Cricket who went on to become Ch. Blackpool Red Nora CDX. Two more livers followed, both from Melody Dalmatians, both Champions with obedience titles, plus a black half-sister to Cricket. One of the liver-spotted Melody girls Ch. "Pooka" CD became my foundation bitch and is behind almost all of my Dalmatians. And so began Paisley Dalmatians.
At the time I started showing Dals, livers were definitely a rarity and were often poorly marked. It's been fun to watch them increase in popularity over the years. Livers have come a long way in both quality and spotting, and the winners at the Dal National are often Brownies. When our liver Ch. "Morris" went BoS in 1995 the Best of Breed winner was the lovely liver-spotted Ch. "Penny". When our liver GCh. "Argus" won the breed in 2008, BoS was liver GCh. "Bindi", and Winner Dog and Winners Bitch were livers as well! When Argus's son liver GCh. "Krash" won the National in 2012, BoS was our liver GCh. "Pauli". Both times I've judged the National I've used a liver - Ch. "Mocha" in 2002 and GCh. "Brinkley" in 2014. (No, I don't give preference to livers, they just happened to be the dogs I liked best in those entries.) Both colors are to be judged equally, and most judges appear to have no color preference, although there's a very few we avoid with livers.
Although in some areas it's traditionally been harder to sell livers as pets, we've never actually had the problem, perhaps because we've always had really personable liver Dals who could do good sell jobs on potential pet buyers! Nowadays we generally have more reservations for livers than blacks, both as pets and potential show dogs.
There was a time when I owned more livers than blacks, but right now I have two livers and three blacks because the last two youngsters I kept were both black-spotted and the last three dogs I lost to old age were livers. I did the litter Ch. "Max" was from for a liver boy, but there were no liver boys in the litter and I fell in love with black-spotted Max. The litter Ch. "Fern" came from had no livers at all, as her sire GCh. "Louie" does not appear to be liver-factored.
Because Fern's dam GCh. "Pauli" is liver, Fern is liver-factored and will be able to produce liver puppies. To maximize my chances of getting a liver puppy this time, she'll probably be bred to a liver boy Ch. "Duncan". Averages say that we should have a litter that will have half black puppies and half liver puppies, but of course one rarely gets the average, and no we won't have pups that are both black and liver!
Fern finished her Championship this Spring with a nice record that included a Specialty major and a Group placing from the classes. There was a question as to whether or not she would hold off coming in season long enough to complete her health testing so that we could breed her this summer. Because dogs have to be 24 months old for OFA hip certification and she was due in season a week before her birthday, it didn't look likely. Fern was already BAER bilateral for hearing, OFA normal for eyes, and OFA normal for thyroid, we just needed the hip x-rays for the final piece. We made it! Fern got her hips and elbows done the day after her birthday, they both looked great and the x-rays went off to OFA. She should pass with a Good or Excellent hips, and have her CHIC number soon. AND she's in season.
Time for a new Liver!