Friday, October 1, 2010


Is there anything cuter than puppies?  Just love watching them wrestle with one another, everything done in slow motion.   These are Sugar's pups at
2 1/2 weeks.  Wish I lived close enough to visit!  Hope Janey sends lots of pictures!  Good news so far, all pups hear, no blue eyes, nice markings, and most of the eye and nose trim is already finished.

Because mama Sugar has a blue eye, I'm particularly pleased that all pups have dark eyes.  Although blue eyes are acceptable according to the U.S. Dalmatian standard, most Dal breeders prefer two brown eyes.   I've owned top quality blue-eyed Dals in the past and finished titles on many of them, including three consecutive generations of blue-eyed champions.  I rather like the way blue eyes look, but if I keep a puppy it will have to have two DARK brown eyes, not just brown, but DARK brown.. While it's not necessarily true that blue-eyed Dals are deaf (even though we get asked this quite often), blue eyes and hearing issues tend to show up in the same litters.  It's argued that this is not true in all bloodlines, but my own experience certainly matches up, and my blue-eyed Dals generally did a higher percentage of deafness.  I once bred a bitch with a single blue eye to a dog who (I did not know at the time) was a high producer of blues himself.  I got 2 double blue-eyed pups, 3 single blue-eyed pups, and 2 deafs - the deafs were unfortunately the 2 brown-eyed pups - but the relationship was still there.  That was before we had BAER testing available, but I am quite sure that some of those pups were also unis.

The other blue-eyed bitch who was bred to Argus was a double blue and her litter had 2 single blue-eyed pups, but fortunately all 5 pups had bilateral hearing.  Some breeders do not accept blue-eyed or unilateral hearing bitches for breeding, either because they do not believe that they should be bred from or because they don't want to take a chance on their stud dog siring blues, unis or deafs.  I don't agree with that notion, and feel that good bitches should not be discarded simply because they blue-eyed or a uni. They just need to be bred more carefully.  There are always males in this breed who do better than average hearing numbers - most of them do a higher than average percentage of patches, but produce good hearing numbers no matter how they are bred.  You can produce blue eyes or deafs even when breeding from brown-eyed bilateral stock.  We have tools (such as BAER testing) to help us reduce the incidence of deafness, but because the whole thing is related to the extreme-white-piebald color gene (that all Dalmatians have), we will not eliminate deafness without changing the look of the breed.  And who wants a solid black or liver Dalmatian?

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