Thursday, May 27, 2010

On Your Mark, Get Set . . .

There may be no blogging for a few days as Argus & I are leaving for Bloomington Illinois this afternoon. One of my projects when I get back is a better phone or some sort of Netbook so I can stay in touch when I travel. Am so used to being connected all the time, I feel really isolated when I am on the road. Can't believe it's been over 3 months since we have done a show weekend! Judges are not very good for Argus, and unfortunately I was never able to get Lucy down here from Canada (she's entered, but still wwaayy up north), so I don't anticipate any excitement BUT it will sure be nice to be back in the ring. This will be our practice weekend, as Argus and I relearn how to work together in the ring. A lot of successful showing is about timing and presentation, and after three months of enforced absence from the ring, I have a lot of work ahead of me.

Last Physical Therapy appointment today. I'm very grateful for it as the exercises made all the difference in both strength and flexibility. I'm not 100% and certainly not pain free, but hopefully everything goes alright.

My new fish Badis sp. "Buxar" arrived safely yesterday and were eating well last night - frozen bloodworms. One is starting to color up already and is going to be a beauty. I love getting new fish species - never heard of these until I saw them offered on Aquabid. I've bred a few Badis species already, though none this lovely. Only problem with keeping these guys is that they don't eat flake, only live or frozen. Hopefully they survive until I get a new batch of blackworms next week. Hate keeping blackworms alive (in the fridge, with daily water changes) but they sure make a difference in the growth and spawning of many species. Need to start getting the Goo Obo Gudgeons & the Betta picta in spawning mode.

Half day of work, last PT appointment, then I come home to bathe and trim Argus, load the car, and explain the lists to Ron. Lots of plants that need to be watered this weekend and several tanks of fish that will need feeding. Adult fish can easily go 4 days (although Edd Puffer will be annoyed) but the fry will need to be fed, hence the fish list.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dalmatian Coats

I was reading your blog about recessive genes such a liver spotting and long coats. Do you mean longer than normal coats or full out "shaggy" coats? We have two Dals- one's hair is about twice as long as the other. It doesn't hang off of her or anything like that but it is definitely longer and she has a bit of fuzzy shag on her back legs. Ironically she has a full champion pedigree, whereas my other girl- (prettier) slick haired Dal- came rescued from a puppy mill. I've often wondered what caused the one to have hair so much longer than the other. Is this considered a disqualification in the breed?

The Dalmatian Standard reads, "The coat is short, dense, fine and close fitting. It is neither woolly nor silky. It is sleek, glossy and healthy in appearance." That pretty much says it all. Remember that the breed standard is our guideline for breeding the very best Dalmatians. That being said, there is quite a bit of variation in coats in this breed.

Dal coats come either short (acceptable) or long (not acceptable for showing) but in addition to the dominant gene for normal coat and the recessive gene for long coat there are probably a number of modifier genes that affect the texture, thickness and length. Some Dals have harder almost wiry coats that are often "open" - that means not tight and slick and close-fitting, while other have the normal flat sleek coat which can vary in both thickness and length. Some coats are so short they almost appear to be painted on, while others are longer and softer and the dogs may have a bit of fringe on the backs of their thighs, on their tails, and sometimes even a wavy look to the coat over their rumps. These variations are all the result of modifiers and are all acceptable for showing, although the ones with a bit more length may require the judicious use of a scissors before a dog show!

The long coats are just that, although they too will show the affect of modifier genes, but there is no mistaking a true long coat - they look more like spotted Golden Retrievers. A number of normally smooth coated breeds also carry the recessive for long coats - Weimaraners for instance. German Shepherds also carry a long coat gene - if you have ever seen a "fluffy" Shepherd, you may have seen a long coat. Some bloodlines will carry the recessive gene, most won't, but there is now a simple DNA test that can be used to see whether a dog carries that gene. Remember, because the long coat is a recessive, a dog can carry a single copy of that gene but have normal coat length. He can pass the gene on to offspring however. A puppy that inherits a copy of that gene from each parent will have a long coat. It's not common in this breed, but their were kennels in Southern California and Texas that did produce these dogs from time to time, and there is apparently someone in the Waco Texas area who has been getting these dogs as they are showing up in rescue. Beckett who is pictured about is one of those dogs.

There are more pictures of long coated dogs (as well as all the unusual colors that show up from time to time) on my website. Some of the genetics are a bit outdated as there have been some recent discoveries in the inheritance of things like brindles, but the pictures are worth looking at, and most of the information is correct. I have not worked on the color pages for a long time and do have more pictures that should be added.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Three Stooges

Carrie had this picture of the brothers taken at the National to celebrate the fact that all three boys were ranked in the Top Twenty last year. Left to right Joey, Andy & Argus. Joey is the silly giggly one, Andy is a mild-mannered serious one, and Argus is always looking for the next adventure. All different and all appealing in their own ways.

We broke a record for temperature yesterday - 96 degrees! The old record was 88. Hopefully we don't have too many 90+ days this summer as I am not a hot weather person. After such a gorgeous spring I guess we have to take some knocks. Minnesotans don't just accept beautiful weather, they think "we'll pay for this later", a self fulfilling prophesy. Gotta get used to this weather though if I am going to show Argus this summer - he does too, so I dropped off the car at Tires Plus, and walked back to pick it up later. A rather warm walk, but not too bad and my ankle felt pretty good.

I'm doing my Physical Therapy every evening, plus walking for at least half an hour, and my ankle feels better every day other than some early morning stiffness. I still get twinges of pain especially if I turn sharply, but can finally walk without a limp until I get too tired. Still hurts to run, but not so that it's unmanageable, and my foot is starting to get the flex back so I don't feel as if I am running while wearing a swimfin on my right foot! Was really looking forward to camping at the shows this weekend, but now Ginger may not be able to go as her motorhome is not cooperating. Wish she had taken it out for a checkup before yesterday so she'd have had a chance to get things fixed in time. Sigh. Guess Argus and I will get a motel and commute back and forth.

Got an interesting question about raw feeding -

I'd like your advice. I have two Dals. One eats chicken wings, necks, backs slowly and crunches them up and swallows them. The other Dal eats really fast. She almost sucks down her food. A few times, when I have fed the chicken, several hours later, she will throw up a small amount and there is always a bone that is about an inch and a half long. Is there a way to get her to slow down? She eats the veggie mix and the ground up meat well. I feed them in separate rooms so there is no competition.

This is a common problem with raw fed dogs. Some are such eager eaters they gulp rather than chew. There's really no way to solve that problem because it's just the way that dog eats, like the person who swallows before chewing their food thoroughly. In every group of dogs you will get slow chewers, brisk chewers, the ones who chew very little and the ones that gulp. My current group consists of Argus who is a slow chewer, Josie and Coral who are brisk chewers, and Watson who chews very minimally. Watson will occasionally bring up a larger piece for rechewing, which is why the dogs all eat in their crates. About the only way to slow down the fast eaters is to feed larger cuts. Turkey necks normally work really well for that - but the dogs will still gulp smaller pieces. When a dog brings boney pieces back up, it is normally part of a chicken wing, or a few turkey neck vertabrae. I'd be inclined to feed backs and necks but no wings to a gulper.