Firstly let me say I am an exhibitor - and judge - and I would never regard myself as a breeder as I rarely breed and when I do its only to produce a puppy to keep myself for the show ring.
Secondly let me also say showing dogs is addictive and it is certainly not a cheap hobby these days - with travelling expenses, show entry fees and all the grooming preparations, cages, trolleys and other items it all mounts up to a great deal of money!
In the United Kingdom hairless and puffs are shown together. In some countries in Europe they are given separate classes but as they are both born in the same litter (unless its a puff to puff mating) it is highly unlikely that the UK KC will ever consider separating the two varieties. Thus is does make it harder to win well with a puff unless it is of outstanding quality.
Most people start their showing career at Open Show level, where you gain great experience and your dog learns what is expected of him before you progress to Championship show level.
There are many Championship shows every year, spread out geographically all over the country and most cover three or four days - each day being for different groups. Chinese Crested fall into the Toy Group.
The highlight of the show year of course, is Crufts. Held in March annually at the National Exhibition Center in Birmingham it attracts many thousands of dogs of all breeds from all over the world. This is the Kennel Clubs premiere British show and dogs are required to qualify for entry in their breed classes. It is a great opportunity to meet people from many different countries and to establish friendships for the future as well as shopping at the many tradestands and watching displays organised by the Kennel Club.
Crufts is the show every exhibitor wants to qualify for and the show every exhibitor wants to win a Challenge Certificate at! I was fortunate enough to do this in 1998 with Ch Churrasco Cream Dream At Oolagha, and think it unlikely I will ever be that fortunate again.
For those of us who get up in the wee small hours, drive for miles to show our dogs it is a way of life and no matter win or lose we always bring the best dog home!!
Grooming the hairless is something I do not do - nor do I want to get into talking about it. I only show puffs and they are groomed regularly.
I bath all my dogs every 7 to 10 days - and clip their faces every other bath. I use an Oster clipper with a number 30 or 40 blade.
Because my dogs all have correct veil coat they are relatively easy to take care of coat wise, and require little of no brushing inbetween baths. I do, however, re-do their topknots daily to ensure no matting occurs but this is the only daily attention they are given coat wise. I do not trim, or thin out their coats in any way, perhaps the odd stray long hair on the feet is taken off but apart from that no scissors or thinning shears are ever used on my dogs.
Presentation in the show ring is of utmost importance - and I am proud to say my dogs are always put down to perfection.
Breeding dogs takes dedication
Breeding dogs is not a money maker
Breeding dogs is hard work
Three statements I am a great believer in - I, as I said previously, am not a breeder. I have the occassional litter but I am not dedicated enough to have a breeding program and breed dogs in numbers - nor would I want to. I prefer to leave this to those who are dedicated enough to ensure the health of their puppies, the quality and health of the stud and bitch, and breeding should be left to those knowledgable enough to fulfill these requirements.
Many people breed a litter simply because they have a bitch and their friend has a dog they can use - either for a small stud fee, a puppy back or because the breeder of the bitch sold her to them on breeding terms. This in my opinion, is not a reason to breed. The only valid reason to breed, again in my opinion, is to improve the breed characteristics and to produce stock better than the parents.
Breeding dogs should never be purely to increase your bank balance! Raising a litter, with the correct feeding of the bitch, the correct feeding, worming and vet checks of the puppies isnt cheap, to say nothing of the cost of registering them with the KC. Plus when things go wrong, ie a cesarian section is required, this can run into several hundred pounds and if the puppies do not survive it is heartbreaking for both the bitch and the owner.
Breeding requires careful consideration of the choice of stud dog, perhaps travelling many miles to take the bitch to be mated, making sure the health checks have been done (for both dog and bitch) and making sure you can provide a suitable environment for rearing puppies. Plus you must realise that you could have these puppies in your care for much longer than the 8 weeks if you are unable to find them good homes.
Good homes - yes another issue - is a good home one which will keep the dog in conditions you would like, love them and treat them well - or is it the first person to come along with the cash in their hands?
So many things to consider before you breed a litter - and I am sure those reading this can think of lots of other things to add to my list. Having only had two litters in 21 yrs - the first being a single puppy who I kept until the day he died despite the fact he could not be shown due to only having one fully descended testicle - the second a litter of six beautiful puff puppies who I enjoyed rearing and had a lot of fun watching develop into the dogs and bitches they are today.
A quick mention about genetics in the Crested means I should also point out here that breeding hairless to hairless or hairless to puff will produce both hairless and puffs, but breeding puff to puff can only produce puffs. There will always be debate as to which came first, a bit like the chicken and the egg, and there are those who believe the puffs were the original crested and the hairless was produced accidentally and then two of these were mated ... and so on. Who knows what the truth is certainly I dont expect to produce a hairless by breeding puff to puff and I would be very surprised if I did! (Although I do know of a smooth coated Afghan Hound who's parents were both normally coated so I suppose it could happen!).
The genetics however are a complicated subject - one which I dont have indepth knowledge of - but genetically often a hairless will have missing teeth, forward pointing tusks rather than the downward pointing canine teeth in normal dogs and puffs, and their teeth do tend to fall out at an early age, the roots are smaller than normal dogs roots according to my vet. Puffs however, should have a normal mouth and nearly always retain their teeth into old age as they carry no hairlessness gene.
If you should decide to breed your crested please make sure you choose your stud dog carefully, the health tests are all current, and you are ready for a litter of fun loving babies!
Oolagha Chinese Cresteds
Lady Margaret Kempster
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