Starting Out Blind

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I think we can all agree that Lasquite's Lorenzo here has gorgeous head type. Happily, we see heads like this quite frequently at most specialty shows and many all-breed shows today. Notice the deep furrow, the broad top skull, the square muzzle, the pleasing, intelligent expression. 

But it wasn't always like this. The next dog you see is Can Ch Benbaron's Count Boris, our first ever home-bred champion. 

Oh Lordy! About the only good thing we can say now about poor Boris is that he had excellent leg bone. But the brown ticking, freckles, sloppy mask, hairy coat and the eyes with deep red haws were all too typical of the dogs at that time, 1971. Comparing the two pictures now, it's hard to believe that these two dogs both go back to our foundation bitch, Can Ch Bedette Sugar Brandy 3rd. Like all first-time breeders, we made the mistake of keeping a male and taking him to every dog show within three hundred miles. Of course, he won enough points to earn his Canadian title (which speaks volumes about the expertise of the judges in those days) before we had to get his eyes "fixed" for severe entropion. The fact that he became a champion only confirmed our own humble opinion that we were now breed experts and could pontificate freely on the merits of all St Bernards (despite the fact that we had not yet actually read the Standard).

Ignorance was bliss....until we took Boris with us down to the United States to visit several major kennels in New England. We were shocked to discover that all those American dogs were all wrong. They didn't look like him at all! And when we told the breeders that we wanted to buy a good female to breed to him, the only dogs they offered us had three legs and blue eyes. We returned to Canada in the dark of the night.

It took a few months to accept that maybe we had to start over and develop a new plan based on breed study and a new genetic game plan. We bought and read every breed book we could find. We learned, slowly, how to analyze a pedigree. We travelled to the American shows to study various lines in the flesh. When it came time to breed our next litter, we were very lucky to discover the smooth stud, Am Ch Echo's Citation Von Bonus, down at the Mardonof kennels, who had a lot of Sanctuary Woods in his pedigree. We were rewarded with 16 puppies! 

We kept the clean, smooth dogs that looked most like Citation. Munster and Taffy went on to become our first specialty winners. Lorenzo, in fact, can find Citation way, way back in his pedigree.

And poor Boris? The last time we saw him, he was in the back seat of a big Cadillac with a bunch of happy kids, heading for Alberta!