Fertility: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

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When Janice Holmes of the Carmen Kennel approached us a couple of years ago about getting a Yondo daughter, we sent her the smooth girl above. Janice gave her the appropriate name of X-Pectations. She wasn't the showiest girl in the litter, nor was she the biggest gal. Nevertheless, we had the feeling that she would turn out to be a "breeder's bitch". She was very sound and feminine. She looked like a Benbaron dog; in fact, she reminded us of her great grandmother, Pepsi. And we hoped that she would turn out to be very fertile like Pepsi.

Well we were right! We just heard from a very busy and tired Janice that X-Pectations is the new mother of 12 active babies. There was even a 13th in there that didn't make it out in time. There were 7 boys and 5 girls, I believe.

What makes this litter even more special for Janice is that there are two possible fathers - Ustinov and Taz. Janice used frozen semen from both of her favorite sires at the same time. Both vials thawed out to about the same quantity and quality and so they just put it all in at once. Until the DNA testing is completed, Janice will be driving herself crazy trying to guess which pups have which father.

The sires: Ustinov and Taz


Experienced breeders know that fertility is their best friend. With a big happy litter, losing a pup or two is not a disaster. They can also keep an extra pup or two for themselves to see which one turns out the best. And there are still lots of pups to place, including, hopefully, a few good ones to show homes or other breeders. So many new fanciers fail to understand the importance of fertility. They buy a showy bitch from a line that only produces small litters and then are disappointed when they don't get much in the way of puppies later. Big doggy bitches may win you more ribbons but they seldom give you a box full of puppies.

X-Pectations came from a litter of 11. Her mother came from a litter of 9. Her grandmother averaged 13 in her litters. These girls all go back in time to our foundation bitch, Sugar, who averaged 16 pups per litter.

Of course, sometimes it feels like you can have too much of a good thing. Such large litters require lots of extra attention and supplemental feeding. The dam may also run out of energy delivering or feeding the pups and require vet care, but we submit that too much fertility is far better than too little. Also, going forward, a breeder has many more options with which to continue a line breeding program. Janice, for example, can now breed any of her dozen to numerous uncles and aunts or cousins for years to come. There is little or no chance that she will hit a dead end.

Fertility! The gift that keeps on giving.