La Familia Ranch

La Familia Portuguese Water Dogs

Our First Litter is due February 16, 2013: Ch Questar's Cupid Take Flight (Cupid) X GCH Cortereal's Iron Man (Bacchus) CD BN RA AX MXJ XF CWDX CGC GROM AOM

An informal letter to prospective applicants from the breeder, Wendy Spradlin:

Cupid is a daughter of Rascal (Questar's Thunder and Lightning), the only PWD to win Best of Breed at the national specialty three years in a row. The stud, Bacchus (Cortereal's Iron Man), is a grand champion and has earned a long list of titles in water work, agility, rally, obedience, and I think the owner is getting him involved in tracking now.

I won't know until the puppies are born, but I kind of doubt the puppies will have much in terms of white markings. Cupid and Bacchus both have recessive genes for white markings, but neither of them have white markings themselves. I almost bred Cupid to a deceased parti PWD (with frozen semen) and the puppies would no doubt have had lots of white. But I decided to go with Bacchus because I thought there was a better chance for a successful breeding using fresh collected semen (a "side by side" breeding) and I realized that even though so many people like the flash of black and white, the solid blacks and/or browns can actually result in a richer look.

Of course, my first priority was to breed for health. A big factor in choosing Bacchus was longevity. His parents and grandparents have lived long lives. Another factor was the Corte Real Kennel. Nadine Hunter's dogs have the most beautiful coats! The deciding factor was the discussion with the owner of Bacchus and the owner of one of his puppies from a prior breeding. In a word, that factor was temperament.

When Judy Berger, Bacchus's owner, asked me what I was hoping for in terms of looks and temperament, the following was my reply:

"In terms of looks, I am hoping for lovely, soft, really shiney black curls with some white at chest or paws. But brown is fine too because most importantly, I am hoping for soulful, regal, self-assured, proud, intelligent, dignified, happy, and ready-for-anything PWD's. Their early (starting in utero) socialization is my responsibility.

"Back in 2009, the editor of The Courier asked members to send in advice for Bo Obama. Mine was one of the ones she published in the May/June 2009 issue. My advice was: 'Dear Bo, Try really hard to contain your enthusiasm, and remember how good it feels to be praised for being a good dog! Give your family lots and lots of eye contact. Follow their cues. You have the distinct privilege of giving this family new lessons in love. Don't worry. You're up to the challenge. Hold your tail high. You are a Portuguese Water Dog!'

"I guess those are the lessons I am hoping to teach these puppies, if I am so fortunate. Moreover, I loved Bev Rafferty's article in the July/August 2012 issue of The Courier. She calls it the Old School Temperament: aloofness. And in The Complete PWD, Kitty Braund distinguishes PWD's from Barbets, Pulis, and Spanish Water Dogs by saying: They don't possess the proud, slightly aloof attitude the PWD often expresses. Kitty also cites Helen Roosevelt as saying of her Cristo: He was quite an unusual and different dog, extremely regal in the way he held himself.

"And lastly, I love this description of Deyanne and Herbert Miller's Charlie Brown (also in the July/August 2012 Courier issue): He was handsome, charming, personable, and totally self-assured. His joie de vivre carried over from the show ring to playing in the roughest ocean waves. Charlie was always confident and did not need to prove himself to other dogs. With his masters, he displayed the utmost determination and willingness to please. The sound, stable temperament, yet spirited, self-willed and brave qualities he possessed, explain why he was the dog chosen by the Millers to become the pacesetter for the breed in this country."

I go into this detail on the importance of qualities other than color because I am hoping that prospective applicants for a La Familia PWD puppy will be willing to consider a solid colored PWD, should all Cupid's puppies be solid. I completely understand wanting to wait for a puppy with white markings if that is the decision. Aesthetics are hugely important to me too. But picture a beautiful solid lustrous black or brown PWD draped on your sofa. They DO have a way of draping themselves! I have included here a picture showing my Skipper resting his head on the arm of a wood bench, along with Saucy sitting up next to me. I lost Skipper to cancer in November 2012 at age 12. He was my heart dog, my best friend, the love of my life. He was wise, regal, and knowing. And he had a way of always looking comfortable! Do compare the coats. Skipper was a loose curly. Saucy is a wavy. Granted they are both cut pretty short, but I think the solid coat is nicer in this comparison.

Cupid's puppies are due February 16, 2013. We'll know then about the coats and colors. She had an ultra sound January 18, and the vet estimates she will have at least five to eight puppies.

Feel free to contact me by email should you have any questions, comments, or concerns. Best wishes to you.

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