Can You Tell Me?
When Will You Have Puppies Available?
Gosh, that is the Million Dollar Question with a very complicated answer. :O)
Newborn Longhair Weimaraner
Predicting when and what we will have born is a bit like predicting the weather; you know what is coming (or think you do).
You have a good idea the probability of its arrival. Nevertheless, not every mother carries her litter to the whelp. So, we might mate a pair and not get any pups. This loss is very upsetting for us as well as others.
(We hope you enjoy seeing the photo of the pup that was born moments prior to this photo. He is a Longhair Weimaraner. At birth, it is tough to tell the Longhair apart from the Smooth Coats within a litter. We use DNA testing to ensure we get it right.)
Litter of Four–3 Blues and 1 Gray Ghost Puppy
Litters come in various sizes. The smallest OwyheeStar litter (which is isn’t really a litter) produced one puppy. Over the years there have been many with two-four pups. More frequently, we see five to seven pups. Occasionally, there will be eight or more pups. The largest litter we were ever involved with was a joint venture. The Mama produced fifteen pups. We could not save them all. Our preference is something between five and ten. Most mothers can handle that many–they have plenty of milk.
Our Crystal Ball is Broken
~Here are a few behind the scene issues
Unless it is a first time mating, we typically have some idea of that lineage’s litter size. Even then, we can be surprised. The first time we mate a female with a chosen Stud Dog, it is unknown territory. If we know the ancestry, we can make a decent guess at the outcome. Think of this phenomena a bit like cooking donuts, biscuits or bread. These foods are all related, but each is unique. A breeder of pups learns that they do not control what DNA markers are going to pull through–with few exceptions. Two silver gray or gray parents will produce all silver gray or gray pups. The homozygous Blue mated to any color Weimaraner will produce all Blue babies. A Blue mated to the Gray, or Silver Gray will yield both Blue and Gray Pups–they could be Silver too!
The Longhair Factor
For those curious about the Longhair, we can share this information. As long as both the parents do not carry the DNA marker for the Longhair (fluffy coat), there will be no Longhairs born in the litter. If you mate two Longhairs, then all the pups born will be Longhair. If you mate a Longhair with a traditional smooth coat Weimaraner that carries a recessive Longhair marker, you expect to get some Longhairs in the litter. How many you get can vary dramatically. We learned the hard way you cannot count on the percentage prediction. We mated Sadie (carrier) to Stackhouse (Longhair) and the first time we did this we had two Longhair pups born (in a litter of eight). The next year we repeated the same mating. Again, we whelped a litter of eight. There were six Longhairs in the litter.
When you mate two traditional smooth coats that both carry the trait, you will also get some Longhair pups. This is a simple explanation. More details and an in-depth scientific approach will be featured in a future OwyheeStar Blog. The point is we cannot control how many Longhairs a mixed parentage litter will produce. Longhairs are relatively unknown. There is not a high demand for them yet; however, interest is growing. We have never mated two Longhairs. That would be a lot of Longhair babies to place. For those concerned about us having an unknown Longhair born–that would be virtually impossible as long as we are sure of who the sire is and the if the parents are carriers.
There are many factors out of a breeder’s control. We receive inquiries from people all the time who waited for months (with another breeder) for a promised pup that didn’t happen. Our Wait List situation helps us prevent this type of scenario. Our continuous planning and moving forward process allows us more flexibility. Therefore, even when a litter doesn’t present, another option will. Please accept the brevity of that explanation.
We look at it like a big juggling act and a waiting game. We are all in it together. Those waiting to see what options present and us waiting to share them. There is not a week that goes by that we do not receive many inquiries all asking about availability. Sometimes they write repeatedly and then disappear for a myriad of reasons.
Here are some ideas why answering with specificity is nearly impossible.
- Until the litter arrives, we cannot guarantee the pups will be born.
- In many cases, we cannot predict the coat color
- We can never be sure of the litter size–the number of pups born.
- We cannot predict the sex of the pups.
- Then there is the human factor–the people who are waiting can change their mind about the coat color, the sex or more commonly the timeframe.
All of these factors contribute to a situation that requires us to embrace and appreciate what is born–regardless of what we hoped to get. The vast majority of our clients are those who trust us and are willing to wait as long as it takes. We so appreciate each of you!
Part Two in this series will discuss other factors that affect availability–it is coming soon.