When Someone Asks
~Us to Predict the Future
Hello! As I have shared from the heart and soul of OwyheeStar, we cannot predict how these things will unfold. I need to update this post from May on Availability–Click Here to read it. Skip the actual puppy talk and go right to the meat of the article. It discusses all the reasons it is virtually impossible for us to us to guess what, when, or how things will develop. I think of it as inexplicable craziness.
The Weimar can express our feelings in ways we cannot imagine. Here is how I feel when asked more than once to make such a prediction.
Well, I do understand the need to know. The desire to plan. The utter urgency created by the Weimaraner Puppy Frenzy Virus. Nevertheless, it is like most viral infections. It has to work it’s way out and eventually–we all feel a whole lot better. Wishing you laughter and Weimar antics as soon as it is possible. Love to you!
When do you expect your next litter?
A simple answer it would make things oh so much easier. The complexities of answering what others imagine as absolute, it anything but the case. No one knows this more than people who have waited for a lengthy season to get an OwyheeStar puppy. (Thank you, to everyone who stuck it out and stayed loyal. To those whose trust was implicit.)
The inexplicable craziness associated with raising the Weimaraner cannot be precisely defined. Nonetheless, we would like to shed some light on things from our side of the fence. We understand that many folks who come to us in search of the Weimaraner have waited until the eleventh hour and now they are in the hope of finding a pup sooner rather than later. On a rare occasion, we might see ourselves with an available pup upon your inquiry. This scenario could happen if the folks on the wait list are not ready (have a different timeline). There are the other factors too–the sex, the coat color, and the coat length to mention the three biggies. Also, for example, some folks want to hunt upland game, truffles, or sheds. We are looking for the Weims with the most hunt-potential for those engaged in hunting. During our Discovery and Placement Test process, we ascertain whether the pup is more inclined towards scent, and other cues. That doesn’t mean the less hunt-potential pup could not be a suitable hunting companion; however, we hope to place those pups with the Companion Weim folks. Other than the Weim-seeker’s preferences, availability and litters are affected by factors we often have little to no control over.
The female’s heat cycle might not be entirely consistent. Certain age-appropriate females will come into season every six months–others not so much. We figure on average any female might cycle about every seven months; however, there are times when our best guess is off. Last winter, for example, all the girls came into heat way behind schedule despite the chagrin of many. The lateness caused the arrival we got to be later and for some people, this time change was not going to work.
The complexity of mating cannot be understated. There is a reason we have more than one sire–we don’t keep breeding back to the same lineage. The right sire choice is essential. In some situations, we have had the luxury to use multiple sires; however, many times we have but one option. Or, where we have mixed in the Longhairs, we might have one option if we don’t want any Longhair pups in a litter. For example, Boone doesn’t carry the Longhair DNA marker–whereas, Stackhouse is a Longhair. Any female that carries the Longhair marker and is mated to Stackhouse would produce some Longhair pups. All this planning doesn’t always end up producing a litter.
When You Get Nothing
There are times when a mating happens, and it doesn’t produce pups. We suspect this happens a lot more than anyone talks about because we get inquiries from folks who have waited elsewhere and after two matings they never got a puppy. We also know, as we talked about with the four (from the Callie X Zee litter), not every female is a good producer. Vidalia never produced a single pup despite many efforts. Ginger and Cindee inconsistently produced small litters. Only Mousse produced the average-sized litter consistently. Who would have guessed? The lack of litters from a mating thing is not the end of the challenges.
To list a few other things–some females do not carry the litter to term. You watch their tummy grow, and they miscarry. Yes, it happens to the Weimaraner just as it does to some women. Or the litter might only produce one or two pups. All that time spent hoping, and you have not much to show for it. Those folks waiting for a puppy can become disillusioned. We can experience these feelings too! We have to shake off anything negative quickly. After waiting, and the pups arrive new information is available. Sometimes it is not as we hoped.
What a Year
2017 was such a year. Our litters leaned toward producing more males than females. Who can guess why? The opposite has happened in the past. When there are only one or two females to six males, soon the Wait List becomes prevalently female oriented. It would be easy to sigh and grow frustrated. Instead, we opt to rejoice in each pup as they arrive.
Our Wait List
We hope you can better understand how difficult the earlier question is to answer. When is our next litter expected? Those simple words imply more than a matter of who is pregnant. Reading between the lines, we believe the real question to be–when could I expect an OwyheeStar puppy? It is complicated. It is impossible to reply with any measure of accuracy. For some, they might turn in an application and find the option to move forward coming swiftly. Others, while vetted for some time must continue to wait. Know one thing–we are waiting and hoping with you. Nonetheless, we can only raise pups for which we know we have a quality home. That means, although we might hope for seven females, we cannot mate three additional litters to meet a quota.
We leave 2017 with the shortest Wait List in a decade. Therefore, we assume that the wait will be less. Nevertheless, keep in mind, we have to wait for the girls to be in heat to mate. Then is nine long weeks of waiting until the whelp (or if you prefer–the delivery). It is then we learn the outcome of the former mating. Typically, we mention it is between four and six months on average. Sometimes longer depends upon what is born and who is on the Wait List. People imagine if they could look at all the details they could figure out what is going to happen. Can I say that is laughable? Cliff and I have been raising pups for forty years. We continue to be surprised. The juggling act and the unknows require us to breathe and to (patiently) wait to see what happens.
Can You Tell Me?
When Will You Have Puppies Available?
Gosh, that is the Million Dollar Question with a very complicated answer. :O)
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.)
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.