Wednesday, September 20, 2006

How I got Into Purebred Dog Breeding

I never thought I would be a purebred dog breeder. But it happened. I didn't mean it to, and now I can't imagine my life without my dogs. Sometimes it seems like it's a lot of work, and sometimes you just want to give up and go away, but in the end, it's always worth it. Our dogs are completely worth it.

We breed Alaskan Klee Kai. They are miniature versions of Alaskan Huskies, and they are quite expensive. But they are the most wonderful dogs I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. The breed was developed not long ago, around the 1970s. It was developed in order to be a companion sized husky - a smaller version of the husky dogs that race in the Iditarod sled dog race each year.

When it comes to purebred dogs, often it seems as though people believe we have not taken the time to do the research. Often, there are cases of people who decide to breed dogs and don't really take the time to do the research. They might be wanted to breed dogs to make money or to breed dogs for the fun of it, but it's a hard life and it actually takes a lot of work! Before we decided to get involved, we studied hard!

WE have for sure done our research. Before we even began to breed purebred dogs, we did an awful lot of research about them and came to the conclusion that these were the best dogs we could ever imagine breeding. We studied several different types of dogs and came to a conclusion that the Klee Kai was what we wanted.

The reason we are so gung ho about these dogs stems from our first experience with a Klee Kai. I got one for my parents two years ago for xmas. Since they race the big sized huskies, a little tiny one was the PERFECT gift for them. He looked and acted like the big dogs, but he could travel everywhere with them and do the things that they wanted to be able to do with the bigger dogs but couldn't because of a lack of space. This little dog was just unbelievable. He was so smart and SO easy to train. He knew each person in the household individually and came up with ways of saying hello to each one. WE didn't know much about the Klee Kai before we got Cash, (Johnny Cash, you see), but the more we learned about the breed, the more we loved it. Tony and I had talked about later on, down the line, maybe getting our own female and breeding it with Cash, because we just loved the breed so much and we loved CASH so much.

But as the fates would have it, we weren't meant to have him for very long. That June, he was killed in a freak accident - one of my parents' big dogs got loose and he tried to play with the little one - of course, this big dog had never SEEN a little dog before and had no idea HOW to play with him. And cash was a small dog - just itty bitty with a tiny little body. Well, the big dog bit him playfully, like all dogs do, but it was in the wrong spot cause it got something inside of him and he died later that night, probably from something internal. It was just AWFUL. We rushed him to the vet and the vet thought he was just sore and sent him home, and he just died. And my whole family was just devastated.

So while we were looking for another puppy - not to replace Cash, but to try to fill the huge whole he left in our lives - we came across this lady's website. She said she had a lot of pups from these litters that hadn't been sold. Some problem with her computer or something and none of the apps got through, and the puppies were 7 or 8 months old and no one wanted them cause everyone wanted puppies. We decided that this was our Ka ( Ka is the force the drives destiny) - because it was something we wanted to do eventually and we were so inspired by the wonderful dog Cash was.

So we drove to Colorado and got Wicket and Willie and a male named Rx (Rex) for my parents. He is going to be the sire for Willie, obviously. The thing is that the lady who we got them from knows everything about the breed. The dogs are prime, perfect examples of the Klee Kai, each one was perfectly healthy, white teeth, all of their shots, beautifully groomed, but hadn't had a chance to do a lot of socialization with them. She has 80 dogs in her kennels. And each is cared for extremely well, meaning they are all fed properly and given the correct shots and have beautiful extensive kennels with indoor and outdoor areas, etc, etc, but its hard to socialize that many dogs. The dogs were TERRIFIED of people, places, EVERYTHING. It really did take them months to come around, but they have. They no longer are kept on the leash in the house, and will come up to us anytime we ask. They aren't very good with strangers yet, but we're working on that one, too. They know us and love us, but are very shy with strangers, and we don't entirely trust that if they got loose here in town they would come back right away. Every day is better though and its sad to me because the breed itself is NOTHING like that. The dogs just THRIVE on socialization. They become best friends with people from the minute they are born and are the best companion dogs, for older people, for children, for families. But these three never had much contact with people besides for feedings and people through gates. They missed out on ALL of that. It is amazing to see them come around every day. When we first got them, Willie would crawl on my lap, but Wicket and Rx would cower in the corners and would have to be pulled by their leashes. Now I can't get Wicket to stop jumping all over me for attention, and all the dogs will smother your faces with kisses. Its amazing to see them learn how to come and how to stay, and the latest and they are doing very well at learning how to sit. Willie hates my little brother and she will bark and him and even bit him in the butt a couple of weeks ago. I think that while she must have had a bad experience with a child somewhere along the line. Wicket will let strangers pet him but only if one of us is holding him. So they are really our own special education kids, but I am confidant that given enough time they will be able to reach their full potential. We spend a lot of time at puppy therapy. taking them to soccer games and MAKING them socialize. But not with my little brother! :)

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