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New: 2 Oct 2012
Rev: 5 AUGUST 2015

RAMBLINGS
(AKA The "UN-Blog")
I am discovering that my "Ramblings" are doing just that...hummmm...so I have decided to make a short (well, not so short) List of My Ramblings for this section. You can use it for that quick-look, but you'll miss a lot of quaint, cute, droll, educational, nosey items by jumping around. If you start at the BOTTOM of this section and work up, you might even get a better picture of li'l ol' ME...<laughing> Welcome inside my thoughts! If you find a non-working link, please let me know--okay so I already know some don't  work. You can have fun searching for the "blog". Just click and we're off!...well, most of the time...some of my connections don't quite connect. It becomes a "treasure hunt"!<G>

NEW OR REVISED

 

  4 AUGUST 2015 --Mongrel?
  2 MAY 2015--"FREE" Flea Shampoo
13 MAY 2015--Buyer Challenges
June 2013--Toxic to Pets-Addendum
1 March 2005--Climbing Stairs-Addendum

4 AUGUST 2015--Designed Breed or Mongrel? WOW! A hot and heavy issue on Facebook today!!! I'm not really well-versed in social media<G> but I do skim stuff after I have checked on The Irish Eight Clan...you need to go to that page to see what it is all about! Anyway, someone posted the following on one of the groups: "One breed crossed with another is NOT a Snorkie, a Cockerpoo or a Spanador...IT IS A MONGREL! Paying thousands of dollars for  one is STUPID! There are many crossbreeds in your local Animal Shelter. GO! ADOPT one and STOP Backyard Breeders!" [Some modification and emphasis are mine editorially.] You get the idea? Personally I agree...always have and always will, not matter how cute or "hypoallergenic" and "temperamentally sound" the crossbred pair might produce...they are still mongrels. Okay, let's take one more step. The Bichon Frise was a mongrel at one time ...http://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/bichon-frise/detail/#history  ... until someone cleaned and groomed a stray, said "Oh, how cute," then bred that mutt to a purebred dog of similar attributes and VOILE! The Bichon Frise. I doubt I'll still be around when the current crop of Designer Dogs have a history as long as that breed. Do we really need to re-design two dogs into one to get a small change...or is it the money? PS 8/5/15--I just read something else on FB to bolster my argument against Designer Dogs. I hope it goes viral, probably not, so read it before it is gone: http://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/gun-dogs/2012/03/am-i-snob-why-i-don%E2%80%99t-doodle-dogs?6iV0XsWHeuXMIfoj.01

13 MAY 2015--Buyer Challenges. Recently while surfing Facebook I found someone else who agreed with me...the Buyer has as many challenges in finding not only the RIGHT dog, but the RIGHT breeder as well. This is one of the reasons I ask all new prospective owners to do their research and get an overview of the many philosophies about how to live with and maintain an Irish Wolfhound. First you must consider your (and your family's) energy level. This means if you are a high-energy family, it might be best to research Labrador Retrievers, or Jack Russell Terriers--depending on your size preference. If you are a "long walks on the beach" kinda family, then perhaps the Irish Wolfhound is for you. Remember the high-energy pet must be fulfilled in his needs for physical and mental action.--Read my "Boredom" segment somewhere else in this tome--boredom for an active dog is stressful--they begin tearing up furniture, their feet, or just plan being onrey! If you get a pet whose needs far exceed your personal energy level, then you avoid problem behaviors by meeting his needs over your own. Hey! Think of it this way--it is exercise! A few pounds off here and there can be beneficial and all the fun with your dog makes it soooo easy and  worthwhile. However, with an Irish Wolfhound, you'll have a dog who will meet your energy level but won't encourage you to do anything more...are you sure you want a "lay-by-the-fireplace-watching-you" kind of hound. Oh, don't get me wrong; if YOU are active, so will the hound be--he will MATCH you but not push you to more. So avoid problems; find the right BREED first, then the right breeder then the right Irish Wolfhound puppy. Let that puppy be the one who "speaks to you". S/He will; you'll see.

2 MAY 2015--FREE Flea Shampoo. We all know that a commercial Flea Shampoo has harsh and possibly dangerous chemicals in them. In some dogs, cats, other animals; they can be life-threatening, so how about a FREE flea shampoo? You've seen the commercials about the oil-spill animals being bathed in DAWN DISH SOAP--obviously safe-- just add 1 Cup of Dawn and 1 Cup White Vinegar to 1 Quart of warm water as your basic flea shampoo. You do the usual massaging and washing BUT let it sit on the dog for 5 minutes before rinsing clean--that's CLEAN, not just a superficial once over, but non-sudsing clean! It is safe, and relatively inexpensive--if wild animals are not harmed by DAWN, your pet won't be either. NO, this isn't in place of the regular flea treatment your vet recommends, but BEFORE you need his/hers, use this formula for the "tweenies" (in-between times).

20 APRIL 2015-- So You Want To Fill Out A Questionnaire? Some people are just never satisfied! They HAVE to have a Questionnaire to fill out in order to feel complete! So, okay, here goes. Just copy it out, fill it out, then eMail it to me with your name, eMail addy, and I'll put you on my Birth Announcement Roster. Good Luck and Have Fun! BTW--I go by gut instinct so be brutally honest in your answers! Then, as Joan Rivers used to say: "Can we talk?"

  1.  Why do you and your family want a dog? Why have you chosen the Irish Wolfhound.
  2.  Who will be primarily responsible for the dog's care? 
  3.  Do you have the time to meet the demanding needs of the puppy/dog? Time for feeding, training and exercise?
  4.  Do you have children?If so, how old are they and their genders? How would they be instructed in the care of the dog?
  5.  Does anyone in the household have allergies?
  6.  Are you committed to the grooming and health maintenance?
  7.  What is your attitude aobut training and obedience, just manners or something more?
  8.  How often is someone at home?
  9.  How much time will you have to walk and play with the dog?
10.  What will happen to the puppy if you can no longer care for him?
11.  What hobbies do you have; activities you enjoy; going places do you take the dog?
12.  Is your yard fenced? If so, what with, how high and is it back yard only? Describe the containment area for the dog.
13.  Will this be a house pet or mostly out doors in a kennel or other space?
14.  Do you own or rent? If you rent, is your landlord willing to provide a Letter of Accommodation approving the dog?
15.  Are you prepared to have your dog neutered/spayed?
16.  Are you on a busy street?
17.  Are there other animals in the family? If yes, species and gender and other comments about them.
18. Will you be crate training your dog?
19.  Who will care for your dog--medically, veterinarian; absence on vacation, boarding or friend?
20.  Are you able to visit the new  litter once or twice before picking him/her up?
NAME............................................................................       eMail ........................................................................
CITY/STATE .................................................................       PHONE # ...............................................................
DESIRED GENDER:   o Male  o Female                PREFERRED COLOR:  .........................................

9 July 2014 -- Teach Your Dog a LIFE-SAVING Command. The AKC recently presented an excellent  video on how to train your puppy a command which could, one day, save his/her life! Please view it here: Click ...simply cut and paste. If the video is no longer accessible on that link, contact me and I will try to either find it elsewhere or write out instructions for you.

29 February 2014-- WHAT'S IN A NAME? Well, I’ve been humbled again! For decades I’ve preached careful consideration in selecting a puppy’s name. Like, make sure a foreign name which means something to you also is easy to pronounce and that if it is Anglicized, that it doesn’t come out risqué or super naughty! So what do I do with my November 2013 litter? I didn’t listen to myself. Our theme was Valentine Candy Heart Sayings. Most of the families chose to “incorporate” a saying with the puppy’s call name, e.g. Rory Be True. Brilliant Dixie decided on Kisses and Hugs as 'XoXo' and I thought how clever to pronounce it the Chinese way as 'So-So'… and I added “Good”…XoXo Good.  I have BOMBED! Poor So-So thinks I’m saying “No-No”<sigh>…  I have to make sure I use ZOE-ZOE for her call-name and PHOOEY instead of “no”…. Bad Dixie; Poor So. We’ll get through this together. Do try to remember that it really is not “Whats in a Name” but it is truly “It’s All in the Name”!

1 June 2013 ~ ANOTHER WORD ON TRAINING. A recent TV show featured a person yodling! I was intrigued with the possibilities of using this method to recall your hound. Yes, I know it sounds bizarre, but a yodel carries quite far and if you forget your whistle, why not try it? Besides, it will give your neighbors another thing to gossip about other than just the "big dog" in your house!

1 June 2013~ TOXIC TO PETS. Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680 ~ www.petpoisonhelpline.com ) offers a short list of Human meds toxic to your animals. Some of them I think are even toxic to the human animal...but that's just me. Pain Relievers--Advil, Aleve. Motrin, Tylenol. Antidepressants--Zoloft, Cymbalta, Effexor. ADD/ADHD Meds--Ritalin, Vyvanse. Sleep Aids--Klonopin, Ambien, Lunesta. Muscle Relaxants--Lioresal, Flexeril. Heart Meds--Cartia, Cardizem. Pet Poison Helpline offers 24/7 service; be prepared to pay a minimal $35 fee per consultation. Go on-line and I believe you can request a refrigerator magnet or card or some data to help you with your hound. 13 May 2015 ~ Also, some plants to beware of: Gopher Plant, Hops (yeah,like in beer), Orleander. Sago Palm, Narcissus bulbs, Lilies, Azalea/Rhododendron, Castor Bean, Cyclamen, Yew, Chrysanthenum, Crocus; and others can be found on-line..

2 October 2012-- PET FINDERS ET AL. Over the past few days, I have had a couple of phone calls inquiring about puppies. When I ask where they heard of me most often the answer is "Google", but in continuing discussion, I learn they have also chatted with other breeders who they found on one or another of the Dog Finder sites. You might think I am concerned because of the presumed competition for owner/buyer families, but it is FAR from that. These sites can be beneficial, but in most cases they do not do their "due diligence" in ascertaining the validity and ethics of the breeder/kennel applying for "exposure". How can the pet finder sites possibly have time or money to do any investigating? Not possible. They can only rely on the data given to them by the breeder/kennel...and we all know we can stretch the truth to fit a given image or level of expertise... But can the breeder/kennel applicant PROVE it? Should they have to? Yes, I believe they should have at least some references which can be checked by the seeker and having a website touting their breeding program or kennel is simply not enough for me. My caution is: Be Alert to the stories they tell and the professed experiences. Will they send you pictures of their foundation hounds? Are they willing to "mentor" you throughout the life of their puppy which you purchase? How accessible are they by phone, eMail, visit? Do you feel comfortable enough that you would have that breeder over for Thanksgiving dinner--a FAMILY event? Like buying ANYTHING, you have to do YOUR due diligence by asking all kinds of questions, not just about the puppy, but about the home-life of the hounds (remember, they can stretch the truth), if possible will they allow you to visit? As an aside, one such kennel says, "Sure, come on out." But, once you get there, you see ONLY the one or two dogs they are trying to sell to you...never a full tour of the kennel area, but then they have several breeds and you shouldn't know that--according to their process. Which brings me to another question you might ask: Is this your only breed you are breeding? You see, another kennel I am aware of has not only Irish Wolfhounds, but Scottish Deerhounds and Great Danes and Borzoi<L>... It isn't too far a stretch to figure out that the Irish Wolfhound with the long silky coat is actually a Borzoi/IW cross <sigh> Now what? You may see and fall in love with a beautiful dog, yet it is NOT what you went in search of initially. Are you ready for "no papers" or faked papers? How would you know? I guess what I'm getting at is you need to check with the National Club for the breed of interest and find a breeder on their roster where you can begin. Yes, there are cliques within all the breeds; I will send you to those I know to be ethical and have fine dogs whether I agree with them on a personal basis or not. Other breeders deal within their own circle only--each having dogs of the same lines or who have personal connections with each other--and this is NOT a bad thing. Just be aware that buying an Irish Wolfhound is much like buying any major item--a house, a car--and you must not take the first breeder you talk to as the be-all/end-all of the community. Talk to LOTS of breeders; visit LOTS of kennels; go to LOTS of shows... before you take the leap and spend a couple of thousand dollars. Stay alert and read between the lines, so to speak. Good hunting! You will be joining an extended family--with its foibles and quirks<L>! Enjoy the adventure!

*1 October 2012 -- More on Christmas Puppies. See also, Christmas reasons, 2007, below. Christmas is coming--and we do not have puppies available--but remember when you are out searching for YOUR puppy, that they are NOT for Christmas. Usually there is too much activity and too many people around which can cause confusion in a young puppy on WHO IS MOM? WHO IS DAD? Puppy can also bond to a pet in the household when the humans are engaged in socializing with other humans. A new puppy needs human contact to give him/her stability and secure feelings.                                                                               *** Please! No Puppies For Christmas! ***

28 August 2012 -- LOSING YOUR HOUND. We all have to face the ultimate loss--that of the death of our beloved hound. So many things have reached out to me this past week on loss and grief and coping, that I thought I would share a thing or two with you. I will try to start at the "beginning"...A family with several wolfhounds and a quite elderly "Heinz Variety" had to make the decision on what was good for the dog and had to set aside their own feelings of eminent loss. A newspaper article in our local Orange County Register entitled "Where All Dogs Go to Heaven"  struck me as an ease to a broken heart so I put the link here. Someday I'd like to visit this sanctuary in Vermont. When I wrote the author to request permission to reprint or paraphrase, he gave me the original link and another on his own losses and how he coped (is coping) with them. Then--all things come in threes<sigh>--a dear friend wrote me the condition of her Heart Hound, and more-or-less asked me what she should do. Once she read through her post again, her decision was made--and totally NOT an easy one. We have both wept. There are many articles and psychological essays on coping with that "final decision" or the "sudden loss"...but each of us has an internal mechanism to help if we will just look into our selves for help. I am also here to be a shoulder should you ever need it. Not to make light of this very painful subject, but I have a private virtual "Wailing Wall" to hear my cries and help me bear the sadness...and to share. 

24 July 2012 -- MY HEART. This little "diddy" came to me through a friend who got it (apparently) from Pasanita Obedience Club (SoCalif). I hope you relate to it as much as I did.
     "It came to me that every time I lose a dog, they take a piece of my heart with them, and every new dog who comes into 
     my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will 
     become as generous and loving as they are."

12 July 2012 -- HEAT STROKE  -- Here in California we've just had an all-night Summer Rain (what! in California?) preceded by a triple-digit few days of HEAT and mugginess. Remember the dogs don't function as we do in the heat, no sweat glands, so they pant HEAVILY when overheated. There are a number of signs to watch for. heavy panting, ropey saliva and purple or gray gums and by the time the dog cannot move around or stand, it is in serious trouble. Of course you have the Vet's number handy, but how about an Emergency Clinic number? Get it on the frig or somewhere VERY HANDY NOW. What you need to do to get the dog cooled down and prepared to transport to your vet: Pour cold water (refrigerated if possible) over the dog; sponge groin and belly area with cool water; wet his tongue; soak towels in cold water and place a rolled up one between his legs, then  lay the dog on cool, wet towels in the back seat; GET TO THE VET. Don't spend an hour trying to lower the dog's temp yourself. Vet clinics are set up with the proper equipment to monitor and correctly evaluate heat stoke victims!! Even in the shade, if the temperatures outside are too high, your dog can get heatstroke. HEAT STROKE can kill! Never leave your dog in the car--even to run into the Mini-Mart for a quick purchase as the airflow in a car cannot be counted on to be sufficient. Go on-line and read some of the horror stories about losing your best pal, the dog, to heat stroke. Just BE PREPARED! ..and get to your Vet immediately! If you are traveling with your dog, be sure to take along extra towels, ice chest with a big bag of ice (for your sodas as well) and/or frozen ice packs, check the route for emergency vet clinics and have the numbers handy, find pet-friendly restaurants so the dog can have benefit of the air conditioning with you; and anything you think would help save your dog's life. Heat stoke can lead to seizures, coma and death. Don't take any chances!

27 April 2012 -- Interaction With Other Family Animals. Where do I begin? For EVER, it seems, I have said that the Irish Wolfhound, being a "pack" hound, would interact favorably with the other animal members in a family no matter the breed or species. My experience now tells me I was wrong. If one incident wasn't enough, three certainly are. I won't go into detail--too long and involved and the people would know themselves [G]--suffice-it-to-say the breeds/species with which the Irish Wolfhound puppy had to interact are the "frenetic" type--like, Giant Schnauzers, Jack Russell Terriers, Maine Coon Cats. For example: The Giant Schnauzer taught the IW puppy to fight in their manner; the Jack Russells taught the puppy to be hyper active; the Maine Coon Cat was just plan brutal to the puppy. In two of the cases, I had to appropriate the hounds and rehome them in more appropriate environments. This has taught me that now I must be mindful of the role of the animals already in a household before I place an IW puppy there. Another issue is the number of other animals in a family. Recently, a family wanted an IW to add to their menagerie of (not the actual breeds) 8 Shelties, 2 Great Danes, 4 Cats, and 1 Irish Wolfhound male--they were looking for an IW female as a companion. I am always suspicious of anyone asking for the opposite gender then listen to them tell me "but we don't want to breed", so when I tell them I would release the papers to them upon proof of spay/neuter --well, the story changes again [G]. Next, they tell me of the other animals in the family and I am appalled that the level of attention and love to each pet is so diminished that I could not, in good conscience, allow one of my hounds to join that family. Many years ago, a family who did Rescue of another breed assured me they were closing their Rescue Station on that breed and retiring to love and exhibit just the Irish Wolfhound, so I sold them a fantastic show potential male. Eighteen months later I got a frantic call--"he's killing our cats". Huh? Where did the cats (plural!) come from? And, "my rescue dogs don't like the IW". WHAT? They had NOT closed their cat and dog rescue station and the IW took the lead from their rescued dog (frenetic dog breed) members and started following on the cat chase. The Irish Wolfhound proved faster than both the breed of dog AND the cats, thereby maiming or killing a few. So, if you have other animals in your family--PLEASE be truthful about it in breed, species and number; it could save you, the hound and me  a lot of heartache.

23 March 2012--RESCUE VS RE-HOME: DEFINED.  It is mostly a matter of semantics. When is a Re-homed hound a Rescue? The answer:should be NEVER. But, when a family can no longer keep the hound for a number of reasons (relocation, job loss, divorce) and has opted to turn the hound into the Wolfhound Rescue people rather than back to the breeder, that, by definition, is a "rescue". This is marginally acceptable *IF* the breeder is across the country, in another country, or dead! We hope your breeder has been the right kind of person and you have a great rapport with him/her so you do not feel any embarrassment in returning the hound to them--no matter the reason!! Hopefully, you have a contract with them that states clearly that you will return the hound to them--at the very least ask for advice or a referral for re-homing the hound. On the other hand, we have breeders who are not as concerned with the hound--"here's your hound, give me the money, and set going!" They don't worry about what happens to the hound if something happens to YOU... In a case like this, please contact another breeder who you can trust and ask for advice BEFORE you take the hound to the pound or foist it off on some fly-by-night organization (like HSUS, for example). Chances are they won't find a home for the dog because "it is so big"... HUH? ..and will euthanize the hound. While I do not make it a habit (and it does not come up often THANKFULLY), I have had families bring their hound to me rather than to their original breeder. I have helped to RE-HOME a number of hounds for them. I have also referred families to Rescue, especially if there are health issues the family can no longer afford or deal with. Yes, Get Real!! This does happen so don't condemn or shake your head unless you know the whole story... what if, for example, a child now needs all the financial aid the family can give due to an illness or injury. The hound must then take a back seat or die...why not deliver the hound into caring hands of another Irish Wolfhound person or IW rescue? I mean DUH!!! Sorry! I do tend to get heated on some subjects<G> So what do we have for a definition of Re-Home? I would say, to return the hound to a breeder or to a breeder-referred family for the betterment of the hound's situation. Defining Rescue might be not dealing with the original breeder and turning the hound in to the local Animal Shelter or to the Irish Wolfhound Rescue. Please call SOME BREEDER/ANY BREEDER first, before you take that step. Now, for another side to this "coin". Let us say, there are no puppies available in your area or you're really not interested in dealing with puppy teeth and housebreaking; what is a good direction to take? Call a breeder and tell them so. Some of us re-home our older hounds--YES I DO, and any other breeder out there with any concern for their hounds does the same with their "career" hounds! Anyway,  you could just call at the right time and the breeder might have a retired show dog ready for a family, lots of love and a huge couch<L> Let's hit some high spots on this, too. We often tell you that the hound life expectancy is 6 to 8 years, okay, so how old is the retired hound and how many years will you get to be loved by him/her? That "expectancy" is pretty solid these days and every year beyond is like frosting the cake! There are many hounds now living to 11, 12, 13 and 14 years! And they LOVE YOU more than any other animal or dog breed I have cherished! You will feel it too. I'm sure I have confused you completely by now, so call, ask questions, just tell me your wolfhound stories and I'll laugh with you...or cry with you. 

3 March 2012--PUPPY SOCIALIZATION LEVELS. With the new litter, I've had a number of questions on "Why can't I have my puppy at 8 weeks?" so in doing some research, I found an article that pretty much says it all:
[ http://www.diamondsintheruff.com/DevelopmentalStages.html ]

8 February 2012 -- STRUCTURE (Part 1?). I recently read an amazing document about the physical structure of the Irish Wolfhound.. I have to admit that Sue McClure has put into text the very arguments I have used for years when confronted with the MYTH of the 45° shoulder layback. If for no other reason than to be better informed about your Hound's body, please read this article.  http://www.thedogplace.org/BREEDS/Irish-Wolfhound/Canine-Shoulder_McClure-1202.asp  
If for some reason the document is no longer available, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let me know as I do have it in a PDF format!!!

8 April 2011 -- BREEDER RELATED TOPICS.  I realize I have included many entries that seem more related to being a breeder than to just being owned by an Irish Wolfhound. But, think about it a little. If you know  some of our "How" and "Why" perspectives you might appreciate all the studying and experience to produce YOUR puppy. So, you can read them as you want; take them with a cellar of salt; or believe them as absolute fact... I found them intriguing in themselves. Perhaps you will, too.

21 March 2011 -- FREE PUPPY!   Yes, your puppy is FREE! Recently one of my new families said, "When I look to a professional breeder to buy a puppy, I realize that what I'm really paying for is that breeder's experience and expertise--the puppy is FREE!" I certainly like that interpretation on my part, but how about other families looking into their first...or fifth...puppy? Is it possible we look at the expense of buying a puppy in terms of just the dog itself, or take into consideration not only the breeder's professionalism, but the weeks, months of the families' own research. Surely that is "worth" something in this process. When the purchase price is considered on the whole, all the time and energy and research should become part of the "segments" of the price. Shall we make a formula? How about assigning a dollar value to these segments? Breeder Professionalism and Years=$2500.00; Family Research with Phone Calls, etc=$500.00; Cost of Puppy $3000.00=FREE! <G> Get my drift? Enjoy the adventure! Enjoy your FREE PUPPY!

18 January 2011--BUYER BEWARE
of shady and disreputable Breed Registries! A situation has been brought to my attention -- really scarey! Some people buy dogs just to breed them without consideration of the breed Standard or inherent health issues--just the money they can make off a litter. Some registries (OTHER THAN AKC, CKC) will take any piece of paper provided and register the dog with their database. These are not necessarily purebred dogs! You need to look carefully at all the paperwork you get from a reputable breeder and make sure your dog is registered with AKC and not a "wanna-be" cash-hungry organization. This "organization" could consist of one or two persons, raking in the "registration fees". Look before you leap! Ask before you buy! Do your Due Diligence! Ask lots of questions!! There is a very lengthy and well-researched webpage giving you details [ http://www.ahkennel.net/beware.htm ] which I think could be of help. It is helpful to ALL breeds, not just the one the Author discusses.  Feel free to ask me for more!!

18 January 2011--PUPPY RULES OF SEVEN. The Rule of Sevens says that by the time your puppy is 7 weeks old it should be exposed to the following situations:
Been in 7 different, safe locations; Eaten from 7 different containers; Met at least 7 different people; Ridden at least 7 miles in a car; Been in a crate at least 7 times (more is better); Played with 7 different kinds of toys; Been exposed to 7 different contexts; Been played with or taken somewhere alone, without mom or litter mates, 7 different times. ~ We hope ALL breeders adhere to this or other forms of socialization!

10 August 2010-- When To Use Your Pet Insurance. I really have to start with: NEVER...then explain that, yes, you will use your Pet insurance for catastrophic problems, BUT YOU DO NOT tell your veterinarian that you have Pet Insurance. It has come to my attention that many veterinarians will "use up" your policy then ask for more, so if you don't tell them you have the insurance, and you present the bills to the Insurance Company yourself, you'll come out better in the long run! Just try to convince the Veterinarian that any bills are coming out of your pocket--which is basically true till you submit them to the Insurance Company--and maybe the Veterinarian will reduce the fees to match what you tell him is your max-out point. Sorry if I sound pessimistic, but it has happened to a number of my Irish Wolfhound friends. Example 1: Puppy needs surgery because he broke his leg. Family says they have insurance which caps out at $5,000. Their bill is $5,500. Insurance covers the $5,000; Family pays the balance. Example 2: Puppy needs surgery, but the Family tells the Veterinarian that they do not have pet insurance and will have to pay out of pocket and can he possibly take payments or bring the costs down to their $3200 pocketbook? Their bill is $3,200, with follow-up care at no charge. This family pays the bill, then presents the documents to their Pet Insurance Company and are reimbursed completely. This is the same quality of care, but humans want to get the most they can and will pad the billing to insurance companies, but are willing to work with the family to the Max of their pocketbook. Let us hope you never have to use the Insurance, but it is quite valuable in the long run. Another interesting thing that happens when a Veterinarian sends the family to a Specialist...the Specialist usually "kicks back" a finder's fee which can be anywhere from $100 to $1000, depending upon the end billing to the family. This kick-back can be a flat fee or a percentage of the total billing. If you want more on this subject...you can call me.

22 March 2010-- A Training Trick. GAWD! After all these years to learn that I can STILL learn a trick or two is enlivening!! The story: We have a sweet puppy, Sunstag Kissin' Kizzie, who was our "pre-mie" in the Keeno x Koko litter in September '09. I'm always busy with on-line work so had not been working with her on-leash, just letting her run and play and learning her doggie manners. BUT she is coming up on her first show in April and I was still not working with her on show manners. Finally, I called my handler friend, Michelle, and asked if Doggie Boot Camp was "open" for Spring Training and made the appointment for Kizzie to attend for a few days. We made arrangements for me to bring Kizzie to the show where Michelle would give us Koko and take Kizzie home with her...this meant we'd be breaking a rule--"no unentered dogs on the show venue", but it was the most convenient for all concerned...and it also meant, Kizzie needed to walk on-leash from the car to Michelle's RV. Before we left for the Sunday show, we tried to walk The Kizz on a leash and found--as expected--a bucking 80 pound puppy, resistant and a bit anxious. Having no other choice, we piled her into the car and headed to the show site. Here's the tricky part: The excitement and activity, the strange sounds, smells and dogs, and Kizz was walking on leash like it was NATURAL. My theory is, she wanted that security of being close to us, but liked being able to meet-and-greet at the length of it--not too far away of course, but secure knowing we were right there. So, I am suggesting to you who find leash training difficult, to go to a busy dog park and walk your puppy around on-leash while puppy gets acquainted. Then, release puppy as a reward!! Before leaving the park, put the leash back on, walk around inside a few minutes, and leave for your car or walk home as if it was the most routine thing in puppy's world!! Try it, please. Let me know how it works for you! All I can say about my learning process: DUH DIXIE!

21 August 2009 -- Boredom = Stress; Stress Kills!
Here I sat one afternoon, bored nearly to tears when it occurred to me: My Hounds May Be Bored! What can that be doing to them, if all the research on humans points to shortened life spans related to stress from boredom? Perhaps I was fortunate to get my Irish Wolfhounds when I was more active and excited about doing things with the hounds (read: younger). Okay, so my kids will be surprised by that statement since it was a challenge for them to get me off my duff to take them to their Band Practice, sporting events, et al. All I can say is that I was working 40 to 60 hour weeks as part of a 2-income family and selfishly I wanted to sit on my duff and zone out. Anyway this leads me to some vital theories about possible correlation between our successful longevity factors and our hounds being kept in athletic fitness. One of the research articles I read highlighted the importance of MENTAL health (read: boredom) to the dog’s PHYSICAL health (read: meaningful activity, i.e. play). Remember, dogs are social animals (for the most part) and need the stimuli from interaction with the family and those outside contacts you can find almost anywhere. In our beginning, we did a great deal of lure coursing—more active than obedience training, which meant I would have to be obedient at well—ain’t happening!—and the phrase “a fine time was had by all” sums it up. The fallout of that activity could be (theoretically) that our hounds were blessed with life spans in excess of 8 years—the then national average being 5 years. So, okay, how does the “normal” family keep their Irish Wolfhound fit without a lot of inconvenience and changes in their “normal” lifestyle. First, do something together that YOU enjoy BESIDES sitting on your duff, of course. How about a nice evening walk to the school, shopping center, or other populated area. Believe me, you’ll meet more people because of your Irish Wolfhound than you expect. Second, teach the hound to chase something—no, not the neighbor’s cat!—like a ball. Oh, sure, he’ll run over and say: “here it is, Mom/Dad” and you’ll have to go pick it up, BUT think about the exercise YOU are also getting…this is a shared thing!! Third, toys… interactive ones. Personally, we find a cardboard box to be challenging and entertaining for them for hours. Yes, it gets torn up in the first 5 minutes, but the pieces become a new “toy” which can be tossed in the air, or mangled with the paws, or even chewed on contentedly. They usually do not swallow the mucky cardboard—just chew it to oblivion!!  Another good toy could be considered a “problem solving” one—a KONG with ridges in it where you can put a small amount of a treat (smear of peanut butter, a dab of dog food) that the hound can lick at and play with until the smell and tidbit are all gone. Fourth, ROTATE your toys!! They will become bored with the same-oh/same-oh every day. Since dogs do not understand a day of the week, you can use the same toy every Monday etc, if that helps you remember to change them frequently. Another good part of this interaction gives the hound a sense of security and a knowing of how much s/he is loved. These hints may lead you into other methods of relieving your dog’s stress levels…Hey! I’m not talking about the visits to the vet kind of stress… that’s a whole other issue, but what about while you are at work, or on vacation, or… well, I think you get the basic idea now on how to help your hound achieve that long, healthy life we want for them...and to have them with us as long as possible!

29 July 2009 -- Puppy Development Timeline.  This is quite a long bit of data and might only be interesting to families about to get an Irish Wolfhound puppy, therefore I have made a separate data page for the document. Just click here [ http://sunstag.org/hound/pages/PUPPY_DEVELOPMENT.htm   ] to read MY interpretation of how an Irish Wolfhound grows and develops. [These links may not work...sigh...I'm working on it! If you have to, copy./paste, please.] GOTO 3 Mar 2012--I have added another article on Puppy Socialization Levels. 

6 June 2009 -- What About Coat Colors?  There have been some folks who insist on a specific color for their Irish Wolfhound. I try to accommodate but we cannot always predict what two dogs might produce. Just for fun I looked up a couple of websites about coat colors; one has very descriptive definitions for various colors--many of them do not apply to Irish Wolfhounds, but the site is interesting all the same. 
[ http://caninebreeds.bulldoginformation.com/dog-coat-colors.html ]
; another dealing with cats also provides some insight into how a color might be produced with a colored pair [ http://www.amurusko.co.uk/colour_genetics.html ]. I haven't spent any time over the past 30 years research coat colors so feel free to step in and give me YOUR input!. Generally, the Irish Wolfhound comes in any color except tan/brown. I have used a phrase "self wheaten" to indicate a wheaten colored dog with ears of the same color; or, "black-pointed wheaten" to mean a dog with dark ears and muzzle. If you look really close at the ear color on this one, it is like a sable brown rather than black--that is after it is plucked and groomed. If you let the hair hang long, then it will acquire a silver tipping sheen and the ears will almost seem to disappear into the coat. I do want to say that if a breeder mentions "blue dilute" to you as if it was a baaaaddd thing... ignore them. Only in those dog breeds (dachshund and collies, to name only two) with the Merle Gene are known to have health issues. The Irish Wolfhound does not carry the Merle Gene!! Frankly, I love the light lavender shade that this dilution provides. It does not often appear, never fear!!

27 May 2009 -- Pet Puppies Have Faults--NOT! A recent call got me thinking about a misconception most new puppy buyers may have--that pet puppies (I call them Companion Puppies) have such a major fault they could not be shown and are on a level with "throw-away" dogs. This is so totally UNTRUE. I almost fainted when I heard this description. What is the REAL difference between the loving hound who is never shown, lives the life of Riley, and enjoys the comforts of a stress free life and the Show Puppy? Just that... a stress free life as opposed to one on the Show Circuit with chaos around him/her nearly every weekend. Succinctly, the difference is "attitude"! ONLY attitude. Sometimes the best conformationally correct puppy in a litter does not want to be a show dog and would slink around the ring rather than being sprightly and eye-catching. Remember this breed should have Commanding Appearance--and that very attitude can camouflage a minor fault by being a showman! Buying a Companion Puppy does NOT preclude the show-ability of that hound; its attitude and desire make the difference.

10 January 2008 -- So You've Decided to Show, BUT... Have you ever even been to a dog show? If you have, it may all seem so daunting. You're proud of your dog and would love to show off a bit. You might even decide to keep going right on to an AKC Championship. BUT... you are not as much of a show-man as you are a show-off and that would really not show-case your "baby" properly. That means you're now looking for a handler. Not any handler will do either. They need to practically love your dog as much as you do; they need gentleness tempered with firmness; they need to know what YOUR breed is all about. You could hire someone from the PHA (The Professional Handlers Association) [http://www.phadoghandlers.com/hiring.htm ] , or you could go to several shows and watch the Junior Showmanship judging. Plenty of these kids are ready to age-out...meaning once they turn 18 they are no longer "juniors", and could use the experience of handling different breeds before they go semi-pro or professional. Believe me they are GOOD...and inexpensive. They cannot charge for their services yet. You can take them to lunch; you can buy them a new collar for their dog; you can do almost anything except pay them hard cold cash...or check! Another angle is are you going to turn your dog over to the Handler for training, which means the dog lives with the Handler for at least a week. Will the dog be traveling to other states or are you planning on doing local shows only? Fortunately, the Professional Handler can respond to these questions, BUT you will probably have to sign a contract with them for a specific number of shows at a specified rate with bonuses. I don't want to discourage you but I would like to stress that Dog Shows should be fun; this is the place for breeder's dogs to be seen, and for the breeder to evaluate upcoming males and females for the future of the breed. The novice owner is doing a great service for the breeder by presenting the dog in the best light--with a professional handler. Most Dog Shows are highly competitive--let me rephrase that: most dog show EXHIBITORS are highly competitive, which takes a lot of the fun out of it being a showcase for breeding stock. If you are really considering a career for your dog, please investigate and research every aspect before you leap!

16 December 2008 -- Early Spay-Neuter. This has been a hot topic for a long time. Many breeders feel they have to spay or neuter their companion puppies before they let them go to their families. I suppose they do not have a solid rapport or trust in those families--then why sell to them, is my question? I have a link (Early Spay-Neuter Considerations) for you giving a veterinarian's reasons for spay-neuter, but NOT as an early process. I agree wholeheartedly with Dr. Zink--not before age 14 months! While Dr. Zink's article addresses the canine athlete, I firmly believe the Irish Wolfhound as a WHOLE is athletic and should, therefore, be conditioned and treated as such. I will let the article speak for me...I've been on enough soapboxes lately...

14 August 2008 -- Type? Style?  Ah, yes, semantics rears its lovely head again. Communication has to be "on the same page" or it is too easily misinterpreted. Like another of my soapbox issues, what is the difference between Type and Style? You may disagreed with me; that's your right, but when you chat with me you need my definitions for these two words for understanding. TYPE: There is only ONE TRUE TYPE in the Irish Wolfhound, but there can be many interpretations of type which make up a STYLE of Irish Wolfhound, usually specific to a breeder or bloodline. For example, the Sunstag hounds are recognizable by their houndiness and wheaten coloring. It is that simple. If you use the word "type" to me, you'd better be talking generally about the Irish Wolfhound TYPE (houndy, commanding, agile, gentle); if you say "style", I would hope you mean so-and-so breeder always seems to produce a chunky STYLE hound. If that doesn't make sense to you--let's chat. You just might convince me that I AM WRONG--NOT!! <G>

8 August 2008 -- Mentor Part 2.
(See Feb 98 way below for Part 1) The Olympics have begun and my Fall schedule is heating up. With such pleasure found in mentoring new breeders and owners, comes a great responsibility.  In February 1998, I tried to explain it--to myself included! I even said in that post, to look for a breeder willing to give you support, time and information., but I also must stress talking you out of breeding. Breeding is not for everyone; it can be so heartbreaking. To Mentor, I have had to travel the West Coast (including Arizona and Nevada--a real strain...NOT!) searching for just the right stud dogs for some of my new-breeder families. One "newby" has experience with horses, not dogs; another with "ankle biters", and another is totally novice! It is important that they have turned to me for advice--afterall who knows the Sunstag line better than I do? I can be 98% certain of prepotencies from the Sunstag side, now after 12 generations; and about 65% about other lines. Okay, what is prepotency?--I'm working on that for you, suffice-it-to-say, the "pass-along" elements make a male or female PREPOTENT in some aspects--physical and/or mental. These aspects are NOT set until the 3rd generation, sometimes not till the 4th. Several breeders I have encountered assure me that XYZ Stud dog is prepotent--And I ask, "How can you tell in just his first litter? Show me the Grandfather and Great Grandfather". I hope I wasn't too tactless...but then I probably was since the subject is one of my soapbox issues.<L> I have often heard it said: If you love the son, breed to the father (or grandfather). What can you "see" in the first litter? My very first entry back in 1997 into this Rambling section gave my experiential interpretation of what goes where--you might want to look at the bottom of this page. After so many generations with line-breeding (Sunstag Cousin to Cousin or half-brother--now, stop! I'll have to explain THAT also, but later.), a breeder can look at one of her girls and males and know with a solid experiential base, what the breeder is most likely to get from the litter. Sure, there is NO 100 percent absolute--nothing in Nature ever is--be we can give a high rate of probability before a breeding is even accomplished. This is what I want my "people" to understand and not to rush out gushing about their sire or bitch being prepotent until they can prove it with several generation. And, you--feel free to make any comments about what you see or don't see; how you interpret Prepotency and Mentoring. I welcome your comments .

8 August 2008 -- Cousin-to-Cousin Linebreeding.
Oh, for goodness sake! Wake Up! Dogs are NOT people and there is no restriction on breeding even mother to son--humans, NO, absolutely, but with canines, this will help to "set" desired attributes. Some females lack rear strength; perhaps she lucked out and her son has an exception rear. This could translate into "Ah, she has a good rear in her genetic makeup; let's try to firm that up". So, we breed her to her son. It is NOT INCEST; it is a risky but acceptable practice among professional breeders. No, it does NOT mean the off spring will be blind, deaf or halt<sigh> It means we might--MIGHT--get more of that rear into the genepool by doing an IN-BREEDING. Line breeding--which most of us do 90% of the time--is taking a cousin to a cousin  (same grandfathers perhaps). This establishes a style for the breeder; like lovely ear set or a recognizable appearance that one breeder produces but not any other. Have I confused you? Maybe that's good. Perhaps you won't want to breed your Irish Wolfhound...    

24 June 2008 -- TICK SEASON is upon us! And we need to be prepared to safely remove ticks not only from our dogs but from ourselves, family or friends. While there are a number of "devices" said to be perfect and effective for tick removel, they are not all so perfect nor effective. Here is an easy step-by-step method and some other notes. It is best to deal with these little buggers immediately or at least, within 12-24 hours so they do NOT cause infection or become engorged..
METHOD 1
STEP 1: Use tweezers to grasp the tick firmly at its head or mouth next to the skin.
STEP 2: Pull firmly and steadily, very gently and SLOWLY, until the tick lets go of the skin. Pull it straight out with a slow and steady motion. Be careful not to leave the head embedded in the skin. Do not squeeze, crush, or puncture the body of the tick because its fluids (like, saliva) may contain infectious organisms
STEP 3: Release the tick into a jar of alcohol, label with date of bite and location on the body. Or, place in sealed bottle and keep live tick in the refrigerator until you can have it analyzed.
STEP 4: Swab the bite site with alcohol AND WASH YOUR HANDS THOROUGHLY!
STEP 5; Take the tick to the vet for identification. It could be carrying Lyme Disease. The Vet's Lab (or Health Center) will get a better identification if the tick is alive and intact when presented to them.
METHOD 2
Apply a glob of liquid soap (dish detergent) to a cotton ball. Cover the tick with the soap-soaked cotton ball and swab it for a few seconds (15-20), the tick will come out on its own and be stuck to the cotton ball when you lift it away.
With either Method, you should have the Tick identified by using Steps 4 & 5 of Method 1. Whatever you do, DO NOT USE a hot match head or lighted cigarette. You can cause injury to the skin.

*8 June 2008 -- Height-to-Weight Ratio. Okay! Okay! So I mentioned this earlier then didn't give you my "theories" on the functional, athletic Irish Wolfhound. Here's my take on it. In our Standard it reads: "The minimum height and weight of dogs should be 32 inches and 120 pounds; of bitches, 30 inches and 105 pounds; these to apply only to hounds over 18 months of age." If we consider those figures as the baseline for both males and females--i.e., 2 inches difference and 15 pounds--then I can estimate the ratios to be 7.5 pounds per additional inch. That would give ME (perhaps not you or anyone else, hee hee) the following: A bitch who is 33 inches tall should maximum out at 127.5 pounds (7.5 #/inch times 3"; using 30" at 105# for the baseline)/a dog at 36 inches tall should maximum out at 150 pounds. Have I confused you? Good!! I'm hoping this will help you do more research on your own Irish Wolfhound for the future. Oh, and, I guess I should include my "theory" that the older hound, who is not getting as much exercise as in his youth, could carry an additional 10 pounds without sacrificing health. Again, I must stress that EXERCISE is one of the most important factors in keeping an Irish Wolfhound healthy, even moderate for the geriatric hound. REV 2 MAY 2015-- I have observed that modern hounds have "heavier bone", thus they can support added weight...BUT more bone should NOT create a substantial difference in the appearance of the hound since bone is merely thicker, more dense; it is not necessary to add bulk (some call it: Substance) to the frame..Just my POV...


14- and 15-month old females.

8 June 2008 -- How Tall is Tall?
The debate rages over measurements for the Irish Wolfhound. Are they really the tallest dog in the world? Of course--well, we love to think so. Personally, Sunstag has a few who reach about 33" at the top of the shoulder...and those are the GIRLS!! I've not measured the males recently--my policy is that once the boys are over 33 inches, why bother measuring? That's just me. Other folks will stress how tall their hounds are, or how heavy they weigh. Well, sorry, but my formula for height-to-weight differs from the general Irish Wolfhound community's view-point. I want athletic hounds, therefore they cannot carry much bulky weight. Also, I do not consider my hounds fully mature until they are 3-1/2 to 4 years old. [Window sill is 74" from the ground level.]

A 14-month-old female, Avengelyn

18 March 2008 -- New Breed? Outside Dog? Recently I received an interesting reprint from a friend in Canada. When buyers call me, one of my questions deals with where the dog will be housed, where it will sleep and what the arrangements are if the family is away a good part of the day. Most of us agree (rightly so!) that our dogs are house dogs first and foremost as our companions and 4-legged children. Dr. Fetko put it much better than I can, so read his article. OUTSIDE DOG.

27 February 2008 -- Correcting Structural Faults through Scientific Breeding. Actually, it might be more correct to say "trial and error" breeding as opposed to "scientific". So much is guess work, experience and luck. Years ago, I was told a rule of thumb: "It takes 3 generations to correct bad ears, but it can take 5 generations to correct a bad rear." Today, I am dealing with a high tail set--and my family people really don't care. It may seem logical and easy to look at the dog and bitch and figure on her very feminine head being passed on to her puppies unless you can moderate them with a very heavy or coarse or just large headed male. Like all things in Mother Nature, sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't. I'm certainly uneducated about genetics, and I don't know any dog breeders personally, who can sit down and diagram a genetic profile that will correct a structural fault (high tail set) in one or two generations...perhaps no one can. We continue our guess work methodology, applying our observations down through the generations and hoping for the best. I like to keep Mother Nature on my side whenever possible, therefore I do not attempt huge changes at one time; just tiny baby steps, till I get what my mind's eye has envisioned. We must be careful--extremely so!--because one correction in an area can throw something else off. I have always heard it said that doing line breedings (see Helpful Terms and Phrases) over several generations will cost your bloodline in height. With such a limited genepool in our breed, it is essential for every breeder to find an unrelated sire or dam at least every 3rd generation. Okay! Now that I have you totally confused... feel free to ask questions (if you really have an interest) and I'll try to clarify. Remember, I'm just rambling here.

11 December 2007 -- Allergies! An interesting post came across my desk today regarding allergies and treatments. This modern age is wonderful!! As a kid, I went through the skin tests--YIKES--and found I was allergic to about 200 things. The usual stuff and some really way out things; ironically I am still allergic to dogs, yet I raise some of the biggest, hairy ones of all the breeds--The Irish Wolfhound. Well, I live with it, but sure wish the testing in my day (60 years ago) could have been what it is today.  http://www.varlallergy.com/index.html  Check out these folks and if you have an allergic dog that your vet wants you to take to a dermatologist or other specialist, suggest this blood test first. It seems right as a first step and relatively reasonable. The post today said it was around $300 and the best bucks he'd ever spent! Next step, after finding the food allergy, was the right food (in this case). I have learned that other allergies are helped by a food change even if the allergy itself is not food related, afterall nutrients in different combinations create different absorptions etc. This product is not very expensive, they offer free shipping and a free box of samples with all the flavors. So check out this link (which is also ironic--a "wolf" helping an Irish WOLF hound<L>): http://timberwolforganics.com/   Do listen to your vet, but remember to listen to your own intuition. You know your dog better than anyone else. You do what YOU feel is right. It helps to have input from breeder, vet and outsiders...but the health of your dog is YOUR responsibility--bottom line.

 4 December 2007 -- Happy Holidays!
A recent caller wanted to get their kids a puppy for Christmas and I said: "No". I gave my usual reasons -- too much turmoil, too many people to choose from when puppy is trying to bond, and so on. Then, I came across the saddest poem called The Forgotten Dog (click here) and I've copied it out for everyone to read. It says much better than I what can and often does happen to that loving Christmas Puppy. More-- In 2012, I found another poetic explanation I'm adding to the link: A PET'S CAROL.

17 July 2007 -- Cry Wolf!
I was watching our 12 puppies (2 Stud fee puppies--KeenO & KoKo; and 2 Keepers from March--Ava & Witch; and 1 Keeper from April--Classy; and 5 Ladies Waiting for Homes) playing today and was struck by their method of interacting and education. In The Boy Who Cried Wolf, also known as The Shepherd Boy and the Wolf, is a fable attributed to Aesop, the lead character of the fable is a bored shepherd boy who entertained himself by calling out "Wolf"! Nearby villagers came to his rescue. Often they found that the alarms were false and that they'd wasted their time. When the boy was actually confronted by a wolf, the villagers did not believe his cries for help and his flock perished. Some say that it serves him right for playing tricks. The moral of the fable is stated at the end of the fable as: "Even when liars tell the truth, they are never believed. The liar will lie once, twice, and then perish when he tells the truth."  And another.  the 3 little pigs: “Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” with a slightly different moral, but it stresses preparedness.
....For the breeder, active puppies playing can be a scary event. Puppies cry "Wolf!"all the time -- where one is besting the other at play and the victim “cries wolf” with sharp yelps and obeisance so that when the victor lets up, the victim can attack and the play starts again. The breeder, in the meantime, has rushed out only to find that it is more sound than fury…but it is certainly scary. Perhaps that is the intent…to scare the other guy to let go or just to go away.
....So when next you visit a breeder to make a selection or just watch puppies, remember that they really are NOT killing each other, they are learning what their restrictions are and how to interact with others. This is Kindergarten for them. YOU have to continue that training with your own "yelps" when puppy teeth maul your arm or pull at your clothing. Be prepared to react as puppy's sibling would. A little later you can "promote" puppy to First Grade in a Puppy Socialization Class with other breeds.

1 March 2007 --WOW! It has been a long time. I've been involved in a number of projects, the primary one a total hip replacement last October...which I had put off far too long, of course. I'm back now and have two or 3 little issues to bring up to you all. Diets and Feeding: I have been in a long-standing discussion with proponents of the B.A.R.F. (Bones And Raw Foods) diet plan. They contend that after 3 generations on a balanced raw food diet, there is no longer a need for vaccinations and the basic health of the dog will be better. I argue that if that were true, the ancient dogs of the past would have lived longer than six years--which is the reported average from around 1860. Current life spans are more in the 8 to 12 year range. I find that to be most logically due to better care and veterinary education, high quality and better balanced commercial dietary products, and an understanding by each owner/breeder that a full range of exercise is essential in promoting longevity. You really need to do the research for yourself and make up your own mind regarding the care and maintenance of your own dog. Some BARF breeders require that you feed your new puppy by their outline and give you little to no option about changing that diet. Speaking of requirements by breeders, there have been recent reports that some breeders will not sell a puppy to a Horse-owning home. Horses? My goodness, why not? It seems those breeders fear their puppy will be injured by a horse. Possibly, that's true, but for centuries dogs and horses have coexisted and aided each other in the hunt or for recreation. That should be accurate to say even today. Instead of long walks, what's the problem with trail rides? The hound will pace itself and if the rider will stay aware of possible distress by the hound, they then stop and rest. The hound will not bond with the horse rather than the person (another rumored reason to exclude horses). That's ridiculous. The Irish Wolfhound is the most human-bonded animal I have ever lived with!! Oh, shoot. The stupidity of "man". Which brings me to Climbing Stairs  for your Wolfhound--another example of the stupidity of "man".. For years I have heard or been told, "You must not let your puppy ascend or descend stairs. It will hurt his shoulders and hips." Hey! This is another of those "ya gotta' be kidding" statements, in my opinion. Our puppies start at 4-5 weeks doing a half-step from house to porch. It is a full step down but we add a 2x4 plank to shorten the height for their first encounters. Before long, they are up and down without a stutter. They don't even notice when we remove the 2x4 a few days later. Many years ago, I had a hound who would go DOWN stairs but not up, until I realized that these were open backed stairs and he was cautious of what was behind the stairs. Since then, I have added open backed steps (just a couple) for the puppies to play and practice on. Many of our families live in multi-storied homes, this has become a great benefit for them...and the hounds have more freedom in the household. Still, it is NOT good to let a hound/dog of any age to RUN on the stairs. If you wouldn't let you human kid do it, why let your Irish Wolfhound do it?  Walk, don't run...|| Three subjects covered today and I'm sure I'll not take nearly so long in the future to jot down my thoughts.

Part 2/1 March 2007-- I was ready to close out and get on to other projects when another thought struck me. For the Breeder or Totally Curious of you, I can offer a couple of insights into aiding one's Breeding Program (BP101). A kind of Breeding Program (BP201) Advanced Course. Breeding Program 101 is the cut and dried, do your pedigree and phenotype research, select your best mate and go for it! The Advanced Course includes all of BP101 and adds things like Leasing or breeding to some other Breeder's Female to enhance your genepool--again the pedigree is researched for all the outcrosses possible. (See Helpful Terms); or finding the Stud Dog from another Breeder with outcrosses; or by buying an import either from a world-wide marketplace or locally; and Advertising. Yes, I said "advertising".  How else will people know you have the superior dog or bitch? How else will families know you have puppies for sale? In my mentorship plan, I help new breeder families take each step along the way. I give them the tools to prevent them making any mistakes I may have made. This is NOT to say that I am the last word; heaven forbid! I've made my mistakes and will share them anecdotally, but the new breeder makes all the final decisions on who, what, where based on all the data they have. Even with Breeding Program 201 and Advertising, they must make all the final decisions since BOTH can be expensive in time, money and shame or glory. We work together. Today's advertising is much easier and less expensive than 30 years ago. Then, we paid up to $400 for a full page color ad in a Dog Related magazine, sometimes more in a Breed Specific magazine, every time we wanted to brag or announce a litter. Now, we may pay $200 a year for a website and put all the words and pictures--even music and movies!--onto the pages for all to view. We can be as busy and prolific as Mother Nature allows...or as one's own conscience delineates. We are breeding to IMPROVE, not to provide pets to the public, therefore one's website needs to become a forum to educate and inform, rather than an exclusive sales tool. I will be building a new page soon--just for the kids. A Coloring Book of sorts (Ed.Note: Done--go see!), so parents can print out the pictures and the kids can color them. Hey, if you want to send me your best offerings--no, not YOURS, your kid's--I'll try to post them in that special Coloring Book section with first name and age of the colorist. What fun! I'd better get to it!!

23 June 2006 -- Let’s go back to Naming Puppies for a further look at my philosophy. I guess we could call this The Vibrations in Names since I used to instruct in Numerology & First Encounter Vibrations—oh, so many years ago!! [Now, you probably really think I’m a kook! That’s okay; I am!!] I still strongly believe that all of us respond, or “vibrate”, so to speak, to the names given to us. Some of us will respond more positively to a nickname, some more to a legal appellative like MS or MRS so-and-so, and each of us will react according to that vibration. Don’t you act more adult when someone addresses you as Mr or Mrs? I know I do…so there’s part of my philosophy about naming puppies. Yes, I still use a theme but within that theme will be names that reflect a “personality”, an “attitude”, or an “image” to the people around the puppy. As an example, you hear: “Rocky”, and in general, the image you get is a Rottweiler or Pit Bull; you hear “Fi-Fi”, and immediately that fluffy poodle pops in your head. This is 2006 and our new litter was born on Father’s Day. My theme is Famous Fathers and Famous Daughters (of Famous Fathers when possible). A tough selection process to be sure! Some of the selections include: Girls=Sunstag Oona; Sunstag Heming (Nickname: Sally); Sunstag Ali (Nickname: Laila); Sunstag Dionne; Sunstag Serena (Williams); Sunstag Ashley (Judd); Sunstag ZsaZsa; Sunstag Indira. Boys=Sunstag Sideshow Bob [taken!]; Sunstag Fonda (Nickname: Henry); Sunstag Nixon (Nickname: Dickie); Sunstag Ghandi (Nickname: Mo); Sunstag Bridges (Nickname: Jeff); Sunstag Presley (Elvis); Sunstag O’Neil (Eugene); Sunstag Bergan (Charlie): Sunstag Chaplin (Nickname: Charlie); Sunstag Richie …with more coming in every day. Okay, take Sunstag Serena—in your mind perhaps you see the strong athletic, tennis player, which is my intention; however, some will not make the connection and will think of serenity, solitude and a placid temperament. My choice for a family will be the one who mentally connects with the athlete. With Sunstag Ghandi, you may imagine him as the brave, silent, non-confrontational personality, or if you use “Mo”, the nickname, you could think of More (bigger than life!), or Maurice (a bit French?), or the WW2 battleship “Mighty Mo”, or you knew someone called that and you will “image” the puppy in that mold. It is my job to interview to find the family who will react in the way I envision when giving the puppy that name. Truth be told, puppy will tell me what best suits it. Sure, the family has a lot of input on the selection process; I prefer that selection be from a list I have formulated so when they call and tell me the puppy’s name, I can recollect the litter, any pertinent anecdotal references and then can respond to that “vibration” properly. If you are getting a puppy from this litter, be sure to ask for the updated list of “suitable” names. Remember, no matter what name is on puppy’s AKC registration form, you can call him whatever suits you—and puppy.

2 June 2006--Shall we discuss Rude, Arrogant, Exclusionary Breeders? My friends, I do apologize for those times you called or met a breeder who was rude and discourteous to you. It is unfortunate that some can be quite snobbish...usually without much of a reason. I hope you never experience the silent snub or get rude responses when you ask the price of a puppy even before the Breeder knows anything about you. Well, I can tell you that it would put someone off a bit if that was your true criteria for buying an Irish Wolfhound, but if the Breeder doesn't give you a chance to explain, well...there you are. Their loss, I'm sure. You are a nice person. You just don't know how to approach buying from a Breeder. Perhaps your only experiences have been at the Pound, ASPCA or a pet store. That can be daunting, but addressing a professional Breeder can be life changing<L>. I should add to my 14 July 2005 comments below: that a Good Breeder also is willing to listen to you when you are a Prospect; willing to share some resources and experiences and to help you decide if this is the right dog for you and your family. A Good Breeder will be there for you even if you don't buy from him/her; afterall, you are part of the family--you own an Irish Wolfhound! How simple is that?? If you are ever treated to such discourtesy, let me know...I'll broadcast it so no one else is treated that way!

2 June 2006--What is a National Specialty? My goodness, I'm truly Chatty Cathy today! Anyway. A National Specialty is a very super ANNUAL dog show for Irish Wolfhounds only where the breeders and owners have an opportunity to come from all across the country to a central location to exhibit their best and finest hounds to a knowledgeable Judge (usually an Irish Wolfhound breeder as well). It is hosted by a Regional Club under the National Breed Club's aegis. The Host Club provides the venue, the itinerary and the personnel needed to put on an event which could bring in 300 Irish Wolfhounds or more!! Amazing! And, for the opportunity to see that many hounds in one place at one time is incredibly fortunate! I believe that every family who owns and loves their Irish Wolfhound would benefit from the experience and education provided by a National Specialty. You do not have to be a Breeder or an Exhibitor--simply that you love the breed. You can find the schedule for our Specialties on the web: www.IWClubofAmerica.org . Do try to go at least once. The venues rotate around the U.S. so it could be in your area soon. Y'all come, ya hear!

8 March 2006--What is an International Championship?  Well, since many of our hounds have been awarded this title, I suppose it is a good idea to explain that there are TWO such titles, which makes things confusing. One title is awarded by Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) of Belgium and has a membership of 84 countries Worldwide, the other one is awarded by the International All Breed Kennel Club, sanctioned by a German organization. With the former, you are truly an International Champion; with the latter you can only say you are Internationally titled—they cannot award an International Certificate (CACIB) because it is trademarked by the FCI.  You might want to know that our hounds have also actually BEEN to places like Peru and Brazil and Canada and Mexico and Japan…we have been fortunate to have awards presented to our hounds in all the countries visited, so they are National Champions, making them Internationally Titled as well as being International Champions by virtue of being awarded the Certificats d'Aptitude au Championnat International de Beauté (CACIB) by an FCI Affiliate country. The only prime countries which do not recognize or participate in this FCI certification, are Canada (CKC) and the United States (AKC). To top it off, the FCI sponsors a World Show every year. At World Shows, a separate and very special title can be bestowed on each breed; that of World Champion. The World Show travels from country-to-country based on the host country of the current President of FCI. Truth be told, these shows make for some of the greatest vacations ever!!! [For more information on the FCI, GOTO http://www.fci.be/aboutus.asp?lang=en&sel=4 ]  Or, see my latest (12/2007) article on this issue. GOTO  INTERNATIONAL CHAMPION?

14 July 2005--I once thought I knew how to Identify a Good Breeder, then I read something that put a few more ideas into my head. I'm sorry to do this to you, but you'll have to CLICK here and go read the full document for yourself. It is very well written...I doubt I could do better.

15 February 2005--
You hear the word  "SUBSTANCE" a lot when you're around Irish Wolfhound breeders and some owners. What is substance? There are several viewpoints and I will give you one or two, and definitely my personal viewpoint. Those differences come from just basic semantics and our individual understanding of the word. The Dictionary offers several esoteric responses, but the one which relates to our interpretation includes "the actual matter of a thing, the essential part, or essence, of a thing". My emphasis. Too often BULK  or BONE has been the interpretation used, but it is the WHOLE, not the part that encompasses SUBSTANCE. One of our most reliable sources for defining SUBSTANCE is from a book by Edward Gilbert and Pat Gilbert on Canine Terminology, they say: "SUBSTANCE--the bone, the tendons, the muscles, the flesh and coat" and it does not include an overabundance of any of these factors as "BULK" would  indicate. When shopping around for your puppy,  you'll see a number of Irish Wolfhounds who resemble mastiffs and this is not correct for substance, that is correct for bulk. We must remember that this is a Marathon Hound, capable of loping after its prey, the Great Wolf, for 35 miles if need be, and still have the energy, stamina and endurance to dispatch that wolf. We hope you will keep that picture in your mind's eye, of a tall, lean Greyhound like animal, "of great size and commanding appearance". In this case "great size" does NOT mean great bulk! I'm happy to get on my soapbox again for you--any time!

13 August 2003--
Okay! Okay! I'll talk about The Financial End of buying a puppy, though it is still my contention that any potential family should start with the adaptability and loyalty issues of the breed and its suitability for the family. But on that note, since the question will eventually be broached I need to give you some "truths" as I see them. The larger marketplaces (East and West Coasts) have no trouble finding homes for their puppies and can command much higher fees for their hounds. [Oh, come on now! You really didn't think we didn't at least TRY to make a profit.] What factors determine those fees? There are two reasons: Cost of living is higher such as vet care, food and maintenance costs; Breeder Reputation should also be considered. It appears that most of the known breeders live on either coast and are more visible in the Irish Wolfhound community. They are in areas where the exhibition opportunities are very high and this adds to the Breeder's reputation. So, the National averages for purchasing puppy run from $1000 to $2500. If you select a breeder correctly, one you can interact with and is considerate of your care of the puppy, you may select one from either coast. Then, you will be looking at averages between $1700 and $3500. The lower range would be for companions hounds to be neutered; the higher ranges for show and breed potential. A Breeder's reputation, good or bad, comes from several sources. (1) From years of producing sound, healthy hounds and word of mouth is positive. (2) Being a friend and Irish Wolfhound mentor to their families--again word of mouth is positive. (3) Success in the show arena and your peers recognize you and gossip or applaud. (4) Jealousy or envy factors from other breeders who have not taken the time to investigate the gossip yet take it as fact/truth, or make up some of their own <L>. We have all been guilty of stretching the truth at some time. Human nature.

1 June 2003--
WOW! Over a year since I've had my "soap box" mode on. Well that changes now! So You Want a Show Potential Puppy? Are you prepared? Someone once put together quite a succinct list (operative word: Succinct) to tell their Show Potential families what to expect. And, remember these are 2003 prices...you can almost add half again to them in 2015.
The Most Expensive Collar you ever bought? Why, of course...that very first show collar! Here's how it all began. In the Beginning...You got your dog, a real show dog, and quickly realized that you needed the correct collar to show him on, which, in turn, led you to that wonderful, buttery smooth leather lead. At your very first show, you noticed that you just HAD to have the proper grooming supplies also:
Slicker Brush $9.00.......................................Spray Bottle $4.00.
Pin Brush $15.00...........................................Water Bottle $4.00
Comb $10.00................................................Good Conditioner $15.00
Bait $10.00....................................................Collar $10.00
Chalk $9.00...................................................NEW Collar (your dog has now out grown that first one) $14.00
Chalk Brush $15.00...................................... Are you beginning to get the picture?
....YOUR FIRST POINT.*****YOU'RE HOOKED******** You definitely need: Dog show calendar $12.00-don't wanna miss ANY shows now; Bait $10.00; Dog Crate for the car $80.00. By now you're beginning to realize the back seat isn't a proper way to transport your dog. .At your very next show you begin to feel a bit more confident and relaxed at dog shows. Borrowing and waiting to use your friends grooming table is so inconvenient. So, you add: Grooming Table $95.00; Grooming Arm $50.00; Bait $10.00. You begin to start collecting dog show things, old towels, skirts/shirts with pockets, dresses/pants/suits with pockets, good comfortable shoes, rain gear, umbrellas, water jugs, etc. --another $500.00. Too many grooming supplies scattered throughout your car? Tack Box for supplies $50.00; Good comfortable Camp Chairs $35.00 (we seem to be spending much more time at shows lately). Suddenly you realize all of these items AND your dog don't fit in the family car anymore. That means: Used Mini Van $15,000. Somewhere around this point you get tired of waiting to use your friends blow dryer. Add: New blow dryer $150.00; Extension Cord for Dryer $15.00; Five-way plug for sharing electricity with your new dog show friends $10.00; New and improved dog show collar and lead $40.00; New type of improved Coat Conditioner $15.00; Bait $10.00; Your friends favorite Shampoo and Whitener $35.00; New Comb and Slicker brush $25.00 (you lost the old ones at the last show); Scissors $30.00 (kitchen shears just don't trim those pads right); Roll up mat for ground cover for those muddy show grounds $45.00.
...YOUR DOG PICKED UP HER NINTH SINGLE and the hunt for majors begins. After wasting much money on entries where majors didn't hold you begin to get frustrated and search out and find that new male show puppy and a perfect match for your female! That means: Crate for new dog $80.00; Show collar and lead for new dog $50.00 (your tastes have been refined now); Handling classes for new dog $40.00. The very first show with the two of your hounds teaches you that your Mini Van will not carry both crates and all your equipment. Brand New Larger Mini Van $25,000.00! Now having two dogs to show and get ready quickly teaches you a generator is required! Generator $325.00; Two Dog Kennels for outside $1,000.00. Just gotta pick up one of those majors on your female. Handler for those major shows $1000.00 (+/-). AND YOUR FEMALE FINISHES! HOORAY!
... BUT, your new male is too young to breed. That necessitates going to a Stud owner and preparing your bitch for breeding, so: Updating & Health Clearances on Female $200.00; Stud Fee $1,000.00 (paid out-front with no guarantees); Progesterone Testing $200.00; Whelping box $250.00; Vet bills-x-rays, sonograms, well mother checks $400.00; Putting first aid whelping kit together $300.00; Vaccines for new litter $150.00; X-pen for puppies $80.00; Whelping pads, fleeces, toys for puppies, weaning supplies, etc. $450.00; Baby Scale $45.00; Well puppy and mother exams $150.00. <sigh>. What now?
... Spectacular puppy in litter will be new show dog. Immediately realize Mini Van will NOT hold three dogs and show equipment: Motor Home or Full size dog show van $30,000 to $100,000.00!!!!!! Next, you realize you are eating macaroni and cheese while your dogs are eating Human Grade Dog food at $55.00 a bag.
... Congratulations! You have now earned the title of "Dog Breeder!" Aren't you glad you are finally making those big bucks breeding dogs? So far you have invested well over $80,000.00 in showing your two dogs. This figure does NOT include dog food, the initial cost of your dogs, entry fees, motel bills, general vet bills, toys and many other ownership incidentals.
... Your litter of pups yielded six puppies, you kept one and sold the other five for $500.00 (Rev. $1,500 each-2014) each (and that's discounted from the going rate!). Congratulations, you just made $2,500.00 (Rev.-$7,500-2014) breeding your dogs! Now if you can just breed 30 or more litters you MAY just break even with your initial investment of over $75,000. [Ed. NOT!] And...don't forget moving to the country so you could breed all the dogs you want. Depending where you live you could have a numerical limit. All this could amount to major bucks. Are you sure you are prepared for that Show Potential Puppy?  [Ed: Remeber these prices are 2003!<G>]

*3 March 2002 (Rev. 15 Feb 2005)--I am about to start a Helpful List of Terms and Phrases.

This segment may grow over the next years... Keep Watching!
Bitch = Female Dog
Blue, Blues = A genetic dilution of black; not a fault or disqualification in Irish Wolfhounds, and bears NO relative health issues.
Bulk = The overabundance of bone and substance (see Substance).
Burr = The inside of the ear within the ear cup.
Co-Own = The Breeder agrees to assist the Buyer/Owner in showing or breeding and adds their name to the Registration Form as a mark of their approval. BE WARY OF THIS TYPE OF OWNERSHIP.
Cow Hocked = The rear "ankles" turn in causing a toeing out of the rear feet.
Cryptorchid = Where both testicles either do not descend into the scrotum or are never present in the puppy. This puppy needs to be neutered to retrieve the atrophying testicles.
Dam = The Mother of a Litter
Dentition = Full mount is 42 adult teeth
Dog = Male Dog; is also generic for both genders.
Ear Leather = The flap of the ear and its thickness.
Fawn, Wheaten= An accepted color of a pale yellow or reddish yellow tint.
Furnishings = The facial hair surrounding the IWs eyes and under the chin which are recognized as a Breed characteristic.
Gallop (as in Galloping Hound) = The fastest of the dog gaits, has 4 beat rhythm and an extra period of suspension where all 4 feet are off the ground.
Gay Tail, also Stud Tail = A tail carried above the horizontal level of the back.
Hare Foot = The 2 central digits are longer than the outside and inside toes of the foot, the arching is less marked giving a long appearance.
Heat = The seasonal period of a bitch, also Season
Hip Dysplasia = A developmental disease of the hip joint.
Hock-y = See Cow Hocked
In-Breeding = Mating closely related dogs; acceptable procedure for experienced and knowledgeable breeders only. Never done in successive generations; once in five is a general rule-of-thumb.
Intact = Unaltered male or female and generally of breeding quality.
Inter-Breeding = Mating of two separate breeds. NOT DONE!
Knuckle Over = Structural fault of the front "wrists".
Leasing = Where one Breeder takes temporary ownership of a female for the purpose of breeding her into their genepool.
Leggy = Tall, not necessarily rangy; appears high off the ground. This is not a fault, merely an appearance definition.
Litter = Puppies resulting from a mating
Mating = A pairing of dogs to produce a Litter
Monorchid = One testicle did not descend into the scrotum. This puppy must be neutered to retrieve the atrophying testicle. 

Neuter = A generic term for surgically rendering a dog or bitch sterile, but is generally considered reserved for the Male (see Spay)
Outcross = A hound with a pedigree that has no connection to one's own bloodline.
Overshot = A bite with the upper incisors projecting beyond the incisors of the lower jaw; results in space between the inner and outer surfaces.
Pedigree = Written record of a dog's genealogy in 3 or more generations.
*Phenotype = The look or silhouette of the hound, generally used for selecting a compatible mate.
Prepotent = Strong ability to transmit parental qualities to offspring.
Professional Handler = One who shows dogs for a fee; an occupation.
Purebred (not Thoroughbred--that's horses) = Sire and Dam of the same breed and are themselves of unmixed descent.
Racy, Rangy = Tall, of comparatively slight build. This is not a fault, merely an appearance definition.
Red or Red Wheaten = Strawberry or Strawberry Blond; NOT like an Irish Setter, much more on the golden side.
Rose Ear = Small drop ear that folds over and back, revealing the burr.
Scissors Bite = A bite in which the outer side of the lower incisors touches the inner side of the upper incisors. Ideal for the Irish Wolfhound.
Season = See Heat
Single Tracking = Footprints that fall on a single line of travel; from a walk into a trot, the footprints will converge toward a centerline beneath the body.
Slab-Sided = Flat ribs with too little spring from the spinal column.
Spay = To render a female infertile by surgical means.
Standard, The = Our Bible, a listing of physical and temperamental characteristics desired in the Irish Wolfhound
Stud/Sire = The Male/Father of a Litter
Stud Fee = That fee that the owner of the stud dog requires for you to mate that dog to your bitch. Sometimes this amounts to $1000+ or could be a puppy to the stud owner from the resulting litter.
Substance = Often mistaken for just "bone" or "bulk", it encompasses the whole structure from the skeleton to the coat. See "What is Substance" above.
Undershot = Front incisors of the lower jaw overlap or project beyond the front teeth of the upper jaw when the mouth is closed.
Undescended Testicles = A puppy could retain one or both testicles and as it matures it may cause difficulties. This puppy needs to be neutered by 8 months of age; with Wolfhounds, NOT before 8 mos.
Whelp, Whelping = To give birth. The offspring are also referred to as "the whelp" of such-and-so.

3 March 2002--As I sit here pondering the logistics of shipping about five puppies from Willow (Bellwood Witch O'Wonder), it has occurred to me that just because I am comfortable dealing with putting a puppy on a wild, scary, plane ride, my families may have much larger trepidations. I don't know if I can be brief on this as there are many little actions that are required to get Puppy from Sunstag to the new home. This begins with the interview process --possibly beginning 2 years earlier-- the receipt of the non-refundable reservation option fee, and the day-to-day memoranda on each puppy once it is born. I evaluate the puppies constantly on the Puppy Memo Sheet with an eye to the environments and lifestyles I have come to know of my reserved families. Yes, occasionally a family may come out and select their own puppy and I adore meeting everyone--so do the hounds! It is interesting that when families do come to make the selection, they inevitably select the very puppy--rather, the puppy I want them to have, selects them. Puppy and I have had long talks about this Family <L>! Nearly 3 weeks before Puppy is shipped, I have sent the Family their contract for perusal and questions; they have been instructed where to purchase the crate (#300, Intermediate, with Air Travel Kit, www.jefferspet.com , about $60 in 2002 for drop shipment to me for use on their puppy; they are feeling the excitement by now! But how do I go about shipping a puppy in the Continental U.S? (I'll deal with Foreign shipments sometime in the future--they are even more complicated.) The Airline schedules are on the internet. Once I have established with the family the general time frame for puppy to go home, we select a date that is convenient for them that gives them the most quality time with the new arrival. Perhaps the family takes a week of vacation, or staggers his and her schedules, or there is a stay-at-home family member, but in any case I want puppy to BOND with the caregivers...this means not leaving puppy alone for the first 72 hours at least. Next, I browse the airline sites for the best and most direct (means: may stop but no plane change) or a non-stop schedule, Time of year, time of departure/arrival and weather are taken into consideration. Our puppies have indoor/outdoor access and are therefore acclimated to many weather conditions --wind, cold, rain, heat, and so on-- which are itemized on their Memo sheet, along with the high and low temperatures. Within ten (10) days of shipping, Puppy sees the Vet for a Health Certificate and that's where the Puppy Memo becomes a source of data for the Health Certificate. I give my own DHLPP shots (which run about $20 per puppy for 3-5 shots, beginning at age 5 weeks and every 3 weeks to Week 17); those dates are listed on the Memo. I worm with two types of medicine (at 3 weeks and 7 weeks, which runs around $10 per puppy); those types and dates are on the Memo. If puppy had his dewclaws removed ($15 per puppy); that's there as well. I think you get the idea of how important this document is! [And, the Dam's Memo Ledger is more intensive!] Now comes the part that would be difficult for many because of the more stringent Airline rulings about "Known Shipper" Status. I suggest that the "new" breeder, shipping only occasionally, should hire an Agent to handle the documents and transportation issues. These can be found in the Yellow Pages under Shipping or Shipping Agents, usually; or call your closest Department of Agriculture for a referral. You must pass that expense along to the Buyer/Family (about $75-$100). A "Known Shipper" can be an individual, but this person must have established a Credit Account with that airline--can you imagine having credit accounts with 20 airlines?! I'm very fortunate that we are part of an industry that requires this status, and I can ride-on-the-back of that company. Shipping must be prepaid--no C.O.D. of live cargo. We trust our Families enough to not try and estimate the shipping figure then have to either ask for more or (heaven forbid!) refund some. The Way Bill Invoice is attached to the crate and the Family sends us the additional funds after puppy is home and settled. So, if you add up these "extras"--dewclaws ($15), shots ($20), wormings ($10), crate ($60), airport transport ($20) and Health Certificate ($37.50)--the Families are about $170 plus shipping costs over and above the actual purchase price of the their Puppy. These are NOT hidden fees. I do include dewclaws, shots and wormings as part of the initial Purchase, but crate, transport, health certificate and air fare are extra. So if you are a Prospective Family, be aware of these fees and please be prepared to accept them as part of your Puppy purchase. If you have questions, just ask.

16 October 2001--We have been hit by a terrorist attack... The aftermath seems grim for our animal friends as well as human ones. Have we all provided information to someone who knows that we have animals needing attention? Like a will, this kind of information sometimes is put off until it is too late. If unable to return home to care for the animals yourself, how long would it take for someone to acknowledge that something needs to be done. There are door and window stickers to let visitors, firemen, policemen know that certain critters are inside--in case of fire (for example) the firemen need to know to look for the family dog as well as the humans. There is no central registry for this kind of data so it is up to us individually to select a friend or family member with the number(s) and specie(s) at your home. This list must be updated and readily available. If you have suggestions, I will post them here. I do advise that you provide for your critters--somehow.

22 December 2000--Y2001 faces us with "power and glory"! We sincerely expect this wonderful trend of good health for all the hounds (and us hu-mans!) to continue, more exciting events, more travel and new puppies (possibly from abroad), and that 2001 will be a blast! We have a few geriatric hounds among our kids and now might be a good time to discuss some of the changes that should be made in diet, exercise, grooming and so on for the Seniors. First, it is always best to have annual check ups for all your hounds, but especially for the older ones. You just might catch some little thing before it becomes hu-mon-gous and life threatening. Diet changes include a lower protein content--they are not as active as they had been so the protein just sorta' "sits there" and isn't burned off as readily. Exercise should be paced to the condition of your hound. Some have been coursing all their lives and need to continue with a more energetic program; others have been couch potatoes for their life so adjust the exercise level accordingly...ASK YOUR VET when you are there for the check-up; get his input for your particular hound. He probably knows the hound's needs almost as well as you do (by now<G>). See also my ramblings about Winterizing.

16 August 2000--I've tried for weeks to get this subject (Names) into my Ramblings. Let me see if I can finish before another project gets priority. How do we name our Sunstag puppies? Long ago I insisted that all our hounds would have Gaelic names. Little did I know that not only would I not be able to correctly pronounce them, I would have to be careful to pick IRISH Gaelic, not WELSH Gaelic, names. This proved to be a major hurdle. I had sworn I'd never do the "alphabet" naming...Litter 1 all starts with the letter "A". I do admit that one time, I chose to name a litter using "A'A" (A'Ausom, A'Albaa), just so my detractors would think that this was my 27th litter. And, it worked for awhile--I was found out! So, I guess you could say I use "themes"; that probably best describes my methodology. Let me try to give you examples. A recent litter was born on the Night of the Academy Awards--first puppy was a bitch and we named her Sunstag American Beauty (what else?<G>). Among those are: Sunstag Topsy Turvy (Maisie); Sunstag Boys Don't Cry; Sunstag Mr. Ripley; Sunstag Cider House Rules and so on...go look at Puppies 2000 for the others. Then the Mayflower Litter followed, I simply had to have Sunstag Mayflower Madame for myself...naturally she's called "Sidney"...get it? Got it! You've already read how our first 4 hounds that we bought were named: Howell, Tien-sin, Gloch, and Moira (if not, read About Dixie)... so I won't go into that Tiens-n (the actual spelling), is Tibetan we believe, for Heavenly Blue Sky; we bred her to Shan, in Tibetan we believe that is Mountain or Blue Mountain... and so it goes. Read our Pedigree listings and ask me how each hound got his/her name. I love to tell ..."the rest of the story"... PS-XXXX is Kisses; OOOO is Hugs, get it? Got it!

29 March 2000-- Whew! This has been a busy year already. We do want to mention something about Insurance for your pet. for your Pet. When we had only 4, 5 or 6 we had full coverage through a firm called Veterinary Pet Insurance. We knew one of the original developers of the plan, and with my husband Dick's background in the insurance field, we felt comfortable with this new company. It is now almost nationwide--good for them! But with (almost always) 15 to 20 hounds in residence, it became prohibitive. You, on the other hand, with 1 or 2, should find Pet Insurance quite beneficial. It covers mostly the expensive stuff--emergency medical, surgeries, and truly catastrophic incidents--up to a given figure. Years ago they covered about $4000 on one of our girls... total came to over $5000, so you can see it was well worth the couple of hundred a year we were spending on the limited number of hounds we had then. You can find these guys in the white pages and possibly on-line, I haven't checked recently. And, I've heard that PetCo is offering a limited insurance policy. One or two more may be advertised in the dog magazines on the grocery newsstands... or the Library is a good resource. Do give some consideration to protecting your wallet along with your pet. Sometimes the difference in expensive care for an ailing hound can be this Insurance.

21 December 1999-- With the Millennium upon us, it is rather nice to reflect on the past 1000 years-- I'm laughing here since I only feel like I'm 1000 years old occasionally! We can see many improvements and other areas where we want to make a few adjustments--nothing major just touches here and there. Since I am traveling more to judging assignments and New York for AKC stuff, I find I prefer to leave the breeding to others (for the most part). Yes, Sunstag will have puppies in Y2000, but most are already reserved. I have one breeding that I'm waiting for (Dezi x A'Albaa)-- a repeat, and a rarity for us. The first one is so wonderful (to me) that I'd like a bit more of that gene pool for the future. So, Happy Christmas and Merry New Year-- may the road rise up to meet ye! [2002 Update--We were unable to repeat this breeding. Our A'Albaa developed cancer and we lost her a few months later.]

21 September 1999-- Summer is ending and now is a good time to rid yourself of the last of the fleas. A good bathing with Lemon Joy and a Frontline topical should see your hound through the winter in style! With the kids back in school, don't forget that your hound will need a tiny bit of extra consideration--an extended playtime after you get home from work, for instance. Our hounds can put on the "bulk" during winter's lower activity level and less exercise. Be sure you monitor the hound's weight and adjust his/her food intake to prevent stress and strain on the internal organs (like the heart!)--like with humans, being overweight is simply NOT GOOD for them.

20 June 1999-- An Irish Wolfhound as Wolf Hunter? Not on your life!!! On my life, maybe, but... How shall I impart my feelings on this? Yes, I believe the modern-day Irish Wolfhound could function in the great northwestern wilds as a wolf- killer, but I'd rather one of mine didn't have to prove itself. As a personal protector, I'd bank my life on my hound; as a deterrent to a night stalker, burglar or petty thief--probably, if I was in close proximity. I have found the hounds to use passive resistance to alter situations which, to the hound, appear threatening or not to their liking. For instance, if rising from the ground is sufficient to alter that situation, then, that's all ya gets, baby! If that doesn't do the trick, lowering the head and woofing lightly is the next step. After that...well, I know I'd be safe no matter what. BUT--I would not count on the hound to protect my "herd" (of whatever) if I was not also threatened. This is NOT a "personal protection" dog like the Rottweiler, who is reactive and protects just for the sake of protecting...the Irish Wolfhound THINKS, then acts--again, as passively as the situation warrants. Get a Llama for sheep or cattle, but please don't ask me for an Irish Wolfhound to guard your stock--that implies that the hound will be kept outside, away from the family. That is untenable to me! ALL our hounds (17 today <G>) are house hounds...and all should be. Don't you think so, too?

21 May 1999-- Nope! Nothing special. I've just been playing around with some of the refinements on my software--you know the ones that let you take an image and do little things with it. Just for my own pleasure, I've put together a clutter of kidlettes who don't appear on the Family Tree (the big one), let's just say this is Falling Leafs (Link) . Yes, I spelled it wrong, but you'll see why when...er, IF, you go take a peek. The document could take several seconds to load--if you get bored, I did offer a way OUT! Have fun... Oh, and for those who really want all this in-depth stuff, I link from that page to the Pedigrees Cross Reference Index...By the way, my thanks to "granddaughter", Angela, for helping me to find a midi file for the Glenn Miller rendition of "Autumn Leaves". I definitely appreciate it. Thanks. AND, Harry's "Hot Stuff" midi! It's wonderful! So appropriate! Still looking for "Macho Man"...anyone got it?

13 May 1999-- In just a couple of months I've learned another new and important lesson...know who to call in an emergency--no matter where in the States you are! Guess what? It's "9-1-1"! Here's the story. Recently, my handler was on a circuit with one of our girls when the hound showed signs and sounds of bloat. They are in a strange city; it was 1:30 in the morning; 9-1-1 was there and ready to help. They contacted an Animal Control Officer who appeared (as if by magic) at the fairgrounds, en route he had alerted a local veterinarian, he then led my handler (Barbara) to the clinic--where the vet was WAITING! An hour later the torsion surgery was done, the hound resting quietly, Barbara and vets exhausted, but all went well...Thank you, Canine Gods! Before I go into the "lesson", let me just assure you that the hound is alive, well and keeping everyone in line! The "lesson" is to always be prepared for emergencies especially when on the road and in a strange city. Additionally, when there is an accident and the tow truck won't take the dog(s), what do you do? Be sure to have the name and telephone number for Rescue (any breed!) for that area. In some states, if your dog is impounded due to an accident, they are required by law to neuter before releasing it! With just a few precautions, Traveling With Bowser can be rewarding. Be a good Scout: Be Prepared!

17 March 1999-- Well, sure has been awhile! I've found myself all over the world since last June! You know the feeling: Moving so fast you meet yourself coming and going... I think I can now address one or two things for you. I recently read an article on "What is a Breeder" (Also see Links--sorry, no longer functional-6/20/99, I'll write one soon.) and it left me rather undecided about it's in-depth value. Sure, it is a good starting point, just remember that you and your Breeder will be involved (should be, anyway) in the lifetime of your puppy. You'll want to feel comfortable with that person; you'll want to feel that your puppy is still under the protection of the Breeder, that you can go back anytime for advice, for resource material and just plain chit-chat. I don't say you have to become bosom buddies, just that you can trust the value of the information given you, that you can have faith that this person will be fair and caring, that this person has the same level of ethics as you do... Ah! Hah! Now we get to an interesting point. That description should also fit the buyer (you) and it sometimes doesn't. We all make mistakes in judgment, but if you do your research with lots of referrals, your decision to use this Breeder will be as good as you can get. Be sure you ask LOTS of questions!

11 June 1998-- Q: ...What does your Training Program consist of?
A:...
Wow! That's a tough one. This question included an inquiry on my "training tips", to which I had to answer: "What training?" After days of thought I have come to the realization that I actually do not "train" in the sense that most people think of the word. We take long walks into the National forest to help build endurance; they play and chase on our hillside which adds to their muscling ; we drag a plastic baggie on a long string and stick to amplify their prey instinct, but not much else. Of course, if we talk about house "training", they do that themselves. Our home is set up so that they have constant access to outside; they won't soil their nest so they go outside when they need to. If we talk about obedience or general good manners, I believe the hounds are innately polite, so I don't even do much obedience "training". Maybe I do some "visualization"...you know, mentally picturing the dog doing the right thing, and it sorta happens that way. While it is true that the occasional hound doesn't listen to my brain-waves <grin>, I still feel comfortable with very little formal training on the house hounds. [I do not advise the "normal" household to withhold manners training. Most families have a happier co-existence if their dog is given some basic obedience work. There are puppy socialization and basic obedience classes available in most cities through the local Parks and Recreation departments or your local Kennel Club. Contact AKC for a geographical list of clubs.] Ah, yes, I did forget the lure coursing crew! We do a great deal of "training" for them...I want them FIT when they compete. This process is fairly long and involved--coupling diet with exercise and endurance training. I give lectures on this subject <grin> so if you're really interested, invite me to your Club for my presentation...

11 February 1998--Well! Just a month apart... Q: ... What is a Mentor?
A:...
A mentor cares that you find the best information available, that you know who and where resource material can be obtained. A mentor answers all your questions and is "there for you" at strange and often inconvenient hours. Yes, there is much more to it--more like a guardian who helps you not make those silly mistakes or do harm to our breed. A mentor will more often than not give you all the reasons why "thou shalt not breed"...then, will natter away at you till you finally give 'way. Look for a breeder willing to give you this support and concern.

Q: ...Shall I get another Irish Wolfhound?
A: ...
For those asking this question, I wonder if you've had your first and are looking for another, then why not look to the breeder of your first one? Believe me, it is a wonderful validation of a breeder's interest in their buyers and their hounds for someone to request another. I am humbled by the pride and pleasure it gives me when someone returns years later for another "Dixie Dog". I am often amused at how the "Potato Chip Syndrome" settles over people. Some get them one at a time; others two or even three over a 5 year span, but always the comment is: "But he needs a buddy." Well, of course he does! And, so do you.

11 January 1998--Happy New Year! [Look out! I'm really loaded with "ramblings" today!]
Let's start with -- Q: ...
Shedding?   Do Irish Wolfhounds shed and how much?
A:...
Amusing question! Of course they shed! In my case, the number of fuzz-bunnies I get is directly proportional to the number of hounds I have living with me! Considering I have a couple of dozen who allow me to live in the house with them, let me say: THEY SHED!!! <laughing> Ohhhh-kaaay... For a normal household, you'll get threads of hair more than fuzz-bunnies unless you have hardwood floors, as I do. The IW coat will "blow" a few times in the hound's life and your breeder might suggest to you that you "strip" the puppy at about 6-10 months of age. [That's another commentary altogether! For later...better yet, call and ask!] This improves on your housecleaning chores! In colder climates, your hound may blow out its coat every spring...like hu-mans putting on shorts and tank tops for the summer. Then, it is just a matter of plucking out the shedding hair, keeping your hound tidy and lessening the stuff in your vacuum <smile>. A daily brushing (yeah! sure!) is generally all that is necessary. They shed less than a German Shepherd or a Great Dane, believe it or not! But, yes, they shed. I'm going to add a small aside here: I am allergic to everything under the Sun yet I do not have quite the reactions from/to the IW dander and oils as with other breeds... Just thought I'd throw that in.

Q: ...What is the Potato Chip Syndrome?
A:...
<Laughing> You've "caught" IT when you just have to have another Irish Wolfhound!!! We feel that "you can't have just one" IW, thus: The Potato Chip Syndrome! Have you caught it yet??? You ought to go see "Bet You Can't Own Just One! ", a little ditty I picked up from AKC...

This question has been asked of me: Q: ...Where is your price list on your website?
A:...
Boy! Does that open a huge discussion! If I listed prices, first I'd probably lose my ".org" status with my web server <grin>, and second, I think a price list is misleading, rude and distracting. I do get phone calls which open with: "Hi, I want an Irish Wolfhound. How much are they?" At least, the Irish Wolfhound is first in that scenario, so let's keep our focus on the hound, not the dollars. Learn about the breed. Discover all the trials and joys of producing, owning and living with this dynamic breed. Learn their history, about their puppy foibles, and whether this dog is for you. Talk to as many breeders as you can and ask many questions. You will begin to develop some sense about the breeder's "costs" ... after that, ask the price of a puppy. You won't be in for a shock then. Believe me when I tell you, the purchase cost is the last thing you need to consider! I've also gotten this--"How much?! You gotta be kidding!" So, prepare yourself to understand why the purchase price would make an individual so surprised...remember, too, this is an uncommon breed and we, the guardians of the breed, prefer it to stay that way. Are you truly set up to house, maintain and love a dog larger (in most cases) than you are??? The questions a breeder will ask you help to determine not your sincerity, but your responsibility level. Think of me as a "Snob" if you like, but my puppies go into well screened homes. Are you prepared for THAT process?

24 December 1997--Merry Christmas! Q:... To breed or not to breed? --that is the question. Whether 'tis nobler to do it for oneself or let the "professional" take the issue. Hummm.
A:...
This is is a BIG issue with most concerned and caring breeders, so let me address it as succinctly as I can. You shopped around very carefully before you selected the breeder from whom you will buy your Irish Wolfhound. You answered all the breeder's questions satisfactorily. Yes, you have a fenced yard and you'll never let your pet outside the house or yard without a leash. Yes, you promise to raise him/her as a member of the family, knowing that Irish Wolfhounds do best when "velcro-ed" to you. Yes, you promise that you'll give him/her better care than your own children! But now the breeder insists on a spay or neuter clause in the contract. Hey! This is your dog--isn't it? You're sure that a litter will make him or her a better pet; or, watching a female have a litter will be a good education for the kids; or, all your friends and relatives want one just like yours; or, watching a stud dog in mating is a good way to explain the "birds and the bees" to the kids; or, the sale of the litter will offset the purchase price. Wrong! Any reputable veterinarian will tell you that from the standpoint of health, it is not necessary for your hound to be bred. And, since your breeder sold the hound as a pet, the breeder must feel this is not a breeding quality hound. Neutering your hound will not only make him/her a happier, healthier pet, it appears to increase his/her lifespan nearly 2 years! Breeding a female is not the fun, money-making proposition as is idealized in some TV shows and movies. It is hard 24-hour days for weeks and a complicated birth could cost over $2,000.00 (Y2K prices)! Are you willing and able to take a minimum of 3 weeks away from your job to properly whelp (birth) and care for mom and puppies? And, as an aside, think about all those cute little bundles pooping and piddling all over the place for weeks!!! Then, you could find out that your friends and relatives are not really as enamored of getting a huge hound as you first thought or they first professed. Where do you think those puppies will wind up? Generally out with unqualified families who will let their pet breed indiscriminately thus increasing the number at animal shelters... Some things to think about, huh?

18 December 1997. Q:... How do you count a dog's age in human years?
A:...
The recent Dear Abby column was so well written that I've taken the liberty of quoting Ms. VanBuren here--"The first year of a dog's life is equal to 15 in a human's. The second year is the equivalent of nine more years of human age, making the dog 24 'human' years old. After that, each year equals 4 more years of human life. So, when a pup has been with its owner for 16 years, its age would be equivalent to an 80-year-old human". Isn't that interesting?

28 October 1997. An interesting situation has crossed my computer recently regarding breeder after-sale advice to the new buyer--Q: ...is it fact, fiction, or guesswork?
A:...
There are three individuals most responsive to your hound's well-being--your breeder, your veterinarian, and you. You know your hound better than anyone else, so if you call your breeder with a problem (for example: a bit of shyness in your puppy) and you get information that does not sit well in your belly, please, call your vet for advice. If the advice still does not sit well--YOU have the option of going with your intuition (your "best guess") or seeking further advice...like here or on the IW-FAQ List. Just because you and your breeder have an excellent rapport does not mean the breeder is the most definitive fountain of knowledge about the breed. Take a good look at the problem--we are not discussing physical health here, that is definitely a veterinarian decision--make an experiential evaluation based on YOUR knowledge of YOUR puppy, then make YOUR decision. Do not abrogate your responsibility to the puppy to anyone else with just one other bit of data. The better informed you are about the problem at hand, the easier any decision can be. Yeah! I know! What is she talking about??? I'm just "Rambling"...on a bit of a soapbox. Just read it; absorb it as best you can; then, come on back and re-read it later. You'll get the picture some day!

Q:...How can a breeder select a Show Puppy?
A:...
Experience. Perhaps the first-time breeder or even one with a limited amount of experience would not have developed the "eye" for future conformation and attitude. A long-time breeder has personal knowledge of past litters which have grown to maturity. And, there is a special "shock" that I experience on the Keeper puppy... Rather like the Canine Gods saying: "You have to keep this one."... A nice feeling to have so much help<G>

Q:...How can I be sure I have chosen a reputable breeder?
A:...
If your selected breeder has bombarded you with numerous questions; if your selected breeder has asked for a site check (meaning, they want to come for a visit or will send a representative); if they have told you of their testing procedures; if they have given you a tour of their facility; if they have a "history" (meaning, they are not just new, first-time breeders); if they require that the puppy be returned to them should you have personal difficulties; if they request progress reports throughout the puppy's life; if they provide a puppy care guidebook or instructions along with a complete breeder and vet health record; if their hounds live in the home not in the kennel; if they have asked about family, other pets, fencing and your vet references; if it sounds like you are adopting a human child -- then, maybe, just maybe, you've found a caring, concerned, reputable breeder.

Q:...It is said that 85% of a puppy comes from the mother. Who contributes what to the puppies?
A:...
In our experience it is more of a 60-40 proposition on the dam's side. Here is part of what we have observed.
MOM: ears, teeth, bone, coat texture, rear structure, tail, pigment, depth of eye color, weight, disposition
DAD: height, substance, front structure, neck and back length, muscle strength
BOTH/EIGHTER: feet, head shape
     As further confirmation of my 60-40 estimates, we recently bred a litter by a soft-coated male to a very hard-coated female which produced 7 puppies. Of the 7, only 3 showed evidence that their coats would be on the softer side. The other 4 are very hard and proper. (Feb 2012 litter) 2015 Update~still very hard and proper.

 



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SUNSTAG (Reg.) IRISH WOLFHOUNDS
Dixie Hirsch ... P.O. Box 777 ... Silverado, CA 92676-0777
Phone (714) 649-0102 ||||||||| MSG (714) 649-2770
E-Mails: sunstag@cox.net  //  Dixie@sunstag.org