Category Archives: Clover

Orlando Show Report, part one: Perry, Florida

If it’s been quiet here around the ol’ blog, it’s because we took time to head to Orlando for the AKC Eukanuba National Championship, and combined that time with a family vacation.  It was two days of straight driving there (and two days on the way back), and I need to start by giving a hundred thousand thank-yous to Amy and Marsa, without whom the trip would not have happened.  Amy boarded Clover for us, and Marsa boarded Jackson and Pike, so that we only had to travel with Loki.

On the trip, before heading to Orlando, we made a stop in Perry, FL to visit my family for a few days.

A family gathers around a Christmas tree.
There may have been some serious relaxing going on …

My dad has, in addition to the house dogs, actual hunting foxhounds. He’s always had hunting dogs, pretty much my whole life.  Florida is one of the few (the only?) states that will allow you to hunt deer with a pack of dogs.  His current crew are a mix of Walker and Blue Tick hounds, and they have no idea what the show ring is.  I think they made jokes about Loki behind his back. 😉 Anyway, growing up around my dad’s dogs is for sure where I get my love of a good hound.  Without the dogs that he raised, I wouldn’t have my Rhodesians.

We had two little excursions during our stay in Perry.  First was to the site of the old Hampton Springs resort.

Hampton Springs sign

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A day later, we went out to the Hickory Mound area in the Big Bend Wildlife Management Area.  The last time I was out in Hickory Mound, it was hunting with my dad.  He left me at the truck while he headed out down the road.  I got bored.  I decided wading in the water would be a good idea.  It wasn’t, because it’s full of razor sharp oyster beds, and I still have the scar on the bottom of my foot to remind me that wading in oyster beds is … not smart.

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We also took a day to head to my uncle David’s house, where we entertained Nathan by picking some citrus (Satsuma oranges and kumquats) out of Uncle David’s front yard.

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The kumquats were delicious but the oranges … well, if you ever get offered an orange by my uncle David, be suspicious.  I suggested he might want to put some sugar down by the tree base.  Like, a bag full of it.  They were VERY bitter!

This brings us to the end of part one … part two tomorrow I’ll cover the actual show in Orlando!

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Final Show Results for the Canaan Dog Supershow

Rather than do my normal post-show report, because it’s eight days worth of shows and I wasn’t there for half of them, let me add a summary.  Over the course of two weekends, and through the efforts of a tremendous number of dedicated owners, breeders, and enthusiasts, we ended up with the following:

Bird:  two majors toward her CH (I think she’s at 7 or 8 points)
Clover:  new champion
Poppy:  new champion
Jury:  new champion
Mary Russell: new champion and Best of Breed at The National Dog show (look for her on television Thanksgiving Day following the Macy’s Parade)
Harvest: new champion and one major toward his grand championship
Reen:  new grand champion

All the dogs were amazing, but I want to call some special attention to Harvest (CH Hatikva Harvest Rain at Relic).  Harvey, as he’s affectionately known, is just over a year old, and he finished his championship with very limited showing.  In just seven shows, he’s gone Best in Sweeps at this year’s Canaan Dog National Specialty, he’s gone reserve to a major Specialty weekend, and he finished his championship with four major wins, going Best of Breed from the classes multiple times.  And, he did all this with charm, grace, and good temperament.

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Also in Springfield, on Saturday Loki was Reserve Winners Dog to his brother Dante, and Dante won his first major.  This was the first weekend I’ve shown Loki since Clover had her cat fight (followed by ringworm for all three dogs), and he picked right up without missing a beat.  That boy knows his job and really enjoys doing it.

Our last show of the year will be Eukanuba, and Pike will be old enough to head into a 4-6 month special class in January.  Here’s looking forward to great success in shows next year!

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Halfway through the Canaan Dog Supershow

The past weekend in Pennsylvania was just the first of two back-to-back weeks of Canaan Dog majors here on the East Coast.  PA has wrapped up, which means at the end of this week you can look forward to Springfield, MA shows.

Here are the results for PA (registered names found in this post):

Thursday:
WB/BOB:  New CH Clover
RWB: Bird

Friday:
WB/BOB: New CH Poppy
RWB:  Bird

Saturday:
WB/BOB: Mary Russell (look for her on television Thanksgiving Day)
RWB: Poppy

Sunday:  
WB/BOB Jury
RWB: Mary Russell

So, we finished the weekend with two new champions, and two more bitches who needed majors, getting them.  Congrats to all the girls, who just survived one of the most difficult show weekends on the east coast, because it’s a televised, benched show, so there are larger crowds than normal for spectating, and there are TV crews and camera equipment and all the other hubbub that comes along with that.

Looking forward to Springfield, there will be Canaans entered Thursday-Sunday again (I will be attending Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).  If you’re in New England and you want to meet a Canaan Dog in person, come see us!

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Nalyua’s super good questions deserve their own post

Yesterday, Nalyua had some amazingly good questions about Clover and her championship.  So good, I wanted to pull them out into their own post.  (Naly, I <3 you so much for how good these are!)

Congratulations for Clover winning her Championship! (Err my apologies if I interpret the post wrong!)

You did not interpret the post wrong.  Thank-you very much!

That leads me to a (maybe) stupid question again. I’m sorry!

I see that Clover won points even after she got this floppy ear which is not breed standard.

Before her ear injury, Clover had already won 11 points and had two major wins.  She needed four points to finish her title.

The thing about breed standards is that they describe a hypothetical ideal dog of that breed, and no real dog is going to be perfect in every way.  Some judges we’ve shown to since her ear injury have been able to look past the floppy ear and say, “Well, even with the bad ear, I think this dog gets closer to the hypothetical ideal dog described in the standard.”  Some judges have decided that the bad ear was enough of a flaw that they felt the other dog in the ring was more deserving of the win.  I had the opportunity to talk to a judge on each side of that divide — one said the ear injury didn’t bother him because he liked Clover’s structure and her movement very much.  The other judge said that, while there were things she liked about Clover, the standard was very clear about both ears being erect, and she felt that was more important.  Judging is inherently subjective because you’re comparing each dog in the ring to a hypothetical ideal dog, so every judge has to decide for themselves what part is more important than other part.  If you have two dogs that are in all other ways equally of good quality, do you pick the one with a better shoulder, or the one with a better rear?  Ask ten judges, get ten different answers.

And I saw your descriptions that Jackson needed to mature a bit and get more broader around the chest.

Yep, at the time we retired him from showing, we hoped that with maturity, Jackson’s front would improve.

He didn’t seem to get the same amount of points Clover got. To me as a total noob this seems very strange because the floppy ear is obviously and clearly visible not supposed to be there, while Jackson looks like an exemplatory Ridgeback( and even seemed to be the breeders pick puppy until they decided on a girl instead). To someone who has no idea that is.

In some way, this is just an example of how you make an educated guess at 8 weeks old of how a puppy will turn out, and then they do (or don’t) turn out the way you had hoped.  Jackson’s shoulder and chest assembly is put together in a way that makes him stand with his two front feet very close together most of the time, because his chest is narrow.  With dogs, movement follows structure.  The way a dog is put together directly influences how he will move.  And the more easily a dog can move — the less he has to fight his own body to move freely — the easier it will be for him to do the job he was bred to do (or to compete in dog sports, or even just be a pet).  He has some lovely features — he has beautiful shoulder angulation, a very strong rear, and he looks very nice when you watch him trotting from the side.  But as soon as he starts trotting in a straight line toward you, you can immediately see how that narrow chest affects the way he has to move his front legs in order to get out of his own way.

I am told — by people who are much more experienced in this than I am — that if I wanted to spend the money on it, I could eventually put a title on Jackson, but it won’t be as easy as putting points on Loki has been.  I haven’t taken it off the table yet — Jackson is only three years old.  No dog is ideal, and he’s got a lot of good points too.

In this photo, you can see the difference between Jackson’s chest and Loki’s chest (or Clover’s chest) pretty clearly, especially if you look at the spacing between their feet.  This was a candid photo so you can see how each dog naturally “falls” into a different way of holding himself, just as a result of the differences in how their bones are put together.  But also pay attention to the amount of space between the legs at the bottom of the chest — imagine putting your hand between their legs, and how much room there would be on Jackson versus Loki.  See also how Jackson’s toes on his front feet point in different directions, and Loki’s all point the same direction.  Again, this is due to that chest assembly and how the bones all interact with each other.

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Then again Clover got this floppy ear due to an injury and Jackson’s problem is more from the general bone structure?

I am told that as long as an injury is considered an “honorable” injury — in other words, it’s not the result of cosmetic surgery or an attempt to surgically correct a fault in structure — that it is okay to continue to show the dog.  So, if Clover’s bad ear had been that way since birth, that would be one thing.  But her ears were up, and the one ear fell due to injury, and that makes all the difference in the world.

A black and white dog

Does this make any difference in a show? And does the limited amount of Canaans in a show make a difference?

Yes and no.  The rarity of Canaan Dogs versus a more popular breed like Dobermans does mean that it’s less competitive.  You have more breeders and owners showing their own Canaan Dogs (versus handling them off to a handler) so it’s easier to compete as a novice like I am.  A professional handler who has been showing dogs for forty years will know how to take a less-than-stellar front and make it look as best as it can be made to look.  A novice won’t have that skill yet.

There’s a downside to rarity too, though:  it’s harder to get points.  I’m lucky that Poppy is local to us and so we could get three of the four points Clover needed just by competing against her.  But for Poppy — who has all the points she needs EXCEPT for her second major — having Clover local to her is less valuable.  Amy had to really work behind the scenes to organize getting Bird, Jury, and Mary Russell to come to us for shows, and it was only possible because they were in the same position Poppy was: they had points, but needed majors.

Because if I understood your explanation about shows then a Major can be only won if the dog beats contestants, or did I misunderstand?

Nope, you have it right.  The amount of points you earn at any one show is determined by how many dogs you defeated, and you have to earn three points to be considered a major win.  For Canaan Dogs, that means you need to defeat at a minimum four dogs of your sex who don’t have their title yet.  Things get complicated when you add in crossover points, but to keep things simple, just know that you need at least four girls entered (who don’t have a championship yet) to be worth three points, and you need three or more points for a major win.

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This is the sound of an epic face palm

Saturday morning, around 7 am, I let the dogs out into the backyard. In the backyard was a cat.  Clover stopped at the gate and looked at the cat.  The cat looked back at Clover.  Then the cat bolted toward the back fence, and Clover caught it just as it tried going up and over the fence.

I ran after her, futilely yelling, “Clover, no!!”  I heard very little noise from the cat, which is never a good sign.  Animals that are fighting for their life rarely waste energy and breath on screaming.  Clover screamed, though.  I got to Clover, grabbed her, and she released the cat, which scuttled under the back fence.  Then I hoisted Clover into the air and brought her inside the house to check her over.  I was looking for scratches and blood, which is how I missed finding the puncture wounds on her front legs and right shoulder.

I found those later, after the leg had started swelling and she started limping.  Cat bites (scratches, too, but especially bites) are nasty.  All animals, people included, harbor a lot of bacteria in our mouths.  Cats have tiny little sharp fangs though, that can puncture deep into flesh and carry that bacteria deep under skin and muscle, where it rapidly multiplies and forms an abscess.  Fortunately for us (and Clover), we caught this well before things had a chance to even progress toward that point.  Unfortunately for our wallet, our regular vet was closed by the time we realized Clover would need professional attention, so it was off to the emergency vet.

Prior to heading to the vet, while examining the swelling on Clover’s left front leg, we found four punctures.  While in the waiting room, we found a scratch on the top of her head.  While in the exam room, we discovered another puncture at the point of her right elbow, and another on her right shoulder.  Let me remind you that I missed ALL of these during my initial examination immediately after the fight.  Puncture wounds can be extremely difficult to find, especially if they don’t bleed much.

The vet that examined Clover then proceeded to add insult to injury (lol, see what I did there) by first letting me know that because the vaccination status of the cat was unknown, we’d need to booster Clover’s rabies vaccination — as required by law.  All in all, this isn’t a terrible thing since her 3 year booster was coming up next February anyway.  She just ended up getting it a few months early.

No, the real bomb was when she dropped the q-word on me:  quarantine.  As in, a 45 day mandatory quarantine.  As in, Massachusetts requires the animal to be quarantined in the owner’s home, or boarded at an animal hospital or approved boarding kennel.  If I want to board her at a kennel not in our township, we have to have approval to transport her from the animal inspector.  And if we were moving out of state, our local animal inspector would have to get transport approval from the Department of Health in the state that we were moving to.

Some of you will know where this is going already and I can hear you groaning in sympathy.  Amy was going to board Clover for us while Jackson and Loki went with us to the RRCUS 2014 National Specialty in Salt Lake City, UT.  Amy is Clover’s co-owner, which satisfies the requirement that she be quarantined in the owner’s home, but … Amy lives in Connecticut.  And we live in Massachusetts.

The animal inspector is supposed to call me on Monday, as part of the rabies protocol for Massachusetts.  I’m going to ask if we can still board Clover in CT for our trip, but I’m preparing myself for the answer to be no, which means no specialty for Loki this year.  It’s not the end of the world — the specialty for 2015 is in Rhode Island!

As for Clover, she’s on antibiotics to prevent the development of any abscesses and she’s got painkillers as needed, plus a soft cone to prevent her from licking her wounds.  She is looking pretty ridiculous, since her wounds needed to be shaved for the vet to examine them.  We got off pretty lightly though — none of them required stitches or drains.  Going forward for the next 45 days she’s only allowed to leave the house for on-leash potty breaks in our yard.  And the vet has her on exercise restriction while her legs heal.

The funniest conversation of the night came when the sweet (very young) vet discovered that Clover competes in conformation — she was inquiring about Clover’s vaccination status and I sent Nate out to the car to grab the emergency paperwork folder.  I mentioned to the vet that I keep a folder with each dog’s proof of vaccination, town license, and AKC registration in case we ever got into an accident on the way to a show, and she immediately got a worried look on her face.  “When are you planning on showing Clover again?” she asked.  I kinda cocked my head and said, “Well … not in the next 45 days now…”

She looked really pained and unhappy as she said she was going to have to shave Clover to examine the wounds.  I just laughed and said she could go ahead and do whatever she needed to do.  Hair regrows.

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Show report: Springfield, MA

Well, we survive the 4th of July show cluster at Springfield, and I have some fun stuff to report!

Friday Results:  Rhodesian Ridgebacks | Canaan Dogs
Saturday Results:  Rhodesian Ridgebacks | Canaan Dogs
Sunday Results:  Rhodesian Ridgebacks | Canaan Dogs

(See my brief explanation of how dog shows work.)

Friday, under judge Joan Goldstein Loki placed third in his class, but litter brother Dante won the class and went Winners Dog, looking like a million bucks.  Toren, Loki and Dante’s sire, took Best of Opposite Sex.  Clover’s sister Poppy was judge Jacqueline Stacy’s Winners Bitch/Best of Breed.  She just came into the ring like she owned it.

Judge Stacy stopped me on my way out of the Canaan Dog ring to ask if I was Clover’s breeder, and I called Amy back in.  The judge had a question about Clover’s bad ear, and explained that while she liked many things about Clover, the ear bothered her because the standard was explicit about ear carriage (both ears should be erect). Amy thanked the judge for her compliment and said that, between Poppy and Clover, the judge couldn’t make a bad decision because both girls are very nice examples of the breed, with some features more favorable on one girl, and other features more favorable on the other girl.  She explained that Clover’s ear had been correct (as in this photo) prior to the development of some significant scarring in Clover’s bad ear from ischemic dermatopathy.   The judge thanked us for showing our dogs to her, and we went on our way.

This post’s featured photo is of Clover on Friday, resting in her crate after showing.  Amy thoughtfully made sure we had space to set up our crates.  Without her, we’d have been scrambling because the show site was packed!  After showing, we were joined by dear friend Caryl-Rose Pofcher, who came to do some shopping at the vendors and to visit my dogs.

Saturday, Clover was Winners Bitch/Best of Breed over her half-sister Rose under judge Patricia W. Laurans.  Loki and Clover were scheduled to be in different rings at the same time, so we arranged for Nathan to take Loki in, but Ridgebacks had a tiny delay and Canaans finished quickly.  When I zipped over to the Ridgeback ring, Nate said he wanted to take Loki in anyway, so I stood back and let him go.  He would end up with a very respectable Reserve Winners Dog on Loki from “Red” Tatro III — great result for Nathan’s very first time in the show ring, ever!  There was much rejoicing for Nathan by the observers on the sidelines.  Dante took Winners Dog again on Saturday, and sire Toren was Select Dog.

Amy had a treat for the dogs — pork shoulder bones to chew on in their crates!  We had a little bit of time to socialize before we had to zip out  — I needed to get home so we could drop off dogs before heading to Cambridge to the butcher to get a case of chicken backs, and then over to my friend Eric’s apartment.  Eric is moving, and I had a ton of moving boxes and a box of packing paper to donate to him (which would free up some much needed basement space for me).

On Sunday, judge Peggy Beisel-McIlwaine would place Loki second place in his class, with Dante winning the class and going Reserve Winners dog.  Over in the Canaan Dog ring … actually, this deserves its own paragraph.

I said previously that I try my best to make sure that any dog that will be showing poops before we leave the house to go to the show site.  Sunday was no exception:  Clover pooped, pooped again, peed, and pooped a third time when I took her outside at 4:30am.  I thought, “Great!  No worries about whether or not she’s empty today!”  Loki also pooped, so without thinking about it further we loaded up the car and headed to Springfield.  Saturday’s win in Canaan Dogs left Clover needing a single point to finish her Championship.  Because both dogs had pooped and they were on in the 8am block, I thought we were all set.  This would prove to be a mistaken assumption.

In the Canaan Dog ring, judge Robert Stein asked us to set up our dogs, then move them around the ring before setting up again for his exam.  As we rounded the corner to where we would be setting up, Clover dug her heels in with a very characteristic rounding of her back and … she pooped.  Right there, in front of the judge for his exam.  No amount of praying for the floor to open up and swallow me would save me, however, because after the exam and the down-and-back, she would poop again on the go-around.

Now, you need to know that Clover is an extremely regular once-a-day dog.  So far, by 8:10 am Sunday morning, she had pooped FIVE TIMES, and two of those were in the judging ring.  I was mortified, and at the same time trying my best not to laugh.  I mean — what else was I going to do?  So, no surprise then when Poppy would win Winners Bitch and Best of Breed — leaving Poppy nearly singled out, and just needing a major to finish her Championship.  I spent the rest of the day on Sunday being puzzled by this change in her schedule, but then Jackson and Loki would also have several more “movements” than normal!  Everything was otherwise normal for raw-fed dog poop, if not bordering on slightly too dry and crumbly and then … aha.  I figured it out!

I stopped giving recreational bones to my dogs when Jackson got two slab fractures on his upper carnassial teeth (one on each side).  While most dogs can do just fine with beef knuckle bones, Jackson’s a power chewer and he does not gnaw as he should.  He wants to get the bones between his teeth and crunch down to consume them.  Instead, they have cow hooves, a water buffalo horn, and Nylabones.  The pork shoulder bones that we gave them on Saturday were soft enough I wasn’t worried about Jackson, and each dog happily consumed the bones — meaning they got a huge dose of bulky fiber that their bodies were unaccustomed to.  In essence, I gave them doggy colon blow.

Anyway, both girls (Poppy and Clover) are well-positioned for finishing their Championships soon.  Poppy is chasing her last major, and Clover just needs a single point before we can put that elusive CH in front of her name.  All in all, even with the poopy parts, it was a great weekend and I’m glad we went to Springfield!

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