Wow, our new calendar is now available. This is the second year running that there is now an Australian based Portuguese Water Dog calendar. All dogs featured were bred in Australia! There is no other pwd calendar like this in the world. Just click on the picture above to order, or click here! It's selling like hotcakes! Just come and meet the Bluegrace family.
Dog Temperament Scale
At Bluegrace Portuguese Water Dogs, we have developed our own system of categorizing puppies.
We've found this system suitable for classifying our dogs. You may, or may not find this works with other breeds, or even other breeders of PWD's. However, we have found it tends to work well with 90-95% of dogs.
How the scale worksPrimarily we show our dogs, breeding irregularly and only with a view to improve the breed. We invariably have a small number of people who are waiting for a pup. We make it clear that we need to ensure the temperament is going to be a right fit.
So when the puppies are growing, we spend a lot of time with them to assess the progress of their temperaments. If we notice a pup is not quite developing as much as we would prefer (invariably being swamped by litter mates), we remove that pup from the pack for 2-5 days, to spend one on one time with a human so they can get the opportunity to see their own temperament exposed. This is an essential part of good puppy rearing.
By the time the puppies are 6 weeks old, we are fairly sure which temperament category the pups fall into.
Then our discussions with our puppy people begin in earnest. We don't believe in letting the puppy pick the owner. It's pointless having a pup that looks cute, but doesn't fit with the temperament requirements of the home it is going into. Trouble will ALWAYS result. We believe in ensuring pups go to a "permanent" home once. Pups should not have to be re-homed just because of an ill-fitting temperament match right from the start. Such mistakes should never be made.
We will, however, say to people, "we know you want a Category 3 temperament, but the only female we have is a Category 2. " I then explain the implications of this temperament, and how it will affect lifestyle. Our aim is to make sure our puppy people are as well informed as possible.
Can an assessment change?In short, yes, it can. In our experience, if a pup has experienced a huge shock and/or less than satisfactory treatment, it can drop to a Category 4. Only after considerable appropriate intervention, can this situation be fixed, and then it will never be 100%.
We sometimes see Category 1 and 2 dogs settle down one category on maturation.
Because of the stress of travel, those dogs we send internationally, we aim to send Category 2, so when the dog comes off the flight, they have been able to cope find with the stress of the travel. So far this system has worked very well.
Ratio's in each litterWe have conducted our own analysis on our breeding program. On average, we believe we have 10% of puppies in Category 3. 80% would be Category 2, and 10% would be either Category 1 or 4. As we have no wish to promote a Category 4 temperament, we actively remove those dogs, and the bitches producing such temperaments, from our breeding program. At this stage by our evaluations, no dog since the "C" litter has been of the Category 4 type (see below for more info on this). We're not going to tempt fate with Addison's disease either!
These results are only for my breeding. Different lines of dogs in PWD's will produce different ratios, and different breeds will also have different figures.
When you are selecting a pup, please check with the breeder and get the statistics from their program.
Unfortunately most breeders do NOT consider temperament when placing puppies or breeding dogs.
Genetics and temperamentAt Bluegrace we actively work to remove dogs from our breeding program that have produced inappropriate temperaments. ie: Category 4. Our third litter, coded by the "C" in front of their name was produced by a bitch from our first litter (the A litter), named Champion Bluegrace Aunty Tess. She produced some Category 4 temperaments. An examples of this is Champion Bluegrace Captain Hook (Jed) However, there is also a direct link with this temperament, and Addison's diease as well. Sometimes when you are a breeder you need to look hard at your breeding program and make the hard call. Whilst it is still possible with lots of work to put championships on dogs such as this, and they can still look absolutely beautiful, you need to go deeper than skin level when evaluating dogs. Despite passing his health tests, it was an easy decision to neuter Jed and remove any temptation to have him in the breeding program.
By comparison, when you breed you often have to manage around health issues, which is particularly easier in some respects where the issue is inherited by the simple recessive means. There is no formula for breeding out poor temperaments that we are prepared to use. Despite my considerable experience in showing and breeding dogs, that's not a path I wish to walk down.
Books to readIncrease your knowledge about dogs by the following recommendations. Either click on the links, or got directly to Amazon:
Improving the systemEvery day we spend with dogs our learning increases. We use these learnings and our own independent research to be better dog people and to improve our systems.
We encourage people to be the best they can by using a variety of learning methods, and going to a number of sources, as well as using their own brains. While this page may be of use to you, others may find it of little applicability to their own situation.
Temperament and DietBesides getting the best health outcomes, we strongly believe there is a close relationship between diet and temperament.
We believe the best diet for our dogs is an appropriate raw diet. While a raw diet is not a panacea for temperament problems, or health problems, it does give your dog the best chance of getting on track.
We require all our dogs to be fed a raw diet.
Additionally, we are firmly of the belief that a commercial dog diet is a completely unsatisfactory way to feed any dogs, and that given the right advice, you can feed a dog an appropriate raw diet for considerably less money, and get lots of additional benefits. Click here for more information.
We can be contacted for further information about our dogs by clicking here or phoning (in Australia): 0412 113 824.
Or see our page about contacting us directly: click here
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