Blake x Janey: Puppy Number Two Grows Up


Eight weeks old:

Puppy Number Two, a sable bitch, was a difficult puppy to photograph. We'll try again in a few weeks. Suffice to say that we are NUTS about this puppy. She's every bit as pretty as her dam, but with a better rear.

Twelve weeks old:

We continue to love Puppy Number Two, and we continue to fail miserably at getting a really good photo of her! She behaved well during this photo session but, alas, her body shot fell victim to late afternoon shadows. Still, it's good enough to provide an idea of her overall bodily proportions and balance at this age. Like Puppy Number One, her legs have lengthened over the last month, making her appear shorter in body than she did at eight weeks. Her better length of neck at this point, however, makes her appear more balanced and elegant than Number One. We love her head and expression. Her eye is a beautiful size and shape, and she has the longest lashes of any puppy we have ever seen. Her size is not a concern -- she should be big enough, but not too big.

Fifteen weeks old:

Finally! A few decent photos of this puppy, who we continue to love. Although we didn't notice her changing a whole lot in the past three weeks, a comparison of this body shot with the one taken just three weeks ago makes it clear that her body has already lengthened to catch up with the previous growth of her legs. Her bodily proportions at 15 weeks are more similar to those seen in the eight-week photo than in the more recent shot.

We think this puppy will end up being slightly longer in body than any of her littermates, but we do not think she will be too long or out of balance. Still, if forced to choose, we'd rather have too long a body than one that is too short. This is because a too-short body has a disasterous effect on movement. The dog with a too-short body must find ways to compensate for the fact that his front and rear feet would hit each other in a normal trot. Possible compensations include lifting his front feet too far off the ground to get out of the way of the rear feet. He may also fail to single-track (feet converge toward a center line) in front, so that his rear feet can swing between his lifting, non-single-tracking front feet. (Some people call this type of a movement a "reverse tricycle" -- two "wheels" in front, one behind.) The dog may "crab" or "sidewind," meaning that he will not move in a perfectly straight line. His front feet will move on one line; and his rear feet will converge on another line slightly to the right or left. Or the dog may "pace" -- move both feet on the same side of the body in the same direction at the same time. These are all serious movement faults. Shelties should be longer than they are tall; the recent preference for cobby, "square" dogs has resulted in many out-of-balance dogs that do not fit the Standard and have seriously flawed and inefficient movement.

Eighteen weeks old:

Having gone through her leggy, "square" stage around 11 to 13 weeks of age -- and come out of it by her 15-week portrait (above) -- this puppy hasn't changed much in the last few weeks. The most obvious change is in her haircoat. At 12 weeks, it was all puppy fuzz, and even at 15 weeks, she was still pretty fuzzy. That's all gone now, and her adult coat is just starting to grow in (note the slightly darker strip of coat down the top of her back).

The other big change has to do with the size and shape of her head. At eight weeks, the size of her head fit the size of her body. By 12 weeks, her head looked a little small for the rest of her. In the 15- and 18-week photos, however, we can see that her head is growing and lengthening. In the 15-week photo, it looks like it "fits" again. By 18 weeks, however, it almost looks too big -- though some of that is an optical illusion having to do with her current lack of coat. In the next few months, her body will continue to fill out and grow, as will her coat. By five and a half to six months, all her "parts" should look like they came from the same dog!

12 months old:

Well, we missed our chance to photograph this puppy in full puppy bloom! At 12 months of age, this puppy is well into her yearling shed, and the puppy coat is going fast. In fact, most of it is already gone. But even without hair, we continue to love this puppy.

Like Puppy Number One, this puppy's bodily proportions from the neck back have changed little since her last evaluation at four months of age. Like the other puppies in her litter, she appears to have more neck now than she did at four months. Even more important, the size of her heads now fits the size of her body! She's still longer in body than any of her littermates, but we think she appears balanced. Her final height turned out to be 14-3/4 inches.

This puppy moves well in all directions and stops four-square. We continue to like her head and expression. Like Puppy Number One, this girl's ears are bigger than we're used to seeing. But she holds them well, and they break nicely. Her head planes are good and her eye is quite sweet; however, she has fallen off just slightly in muzzle since she was a puppy -- something that did not happen with any of the other puppies in this litter. But we expect it to fill in again by the time she is two or two and half. And we think she'll be fairly competitive in the ring once she gets her next coat.

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SEE Puppy #2 as an adult


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