Blake x Janey: Puppy Number Three Grows Up


Eight weeks old:

Puppy Number Three, a tri bitch, is the smallest puppy in the litter. At six weeks, she measured at the very bottom of the "safe" zone on the Nobel chart. By eight weeks, she had crept almost to the middle of the "safe" area. She's not standing very well in the photo at left, but she really does have a very nice little body and a good amount of bone for a smaller bitch. She also seems to have sufficient muzzle and underjaw for her size. We'd like a sweeter eye. Although this puppy is probably our last pick at this point, we still think she's got enough going for her that she is worth "growing out" for awhile.

Twelve weeks old:

Puppy Number Three is our biggest surprise so far. At eight weeks, we thought she was at least worth growing out a few weeks longer; one month later, she's starting to look more and more like a "keeper." Everyone who has seen her lately has commented on her balance, elegance and presence. She grabs one's attention and demands to be noticed. Her head has also "come on" in the last few weeks. She has plenty of muzzle and underjaw, and as her head has lengthened, her eye shape has changed. One month ago, she had the roundest eye in the litter; now, her eye is nearly as sweet as the eye on Puppy Number Two. At this point, there isn't much we don't like about this puppy; however, her size is still a concern. She is measuring an eighth of an inch bigger than her "Aunt Ellie" (CH Foxglove Ashburton Elegy) at the same age, but "Ellie" only made it to 13-1/2 inches. We're hoping this puppy will be closer to 14 inches. It will all depend on how long she grows. We're keeping our fingers crossed!

Eighteen weeks old:

We continue to like this puppy more and more, but we've finally figured out that it helps to compare her not to her littermates but, rather, to what her littermates looked like two or three weeks earlier. This one is just plain slow (but only physically; mentally, she's as sharp as they come). Go back to her 8-week photo.... now imagine it's a six-week-old and she doesn't look so bad. Compare her 12-week body shot to those of her leggy littermates.... quite a difference, huh? And now, in the 18-week photo above, you can see that she's just beginning to emerge from her leggy stage -- pretty much where her littermates were two to three weeks earlier. Interestingly, her dentition is also behind that of her littermates. Her brother and sisters have cut all, or nearly all, of their adult incisors (the 12 front teeth); Puppy Number Three, in contrast, has just lost her two top front teeth and has just started cutting her two lower front teeth. Hopefully, her developmental delays mean that she will grow somewhat longer than her bigger siblings.

This puppy is as stubborn as she is bright. She is the only one in the litter who has not taken readily to lead work and show training. When the lead goes on, she stubbornly sets her feet and digs in. Unfortunately, she comes by this naturally.... Her dam, Janey, was the same way -- until one day, at almost six months of age, when we put the lead on her and she just came along like she'd been doing it forever. So, we haven't made an issue of it with Number Three. We figure she'll come around eventually; and for now, she's small enough to be carried!

Eleven months old:

Puppy Number Three is pictured at 11 months, but is 12 months old at the time of this writing (8/12/98). We made the mistake of trying to photograph her on a very hot afternoon, and she was understandably less than cooperative.

But although she is not standing very well in the photo above, it's good enough to get an idea of her overall balance and bodily proportions. A slower developer than her siblings, Puppy Number Three was still somewhat leggy and out of balance at four months (click here), when her littermates had already attained close to adult proportions. However, by 11 months, Puppy Three is looking considerably more "together" -- rather grown-up actually.

Her mature height turned out to be less than the 14 inches we had hoped for -- closer to 13 and a half, actually -- but she has plenty of bone and substance to go with her "big dog attitude." And as you can see from the head shot at right, she also has plenty of muzzle and underjaw. Unlike many smaller Shelties, this puppy is not at all snipey.

Her head planes did go slightly off parallel between the ages of five and eight months -- something that sometimes happens with Penny children or grandchildren (the dam of this litter is a Penny daughter). As long as the planes were good earlier, we expect them to come back, and that's what's happened here. They still are not as good as they were (or as good as those of her littermates), but they are much improved. And we love her ears; they're a beautiful size and shape and are set well on her head.

This puppy has very good front and rear angulation -- probably the best of the bunch -- and she moves quite well. This will come in handy because she'll have to keep up with much bigger bitches in the show ring. We think she can do it. This is not to say that finishing this one will be easy. Her size and color will present some major challenges, but we're going try our best to find the judges who will appreciate a girl who is very small and very black.

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