Blake x Janey: Puppy Number Four Grows Up


Eight weeks old:

We still love Puppy Number Four, a tri male. Our main concern right now is size. He is near the top of the "safe zone" -- not a problem for a bitch, but a little worrisome for a male. Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do but to grow him out, hold our breath, cross our fingers, and hope for the best. As long as he continues on the same trajectory, he should be well in-size. Unfortunately, we've seen males start out on similar trajectories, and then creep over -- and stay over -- ending up taller than 16 inches. So, we'll see....

Twelve weeks old:

This photo of Puppy Number Four is another that fell victim to the advancing shadows of a late autumn afternoon. And, unfortunately, this puppy is also standing under himself in the rear. Still, the picture is good enough to provide an idea of his overall bodily proportions and balance at this age. Like his sisters, Puppy Four now appears longer on leg and slightly shorter in body. He could have used more neck at eight weeks; we'd still like more at this point, but that looks better to us now. We continue to love his head and expression (which is hard to see or evaluate in this photo). We continue to worry about his size; he hasn't taken off with a sudden growth spurt and he doesn't have an obviously "big look," but he continues to measure taller than we'd like to see in a male of this age.

Eighteen weeks old:

This is another puppy who has emerged from his leggy stage and is assuming more adult-like proportions. Lately we've found ourselves looking at this puppy and wishing for "a little bit more" -- a little better layback of shoulder, a little more bend of stifle, a little more neck, a slightly longer tail. Still, for us, his good points still outweigh his minor faults. We love his expression; he has one of the prettiest eyes we've ever seen on a black dog. We like his bone and substance -- enough without being too much. We love his confident and showy attitude. And.... we love his pedigree. It's a breeding that can't be repeated, and this is the only boy in the litter. We -- and a lot of other people -- are fervently hoping he turns out.

His size remains a concern, but he hasn't had any sudden growth spurts and, in fact, appears to be slowing down. We're encouraged by the fact that his "leggy stage" came and went as quickly as those of his sisters.

Twelve months old:

Whew... we're glad we hung on with this one through the awkward-looking stages and concerns about his size. He certainly wrote his own growth chart. At one point, around five months of age, he actually measured a full INCH above the top of the top grey area on the Nobel chart! But we hung in there, and he stopped growing early, as Penny children and grandchildren tend to do. His final height ended up just over 15 and a half inches.

We like this puppy's outline, balance, and length of neck -- for a while there, his neck completely disappeared, but it came back. He was really lacking in body around seven or eight months. At that point, we were predicting he was going to be a three-year-old before he was ready to be seen in public. But he's changed very much, very fast -- really maturing and bodying up within the last three months or so. We now think he may be competitive when his next coat comes in.

This puppy is somewhat straighter front and rear than we like, but he is balanced and moves cleanly (singletracks front and rear), although his movement is more "puppyish" than any of his sisters. He was extremely narrow in front just a few months ago, but that has improved significantly at this point.

This puppy has a beautiful head -- lean and smooth -- and a very sweet eye and expression. He inherited his dam's beautiful natural ears. And he uses them! A natural showman with a long attention span, he'll stand and bait for as long as you want.

We are especially thrilled with the temperament on this puppy. He has to be one of the most stable male puppies we've ever had. Nothing but nothing bothers him. We still think about the time we took him on a road trip, and a huge, noisy Mack truck pulled up just a few feet from his ex-pen at a rest stop. He glanced up from peeing, "grinned" at the big trucker emerging from the cab, and immediately went back to what he had been doing.


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SEE Puppy #4 as an adult

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