Nami and Cuchulainn tied this morning, around 0800 PST. I attempted to breed her to Toutarou, my other male, last night, but she rejected him in no uncertain terms. This morning, she was amenable to Cuchulainn, so that was the breeding I allowed to happen. I trust Nami, and though Cuchulainn is still somewhat young (he will be a year and a half when the litter is born) and overly enthusiastic about life at times, I anticipate active, sound puppies from this litter. I think most pups in this litter already have homes lined up, but if you are on my waitlist and waiting for a puppy, please email me. If you have not contacted me about a puppy yet, please use the "Contact" form or fill out a puppy application under the "Kennel" header on the link bar.
I am recommending these puppies for ACTIVE companion and sporting homes. These will be higher-energy pups than my Toutarou x Fionna litter. I expect primarily red puppies, but there is a small chance for white or red sesame.
This has been a subject that has come up and I have been asked about, so I want to take some time to talk about why I chose to do this. I took this opportunity to breed Nami, despite Cuchulainn being younger than what is typically accepted in American dog fancy, due to time constraints on Nami and the alternative I would have been accepting. I'll tell you a little more--
Nami was born 10/25/2011. She will be 6 years old this year. Her first pregnancy, when she was 2, was difficult for her. Nursing pups took a lot out of her and while I am anticipating and preparing earlier, this time, for that same struggle, I do not think it would be fair to breed her much older than this. It has also been 3 years since her first/previous litter, and skipping another season is ill-advised.
As far as available studs, there are 5 (potentially 6) possible males I could pair her with in the entire continent. These dogs have circumstances surrounding them that all make them a grab bag of pluses and minuses.
Taro, the sire to Nami's first litter, is a fantastic match for her. He is older now (8 years, this September), but active, healthy, and has a good temperament. He is still being used as a hunting dog. However, Taro is very well-represented in America's NIPPO Kishu Ken genepool-- he is the direct sire to 2 litters and the grandsire to 4 litters. His two male sons who were being bred are now neutered, but his daughter (my Fionna/Kaneko), is still intact and will produce another litter. His genetic material is well-spread through our current population. A repeat breeding would only further that.
Kai, a mature male who lives not too far from us, is completely unrelated to our North American dogs and has really nice Kishu type (something a lot of our dogs lack, having hunting dog foundations.) That said, Kai is also afflicted by an autoimmune illness his owners have done everything in their power to figure out and control. If there was a test for this illness so I could figure out who carried this illness, I might be more confident breeding to an affected dog, but since we do not, Kai is currently not in the running.
Riki, who I posted about in my previous post, is a grandson to Nami, so despite all his really great qualities as a stud dog - his nice coat, his affectionate personality, and his relative low energy compared to other hunting dogs, producing a litter out of him with Nami may have locked in many undesirable traits, even if he did not exhibit them.
Toutarou, who is a great Kishu with amazing type and an easier-going dog than our hunting-line dogs, may have been a good choice... but he shares a lot of dogs in his pedigree with Nami, and that is just the written documentation that we have-- DNA tests indicate and lead me to believe they may be more related than the pedigree shows. It would have been a line breeding at very least, and Nami's refusal to let him breed to her kindly was a sign, to me.
Cuchulainn is, genetically and by pedigree, one of her closest matches to a complete outcross as I can currently get. He has the best structure of my Kishu, a great coat, and shares none of Nami's current "weaknesses" (the traits I would like to breed away from), and a lot of his flaws could be improved by what Nami brings to the table. The only negatives he brings are his age and his personality (higher energy, more enthusiastic) - but the latter could be due to his age. Meeting one of his full brothers made me feel more confident that Cuchulainn would mature out of his high-octane puppyhood mentality; after all, Fionna was quite similar at his age and they share some common ancestors on their sires' sides. Even Toutarou showed elevated enthusiasm for life and doing things the way HE wanted them to be done, at Cuchulainn's age.
Add to this that only Kai, Toutarou, and Cuchulainn are in a day's driving distance. Taro and Riki are 1000+ miles away from me. Cuchulainn was my best choice in my time frame, for an aging dog to be able to contribute some needed diversity to our genepool in a time frame that was healthy for her. I don't regret my choice and I am excited to see Nami's pups.