Thursday, June 24, 2010

Conformation Handling

As most of you know responsible breeding often involves taking part in showing your dogs in conformation events or other realms of competition. Not all responsible breeders show their dogs, however most consider it worthwhile to prove their dogs against their own breed and want most of their breeding stock to hold recognized championship's from their governing registration body. Here in Canada a Canadian Championship is awarded to any dog who accumulates 10 points in conformation competition against their own. Information regarding the Canadian Kennel Club can be found on their link.

There is a ton of work that goes into getting a dog ready for show. First you have to have a cavalier that is structurally sound in both movement and temperament. They must be well marked and show beautiful breed type. Something that differs a lot by opinion! What looks beautiful to some may not be appealing to others. Cavaliers seem to have a wide variety of different types.

Both of my girls are not wonderful show dogs for Cavaliers due to their markings. Tri's are supposed to have clearly defined white blazes. Rubies should be all ruby.. not little red dogs with patches of white on their chest and chin! However due to my belief that breeding dogs should be active in various realms of competition I have spent the last 3 years learning how to "handle" my cavaliers so that when the time comes and I *do* own something that I consider worthwhile to show, it will be a matter of training the dog.. not me! I still have a lot to learn, however I have definitely learned a lot!

One of the ways in which I have learned so much about cavalier structure, movement, and type has been attending conformation handling classes every Monday night. Every Monday from the end of September till the end of June CFSO members meet and hold their own classes. Everyone is welcome and it is a great opportunity to learn from others who have been involved with breeding cavaliers for many years. Their wealth of knowledge and expertise is so valuable to those of us who are just starting out. Without their help and guidance learning about the cavalier world and conformation showing would be next to impossible.

I typically take one of my girls just to practice for fun. They love going to handling and consider it one of their favourite social events. Aside from having a great time with their cavalier friends, both of my girls now for the most part know how to behave on a show lead, stand sill and square, and be examined while standing quietly on the table. I have learned most of the patterns a judge will ask for you to perform in the ring while the dog is being judged. It is up to the person on the end of the lead to have their dog looking and behaving the best they can.

For the last few months my girls have mostly been left at home while I venture out to handling on Monday nights without them. This is a crisis situation in my house as I'm sure they know what night is Monday and exactly *where* I am going without them! Before I sound like the worst cavalier mommy ever I will tell you why this torture has been happening at my house. It all started with my good friend Debbie from Bark'n About got her black and tan girl "Mysticmoon's Dancing Queen" from my very good friend Karen Murray at Mysticmoon Cavaliers

As I see Debbie and her girls very regularly I got to have the chance to see "Becky" grow up. Every time I saw her I thought *wow* this girl has beautiful structure and movement. Then Debbie was having trouble finding a class to take Becky to train her and socialize her. Next thing we know Monday night handling seemed like the perfect fit for Becky, and I have a dog to work with and show a little! :) From handling Becky has learned how to behave like a little lady on a lead, stand and wait quietly, and be examined on the table (sometimes more quietly than others.) She has met a ton of cavalier friends, and I think her personality has blossomed by coming out to class.. her sisters too!

Some shots of beautiful Miz Becky. No stacking pictures to show off her incredible structure. I'll have to get some. Here is her beautiful face. Love this girl!
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All of these weeks of practice are coming down to the main event. Becky and I make our first show debut in the 20th annual CFSO Specialty in Campbellville on the weekend. I hope all of our hard work has paid off and Becky behaves herself in the ring. We will see! It will be hard for us to place or win because this is a specialty show and she will be competing against so many cavaliers. I will be thrilled though if she behaves herself and does her best! I hope we do her breeder Karen proud too.

Some pictures from Handling on Monday night!

We Line Up and Stand Quietly while the "Judge" makes her rounds.
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Learning to stand quietly on the examination table is important!
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The "Judge" examines my teeth and makes sure I have a good "bite" meaning my teeth are properly aligned and not severely undershot or overshot.
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It is hard for a cavalier to stand quietly while someone is coming to say hi to me!
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We practice strutting our *stuff*
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Standing and waiting quietly. You have my full attention!
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We show off our wagging Cavalier tails as the *Judge* examines how our rear is put together
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And finally after all that hard work what we came here for in the first place PLAYTIME!
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Our owners socialize, have a drink, and eat a snack. Sometimes we join in. :) Yes that *is* cake on our noses.
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And after we have worked, played, snuck a snack or two we pass out exhausted and our owners take us home where on Monday night we are hyped up and excited to do it all again! :)
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Handsome Boy

Every Monday night between October and the end of June the Cavalier Fanciers of Southern Ontario hold a handling conformation class in Halton region. I usually bring my girls to learn more about show handling, and more recently I have been working with my good friend Debbie at Bark' N About black and tan girl "Mysticmoon's Dancing Queen" also known to most of you as Becky! Becky and I have been working hard to get ready for our debut at the CFSO specialty this weekend in Campbellville Ontario. For those of you close to Campbellville have a look atCavalier Fanciers of Southern Ontario for more details regarding the show. I'll post more about handling later as I took a ton of pictures of everyone getting some last minute practice in for the show.

At yesterday's handling class since Becky was unable to make it, and my girls aren't being shown this weekend, I had the opportunity to bring my camera instead. For several weeks now I have been saying I would dedicate a chunk of time to get pictures for the Yearbook of my good friends boy Riely. "Woodmere's What A Dreammaker". He was bred by Joan MacIntyre at Woodmere Cavaliers and lives with Karen Murray at Mysticmoon Cavaliers He is also who I chose to bred Zo to in the spring. Hopefully I will have that opportunity once again in the Fall when Zoey comes into season.

Monday night was very hot and Mr. Riely was not a willing participant in this photo shoot. He was much more interested in everything else except posing for the camera! I do think we managed to get some nice shots and hopefully there is some to use for their add in the Yearbook. Here are some of my favourites.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

You can take the Girl off the Farm - but you can't take the Farm outta the Girl!

More pics from "home".


My mom is a quilter and creates beautiful quilts for her friends and of course family when it is our lucky turn to get one! This one isn't for me however it really could be. It is done completely in my favourite colour of purple. The person who it is for also adores purple. She is going to be thrilled with this! When my mom was trying to show me the girls wanted to help model, Mylee especially.

A little ruby cav and a beautiful purple quilt. Can't get much better than that! :)
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How the grass get's cut on the farm! 1939-1941 Antique Alis Chalmer's "B" Tractor, and our "farm" dog Riely an 11 year old German Shepherd
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Acres to run, the girls take full advantage. Facing one of our hay fields.
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Zo - Ear's flying across the front yard.
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Zo - Looking content and thoughtful in the hay field
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Riely on duty keeping a watchful eye. He does a wonderful job of protecting the farm.
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Princess Mylee looking pretty on the back deck.
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Birch tree
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One of the barn cat's snoozing on Grandma's John Deere Gator.
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Still kicking myself for not bringing my proper camera!

Friday, June 11, 2010

My Moo's

I wanted to share some pictures of my moo's. Prior to getting involved in Cavaliers, and living away from home, I grew up on a small family owned and operated farm in rural Southern Ontario. I participated in 4-H, had a passion for horses, and loved cows. I showed both horses and cattle competitively. My family grows mainly potatoes however my Grandmother has always had a small herd of beef cattle.

Like Cavaliers in cattle I have a certain breed that I have a fancy towards - the Murray Grey. Murray Grey is a breed that developed in Australia. My father came across them for me when I was interested in showing my first heifer in 4-h competition.

"Murray Grey Cattle originated in the Murray River region of Australia in 1905 as the result of a chance mating between a particular Shorthorn cow and an Angus bull. Eventually twelve of these "grey" calves were born to this same cow--all sired by different Angus bulls. The genetic traits of these "greys" were soon recognized as unique and desirable. A systematic breeding program resulted in the recognition of this new breed in Australia in 1962. Murray Grey cattle were first imported into the USA in 1969, with Canadian importations beginning in 1972.

Kind of like cavaliers the main thing that attracted my Father to this breed for me to show was their temperament. They are known to be calm, gentle, and fairly easy to get along with. For someone trying to train my first calf to show those qualities were so important!

Some links on Murray Grey's

Canadian Murray Grey Association


Murray Grey Beef Cattle Society

Although I am not able to have any cattle living with me currently my Grandmother still keeps a small herd of Murray Grey's including my first heifer I showed competitively in 4-H. I never did win much with my Grey's. They were rare in Ontario and most judges had no idea what to make of them. Their unique colouring, small compact build, and almost jersey like faces were very different stood up beside huge Charolais, Limousine, and Angus cows that were the normal around here.

My best placing ever with a Grey was a 3rd and I was over the moon excited about that! I will never forget the judges comments about why he placed my little Grey in third. He appreciated her excellent movement, and sturdy build. He knew that she would be a very sound cow for a long time in the future. It really isn't so far off from what I look for in a Cavalier!

In the future I would love to have another herd of Grey's. It's all about finding a place that allows me the freedom to have them. Until then my Grandma greatly enjoys the breed even if she "likes the red ones better" (she is a Hereford fancier) and calls them "snoopy" due to their curious friendly nature.

All pictures are taken on my Mom's little digital camera. I didn't realize it was set on the lowest possible setting either. It was a beautiful picture taking day and I will put up some of the girls running through the fields later on. Lesson learned.. never leave home without your camera!

Our Barnyard - excuse the mess, it's been muddy and rainy!

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Grey's on the Left and Right with some crossbreds.
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A Grey and her Hereford cross baby
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Red Ones are Best and Lilac the Grey I first showed in the back ground.
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A picture of Grandma's favourite. A purebred Hereford and her new heifer calf.
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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Zo Zo

Well like I suspected Miss Zo is not pregnant according to her X-Ray yesterday. She is however having what is called a false pregnancy, where they go through a lot of the signs and symptoms. She even has put on two pounds in weight! While not surprising it is still a bit disappointing. There were so many signs that were pointing to pregnancy, however in these last two weeks it had become apparent to me that something was a bit "off". She may have been pregnant and lost them earlier on, she may never have conceived in the first place, or she also may be having what they call a "split" heat as throughout the last few weeks she loves nothing better than to hump her sister! Something she only typically does when she is coming into season and during it. Either way I probably will never know for sure why she missed. Sometimes these things just happen.

We will gather our thoughts and make some plans for the future. She is due to have her heart tested for MVD again (yearly), and an eye exam. I'm not sure if timing will work out on her next season but we will see what the next few months bring. If not I hope to add a new girl or boy to my crew soon in the future and all the health testing will begin all over.. MRI, Heart, Eyes, Hips, and Patella. Breeding is definitely not for the faint of heart!

Zo doesn't seem to be concerned that she isn't pregnant. The only thing she doesn't like the sound of is her diet began last night. :)

What's this I hear about a Diet?!
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