Welcome to the Sunshine Litter
On Tuesday 11th July 2023 Ounce gave birth to her third (and final) litter. I have named these the Sunshine Litter in memory of my beautiful Sunshine and because the sire of this litter is the gorgeous Sunnydean Gingerbread Man (Dougie). He is such a sweet boy. Although his breeder, Helen Berry and I had not met before the mating, we have been in touch for a few years. I know that Helen breeds with the same Assured Breeder ethos as me, primarily for health and temperament. Isn’t her boy gorgeous?
Unfortunately Bodie, who I used last time for the Punk Litter, was no longer available, so I knew I needed to look elsewhere. I was a little wary about using another merle, but there is a lot to like in Dougie’s pedigree, so I decided to go for it! The merle coat in Border Collies is very attractive and much sought after, but it can be problematic if the breeding is not managed. Busy’s dad, Taboo was a chocolate merle, so I have had four merle puppies already. They are such lovely dogs!
The Kennel Club describes the merle coat as follows: “Merle, also known as dapple in some breeds, is a distinctive pattern of colours used to describe the coat of some dogs. Merle dogs can come in a range of colours, but the pattern is usually a splash of darker shades, marbled against a lighter background. This type of coat is inherited, and the gene that causes this pattern can also affect the colour of a dog’s eyes and some parts of their skin, usually their nose or paw pads.”
Merle to merle breeding is a big no-no. Border Collies should NOT be bred merle to merle as this is almost guaranteed to cause birth defects, including deafness and blindness. This is true of other breeds as well – the Kennel Club will only register certain breeds, not including French Bulldogs. So any merle must be bred to a dog with a ‘solid’ coat, such as Ounce’s.
I have talked often about the reason for having a pedigree dog – it should mean you have the same as every other dog of that pedigree. The fact that you know what you are getting and can plan for it. You know the temperament fits your lifestyle and the health of the dog is what you want.
At the same time, it is interesting to have something a bit different, isn’t it? There is nothing wrong with that, as long as health is not compromised. This litter had four possible coat options:
- red and white
- red merle and white
- lilac and white
- lilac merle and white
Lilac merle is VERY rare! I don’t know any official figures, but I reckon lilacs represent around 1/1000 Border Collies (or two out of five in my house!) Merle collies are around 10% of the breed. I’ve never met a lilac merle.
Here they are!
You can see we have three different colours in the Sunshine litter. Pretty special, huh? A lilac merle girl, a red merle boy and a lilac and white girl. Wow! They are very different from Ounce’s first litter.
I must admit, I was expecting four or five. Ounce had five in her first litter and four last time. The four week scan showed definitely three, with ‘possibly more’. I used a different person to do the scan this time, who is clearly not quite a clear and accurate. Well, he said three and that’s what we got.
Doing a scan halfway through is really useful, because it helps to know what to expect for two reasons. First of all, you know roughly how many homes to line up, so you can manage the expectations of the people on your waiting list. Secondly, you can manage the birth more easily if you know that there aren’t going to be any more.
This time, I thought there would be more, because bitches usually have around the same number of pups each time. However, it was clear fairly quickly that Ounce had finished, as she became calm and relaxed. We kept a close eye on her and checked her over, but she was quite well.
At birth, the puppies weigh 200-300g. I weigh them every day to start with, to check they are all feeding well. Once they are well established I don’t tend to worry too much. They double their birth weight within a week.
Read more about the Border Collie breed if you are interested. Or read about what it is like to own one.
NB: All have homes
I do have homes for ALL of these puppies, of course. I look for a loving homes, suitable for a Border Collie. As with many of my puppies in recent years, these three are going to existing Dentbros puppy owners, and friends.
Visitors required for the Sunshine litter
If you have known me a while, you will know that I like to have lots of visitors to see my puppies! I invite close friends and family (no children) for the first three weeks. After that, I like to see a wide variety of people I know, including children.
The last couple of weeks are often quite busy, so don’t leave it too late. They will be gone all too soon.
NB: Visits are by appointment only. There is someone here at all times.
Buy the Workbook
The Workbook – A Year With Your Puppy is available to buy. It was written and designed to be a hands-on, interactive book for you. It will help you survive the first year with your puppy, but also act as a memento of that time and the journey you have been on. You can write notes and stick in pictures of your puppy throughout the year. Lovely!
Please CONTACT ME if you want to know more about me and my dogs? And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think.
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