Category Archives: Litter 11 – April 21

Week 9: Mystical Litter

We’re home!

It’s been a journey with this litter. Honestly, I thought by now, after 11 litters and 60 pups, that I would be used to it. That I had gone through the challenges and was now an expert. Wrong! We’ve had quite a few hiccups along the way.

border collie puppies
Arla and her family

Three puppies went off to their new homes on schedule, as they reached 8 weeks of age. They are settling in well, sometimes sleeping most of the night, sometimes toileting in the right place.

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Ziggy with his mum and dad

Of course these puppies are ALL lucky enough to be living with older dogs – four of the homes have Dentbros Dogs in them! Plus Sam, who is an honorary Dentbros Dog.

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Grace with her family

I’ve been getting pupdates since they went and the older dogs are not thrilled about having them – yet!

Extra time needed

One puppy, Winter was always staying a few days extra. Her mum, Amber also stayed with us, as she was on a course in MK. Well I couldn’t let her stay in a hotel 3 miles away while I played with her puppy, could I? It was helpful having Amber here and we all had a good time.

Winter and Amber

Sadly, Tilos was not able to go off as planned, due to family circumstances. Before you get excited that a puppy is now available, she went home yesterday, to a very special and loving family.

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Tilos with her mum and big brother Symi (actually her uncle)

My new puppy

Keeping a puppy from a litter is a bit weird. Sometimes I know before they’re born that I’m keeping one – Luna, Aura and Ounce. Both Luna and Aura were one of five chocolate and white girls, so I had to choose one, which took a little while. Ounce was mine immediately. My purple puppy.

Dentbros dogs
Dentbros Dogs – June 2021

Busy was not meant to stay, but she just decided to. Thank goodness. What a dog she turned out to be. This time, I had not meant to keep a puppy, but circumstances changed, meaning Quin had to stay.

What’s in a name?

I have strict criteria when choosing a name for my dogs. The 8 dogs I have had have been called: Rue, Buzz, Sunny, Luna, Aura, Busy, Ounce and Quin. When we got to Aura, we realised they all had ‘u’ as the second letter of their name. We also realised that the three I had at the time – Sunny, Luna and Aura – all sounded different. So that became the game.

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Quin. Sounds different. Has a ‘u’ as the second letter. He’s also the 5th puppy I have bred and kept at home. Quintus – five.

Quin is also a ‘quintessential’ Border Collie, even though he is chocolate/red and white, rather than black and white. ‘Quince’ might be a fun nickname, alongside Ounce? I reckon he’ll mostly be called ‘Buoy’ (it has a ‘u’ as the second letter :p)

The legacy lives on

It’s rather poignant that today is my first day with just him, as it is Sunny’s 15th birthday. I can’t believe it’s over 3 months since she went, so suddenly. Missing her today, but very proud of what she left behind. My Midsummer Sunshine.

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Next year I hope to breed a girl to go with my boy (not a sibling!) It’s exciting to be looking ahead at my journey as a breeder.

Meanwhile, I now have a puppy to train! I’ll be writing about ‘Quin’s story’ over the coming months.

border collie puppies
The boy


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Week 8: Mystical Litter


No more nagging or lecturing, just lots of pictures this week. As they get to 8 weeks I spend lots of time printing out paperwork to put into their puppy packs. There is a great deal of information to share!

I finally received confirmation of their Kennel Club registration, so I can introduce you:

Dentbros Moondance** – Arla

Dentbros Spirit in the Sky** – Winter

Dentbros It’s a Kind of Magic** – Grace

Dentbros Starman** – Ziggy

Dentbros Magical Mystery** – Tilos

Dentbros Man on the Moon** – Quin

Dentbros – how to say it

I’ve written in the past about my Breeder Affix – how I chose it and what it means. Just a reminder that’s it’s pronounced ‘bross’ not ‘brose’. Like Moss Bros, or Bros, the group (in the 80’s!)

Why the stars?

Their Kennel Club names are followed by two asterisks, because Busy (Dentbros Busy the Imp***) was transferred onto the KC Breed Register, even though her sire was not pedigree registered. Every subsequent generation has one less asterisk, meaning if Ounce has grandchildren, they will have no asterisks. Hurray.


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Week 7: Mystical Litter

Health testing fun and games

Honestly, health testing is the bane of my life as a dog breeder. It is my absolute desire to have the healthiest, happiest dogs possible. But that comes at a cost! I monitor the ongoing health of all the puppies I have bred and am proud of their health and temperament, on the whole. As I’ve already boasted, quite a few of the pups have gone on to become therapy dogs, supported by amazing charities like Canine Concern.

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My first litter are now 11 years old, with one of these dying aged 8, from cancer. Luna is diabetic, but this has been well-managed (by me :p). In an ideal world, I would like ALL my dogs to live well into their teens, with very few illnesses and health issues.

Sadly, not everything can be prevented through responsible breeding and health testing. I have had one epileptic puppy, who was put to sleep at under two years of age. Despite a great deal of research, no test is available for this horrible condition, so we breeders can only check our lines and try to steer clear of it.

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Required tests

The Kennel Club require certain health tests to be carried out as a minimum, before a litter can be registered as pedigree dogs. We are extremely fortunate that more and more DNA tests are becoming available, which can test for conditions likely to affect certain breeds.

border collie puppies

The current requirement is for all parents of puppies to have the following tests:

  • hip score – an x-ray is carried out and analysed by a panel of veterinarians to determine the health of a dog’s hips and the likelihood of that dog developing hips dysplasia, or passing it on. The lower the score, the healthier the dog. The aim is for scores to go down with each generation.
  • eye test for CEA – an annual eye test is required to check the ongoing health of the eyes and identify any possible eye disease that may be hereditary.
  • eye test for glaucoma – a gonioscopy test is required to check for the possibility of developing glaucoma, A DNA test is now available for this, which both parents of this litter have had.

In addition to these tests for the parents, it is recommended that puppies are given an eye examination and a hearing test at the age of 6 weeks.

border collie puppies

Specialist vets

Luckily for me, the wonderful Davies Veterinary Specialists are not far away and able to carry out these tests for my puppies. So on Tuesday I put the pups in the van and headed there. We arrived in good time and a team of staff arrived to take the pups away. Before the pandemic I was able to hold them during the examinations, but of course this is not currently possible.

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I therefore had to wait for two hours in the car park while the tests were carried out. It was torture, being away from them for so long, although of course they were receiving exemplary care and plenty of cuddles. And of course their eyes and hearing were all fine!

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I took Busy with me and met up with Gunna, the sire of the litter, who needed his annual check-up at the same time. Busy wasn’t very pleased to see him!

Why bother?

It is an awful lot of time and effort, not to mention the cost! So is it worth it? Well I’m really not certain about that. I hope it does give the new owners peace of mind. In addition to the minimum requirements, both Busy and Gunna have been DNA tested for other conditions, including MDR1, which relates to drug resistance. Dogs who carry this gene can develop reactions to drugs, including those found in common worming treatments.

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The challenge is with all the bureaucracy involved! If the Kennel Club were able to cope with the volume of registrations they are presented with, and turn these around in good time, breeders like me would be a lot happier!

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If owners knew more about what health tests should be done and why, that would also be better. This is a challenge though, as finding the information on the KC website is hard to do and the requirements keep changing!

KC registered

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that just because a dog is ‘KC registered’ does NOT mean it is a pedigree, or that it is health tested, or responsibly bred. Any old mongrel can get a KC registration certificate, for the ACTIVITY REGISTER. It’s just a piece of paper, but it fools some people.

What do you think? Please let me know?


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Week 6: Mystical Litter

First Outings

I know that responsible owners worry about taking their puppy home. How will they transport them? What is the best way to secure them in the car (a legal requirement)? I recommend having a crate in your car, if you can. It is a good safe space and you can have some vet bed down to make sure puppy is warm and comfortable, with no worries if they are sick or toilet. People like to buy a puppy from someone near to them, but these days that is rarely achievable.

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I am fortunate now that I have a van to transport my dogs; highly recommended if you have more than a couple of dogs. The van is fitted with custom-made cages, which means I have plenty of secure, dog-friendly space to transport the puppies. Which is just as well, as they have a few journeys to make before they go off to their new homes!

School visit

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The first trip the puppies made was to visit Heronsgate Junior School. I have been visiting this school for nearly six years (pandemic notwithstanding), volunteering with the charity Canine Concern. I take Busy and Luna in for a few hours each week to work with the children. Dogs need to be calm and gentle for this work – they need to enjoy having a fuss from children and not lick, or be too excited and jumpy (like Ounce!)

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Children spending time around dogs has enormous benefits for them (both children and dogs!) It can give the children more confidence, boost self-esteem and improve learning behaviour such as asking questions, improving focus and listening skills. The children also learn about the dogs and how to behave well around them.

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Since Busy has been going into school, we obviously talk to the children about the puppies and they learn all about how they grow and develop. So it is really lovely that the school are happy for me to take the pups in to show the children and staff.

Bundles of fun

It’s a bit hectic, having six puppies running around! But everyone loves it and I feel it is really good for the pups to have so much exposure to children. Many dogs are understandably scared of children, as they can be intimidating if they grab, or chase, or get into the dog’s faces. It’s really nice to teach the children how to be around young dogs and to help them understand the needs of a dog. We make lots of people very happy!

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The other trip the puppies made this week was to the vet’s, to have their microchips inserted. This is also a legal requirement.

“All dog breeders are responsible for ensuring puppies are microchipped before selling them. Puppies cannot be sold until they are eight-weeks-old and must be microchipped at the point of sale. If you’re buying a puppy make sure it’s microchipped before taking them home.”

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Unbelievably, people are often unaware of this law, which came into effect in April 2016. Sadly, puppies bought from puppy farmers are often not microchipped, because this costs time and money that commercial breeders cannot be bothered to spend.

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Of course the law should be enforced, with vets telling owners that their puppy is required to be chipped and reporting breeders who have not done so. This requires time and commitment from veterinary practices, which they may not have. Vets are poorly regarded already, so why should they be the villains, telling owners of their cute, fluffy puppies that they have been bought from unscrupulous breeders?

Owners need to take responsibility for buying their puppies from good breeders. It’s not that hard to do. Please do your research before buying a puppy?

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Lots more cuddles

I’m a terrible nag aren’t I? Being a responsible breeder is a burden, but fortunately for me I get to cuddle my cute, fluffy puppies for weeks on end. Not such a tough life!

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At the end of the sixth week nearly all the owners visited together and we had a very happy time playing and chatting. It was magical for me.


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Week 5: Mystical Litter

Fitting into family life

Just before they were four weeks old, the Mystical litter moved into the kitchen, so that they are able to get out of the run and start to explore the house, but in a safe (puppy-proof!) environment. It’s been lovely watching them in the run while we watch TV, but there is more space in our kitchen. They still have access to the outside run, which is also a bit bigger.

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Quick hide in the safe space

The puppies now start to be exposed to ‘normal household sounds’. This includes the vacuum cleaner obviously, but also all the other noises, such as the washing machine, dishwasher and the incredibly scary sound of the pepper mill! They all ran and hid when Chris was seasoning the potatoes!

A cosy crate

I have put a crate up in the run, mainly so that Busy can safely and easily jump in and out of the run when the gate is closed. She needs to access the run to feed the pups whenever she chooses, but she also needs to be able to escape! Otherwise they just feed and feed and feed and…

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Helping out in the garden

Interestingly, when the crate is there, the puppies choose to sleep inside it, often piled up in a heap. Even more interestingly, they don’t toilet inside the crate – ever! They wee everywhere else in the run, including on the vet bed out there, but in the crate the vetbed stays clean and dry.

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snoozing away

Lots of people think crates are cages and frown on their use. I see it as a cosy, safe space. You wouldn’t lie a baby in the middle of the floor to sleep would you? Puppies and dogs like a nice hole to sleep in, if they can get one. Busy loves sleeping under a table in a corner of the kitchen. Read more thoughts on crates/cages here.

Crying for attention

Around this age, puppies start to be aware of company and how to attract attention. My husband and I call this attractive trait ‘seagulling’ because they sound just like seagulls! It’s a horrible, screeching noise, which can be hard to deal with (especially at 5am).

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sleeping anywhere

Despite being ‘home-bred’ puppies, my dogs are not given my undivided attention – that would be ridiculous! I am fortunate that I have worked from home for the last 25 years, so I am around most of the time, but that doesn’t mean I’m not busy. This week has been particularly full.

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Lots of cuddles

I cuddle my puppies every day, making sure they are handled, cuddled, kissed and generally loved. Equally, I leave them to sleep and grow. As they get older, the balance shifts and they gradually spend more time around us. But at this age, they still need to sleep plenty of time. The seagulling can be when they are getting tired, but don’t want to go back to sleep – just like babies!

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happy days

Your other dogs

If you have another dog, as all the owners of this litter do, you need to think about how you are going to manage the puppy alongside your older dog. It is difficult to judge when is the best time to get a second dog and there is no right answer. I do know that the older dogs are unlikely to be thrilled when the puppy arrives!

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One happy dad

Whatever happens, you need to make time for your older dog and ensure that they still get individual attention. I always train my puppy separately from the other dogs until they are at least 5 months old. It’s better for both dogs if you do this.


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Week 4: Mystical Litter

Homing heartaches

I’ve thought long and hard about whether to write about this, but I do try to give an honest account on this website and am often praised for the way I write, so here goes…

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Busy being brilliant

Homing puppies is the hardest part of breeding, by a mile! I’ve already said that this time I have been fortunate to have had people come back to me for a second time. That’s great, but even so, they still have to be checked as being a suitable home.

What can go wrong

First of all, when the litter arrived, I didn’t have the right number of boys and girls. So someone had to go elsewhere and I had to get in touch with people on my waiting list.

Then when I properly looked at the people I did have, one was not suitable, because she was a childminder, with a house full of various children (not used to dogs!)

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Next, I had agreed to let someone have a puppy, who had a dog from Sunny’s second litter. A lot can happen in 9 years! Unfortunately, when they came to visit, I could see that the children were too young and did not know about dogs (they lost their last one over a year ago). I felt that the adults did not have enough time to train and manage the dog alongside the children and a busy working life.

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Finally, to make life more complicated, I discovered that my beautiful, longed-for stud dog was no longer going to be able to go to stud. A series of unfortunate events and circumstances had conspired to make this no longer possible. He was jointly owned with someone else and lived nearby, but I realised he could no longer be half-owned by me. I was going to have to keep a boy myself!

Nothing is guaranteed

One of the disappointed people asked if I could commit to giving her what she wanted from the next litter. I couldn’t do that, because nothing is guaranteed. So many things can go wrong! This is what I say to potential owners:

  • Bitch may not be pregnant (has happened a few times to me)
  • They may not survive (has happened – litter 8)
  • She may only have a few puppies (sometimes there is only one or two)
  • She may have all one sex (I have had this)
  • She may not have a colour you would like (most people are not that fussy)
  • You may not like the puppies (unlikely, but it does happen)
  • I may decide you are not the best home for a puppy, or for the one you prefer (see above)
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It’s a tough old game and not for the faint-hearted. I’ve had one pup come back to me at 13 months for being snappy with children. He’s now been assessed as a therapy dog, as he is in the right home. Such a lovely dog! So it’s made me even more circumspect about which puppy goes to which home. I have had pups from most of my litters go to:

  • first time dog owners
  • people with children of all ages, including a toddler
  • people who work full time
  • people with other dogs
  • people with cats

So I am not unreasonable, or particularly difficult to please. But if I think there might be a danger of a dog biting someone, I am not going to send that dog to that home. I’d be pretty irresponsible if I did, wouldn’t I?

Happy endings

Happily for me, I get plenty of absolutely lovely people wanting a puppy. People who have done their research, looked into what they want and ask all the right questions. Those people will be delighted with their puppy and welcome it into their family. That’s such a joy to me. They understand how to contact a breeder and that it might be necessary to wait for the right litter.

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so pleased to meet you, mum

Puppies growing away

Despite all my angst, the puppies continued to be an absolute joy. I made their run bigger this week, but we carried on enjoying watching them alongside the TV in the evenings.

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They can hear now and are getting much more active. I would love them to be outside but it’s still been mainly cold and wet.


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Week 3: Mystical Litter

Eyes open, looking around

After just two weeks, puppies open their eyes! It’s lovely to see them and meet them properly for the first time. This time, I wanted to have a go at taking pictures of them individually, which I was able to do, as I have been working on my photography skills!

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Arla, just peeping

It’s always interesting to see my puppies with their eyes open, as I have had quite a few with heterochromia iridum, where the irises are a different colour. This has been most notable for me in Busy, but she has two older brothers and a son with the same condition. These puppies all have matching eyes, although the blue and white girls look green and the chocolates will probably be amber in colour.

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I can see you

Up on their feet

Two week old puppies are already starting to stand up, but they are still very wobbly. Initially, they get around by commando crawling on their bellies, although you would be surprised how far they can travel using this method!

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Meeting her big sister

They start to move around more at this age, but are pretty unsteady and often roll over. The puppies navigate mainly by smell, but a couple of days after their eyes open they start to see where they are going. Then they can meet big sister Ounce!

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They still fit

Trying out real food

Once they can see and are up on their feet, I start to think about giving them so food. This time I waited until just before they were three weeks old, because I knew Busy was doing a great job feeding them herself.

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There’s food under there

They eat really well from day one, but they don’t really need it. Once I’ve started to introduce kibble, soaked in puppy milk, I try to give them some food several times per day. It becomes a bit of a game of tag with Busy, as we both feed them puppies at frequent intervals.

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It’s delicious

Of course I still continue to feed her numerous big meals throughout the day, so I start to feel a bit of a feeding machine.

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I can see my face now

More cuddles

We continue to have some visitors. People often wait until they are older, when they are running around and doing a bit more. I like it when people visit at this age, as I can sit and chat, rather than running around mopping up wees, changing the newspaper and making up feeds!

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pink paws


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Week 2: Mystical Litter

Growing and sleeping puppies

Border Collie puppies don’t do much from 1-2 weeks of age. Except grow, constantly! They double their birth weight around days 8-9, which I find pretty impressive, especially when there are 6 of them!

Border collie puppies

Of course that weight comes from the milk provided by the mum, so you might think there is nothing for me to do, but actually, I work pretty hard caring for Busy. She gets fed a bigger meal than normal, up to six times per day! I feed her a good quality kibble, with some puppy milk and puppy food, I add in extra protein, such as tinned tuna, to keep her eating. Busy is not a particularly good eater- she is prone to being a bit fussy, so I have to tempt her a bit.

Gazing and cuddling

As always, I spend many hours every day gazing at my new puppies and enjoying the snuffly, squeaky noises they make. Well I enjoy them during the day, not so much at night! I keep them up in my bedroom for the at least the first week and usually nearly two weeks. I like them to be kept away from the bustle of the rest of the house and to have Busy where I can keep an eye on her.

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Out and about

Busy sleeps in her whelping box for the first week or so, feeding the puppies for much of the time. By the second week she has started to come out of the box more and having some ‘time out’, to recover.

Border collie puppies
Still pretty small

All my dogs go out for their normal, off lead, hour-long walk a couple of days after giving birth (see my thoughts on exercise). I think it’s really healthy for them to have time to run around with the other dogs and enjoy a bit of exercise and fresh air. There is little to no risk of carrying infection, because of course they are vaccinated against all common diseases.

Border collie puppies
sleeping anywhere

Moving downstairs

When I decide I’ve had enough sleepless nights I move the pups downstairs, into another quiet room. This time I set up a small run, with a bit of cardboard instead of the whelping box, as it didn’t fit in the setup I wanted. This worked well for a bit, as it kept the pups sleeping in a draught-free corner.

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A new setup

Sorting out homes

I have been extremely fortunate to have had more of my lovely puppy owners come back to me for another one this time! Altogether I have had 9 people come back for more than one puppy, which makes me extremely proud as a breeder.

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Which one will they choose?

I have also been really lucky to keep in touch with the majority of my puppies, so I am able to track their progress, support their owners and monitor their health and temperaments. Quite a few of my puppies have gone to friends or family and many of my owners have become good friends. Of course these people get to meet the puppies very early on!

Some of the people waiting for this litter knew what they wanted (blue and white girl for example) and were lucky enough to get that! If you want a particular sex of puppy and I don’t have enough, you might miss out. And sometimes the plans change.

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Chief cuddler in action

It’s really tough as a breeder, deciding which puppy goes where. Of course I want to take people’s choices into account. But I have to evaluate homes and decide if the puppy is going to be best placed there, or with someone else.


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Week 1: Mystical Litter

The Mystical Litter are here!

On Monday 19th April, Busy gave birth to 7 beautiful puppies. She had a restless night, without being ‘properly’ in labour. Then she finally got going around 8am and suddenly produced three puppies! We then waited around, with her being very calm and relaxed. She had been scanned for 6 puppies, so I knew we were not finished.

Border collie puppies

As we approached midday I decided she needed a bit of help along the way. We popped round to the vet’s for an oxytocin injection. Very straightforward, (although she didn’t like being away from me). The vet said there was nothing obvious in the birth canal.

Border collie puppies

However, after the five minute journey home we went upstairs and she had four more puppies within forty minutes! So the injection worked perfectly and the pups were all safely delivered.

One down..

The pup that caused the hold-up was a little lilac girl. I was thrilled to see her, as lilacs are so rare. Sadly, she was extremely small and under-developed. She was barely alive. I breathed on her and rubbed her, so she seemed to get going. But she was extremely weak, prone to getting cold and struggled to feed.

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Just a murmur

On the second day, I tried feeding her milk myself, which she seemed to take. However, she wasn’t really there and within 48 hours she had slipped away. Busy did notice she had gone and looked for her, but then she got on with it, looking after the others so brilliantly.

Three pairs

We have three pairs in this litter – a pair of black and whites, a pair of chocolate and whites and a pair of blue and whites! Both the blues are girls but we have a black and white boy and a chocolate boy. Lovely! They are all ‘classic collies’ with absolutely textbook markings. Busy is a fantastic mum, extremely attentive and thorough with her cleaning and feeding.

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Two of each

The puppies weigh 250-350g at birth, but they soon start to gain weight! They feed almost constantly, so poor Busy gets very little rest.

Who’s the dad?

The sire of these puppies is Goytre Smokin’ Gun – Gunna. He is also the sire of the Sweetie Litter, so I knew exactly what these pups would be like. He is an amazing boy, with a super temperament. I am very fortunate that so many of my puppies are from the Goytre lines.

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NB: All have homes

I have been inundated with enquiries for puppies for the past 15 months – up to 5 PER DAY! during the first Lockdown. I still get an enquiry every day, but thankfully people do now realise they will have to wait a long time to have a puppy from a responsible breeder, such as a Kennel Club Assured Breeder.

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pink noses, pink toes

I have had a waiting list of people, but in addition I have been extremely fortunate (and proud) that quite a few people who have had dogs from me before have come back for a puppy again. So I knew straight away that these puppies all have homes.


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