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  • Spaying/Neutering

    Spaying and Neutering "Among male and female dogs with early-age gonadectomy, hip dysplasia, noise phobias, and sexual behaviors were increased...." C. Victor Spain DVM, PhD, Janet M. Scarlett DVM, PhD, and Katherine A. Houpt VMD, PhD, DACVB Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association Dogs gonadectomized at ≤ 6 months of age had significantly increased odds of developing a behavioral disorder. The younger the age at gonadectomy, the earlier the mean age at diagnosis of mast cell cancer, cancers other than mast cell, hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma, all cancers combined, a behavioral disorder, or fear of storms. Frontiers in Veterinary Science In previous studies on the Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever and German Shepherd Dog, neutering before a year of age was associated with increased risks of one or more joint disorders, 2–4 times that of intact dogs. The increase was particularly seen with dogs neutered by 6 months of age. Rachel Eddleman, DVM Waiting until your dog is older decreases the likelihood of female urinary incontinence, orthopedic problems including cranial cruciate ligament tears, and certain cancers. Cardiac Tumors occurred with similar frequency in males and females, but the relative risk for spayed females was >4 times that for intact females. For HSA, spayed females had >5 times greater relative risk than did intact females. The risk for castrated males was slightly greater than that for intact males, which had 2.4 times the relative risk of intact females. Thus, neutering appeared to increase the risk of cardiac tumor in both sexes. Intact females were least likely to develop a cardiac tumor, whereas spayed females were most likely to develop a tumor. Twelve breeds had greater than average risk of developing a cardiac tumor, whereas 17 had lower risk. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association February 1, 2014, Vol. 244, No. 3, Pages 309-319 J R Slauterbeck 1, K Pankratz, K T Xu, S C Bozeman, D M Hardy Females that had ovariohysterectomy and males that had orchiectomy had a significantly higher prevalence of anterior cruciate ligament rupture than the sexually intact dogs. Larger dogs had an increased prevalence of anterior cruciate ligament injury compared with smaller or medium-sized dogs, with the increased rupture rates for sterilized animals holding across breeds and sizes. Sterilization of either gender increased the prevalence of anterior cruciate ligament injury, suggesting a potential effect of gonadal gender on prevalence of injury of this ligament. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association C. Victor Spain DVM, PhD, Janet M. Scarlett DVM, PhD, and Katherine A. Houpt VMD, PhD, DACVB Results—Among female dogs, early-age gonadectomy was associated with increased rate of cystitis and decreasing age at gonadectomy was associated with increased rate of urinary incontinence. Among male and female dogs with early-age gonadectomy, hip dysplasia, noise phobias, and sexual behaviors were increased.... AVMA American Veterinary Medical Association M Christine Zink 1, Parvene Farhoody, Samra E Elser, Lynda D Ruffini, Tom A Gibbons, Randall H Rieger Results— Females gonadectomized at ≤ 12 months of age and males and females gonadectomized at > 12 months of age had significantly increased odds of developing hemangiosarcoma, compared with the odds for sexually intact dogs. s. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association HIP AND ELBOW WARRANTY In order for our Hip and Elbow Warranty to remain in effect, we require that: Males be neutered no earlier than 18 months and preferably at 24 months. ​ Females be spayed AFTER 12 months of age and 3 months AFTER their heat cycle (to reduce risk of bleeding during surgery). While ultimately the choice is yours when to spay or neuter your puppy, unless it is to save t he life of an Aisling Puppy (i.e. Pyom etra in a female or testicular torsion or other disorder in a male), alteration earlier than the recommended ages will void the Hip and Elbow Warranty offered by Aisling Labradors due to the increased risk of joint disorders. While we support spay and neuter AFTER a dog has sexually matured, we feel that Dog Owners deserve to know the risks that come with that decision. Next: Hip Dysplasia

  • Puppy Care

    Puppy Care - First Things First Why is crate training good for dogs? Are crate trained dogs happy? Why does having a schedule provide structure for your puppy or dog? How important is play in learning? How much do you feed a labrador puppy? Read on to see our recommendations.... Crate Training ~ Read more We recommend that prior to bringing your puppy home, you acquire an 42" Crate that will serve your puppy through all life stages. Crates come with a divider that allows you to limit the available space for the puppy until such time as they require the entire crate for comfort. Crate training provides safety and security for puppy during the "rapid growth" period (from 8 weeks until approximately 9 months) it aids in "house breaking" the puppy as most will not soil their "den" and it allows for the confinement of the dog after spaying, neutering, or recovery from illness or injury. Labrador's are "piranha puppies" - the crate offers a safe place will limit the chance that shoes, books and other items will be destroyed by puppy teeth And it protects your puppy from any older dogs you may have in your home; from over-stimulating attention that might be given to the puppy by your children or visitors to your home; and finally, it is a sure way to protect them from ingesting things that are dangerous or that may require surgery to remove. ​Raising a puppy is very similar to raising a toddler; silence is not always golden and nap-time is looked forward to by the parents! Feeding and Weight Read more The rapid rate of growth plus the high energy levels of most Labrador Puppies means that they are burning off calories at a near constant rate. ​Feed three - four times per day; multiple small meals act like a time-release capsule, ensuring that their energy is fed by the calories they take in each day with no slumps. Weight: Your puppy should weigh 2 pounds per week of life on average until nearly reaching their adult weight. Don't over-feed: 8 week old puppies need about 1440 Kcal per day. You can find the kcal per cup on the bag of food (if not, give the company a call). Divide however many cups equal this amount over the number of meals you have decided to feed. If your puppy seems to be growing too fast, immediately lessen the daily caloric intake by switching to an ALL LIFE STAGES food - NOT an adult food! And remember that TREATS count towards their daily calorie limits. If you must use "high value treats" in your training, give them less of their kibble during meals. Our Puppies weigh between 65 lb. and 85 lb. at about 12 months of age. This is your goal for your own Aisling Puppy. A Lab that weighs 100 lbs is very likely over-weight - a heavy Lab is NOT a bragging point and in fact, may contribute to join issues. At 24 months, your Lab may weigh closer to 100 lbs but this will depend upon not only muscles but bones of the mature Labrador. Use a Body Condition Chart to determine if 100 plus lbs is a good weight for YOUR mature dog. ​Most Vets will allow you to stop in and weigh your puppy during the rapid growth period. In the beginning you can use your own scale by weighing yourself alone, then the puppy and doing the math to see how much your puppy weighs. Protect Hips & Elbows~ Read more 5 Minute Rule: Limit forced exercise (leashed walking, retrieving etc.) to 5 minutes per month of age. (8 week old - 10 minutes/12 week old -15 minutes and so on. Don't rush the "trick" training either; it is much more important that your puppy learn the house rules the first month home than it is that they learn to roll-over or shake paws. ​ Monitor Free Play~ Read more Free play is important and allows the dog to adjust its own turns and stops safely. ​Swimming is a great energy burner. ​Labradors have a very high pain tolerance and love to have fun so regulating their exercise will be up to you! ​They WILL continue playing even after an injury unless it is very severe. Setting a schedule ~ Read more Use the natural sleep wake play routine to set the schedule. Young puppies sleep 18 - 20 hours a day, make sure it is done in the crate and house training is going to be so much easier. Sleep then Wake/Potty, Eat/Potty, Play/Potty and Repeat - Set your schedule according to that already ingrained schedule. Out of the crate - Outside for potty on demand (no play until potty is done/praise and say "free"), Outside or inside play for 20 - 30 minutes and (after potty if it was inside play) pop into the crate with a Kong because he is going to be ready to go sleep. ​As the days go by, work towards a schedule like this: 10 a.m​. - Noon = Crate Nap 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. = Crate Nap. These forced rest periods will go a long way to avoid over-stimulating your young puppy and provide you with breaks for your own sanity! At about six - seven months, move to a 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. = Crate Rest schedule which we continue until 18 months to 2 years of age depending upon the energy level and reliability of the individual dog to behave. Continue to crate at night until at least 12 months. A Safe Environment~ Read more In the context of raising a puppy, environment consists of everything that is not genetic. Exercise and Nutrition are included under the term "environment". Dysplasia is 30% a genetic predisposition and 70% the environment provided from birth to eight weeks by the Breeder and from 8 weeks to 12 months by the new family. Flooring: We highly recommend you place secure area rugs in rooms your puppy will be walking, running and playing in. TEACH them to stay "on the carpe​t" from DAY ONE. The slipping and sliding as a puppy runs through the home, making sharp turns as they go through a doorway can cause repetitive trauma to their growing joints. DON'T overdo leash training with lots of sits and turns during the early months. Never push on your puppy's hips to force a sit. Exercise: Are you a jogger? If so, when your puppy reaches maturity (18 months - 2 years), he or she will be a wonderful partner on those jogs...but not until then. Forced running on hard surfaces, and even grassy runs, are very damaging to a young dogs joints. Some Vets STILL recommend jogging with a Labrador under the age of two who is high energy - DO NOT LISTEN to that advice. Deal with excess energy with feed cubes, puzzle feeders and training sessions Mental exercise is as exhausting to a young puppy as physical exercise. No Stairs until 12 Weeks! Read more Carry your puppy up and down staircases until after 12 weeks; then progress to walking them up and down while on a short leash to control their speed. Teach your dog to WALK up stairs and not to run or jump down them; if they begin to run up or down when they reach adolescence (8 months or so), go back to the leash until they are in the habit of walking the staircase in both directions. Restrict the use of stairs to only when it is necessary i.e. down in the morning and up for bedtime. We have a crate on each floor for our puppies. Retrieving~ Read more Introduce this early but limit the number of times you request a retrieval and the distance required for it to what is appropriate for the age and development of your puppy. There are some studies that show that dogs that retrieve every day are more prone to limit this until they are at least 12 months old. ROLL a ball rather than throwing it; save the frisbee until they are two years old; teach them to retrieve a thrown stick or bumper AFTER it hits the ground by training to a release command - all of this helps to protect your puppy's growing bones and muscles AND allows it to still have fun! Learning thru play~Toys Read more I mentioned earlier that Labradors are piranha puppies! Having a wide variety of toys available (along with crate training) will go a long way to helping you stay sane! ​Anything KONG. Just make sure it is for "the strong chewer" Nylabones Pull Toys Balls of all sizes Frozen Ropes. These help with teething pain. Ice Cubes. They also help with teething pain. An old milk carton. Just remove the cap and ring. ​Try to have as many textures as possible available for your puppy. You can substitute a nyabone when your puppy is chewing on a hard surface and a softer toy when they are chewing on your throw. ​For more ideas, check out our New Puppy Shopping List. Teach House Rules FIRST Read more House Rules include but are not limited to the following: Not being allowed on the furniture No running from room to room No jumping up at feeding time "Just Be" - Encourage puppy to just be beside you rather than demanding attention Play Dates ~ Read more Many people schedule play dates or dog park visits into their week to help socialize their dog. Again, this is very good but must be done with caution. Try to match the age of the dogs your puppy will be playing with; research shows that there is much less damage to the joints, tendons and muscles when growing puppies play with others at or near the same age. Also, evaluate the play style of the dogs involved; some dogs play much more aggressively, mouth grabbing legs or deliberately taking the feet out from under their playmate. This need for caution is not permanent....but is necessary to give your puppy every advantage in attaining maturity without longterm physical damage. Avoid being a weekend warrior! If you work full time and your dog spends 40 - 50 hours a week alone or crated with about an hour each evening devoted to exercise, don't exercise it for several hours on Saturday and Sunday. Remember the "5 Minute Rule". A consistent schedule of balanced exercise and activity is best for the growing Labrador. Of course, this doesn't mean that you can't take them to the beach on Saturday (take plenty of fresh water and limit the beach trip to about two hours) or on a hike on Sunday. It just means that you need to be careful not to overdo the activity. If they get an hour a day Monday - Friday, then they should have only a hour or two a day of heavy exercise on Saturday and Sunday until they are 2 years old. Consider a RAMP~ Read more Jumping in and out of your truck may cause repetitive trauma to the knees and elbows. Along these same lines, do NOT allow your puppy to jump off beds, couches and chairs. Their joints cannot take repeated trauma without some damage occurring during their growth period. Hip and Elbow Dysplasia are not the only issues that this type of behavior can lead to; OCD is another concern. All large breed dogs, and some medium breeds, are susceptible to these conditions through repeated trauma throughout the rapid growth period and until maturity. Remember, healthy joints and bones are 30% genetic predisposition and 70% the environment you are providing them. Next: Shopping List

  • Training

    Training your Aisling Puppy Why do so many dogs end up in shelters? Behavioral problems. The greatest cause of death in dogs under the age of three is because of the dogs behavior. Early socialization is a MUST. But, after that comes training! ....we tend to use human psychology to "train" our dogs when we should be using the psychology of dogs! The best advise I ever got was is working toward a goal of your dogs UNDERSTANDING what it is you want them to do! A Labrador grown up and properly trained is one of the most wonderful things one can experience in this life. They love to be with their humans no matter what is going on at any given moment - it can be at the beach, in a boat, on a paddle board, hiking through the woods or sitting in front of the proverbial hearth while you read or watch a film. But how do you get from the adorable but over excited puppy that a Labrador is to that ideal companion? ​ ​ The honest truth is that some of them just naturally become that wonderful companion with not much more effort made other than simply socializing them to the experiences from an early age, but others will need lots of patient training to get there, especially it seems if they have some of the more energetic Field Labrador in their pedigree. Here at Aisling, you won't find us spending a great deal of time training "tricks"; sharing our home with so many Labradors means that we focus on house/outdoor rules that keep us ALL safe. We use "one word" training to maintain order and calm. Our dogs know that when they hear "paddock" they are to head there immediately even when they are running crazy 'round and 'round a tree. We do not use their names when giving these commands as we want a pack response and not an individual response. To aid us in this, we have found Dan's methods to be the best methods! Follow "Five Golden Rules" that will help you train your puppy to be the companion you dream of! The Training of the Aisling Pack Read more We've all heard about the importance of being a Pack Leader to our dogs, but some of the trainers rely on adverse training (take downs with the collar, roll overs, electric collars etc.) -the reality is that those don't really work. What does work is gaining your dog's trust so that they understand that you are in charge and they themselves don't need to be the protector in your place or be afraid for themselves or their pack mates! Your puppy already knows how to sit, lay down and stand when he or she comes home to you at eight weeks of age and truthfully, getting them to do it on command is nothing more than "trick training" just as "shake", "paw", and "high fives" are! What your puppy really needs (besides lots of appropriate socialization) is to understand the house rules. These are the building blocks for that perfect Labrador companion we all dream of - not trick training. In 2018, we brought in two more puppies to our pack and I realized that there were a few things that I had never succeeded in achieving reliable results from our Labradors. The biggest issue? The pack's excitement when David came home from his 14 hours away for work! They barked and danced and generally knocked each other about in their excitement. Since we had a rather long drive, and a gate that must be manually opened and closed, this chorus of six Labradors went on for several minutes each telling them to stop just seemed to egg them on. I then heard from my Mom about Doggy Dan; she simply told me about "Golden Rule #2 - Danger" from his online training series. That very evening, as David pulled up to the mailbox across our street, the chorus began. I said "Thank you" just loud enough for them to hear me and they all quieted down for a minute but soon began again. I got up and walked to the front window and said "Thank you, I know Dad's home". Silence. Golden silence. I tried again the next night and got the same result. And the third night...again, silence reigned once I'd acknowledged that Dad was out there. I was amazed. That third night I asked David if he'd noticed anything different about our then 6 pack of dogs over the past three evenings. He thought for a minute and replied "no barking!". The next day, I went looking for Doggy Dan online and began to fully implement Golden Rule #1 along with #2. Over the next few weeks, visitors to our home were amazed at how calm the dogs were during their visit.... Much of Doggy Dan's training methods I'd learned watching my Grandfather as a child. He had grown up as the Head Groom's son in an Estate in England, taking over for a time as a young adult when his Dad retired. When he'd visit us here in the U.S. at our mini farms - which included pigs, chickens, horses and always several dogs and cats, he'd immediately take over their care and I'd watch in amazement as these animals, no matter the species, followed his every move and responded to his infrequent words. What I learned at my Grandfather's side allowed me to have so many dogs living with us and not have them ruling the house, but, I never was fully satisfied with what we achieved; there was always something that needed to be worked on. Doggy Dan's methods and the psychology behind them have allowed me to move to the next level. We're always working at it, but if we saw a difference with 2 puppies, an 18 month old and (now) 2 adults, imagine the possibilities! The thing to understand is that we tend to use human psychology to "train" our dogs when we should be using the psychology of dogs! They have 98% of the DNA of a wolf and when we understand that, internalize it, and implement Doggy Dan's "5 Golden Rules", it is amazing how fast they are suddenly "trained"! Think for a minute about how quickly our six dogs stopped barking when David and Hunter come home from work in only ONE session of my saying "Thank you. I know that Dad is home (or Hunter)". Whether you have just brought home an Aisling Lab, have been raising one for awhile now, or have just come here to have a gander, check out Doggy Dan. You won't be disappointed! Next: Spaying and Neutering

  • Elbow Dysplasia

    American College of Veterinary Surgeons "Canine elbow dysplasia (ED) is a condition involving multiple developmental abnormalities of the elbow joint. The elbow joint is a complex joint made up of 3 bones (radius, ulna, and humerus) (figure 1). If the 3 bones do not fit together perfectly due to growth abnormalities, abnormal weight distribution on areas of the joint occur causing pain, lameness, and the development of arthritis. Elbow dysplasia is a disease that encompasses several conditions grouped into medial compartment disease (fragmented coronoid process (FCP), osteochondrosis (OCD), joint incongruity, and cartilage anomaly) and ununited anconeal process (UAP). The cause of ED in dogs remains unclear. There are a number of theories as to the exact cause of the disease that include genetics, defects in cartilage growth, trauma, diet, and so on. It is most commonly suspected this is a multifactorial disease in which causes the growth disturbances". Understanding and preventing elbow dysplasia As with Hip Dysplasia, Labradors are the most tested breed by the OFA for Elbow Dysplasia. 10.3% of 97,639 OFA tested Labradors are dysplastic while 89.7% are certified as "normal". (Labradors rank 98th out of 184 breeds tested for Hip Dysplasia and 38th out of 134 breeds tested for Elbow Dysplasia) OFA Breed Ranking Angus had been diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at 10 months of age, despite generations of testing of his ancestors. On this trip, we noticed he was limping on his front legs as well as his rear and requested a radiograph prior to his neuter surgery the following week. The diagnosis as expected was dysplasia in both elbows. His diagnosis of dysplasia in all limbs led to me researching everything I could find on the disorder. The dysplasia in his elbows was likely caused not by genetics, but by the hip dysplasia that came first emphasizing the need to protect against hip dysplasia from the day the puppies are born . Degenerative Joint Disease, present in one elbow, does not affect the dog but must be managed. There is little evidence that this is an inherited condition other than that in rare cases, offspring of these dogs may have a grade II or III result - as this disease can be caused by repetitive trauma and inflammation, it is likely that the inherited temperament is a factor (high energy/drive). Dogs who present as Normal at 2 years of age can still develop Degenerative Joint Disease at a later age so again, the environment the offspring are raised in is during this time its of equal or greater importance as the OFA result of the parents examination. ​ Like Hip Dysplasia, it is believed there is a genetic component/predispostion (the growth rate of medium and large breed dogs) but the genes responsible for the disease have yet to be found. And like Hip Dysplasia, affected puppies can be produced from unaffected parents (Hazelwinkel and Nap 2009). Additionally, the heritability of the disease appears to be stronger in certain pedigrees than in others and presents as bilateral (both elbows). (Ubbink et al 2000) But even that, as already noted may be the genetically inherited temperament/energy/drive leading to repetitive trauma and inflammation. ​ Selective breeding once again can lower the odds that puppies will develop the disorder, but cannot prevent it. Although Breeders pay for radiographs of their breeding stock, determining carriers - those which carry and may pass on the gene(s) but which do not show signs of the disease themselves - is not currently possible. Labrador Retriever Elbow Dysplasia (Fragmented Medial Coronoid Process) ​ And once again, genetic predisposition, over-nutrition with rapid growth, trauma and hormonal factors are believed to be the cause of more than 50% of the cases of ED diagnosed and since this disorder results from a variety of other factors, the number presented as caused by environment is likely MUCH higher than is reported. ​ I take full responsibility for the damage done to our poor Angus because I relie​d far too heavily on the OFA certification of his Dam and Sire and their ancestors. I did not limit his access to stairs in our two story home; I over-fed him because after all, I had him on Large Breed Puppy Food with the correct balance of calcium and phosphorus and I let him play as long and as hard as he wanted with the grown-up dogs around our place. Those beautiful brown eyes begged for more food and I gave it to him. He loved to play and I loved to watch him. Oh the things I'd do differently if I could bring home that gorgeous boy and start it all over. ​ Together, Breeders and Buyers can tackle this issue of dysplasia in our Labradors. By understanding that despite the emphasis put on certifying breeding dogs for "normal" hips and elbows, the disorder is more a genetic predisposition triggered by environment, injury and nutrition rather than an "inherited" disorder, we can help protect every puppy from every litter. For further reading to prepare for the new Labrador Puppy in YOUR life; please use the links found on the bottom of our Hip Dysplasia page. Back to Hip Dysplasia for Prevention Tips Next: Weaning and Feeding

  • 404 Error Page | Aisling Labradors

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  • Our Boys

    Our Pack! The Labradors We Share Our Life With ! Kindly, outgoing, eager to please and non-aggressive True Labrador Retriever temperament is as much a hallmark of the breed as the "otter" tail. Labrador Breed Standard Quail Meadow's Dunroamin' at Aisling English/Show Champion Lines Grandquest, Ridge View, Lubberline, Call Name: "Roamin" Phenotype: Yellow Genotype: eeBB (no hidden Chocolate {b}) Roamin's Pedigree Roamin' & Latte will have puppies for sale of 2023 Quail Meadows General Jackson (at Aisling) English/Show Champion Lines WILCARE, BELLEQUEST, LUBBERLINE, GRANDQUEST Call Name: Jackson Phenotype: Chocolate Genotype: bbEE (no hidden yellow) Jackson's Pedigree Jackson and Jette will have puppies for sale in 2023 Aisling's Cocoa Latte Dam: Kona (Retired) Sire: Little Cain (Retired) English/Show Champion Lines Willcare, Chambray, Weikenlin, Venetian Call Name Latte English/Bench Plus Field Lines for a more traditional build Phenotype: Chocolate Genotype: bbEE (no hidden Yellow) ​ Latte's Pedigree Roamin' and Latte will have puppies for sale in 2023 Aisling's Jette Black to the Future Call Name: Jette Dam: Kona (Retired) Sire: Roamin' English/Bench Champion Lines Grandquest, Ridge View, Lubberline, Phenotype: Black Genotype: BbEe (Carries all three colors) Jette's Pedigree Jackson & Jette will have puppies for sale in 2023 Aila-Bringer of Light to Aisling Sire: Ashe XVI Labroland International Champions/Windup International Champions/Sureshot/Razzle Dazzle Dam: Winter IG Labs Danfer Labs/Chablais/Ranbourne/Sandylands Phenotype: Yellow Genotype: B*ee ​ ​ Aila's Pedigree Roamin' & Aila will have puppies for sale in 2024 Introducing Ceilidh (Kaylee) CEILIDH = GATHERING OR PARTY! International Show Lines Registered AKC Name: von Hause CK&B Labradors Maona at Aisling ​ Sire: Rosslyn's Vogue Herbu Zadora Hoffmann's, Saddlehill, Dickendall, Lobuff, Zinfindel, Hyspire Dam: Formosa Herbu Zadora Mambrinos, Kimvalley, Jayncourt, Sandylands, Langshott, Phenotype: Black Genotype: B*E* Ceilidh's Pedigree Our Retired Dogs Day after day, the whole day through -- Wherever my road inclined -- Four-feet said, "I am coming with you!" And trotted along behind. Rudyard Kipling Terremere's Raising a Little Cain at Aisling ​ Passport's Breagha Lass at Aisling Tru-Heart's More Organized Chaos at Aisling Tru-Heart's Kona of the Storm at Aisling Terremere's Dream A Little Dream At Aisling Next: Socialization~A Must!

  • Weaning and Feeding

    Weaning & Feeding For the new puppy parent or new breeder...... Weaning - The process of transitioning a puppy from a milk based diet to a dry food for puppies 21 days - A shallow pan of water to test that the lapping instinct is intact. In between - 1 dish of formula daily if needed 28 days(?) - Mush - ground puppy food with a formula Weaning and Feeding For New Breeders ​ Part of being a Breeding is constantly researching (listening to other breeders/reading up on new scientific studies) to determine what is best for the long term health and growth of our puppies. As new Breeders, we follow the advise of our mentors or do it the way it has always been done. But, nothing stays the same forever, we no longer send puppies home at 6 weeks and need therefore to being weaning at 21 days. Since they are staying with us longer because of new scientific data, maybe we should take another look at when to begin weaning as well. It seemed to me, with the litters I over-saw in 2017, to make sense that if the litter was ready to be litter box trained on day 21 they were ready to be weaned as well. But with each new litter, I began to realize that my Dams were not starting the weaning process on day 21. Watching them showed me two important things: ​ Shorter feeding times do not indicate the Dam is ready to wean Supply and demand is well established​ Pups are proficient at getting what they need The Dam spending less time caring for the pups does not indicate she is ready to wean.​ Pups are able to regulate their own body temp and go potty on their own​ The Dam is ready to rejoin the pack knowing that pups are less needy The Dam is ready to wean when she regurgitates her last meal for the pups to eat. I know, it sounds disgusting, but this is what happens in the wild and female dogs, for the most part, mother on pure instinct and instinct tells them when it is time to wean. So, if the Dam isn't regurgitating for her litter on day 21, it seems to me that we are starting the weaning process too early and if we are, we should be asking ourselves whether we are contributing to the potential of individual puppies in our litters developing food allergies later in life? When to introduce Mush to a litter At 21 days, the pups are able to do their business on their own so don't need their Dam to stimulate which means the Dam will begin to rejoin her pack leaving the pups for longer and longer periods. She will return to the pups to allow nursing; when the pups begin to suckle, the milk is immediately let down and they are very proficient at drinking and filling up very quickly. The Dam rarely stays in the box for more than 10 minutes where before, she was in for much longer. It appears that she is "done" with them and ready to wean them, but if you watch more closely, many times, that isn't the case because in another three hours, she will be asking to go back in with the litter for another feed. Take careful note of how over the next week or so, she begin to spread out those feeding times to first four hours and then longer. ​ Watch her head at one of those feedings because it will be low to the ground - you might even think it is because she is sad and in pain - but you will see her quietly regurgitate her food and begin to eat it. The first time, one puppy might notice and leave the teat to eat alongside her, but often, it is the next day before that happens. Wait a few days and most of the litter will leave the teat and eat along side their Mom. THIS is the signal that she is ready to wean them and this is the signal I personally feel we need to be waiting to see before introducing mush. This could begin on day 21 or, as I see in most of my litters, it may happen on day 27 or 28. ​ Weaning isn't just about getting the litter to stop nursing off of their Dam; it is about transitioning them from a natural milk based diet to a dog food diet. It is also about their digestive tract learning to process a different diet and this may be the most important reason to delay weaning. ​ As a moderator on a Breeding Help board, I have seen that many breeders rush to feed the litter 4 meals a day sometimes all in one day and sometimes over the first four days. Since the puppies digestive tracts are still developing, this always seemed wrong to me. ​ We introduced a shallow dish of water at 21 days, a shallow dish of formula at 22 days and their first bowl of mush on the 23rd day (on or about - it depends upon the litter). A new meal was then introduced every 3 days afterwards until they were getting 4 meals. That question of whether I was rushing was always niggling at the back of my mind as I watched my girls delay that regurgitation of a meal until at least a week later. By the fourth year of breeding, I began to listen to my gut and delay introducing mush until I had seen the Dam regurgitate a meal for them and the puppies showing interest in eating with her. ​ Now, there are reasons why supplementing what a litter is getting naturally from their Dam on day 21 might be the best decision (a puppy falling behind or a huge litter that is wearing down the Dam); but even then, I have come to believe that supplementing with a shallow dish of formula/milk replacer might be better for the litter in the long run than introducing mush too early. Watching to see if the difference to that puppy or to the Dam's condition is enough before adding another meal is most likely the best course to follow. Our new protocol beginning with the Bree x Cain 2021 litter: ​ Day 21 - IF needed, one meal per day of formula/milk replacer Day 28 - One meal per day of mush IF the Dam has regurgitated Day 34 - Two meals Day 39 - Three meals plus free feeding (see below) This protocol is of course not set in stone and has been adjusted according to the individual Dam's behavior. Kona typically was done nursing by 6 weeks while Dreama didn't finish until 7 weeks and still allowed what we learned was "comfort suckling" for a minute or two all the way until the puppies were carried out the gate to their new lives. Bree delays weaning until day 26 or 27 and Latte and Jette are regurgitating at about day 30. ​ Best practice is letting your Dam show you when they instinctively sense that the litter is ready to move to eating dry food. Free-Feeding Our Aisling Litters​ Why do we free-feed our litters when we DO NOT recommend free feeding once the puppies leave us? (Labs for the most part should never be free fed!) Most Labrador puppies devour their dish of food and while in the litter, this is no different. There are been many dishes of mush that went to the ground due to the mad rush of a litter to be first to the bowl and far too many times I saw a puppy choke due to eating too fast. I soon realized that they were "fighting" over the food; fast eaters were getting most of the meal. This was "training" the puppies to eat even faster to ensure they got enough to be full. Separating them by slow and fast eaters or large and smaller puppies helped some but not enough. Giving each puppy their own bowl didn't slow them down either. After watching this through several litters, I ordered some flat-backed buckets that hang on the panels of the ex-pen and once the puppies were eating dry food and drinking water, I filled those buckets with dry food. While they were eating from their dishes, I placed the buckets in the pen. This meant that they investigated the buckets but didn't gorge or fight to get to them because they were already filled up from their meal (which of course, they ate far too fast, pushing and shoving their way to the dishes). As the rest of the day went by, I saw individual puppies stroll over to a bucket and eat slowly from it. Just a bite or two usually. And when I brought them their next meal in a dish? No rushing at all. Most took the time to get a cuddle and a pat from me, some continued to play for a bit or nap! While that was encouraging, the best part was that over the next week, those lighter puppies began to put on weight more steadily and by the 8 week puppy weigh in, they were nearly uniform in weight. And when they all went to their new homes? I didn't get so many emails and texts and phone calls about how the puppies devoured in two seconds anything that was put in front of them asking me what they could do to slow them down! From 7 - 8 weeks of age, we remove the food filled buckets at night to get them used to going through the night without being able to nibble on something and feed them four times each day rather than three. Feeding for Owners Our " Puppy Care " page has quite a bit of information regarding feeding your Labrador Puppy. And for those who are bringing home an Aisling puppy, we provide even more detail in our pdf's which are emailed to you before your puppy comes home. Like weaning, our ever-growing knowledge and our experience in raising our own Labrador puppies evolves our protocols. While in the past, we recommended feeding your puppy THREE times a day, there is a growing body of data that indicates feeding FOUR times a day through at least 20 weeks of age is far better. The rapid growth and high energy level of puppies means they burn calories at a high rate. Spreading their nutrition over four meals for longer than 8 weeks appears to help regulate their growth patterns and protect the density of their bones. For more information, please visit the Puppy Care page Next: Responsible Breeding

  • Puppy Care | Aisling Labradors of NE Florida | Near St. Augustine Florida

    Puppy Care Pages Preparing for homecoming day and beyond! Puppy Care You've attended Puppy Pick Out Day and there's three weeks to get ready to bring home your new Aisling Puppy. Now it's time to start getting ready - this page can get you started. Spaying & Neutering Learn about the studies that have been done that indicate that delayed spaying and neutering is the best thing for your Labrador. Shopping List There's lots of things to buy to get ready for your new companion! Check out our New Puppy Shopping List for the things we bring in for our own puppies. Hip Dysplasia in Labradors Did you know that Labradors are the most tested breed in the OFA database? Despite that, nearly 12% of selectively bred Labs still are diagnosed with the disorder. Learn about the importance of the environment provided from birth to 12 months in protecting joint health. Training There are five golden rules we follow which allow us to live with multiple Labradors in our home instead of housing them in concrete kennels. Read about the training method we use 'round Aisling. Elbow Dysplasia Learn about this disorder and how you can help prevent it by providing the proper environment (food, exercise, surfaces) for your Labrador. Weaning and Feeding Information This is mostly an "extra page". As a Breeder, I am always on the lookout for the best practices in breeding healthy litters. This page is primarily written for other breeders doing the same as me in that regard, but, there is also something for new puppy parents as well.

  • Genetic Health Testing

    Genetic Heath Testing Gene – A part of an organism’s DNA that is passed down from its parents and codes for a specific function. Allele – A form of a gene; it can be dominant or recessive. Dominant gene – A gene that will show its effects even if an organism also has a copy of a different allele (the recessive allele). Clear By Parents (CBP) - Both parents are "clear" and offspring are designated CBP for two generations - mutations may happen at any time, so two generations is the logical cutoff for a CBP designation. Genotype (set of alleles) determines phenotype (observable features/traits) Mode of Inheritance ​ Dominant - only a single copy of an allele is necessary to express the trait. ​ Recessive - two identical alleles are necessary for the trait/disease to be observed ​ Incomplete Dominance - only one copy of a given allele is necessary to produce the trait - example "S" which may produce white hairs or spotting and which needs only be inherited from one parent. ​ Responsible breeders look at more than just hip and elbow scores. Dr Malcolm Willis, the late leading authority on canine hips while speaking during a health seminar sponsored by the Flatcoated Retriever Society stated the following: "Don't struggle for perfect hips! Hips need be no better that what will give a dog an active pain free life, and to struggle for better can/WILL mean losing other dogs from the gene pool who have good things to offer, such as temperament. A dog is a whole animal, not just a pair of hips!” ​ With this expert opinion and with the science showing that owners are as responsible as Breeders in ultimately limiting hip and elbow dysplasia in mind, genetic testing for diseases is of equal or even greater value in the Breeder's toolkit for responsible breeding. That toolkit includes normal hips and elbows, low coefficient of inbreeding and testing for Genetic Diseases as well as traits which include temperament and adherence to the physical breed standard. Many of the inheritable diseases require that both parents pass on a copy of the gene responsible for disease to a puppy. To avoid breeding dogs that could pass on these genes and have affected puppies, one or both parents are genetically tested; to keep a puppy from a carrier's litter, puppies are tested before choosing to ensure that this new generation is clear of the mutation. Carriers who bring other excellent traits to the breeding are not removed from breeding programs. Rather, to "improve" the next generation and avoid narrowing the gene pool, offspring are tested to be clear of the mutation before being used in a breeding program. ​ Diseases Releva nt to Labradors There may be other causes of these conditions in dogs and a normal result does not exclude a different mutation in this gene or any other gene that may result in a similar genetic disease or trait. Breeder testing can only eliminate the TESTABLE inherited form of any disease. It is also important to understand that a gene may mutate from one generation to the next causing a "Carrier" status for a puppy produced by two "Clear" parents. For this reason, many Kennel Clubs are restricting "Clear By Parents" to two generations. Hereditary nasal parakeratosis (HNPK) Read more Mode Of Inheritance - Recessive This is a (disfiguring) disease that affects Labrador Retrievers and related breeds and leads to dry, rough, discolored crusts on the edges of the dog’s nose. The disease results from a mutation that causes the nose to dry out and can lead to chronic irritation and inflammation of the skin on and surrounding the dog’s nose. Symptoms of the disorder appear in young dogs typically between the ages of around 6 months to 1 year of age. PAW PRINT GENETICS Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC) Read more Mode Of Inheritance - Recessive - Dogs will collapse after 5 to 10 minutes of high-drive, trigger activities, such as chasing a ball or hunting. Though a large majority of these cases recover completely within a short timeframe (less than 30 minutes), some dogs have been known to die of the condition. Canine Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) Read more Mode Of Inheritance - Recessive - This mutation is found in many breeds of dog, though it is not clear for Labrador retrievers whether all dogs carrying two copies of the mutation will develop the disease. The variable presentation between breeds suggests that there are environmental or other genetic factors responsible for modifying disease expression. The average age of onset for dogs with degenerative myelopathy is approximately nine years of age. The disease affects the White Matter tissue of the spinal cord and is considered the canine equivalent to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) found in humans. Labrador Centronuclear Myopathy (CNM) Read more - Mode Of Inheritance - Recessive - Typically occurs in young Labradors between 6 weeks and 7 months of age. Similar to DM, CNM is a disease that will greatly affect a dog’s ability to work or perform physical tasks. Affected dogs typically display an intolerance to exercise, a hopping gait, decreased reflexes, generalized skeletal muscle weakness and atrophy, and an increased likelihood of collapse when in cold temperatures. Many affected dogs also develop a loss of muscle contraction in the esophagus (megaesophagus) resulting in difficulties swallowing. Problems with swallowing can allow food particles and other material to enter the lungs, thus, leading to severe pulmonary infections known as aspiration pneumonia. Progressive Rod-Cone Degeneration (PRA-PRCD) Read more - VARIANT 1 Mode Of Inheritance - Recessive - Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a category of different progressive conditions related to ­retinal atrophy that can eventually lead to blindness. Progressive rod-cone degeneration (PRA-PRCD) is one specific type of PRA that affects many dog breeds. It is an inherited eye disease with late onset of symptoms that are due to degeneration of both rod and cone cells of the retina. These cells are important for vision in dim and bright light. Progressive Rod-Cone Degeneration II (PRA-PRCD) Read more VARIANT 2 Mode Of Inheritance - Recessive - Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a category of different progressive conditions related to ­retinal atrophy that can eventually lead to blindness. . Breeding two carriers with the same mutation is predicted to produce 25% affected puppies and 50% carriers. Mating a carrier of PRA1 (that is CLEAR for PRA2) with a carrier of PRA2 (that is N/N for PRA1) will not produce affected animals. PYRUVATE KINASE DEFICIENCY LABRADOR RETRIEVER (PKD-LAB) Read more - Mode of Inheritance Recessive Affects red blood cells due to a mutation in an important enzyme needed for metabolism. This defect leads to red blood cell death that results in severe hemolytic anemia. Retinal dysplasia/oculoskeletal dysplasia 1(RD/OSD) Read more Mode Of Inheritance - Recessive - An inherited Collagen disorder affecting Labrador retrievers. Dwarfism and eye abnormalities may be apparent as early as 4 to 6 weeks of age in affected puppies. The dwarfism is characterized by shortened forelimbs that become curved as the dog grows. In puppies, the top of the head may be noticeably dome shaped compared to littermates. A range of eye abnormalities is visible on a veterinary eye exam of which retinal detachment and cataracts are the most common. Carrier dogs do not have skeletal changes but may have mild eye abnormalities, including retinal folds. Skeletal Dysplasia 2 (SD2) Read more Mode Of Inheritance - Recessive - Musculoskeletal disease affecting Labrador Retrievers. Affected dogs develop a mild form of “disproportionate dwarfism” consisting of short legs with normal body length and width. The leg bones are shorter, thicker, and slightly curved and the front legs are frequently more affected than rear legs. Joints and eyes are not typically affected with this disease. The causal Mutation shows Incomplete Penetrance meaning that not all dogs inheriting two copies (one from each parent) will display obvious physical characteristics of dwarfism. The discovery of relevant diseases for breeds is fluid Early genetic testing offered only single gene testing; recently panel testing became available to both breeders and pet owners. While many breeders are using panel testing the new dogs in their program, you will see single testing for the diseases relevant to their breed for their older dogs. Panel testing is opening the doors to our eventually being able to prove whether a disorder is an inherited one or one that is from random interruption in the gestational process. Panel testing companies, like Embark and Wisdom, will add a new "relevant" test even if the test is extremely rare within the breed. Typically, any study will have more participants from our breed than any other breed; it is therefore important to weigh the risk in foundation stock for which the disease has not been known/recorded in the pedigrees. As more breeders move to panel testing, the results for these tests will be available for more breeding pairs. HYPERURICOSURIA (HUU) Mode of Inheritance - Recessive This disease is characterized by the excretion of uric acid leading to the formation of urinary calculi (stones). Incidence is rare. Many breeders do not single test for the gene unless there is an incidence in either ancestry or descendants in a pedigree or before breeding to a known carrier. It is included in Embark's panel testing. Note: While treated as Pure Bred in sharing the results, the Standard Schnauzers and Labrador Retrievers participating were related to varying degrees (ranging from littermates to separated by > 5 generations); in other words, the Labradors were not all purebred and the gene may have been introduced in mixed breeding. ​ Estimated Frequency of the Canine Hyperuricosuria Mutation in Different Dog Breeds Congenital Myasthenic Syndrome (CMS) in Labrador Retrievers (2023) Phenotype: Neuromuscular disorder characterized by generalized muscle weakness and fatigue, usually induced by exercise. Affected puppies collapse after a few minutes of rigorous exercise, but recover after some rest. Signs usually appear between 6 to 12 weeks of age. ​ Mode of Inheritance: Autosomal recessive (needs two copies, one from each parent, to be affected. ​ ​ According to the referenced paper below, only 2 Labrador Retrievers were reported to be affected and homozygous for this mutation but 16 out of 58 (28%) of their relatives were carriers. However, carriers can transmit the recessive allele to their offspring and can thus produce affected offspring if their mate also contributes a recessive allele. No carriers were found among 288 unrelated Labrador Retrievers, which suggests that the mutation is not widespread within the breed. ​ ​ Modes of Inheritance Some diseases/traits (i.e. coat color) require only one copy for expression (incomplete dominance). In these cases, neither of the inherited alleles is completely dominant over the other and both alleles can be seen at the same time. Dogs (and humans) can only have two alleles (one from each parent) for a given gene, however, multiple alleles (3 or more) may exist in a population level, and different individuals in the population may have different pairs of these allele. Copper toxicosis (Labrador retriever type) Read more Mode of Inheritance - incomplete dominant - Metabolic disease resulting in a decreased ability to excrete dietary copper from the body resulting in excessive copper storage in tissues and organs, including the liver, which can result in liver damage and subsequent cirrhosis. Dogs only need to inherit one copy of the mutated gene to be at an increased risk of developing the disease. Though copper toxicosis is most commonly seen in dogs having two copies of the mutated gene, Carrier dogs have a lower risk of copper toxicity than dogs with two copies of the Mutation, but have a higher risk of developing the disease than dogs without the mutation. Since there appears to be multiple genetic and environmental factors which play a role in causing copper toxicosis in dogs, a normal result in ATP7B does not exclude copper toxicosis in a pedigree and an at-risk result does not mean that a dog will develop copper toxicosis during its lifetime. It is recommended that dogs inheriting the ATP7B mutation be bred to dogs that have not inherited the ATP7B mutation rather than being removed from breeding programs. It is important to note that removal of all dogs with one or two copies of the ATP7B mutation from the gene pool would drastically reduce genetic diversity within the breed and potentially increase the risk of other genetic diseases in Labradors. Paw Print Genetics What about the things for which there is no genetic test available? ​ Congenital Defects: ​ Just like in humans, sometimes something can go wrong during gestation that affects one or more puppies. Exposure to some form of a toxin can cause birth defects; positioning in the uterine horn in a large litter can affect the development of a limb or the tail, an excess or deficiency in, for example, Vitamin A during gestation can cause developmental issues (i.e. an undeveloped leg or a crooked tail) in one puppy but not in the entire litter. Puppies can be born showing a recessive trait like a shorter tail or a longer tail than we are used to seeing and some puppies are born with mis-markings (white spotting and more rarely mosaic or tan and black points). These puppies should not be used in a breeding program. ​ In these cases, if a pattern emerges in which several puppies in one or more litters have the same congenital defect, the following questions are asked prior to making a decision as to the future of the parents:: ​ Is the defect cosmetic or does it require medical intervention? If cosmetic, then the degree of the defect is considered​ If medical intervention is required, move on to the next question Is this a repeat breeding of two dogs to each other. If so, the pairing is not repeated. Has either parent produced this defect more than once with another mate? If so, that parent should be withdrawn from the breeding program. ​ ​ ​ ​ Next: Genetics of Color

  • About | Aisling Labradors

    All "About Us" Pages Learn how we got started, meet our pack and see the policies we have evolved to over the years of our experience as breeders. About Us I was an Air Force Brat. My husband a Navy Brat. His family had GSD's. Mine bred Labradors! Read our story to learn about whether we breed English or American Labradors..... Our Pack Meet the Labradors with whom we share our life! Socialization Socialization is one of the most important things a Breeder provides a litter. It sets the stage for the rest of their lives. Read about how we socialize the litters at each stage of their growth. Doctor Dodd's Vaccine Protocol We follow the vaccination protocol now being taught in all 27 Veterinary Schools in North America. Read about it here so you can prepare to bring home your Aisling Puppy. Visitation Policy Biosecurity is a issue for all breeders, but especially for those of us who don't house our Labradors in concrete kennel runs. Learn about our policy here. One Puppy At A Time Policy We would love for you to have two (or more!) Aisling puppies share your life. But we ask that there be a minimum of four months difference in age. See why.... Videos Our favorite videos of Life 'Round Aisling and of our "Watch Them Grow" Series on Facebook. Social Media Like and Follow Us on Facebook and Instagram for the most up-to-the-minute photos!

  • About Us

    Our goal is to produce Dual Purpose Labradors that embody both the working traits and moderate body structure of the Traditional Labrador Retriever. Our Labradors are family members; litters are whelped and weaned in our home where socialization and the groundwork for training begins immediately. This leads to secure, well adjusted, easy to train Labrador puppies for sale that will be your perfect companion. Our Story I was an Air Force Brat. My husband was a Navy Brat. His family raised German Shepherd Dogs while mine bred and raised Labradors. Our first dog together was a German Shepherd. After his passing, I convinced my husband to try a Labrador; her name was Jenna and she was soon joined by Shanna. Read more By 2005, we had adopted / rescued two black Labs in need of re-homing who personified the opposite ends of where the Breed had been taken since my parents had retired their breeding program. Our Murphy was the size of a Shetland Pony but long bodied and thin legged; loved retrieving and water. The other boy was short, heavy and obsessed with retrieving but would tire quickly; he could live without ever setting a toe in water. Adopted at 2 and 3 respectively, we adored both these lads but neither of them resembled the Labs I had grown up with. I began to talk to Breeders about working with them to establish our own breeding program. Finally finding one willing to grant us full registration, in the spring of 2006, we brought home our Callie, the daughter of an International Champion. Raising her for the purpose of breeding her, I quickly realized that she had no water drive and very little retrieve drive either. A wonderful and gorgeous companion, she too was not the Labrador I had known in my childhood. I began to research just what had been going on in the breeding world; here is what I learned...Although there is only ONE standard of the breed for Labradors, over the years, years of breeding with a goal of producing Labs that fit both the working traits and conformation requirements needed for the potential of becoming a Dual Champion, had morphed into two types of Breeders - typically known as American (Field) or English (Show). Field bred Labs are bred with the working traits in mind to be competitive in field-trial events; when I was a child, my parents referred to these as “American Labs” with a lighter bone structure, longer legs, a thinner or single layer coat, a longer muzzle and heads not as broad (our Murphy was a Field bred Labrador). Breeders looked for dogs that exhibited these working traits very strongly; the "look" was not as important as those traits. Show (or sometimes "Bench") bred Labs are bred with a “look” in mind; a look that would satisfy the Conformation Judging. Subjective judging had led to the more moderate looking Labrador that I knew as a child gradually being replaced with a stockier dog, heavier bone structure and shorter legs, with a coat so much more dense that it adds an appearance of an even heavier dog, and the "block head” I knew as a child becoming more square and the muzzle shorter. Concerned primarily with winning in a show ring, breeders cared less about the working traits of their dogs. Although there are those who say that the two "types" of Labradors differ in energy levels, in my experience, that difference is not in one being "hyper" and the other "laid back". It is the body type affecting the length of time energy is sustained. But more concerning to me was the appearance of a loss of drive for retrieving and water play in the Show lines as well as the fact that both Indie and Callie were fearful; neither ever became comfortable leaving our home despite consistent socializing. We made the decision not to breed Callie. Six years after deciding that we would not breed our Callie, we began to look for Breeders who shared our vision to produce traditional Labrador Retrievers that embodied all the physical and working traits of the dogs who were the companions of my childhood - in other words, more moderate in stature and retaining all the working traits and the fearless nature of the traditional Labrador. On June 20th 2013 we brought home Angus Demetrius planning on his being the foundation of our program. Unfortunately, despite the Excellent and Normal ratings of both his Sire and Dam; Angus was diagnosed with mild to moderate Hip Dysplasia at the age of 10 months and the decision was made to neuter him. With heavy hearts, we moved forward raising Kona and Dreama with the goal of slow growth and a controlled environment. In 2016/17, both were certified with Excellent hips and Normal elbows and our breeding journey began. Finally, a Dream more than 30 years in the making came true. The dogs that influenced our goals MURPHY INDIE CALLIE Meet Our Current Pack

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