All About Puppies

Loni and her newborn puppies, 8/21/10.

Puppies, puppies, puppies! Although puppies are very exciting, they are a huge commitment in both time and money, take careful planning, and require a lot of work. They are however, a labor of love.

Puppies are necessary in order to preserve and continue the bloodlines, so adequate time is scheduled to enable us to devote our full attention to the mother and her litter. For this reason, we limit the number of litters we breed, and when we do have a litter, we only keep one or two, so others are made available to the best homes.

Here are our current and planned litters for 2016.

Litters are whelped (born) inside the house, in a quiet peaceful setting, either right in my office, a beautiful sunny room in the south-facing front of the house, or upstairs in a room that was, at one time, the nursery. The location depends upon the mother. Some girls prefer to be downstairs where there is more activity; some like the more private quarters upstairs. In any case, once whelped, the puppies are watched 24/7. This means that we sleep next to the whelping box for weeks, or sometimes, depending on the mother and how active the puppies are, we take shifts to watch over them during the night, no sleeping allowed! This insures that no puppy gets caught behind the mother, or accidentally hurt when the mother changes position.

Mikaje Borzoi is proud to be an AKC Breeder of Merit

Kevin holding Faberge, now the Norelli’s girl, at two days old.

Puppies are born with eyes and ears sealed shut, little or no pigment, toothless, and are unable to walk. They do crawl though and are very good at getting to where they want to go, whether it’s finding the best nipple, or the best place to snuggle and keep warm.

Dew claws are removed at 3 days, and not to worry, for the most part this is actually a painless event when done properly. Our beloved veterinarian, Bill Norelli, and his wife Kathy, of Tiarra Borzoi, are experts at handling dewclaw removal.

Eleven day old puppies, eyes almost open.

Eyes begin to open at about ten days, and their little ears begin to unseal. At about three weeks, the puppies are actually able to walk around the whelping box, albeit a little unsteady on their feet, and their mother is spending some time outside without them (by this time she usually wants a break!). This is the signal that the puppies are ready to try lapping up some warm milk and very soggy dog food on their own from a dish. The first few times is always a big mess. Mush is everywhere! It’s all over their little faces, their legs, and even on their bellies, and we have to laugh every time we start feeding solid food. They need to be wiped down after every meal, which is several times every day. After awhile they get the hang of it, and cleanup is a little easier. Little by little, they eat more solid food, and are less reliant on their mother, who now visits them several times every day, but doesn’t stay for extended periods – now the puppies have their sharp little teeth, so you can’t blame her. Before long they are weaned and ready to begin their adventures outside.

First day outside.

We have special puppy quarters in the barn, heated in the winter of course. Once acclimated, which takes a couple of weeks, the puppies love being outside full time where they can run free safely and play until they are exhausted. Here is where they learn to be clean, that is, they decide on a spot outside in their puppy run to relieve themselves, away from their bedding and food, and go only there. Borzoi are naturally very clean and learn quickly. By the age of five weeks or so, they are living outside full time.

Usually at about six weeks we begin the evaluation process to decide which puppy will stay at the farm to continue the bloodline, and which ones will be offered to good homes. At eight weeks we usually know for sure which puppy is staying and we begin placing the others. This is a tearfull, bittersweet and difficult time for us. Saying good bye to any puppy that we whelped and raised is the most difficult part of breeding Borzoi. However, we have made some great friends along the way that have our puppies, and have become part of the “family”. And sharing the Borzoi experience with others is very rewarding.

The reason we are so careful about finding the right homes….

As you can imagine, homes for these precious puppies are very carefully chosen, and sadly, not everyone that wants a puppy actually gets one. It is our responsibility to the bloodline and the breed to be scrupulous in choosing the right homes. If you think you might be interested in one of our puppies, please contact Karen at karen@highmeadow.farm.

Here are our current and planned litters for 2016.