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French Standard Poodles
French Poodles from the Languedoc, South of France

Previous Litters



Litter 3rd April 2009

Joy (Exuperantus Una) was paired with Louis (Canen Thanks) on 31 January 2009. They are two exceptionally striking and sweet natured standards, both free of any known health problems and with clear genetically related medical histories for themselves and  family.  This is their second litter together.   Joy delivered 11 puppies, 62 days later on 3 April 2009.  None of the puppies is small, deformed or weak.

The puppies were ready to leave home early to mid-June.  Below is a running account of the puppy’s development and photographs

The litter was

Esther Theodocia Brown Female Medium
Endymion Gandulphus Brown Male V Large
Ethan Joseph Brown Male Medium
Errol Luigi Brown Male Large
Empedocles Peter Brown Male Large
Earle Nikitas Brown Male Large
Ella Alexandria Black Female Large
Eloise Fara Black Female Large
Eleanor Mary Black Female Large
Eugine Vulpian Black Male V Large
Ethelread Atilla Black Male V Large



Joy whelped on the morning of 3 April.  She produced vigorous similarly sized puppies, all between 6am and 12pm.  No still births.  No runts.  She is again being the perfect mother   All the puppies eating with healthy appetite.





Some Early Photos



Sophie's Litter Diary

Sophie writes:

The puppies started to arrive just after 6am, as ever on the exact date they were expected, that is 62 days after the romantic moment with Louis and Joy in the vineyard.  It is the second time they have made puppies together. 

I had forgotten those exciting moments of anticipation and anxiety waiting for the labour to start.  It is not uncommon to have a still birth, a weak puppy and sometimes in the first days a squashed puppy or a runt that fades away rejected by the mother, or even an incident with another pack member if the labour springs unexpected so there is a significant element of apprehension mixed with the excitement.

Once the puppies start arriving there is about half an hour between deliveries.  Just after 6am Joy produced two puppies very quickly.  Joy cuts the bag, clears the airways, chomps the umbilical cord and gets cleaning.   It is interesting that in the first hours of life it is not nourishment that is vital but affection, touch and hygiene. I was immediately reminded of how quickly the puppies find each other and what an important role they have for each other in a successful whelping.   Whilst Joy attends to number three arriving  siblings one and two seek each other out and tumble around each other squeaking nuzzling and rubbing torsos.  All the following puppies appeared equally vigorous and I am relieved for Joy all is going well.  Joy continues her work.  Each puppy is straight into the throng while Joy thoroughly and systematically returns to each puppy drying off and grooming, nibbling the cord,  shifting them about and getting it all going.  By 8.30 am Joy already had 7 puppies.  With larger litters I have always found that there is pause at the midway point.  I think I figured out this time why that must be.  The pups at the thorax end of the womb would be the most restricted and stressed at the end of the pregnancy.  Whilst this pause allows them to descend towards the birth canal, perhaps having the extra space for those couple of hours gives them a vital respite in a more spacious environment  to prepare for the birth.  Sure enough there was a long pause and finally there were 11 healthy kicking feeding puppies.  Joy has a proud confidence in handling them.  In  her first litter she only raised 8 so she will discover tricks over the next few days.  Probably three bays which consists of between the front legs, the torso and between the crossed hind legs and strangely enough one in each arm pit.  This is for some reason a very recherché spot.


Sophie writes about Joy's litter on day 3:

Puppies are now dry and glossy.  The thugs and the thinkers are becoming apparent.  Joy is working hard at keeping a large crowd happy.  

First of all Joy’s tender flesh needs protecting.   The claws will start to harden tomorrow and I will file them at the front.  The puppies enjoy this contact as long as you make sure that you take them when they are sated.  This is the first real extended contact that they have with me and they come to enjoy the attention.  Until this procedure  I have only stroked them tentatively with the back of my fingers or the side of an index finger and moved little ones to advantageous positions or  remove gorditos to the sleep box and return again.  In these early days I touch them to get Joy accustomed and trustful of my handling them and to accustom them to my scent and touch.   I make sure that everything I do is either providing heat or nourishment and that I handle with the ultimate gentleness, like the tiny little babies they are in fact, so that they always have good associations of contact with me.

One of the black males has a magnificent curly black mane, born to rule and counters no obstacles in getting his milk.  A little brown boy forgets to eat and wonders off despairing of getting a look in.  Joy calls and brings him back.  She disrupts the whole group go after him and then puts him in the middle of it trying to set off in him, the instinct of getting into the throng.  I regularly notice he is getting special attentions.  Checkings ups, favoured sleeping spots.   But I think he is away up top being spoilt a lot but not down at the milk bar enough.   His ribs are showing bony so  I decide its time for me to help the less greedy ones a bit.  It has been six years since we had a ‘big’ litter like this and a little intervention can turn it from misery to heaven. 

The method is simple, its the sleep box.  I started on day three, yesterday.  The principle is that if a puppy is asleep it is not hungry.  The sleep box has two advantages.  The less greedy puppies have free access to the milk bar and those sleeping, sleep more deeply.  The big greedy strong ones will sleep at a teat,  obstructing.  perhaps even lying horizontally blocking as much as possible.  Gordito doesn't’t sleep as well as he ought to and scrawny spends as much time struggling as he does guzzling.  With eight puppies I would leave this status quo and let them get on with it but with 11 puppies and eight teats it is better to intervene so that everybody can get some rest so in the sleep box the gorditos sleep blissfully.   When leaving Joy and pups alone  all the puppies are returned.   Joy loves greeting and examining the  gorditos as they are returned to her one by one.  She receives each one in a manner that convinces me that she already knows each pup individually. Yesterday I had to encourage scrawny to the teat a few times even though he had a choice of teats at the milk bar but without the crowd there he had the freedom to fumble and make the mistakes he needed to.  When I came down this morning there he was feeding holding his place while the fatties slept alongside.


Sophie writes about Joy's litter on day 4 :

All but two of the pups are obscenely glossy strong and plump.  There is one that is smaller and one that is frankly scrawny. The sleeping basket is a den of the fat and contented.  It is only the size of the glossy fat puppies that makes me realise scrawny is scrawny.   He is eating well and Joy makes a fuss of him.  It is not uncommon for the scrawnies to have more than ordinary social intelligence as they develop and I am not unduly concerned.

As day five approaches I think about the procedure of removing the dew claws.  While I would never dream  again of taking anything from the tail I am still partisan for taking off the dew claws.  There are several reasons for this.  Apart from sheep dogs who use the dew claws to snag on to the woollen coat of sheep and so be able to climb over their backs,  they serve no purpose.  With our very first litter despite going to great lengths to get the best local veterinary advise the vet examined the back legs of the puppies declaring them dew claw free and didn’t think to look on the front legs and so both Princess and Joy have their dew claws.  As the dew claws are high on the leg they do not get shortened by life's wear and tear.  They could snag easily.  As Charlotte’s  puppies became larger they would jump on her face and scratch under her eyes with the dew claws to the point that she developed hard skin for protection.  I do not know and have not even managed a guess as to the origin of this behaviour is but I always have the front dew claws snipped now. 

Most breeders I know do it themselves saying that it is very easy with a pair of nails scissors.  I consider this each time but finally get the vet up.  I feel she is an expert in sterilising things and I assist her closely.  The one modification I have insisted with our vet, and she has come to agree with me, is that stitches are not necessary.  It prolongs the pain and far more blood is lost.  The way we do it only a tiny amount of blood is lost and by the time the pups leave home it is almost impossible to find the spot where the dew claws were. 

Sophie writes about Joy's litter on day 5:

Day five is the perfect day to do the dew claws.   Any earlier and the mother would still be anxious about pups being handled so.  She is nervous but only really for the first one - after that she is preoccupied with receiving each pup as it is passed to her as soon as its wounds have been disinfected.

The puppies are beginning to enjoy a little bit of very gentle handling.  I am still the only person who has held them, and apart from the vet touched them.  They are very relaxed and the first thing they love is having the pads of their feet stroked.    Princess is still being very careful to not even seem to be approaching Joy and her little ones.

I have found today that the claws are still not hardened up enough to justify filing.

Sophie writes about Joy's litter on day 7:

I notice some redness on Joy’s teats.  The time to file the puppies' claws is upon us.  When I take the first pup and hold it for longer than usual Joy looks a little anxious but when the file comes out and she sees I am grooming she relaxes.   The pups are relaxed too.  I file the claws of the front feet only and use the whole length of the file so that it is done in an even pull vertically along the claw.  A horizontal action would be to rough and disturbing for the puppies.  I am struck again by how early the boys have manly paws and the girls are much finer.  Noticed the same for my son.  My own personal theory is that it is exactly for the care of newborns that females have such finer hands.

The puppies have now been categorised into size.  Three are really ludicrously plump strong bruisers.  Two are more fine.  All the others are strong and weighty.  The brown female and the one I call Scrawny Boy, who is not  really scrawny, are holding their own very well next to the bruisers.

Joy pays no attention at all when I handle the big bruisers.  They yawn as I work and barely wake up.  When I work on the smaller pups Joy is watching out of the corner of her eye.  When I return the bruisers Joy already is barking at them and commandeering and pushing them around as if she already knows that these guys are going to have to be kept in their place.  The smaller pups do not get this type of treatment. This very early discipline (and this is the earliest I have seen it) is very carefully done.  Joy barks loudly in their ear.  The pups jump and squeal and Joy will move them with her muzzle to where she wants them and almost the instant the stern bark has finished she showers them with kind attentions and cleaning.  

The puppies' ears have stopped looking like a succulent plant and are flopping down like proper doggie ears.


Sophie writes about Joy's litter on day 9:

Joy is managing them so well that I have not been using the sleep box for several days.  She has them all off to sleep at the same time, giving herself breaks regularly throughout the day.

Puppies still have eyes closed but are beginning to groom each other.


Sophie writes about Joy's litter on day 10:

Joy has kept her puppies in the same spot where she gave birth to them in our kitchen.  There have been unavoidable visits from people and a stream of village children keen to have a glimpse of the babies. 

Observing a number of minor restrictions life can carry on and children indulged without upsetting Joy.  There are a few rules though.  Joy in this first week is glowing with pride and is actually quite happy for people to see the puppies if she gets the impression that admiring her puppies is the sole purpose of the visit so any passing business visitors and friends are required to make a huge fuss of Joy and acknowledge her and the puppies and make admiring noises before any other business is done.  Obviously everyone is keeping a respectful distance.  When people are finally allowed to hold pups in a week or so, Joy's permission will be asked.  She understands and is reassured by the respect.  Joy is always a sociable and friendly dog but with  puppies in the house she is straight at the side of visitors like a maitre d' hotel and expectant of appropriate acknowledgement.  She then sits proudly next to the pups very alert but proud to be able to show them off.  With the children we do not have to pretend that they have only come to visit the pups.  They come one at a time and stand a good distance away telling Joy how clever she is and how beautiful her puppies are. 


Sophie writes about Joy's litter on day 14:

The puppies have all been identified now using a system of nail varnish and absence of nail varnish marks on the end of their tails.  Using this extremity minimises unpleasant fumes and is done outdoors.

On the day the puppies became 14 days old they started opening their eyes and the following morning they were all wide eyed and this is a great stimulus to their starting to walk.  They are taking themselves on little forays around their corner of the kitchen but when Joy leaves them for a walk they go back to being a huddle and sleep.

Prospective owners want personality descriptions but other than the smaller ones being less interested in eating there are not yet any outstanding personality traits.  They are all very vigorous and sociable.  They have started to groom each other and afterwards some are starting to tentatively groom themselves.  They react to the smell of meat and I could probably introduce them onto some solids now but will continue feeding Joy very good diet and wait another week.  Apart from the fact that the breast milk is obviously doing them very well, I want to keep them in the kitchen as long as possible and once they are no longer on a purely breast milk diet it is no longer possible for Joy to do such a good job of cleaning them up.


Sophie writes about Joy's litter on day 17:

Today one of the larger black puppies started wondering assertively away from the group.  I wondered which puppy it was and discovered it was one of the big black males and that his zizi was wet…then I saw he had left a puddle that Joy was moving in on to clean up.  I was reminded of how clean Joy’s last litter had been;  from such a tiny age wondering away from the group to do their business.  

They are beginning to more carefully look for their comfortable positions and flop on each other. I am about to go away for five days.  I have two experienced animal carers Patricia and Louise, Pat a long time family friend, coming to stay and take over from me.  Pat comes a few days early so that Joy can get used to her.  Before I go I give the front claws a second filing.  This time it is easier as I can easily find the knuckles and hold them steady with my thumb while I file.   Often the nails shed a great lump of dry skin as if there has been an actual shedding.  I notice that the trace of the dew claw removal is almost impossible to see  already.   Whilst I handle each once I notice that all the umbilical cord marks look text book. 

Some of the larger puppies are already starting to try to eat Joy’s duck croquettes.  I do not want to wean them too quickly.   I am concerned about asking others to do the necessary cleaning up that will become necessary.  Instead I make sure that I leave plenty of raw lean meat , chicken and sardines and instructions to pick up liver so that Joy will be in a good position to provide the milk necessary.


Sophie writes about Joy's litter on day 22:

I have been away for five days and the pups have changed a lot.  They are walking and confidently looking around.

It is time to take supplementary feeding of the pups more seriously.   With eleven Joy cannot possibly be expected to cope on her own. The large pups are now very large indeed.  When I left, if I waved fresh meat over their basket there was an instantaneous attraction.  Some puppies were also finding their way to Joy’s on-tap duck croquettes and helping themselves.  Taking pity on Joy, Pat and Louise took the initiative of buying some dried  baby food.  It is not what I would have bought but they do seem to like it so I make a very fluid mix and painstakingly offer some to each puppy with a spoon.  Joy is quite insistent that I let her have some so I let her take some.  As with the meat the puppies react instantaneously and en mass this time to the sound of her lapping, and dive towards the bowl.  I let Joy finish it.  I soak puppy croquettes and break them in to small pieces.  All the puppies take some from me, the large puppies true to form being a bit more forward.  After about 15 minutes they are all sated and collapse on top of each other jaws hanging open, legs up in the air for another two hour snooze. It is already OK to supplement the puppies' fluid needs with water.   I will see if they are interested later on although without hot weather I will not be surprised if they are not. They act very much as a pack even at this age sleeping, feeding, developing and playing at very much the same times.

Play sessions have become incredibly more advanced in my five days away.   The sheet that was their home patch has now had to be replaced by a rigid high-edged dog basket.   Five days ago if Joy  sloped away the puppies would huddle together and sleep.  Now they follow her making her crabby and ill tempered.  With the basket they are contained and Joy can continue to get rest  When the hour of play comes around the basket becomes reminiscent of a gladiators' amphitheatre with puppies wrestling and biting as they spar in pairs and small groups.  Joy will eventually return to them when she has had a good rest. When the puppies want to get out and I am giving them some time I do carry them onto the matting outside the basket they do wee, however there is an inevitable weeing in the basket and the sheet has to be changed twice a day.   I also put down sheets around the basket to break the fall for the occasional escapist, and this is also used as a pee area.

When I change the sheet Joy will chose to step into the basket and I return each puppy individually.   This gives me an opportunity to inspect them.  They are now  conscious of my attention and make social gestures with their tongue and have started to make the little grunts of pleasure typical of a happy dog.  As predicted the one I call Runty was thick on the eye contact and interaction with me.  This is the age where the puppies really start to thrive on individual attention and to become a great pleasure.


Sophie writes about Joy's litter: three weeks and two days

Puppies are now demanding food and being fed three times a day with soaked croquettes.  I am surprised by how quickly they learn not to tip over the bowl.

Occasional escapists climb over the 20 cm edge of the basket so I make sure there is padding around the sides.  Cleaning up and washing of their bedding is now perpetual.  Princess is still keeping a polite distance from pups.


Sophie writes about Joy's litter: three weeks and four days

Puppies have learnt to get out of the low part of the basket that faces into the wall and walk around in to the room to go explore and look for mummy. They have also learnt to find their way back the same way and that spot is firmly established as their return point.  Only one or two wonder out at a time.

One puppy wonders over to under the stairs where princess is parked.  Princess licks its face and puppy does a business.  Princess cleans it up in a very maternal way!  Joy comes possessively to finish the cleaning up but does not growl at Joy or see her off in any way. 


Sophie writes about Joy's litter: Three weeks and 4 days

They like raw meat in tiny pieces I will soon have to worm them.  Eating four times a day now.




Sophie writes about Joy's litter: Three weeks and 5 days

Princess is still standing off from the puppies but I feel a bit sorry for her.  She exaggerates how far she is required to be away skulking off to far corners and I imagine she in manifesting the exclusion she feels.  I begin to think she may be getting depressed.  She does sleep in my room which is a totally exceptional and out of the ordinary treat and she seems happy and snuggly then.

Coming down in the morning the puppies scatter around the room now associating me with a meal time coming.  I have a mental flashback of the special puppy stroll.  One can no longer take proper steps around the kitchen, you actually have to slide and kick, slide and kick. 

Over the next few weeks a few puppies will find themselves being propelled through mid air but with this walking technique I have not hurt a puppy yet.  The pups are acting more independently now exploring the room, helping themselves to the water and alas finding places to do their business.  There is no point trying to train the puppies at this age but I do put newspaper out and some of them do use it although I wonder if it isn’t a law of chance.  He I call scrawney is often in Joy’s cleaning bay working on the head end of the mother rather than the feeding end.  The two large black boys are very much the first to do this and the first to do that, they are also the biggest.  

The litter has noisy active spells then return to sleep.  I realise that I will not be able to have them all in the kitchen at once for much longer and remind myself to appreciate it while it lasts.  They are growing up so much everyday now.  

Today I took pity on Princess who was visibly craving to get near to the pups.  I took Joy with me on my errands and left Princess in the house.  She made to steal away.  Marie, who helps look after my little boy, was there and I just asked her to keep and eye and left them.  When I got back Princess was surrounded by a bunch of adoring pups and looking blissfully happy.  She has been inseparable from them except by duress ever since.  A couple are particularly fond of her and the relationship seems to have given them confidence.  The brown girl is clearly smitten and has rapidly become more bold and adventurous.  With this extra social contact I can see our trademark happy, friendly inquisitive personality settling in.  They seem to have a sense all ready of me being the big boss.  They sit for Joy and Princess when they want an audience.  They lap up attention from me when I take some time to spend individually with them.  Some lie with Joy but the bulk flock around Princess.  That night I leave princess downstairs for the first time and puppies are quieter than they have been.


Sophie writes about Joy's litter: Three weeks and 6 days

When I come down in the morning all is blissfully quiet.  The puppies are asleep in the puppy spot, and princess and Joy are sleeping next to each other, puppyless, under the stairs.  As a mother recently I know that at a certain age separation is the secret of a good night's rest.

Princess with puppies all day.  Sure enough scrawny appears several times in the cleaning bay.  The little brown girl has Joy’s a  lovely dark brown coat as do two of the boys.  The puppies wonder happily between Joy and princess and love attention when I sit down with them.  They seem to be making decisions about what the want to do.  Princess starts eyeballing Joy which I decide is not on and is very much discouraged.  She is hogging the puppies so much that I decide to take Princess on my errands with me and give a chance for Joy to be with all her pups.  When we walk back into the kitchen three pups run up to princess back sides swinging with the force of their wagging tails.  She has a veritable fan club.  I begin to wonder whether Joy minds.  One of those if only they could speak moments.  I look into her eyes.  She looks back with complete equanimity.  I decide anyway to take princess up to bed with me as previously, to give Joy time with pups so that she does not have a sense of severance.  Five minutes after Princess and I are settled in to the bedroom Joy’s head pops around the door.  I am reassured that she really doesn't mind and sent princess down.  She trots off happily and Joy settles down on the rug next to my bed.


Sophie writes about Joy's Litter - Fourth and fifth week

Puppies are being fed duck croquettes soaked in warm bone and meat stock five times a day. In a week I will reduce it to four times a day. They like it served with lots of fluid so I have a stock pot on the go.

I Indulgently smile at a puppy gumming my boots thinking how cute it is that they pretending to have teeth but alas I've just been on the floor mucking about with them and horror of horrors the teeth have arrived. They are beginning to be quite assertive and growly in their mock fights with each other.

The noises they make are less like new-borns and I stop, having to listen carefully to check sometimes if its a pup whimpering at Joy or if my son is waking up upstairs. The similarity is uncanny.

Joy is not the only one producing milk now. Princess often has two and as many as four puppies breast feeding from her. Princess had not yet had puppies when Joy had her first litter so this did not happen then. I have been told that this hormonal reaction can occur in many mammalian species, including humans.

Joy’s nipples are tired looking and need wheat germ and almond oil rubbed on them daily.

At four weeks and three days the puppies are leaving too much wee and pooh for it to be feasible to keep them in the kitchen any longer and we move them to the ‘great hall’ of the château. A grand word for what is actually a large semi-ruined room that we have great hopes for. Here they can play and run around without getting under anyone’s feet and big wide windows keep it airy. The puppies are taken out to play once or twice a day and it is stunning how quickly they learn to follow. The necessary handling that this requires I think is one of the reasons I get such a glowing reference from Brandon McMillan. They learn to follow immediately and for the system to work it is essential that each puppy is fearless and always treated gently, like the babies they are.

They are now playing with any object that strays their way. Chasing the mop, old loo rolls, cleaned up empty cans and wooden and plastic toys. Cleaning up after them has become a two person job.

Joy is weaning the pups but will feel pressing need to feed them about three times day. I feed her some boiled eggs that went wrong for my taste and she guzzles them shells and all although I am giving her top of the range science plan croquettes she wolfs the liver and raw chicken that I supplement her diet with. I know that the extra nutrition helps her teeth, bones. More of that another time.

This is the age when one begins to feel a huge tenderness in the hands when handling the pups. They trust us absolutely and we have to make each one feel that we protect them and love them so we can successfully lead them and keep them in the ungated courtyard to play. There is a complicity that develops borne of the necessity to move the pups out around and about and the adult females are in cahoots. They have a large sand pit but despite cavorting invitations to play by Princess the puppies have not yet copped on to the delights of the sand heap. I’m sure they will. Such attractions help us keep the puppies from straying into the village but we constantly check numbers, five black, six brown; five black, six brown; five black, six brown and notice and call back the most adventurous, cunningly manipulating them with the help of Joy and Princess. It is still true to say that the two big black boys are the most severely and regularly told off by their mother and aunt or perhaps they are the best at what the french call being comediens.

While I appreciate how good for the social development of the puppies it is to herd them around I am always turning over in my mind where will ultimately be a great location for a permanent park in the courtyard or one of the terraces. One day.


The big adventuresome puppies are still true to their character. As we start to wonder out of the house some need coaxing and the same few need no coaxing at all. The big strong boys are still getting more telling off than the other puppies from mum and aunt. Scrawny has completely different strategy. When he wants something from Joy he will sit down facing her and look admiringly at her before making his approach. He also does not approach when he senses that Joy is already harassed. He picks his moments more than the big ones.

There is still a certain amount of lifting and carrying which means we still have an advantage in the herding games. By six weeks puppies will follow me happily without even a dog adult to follow. I Realise how messed up my system would be if even one pup was scared of me. I think of the flip side of the tenderness feeling ; how receptive and adored the pups feel when they are smothered with cuddles and praise and correspondingly how terrifying it must be for a tiny pup to be treated roughly and thoughtlessly or even cruelly by such great things that we are next to them.

At the beginning of week four puppies are still feeding happily from one bowl but this is changing rapidly and by the end of the week their feed is divided into four smaller bowls. Every week they will need a new bowl added to their collection to avoid fights and exclusion. Neither Princess nor Joy can be left with them at feeding time as they would overeat and take out the best tit bits meant for puppies (one of my outstanding mysteries of Dogdom)

The puppies love to be held underneath their forearms and rocked gently from side to side. My baby also loves this and I’m sure I would love it if there was a giant big and strong enough to do it for me. Its the sort of thing that you have to have as a baby as its your only chance.

Keeping the puppies stimulated and fed is now a team experience and there is a high degree of complicity going on. I think it is unkind to expect a bitch to raise a litter without support. Joy appreciates her time off so much and so appreciates her time with them too and thanks to Princess even when Joy is bunking off the pups are not alone although they are left without the adults for periods each day.

Puppies occasionally making a big fuss about nothing if a breeze hits them if they think it will win them some attention. Every moment of individual attention means the world to them and Joy and Princess groom systematically. None of the puppies is neglected but some seem to be more attention grabbers. When the non-attention grabbers are picked up they are blissed out. Fara climbed into the gully and got wet and needed drying off. These sorts of experiences where the pups are singled out for special attention and comforting build up the puppies trust and sense of belonging and identity. They are now being wormed and for this I lead each pup individually to the house, I get a measure of their confidence, how human orientated they are give them a groom and generally use it as an opportunity to make them feel special. I buy worming syrup that is a sweet syrup so that there is no struggling and I can dose each puppy accurately. They also like it.

Speaking to a prospective client about the one I call Scrawny they ask if I am worried about him and I remember a recent event. Attilla (big black male) was jumping on top of Scrawny biting his ears. Scrawney was overpowered and making a tremendous racket. Marie and I instantly jumped to attention saying oh poor scrawny and the fight breaks up. Later in the same play session Scrawny (I must start calling him Joseph) makes a commando dive for Attilla's ears, Attilla squeals and Scrawney reels away for a proud victory loop. I'm not worried about scrawny.

One of the puppies has a little umbilical hernia that became apparent early in week five. I regularly pop it back in and it is already starting to appear less. So far I have not had a pup with an umbilical hernia which has not been corrected with this simple treatment. Next it will be watching for the boy’s testicles to fall. With Joy and Louis' last litter this happened for every male pup without any help.

Only three puppies now still available for new homes


Sophie writes about Joy's Litter - Sixth and Seventh week

This is the week serious chewing starts.  The puppies have a park in the garden now where they spend most afternoons. They have been through a rough needing to be told to stop it phase and are now mostly very good and gentle. They only had a couple of days of being insufferable.  It seemed that they had figured out that when they bit each other they got bitten back but that our tender limbs were soft targets and we don’t bite back. .  For the first time Joy and Princess refused to spend the night with them.  We now use raw bones to get the energy drained and keep them busy and interacting with each other over something meaningful.  When I appeared with them Joy gave me a look that seemed to say finally !

They now always do their business at the very far end of their hall.

They all follow excellently on trips to the garden.   Their personalities have emerged and as usual any amount of attention has a transforming effect on the puppies' confidence.  We are beginning to play with walking on the lead and puppies are been taken for walks in groups of twos and threes.   Princess is now producing more milk than Joy.   Life is a puppy, baby feeding and entertaining treadmill and I have mislaid my notes so more of these weeks another time.


Sophie writes about Joy's Litter - Eighth week

No doubt about it - as the puppies grow they are more and more work.   They still play in the garden every afternoon and since 7 weeks get taken on little walks on the lead as well.  At this stage they do not actually know they are on the lead.  The lead is slipped on and as they are all very good at following they think they are just getting some special time out and follow you along.  It gets them used to the weight around the neck.  There is a lightness of touch required so that the puppies are comfortable and happy with the experience. 

They are also being brought to play in the house for a few hours at a time.  Joseph and Remy had what appeared to be conjunctivitis last Saturday.  We jetted physiological fluid into them and they cleared up quickly but on Sunday I noticed that Joseph's glands and face had swollen. I called our vet who was rather unworried about it which surprised me since on the internet there were a plethora of possibilities.  She seems quite satisfied that he had been bitten or had some sort of allergy and nothing to be alarmed about.   It was true that he had no temperature and was in good spirits.  On the Monday he really did seem tired so we brought him in and have given him some anti-biotics and anti-inflammatory just in case.  The vet looked for a wound found none so decided it was an insect sting and sent us off.  He is in excellent spirits wolfing his food etc.  however we feel he needs some special nursing as he has been swollen so he is in the house more than the others.  I remember Remy first went off his food for a day and ended up being fed scallops and cream but this is obviously different.  He can’t fake swollen glands but is delighting in his new lifestyle  being given a couple of other puppies to play with at a time and being included in all the other activities.   

Remy is very happy about being alone with us  but we could not take him back to the château every time we went upstairs or out on an errand so we needed to crate train him.  His future owners have left his crate for him to become accustomed to.   We leave that in the house with the door open and a treat in it.  Some of the puppies wonder in of their own volition.  One of the female blacks has been picking on Esther.   In the kennel of my dreams I would separate them for a while so I bring Esther in to the house too to keep Remy company and help with his crate training.  On the first night Esther cried for 45 minutes but Remy was fine.  On the second neither cried at all except at 7 in the morning when they rushed out to do their pees.  Esther is now sticking up well for herself with the fiend but she is very good in the box with Remy so I wont insist on completely crate training any of the others for the moment.

When the puppies come into the house they go through a process of settling so although they are not house trained with poohs they do already tend to wait if they can and they learn to settle and be calm when they are in human space;  that there are things they are not allowed to do or to play with. Esther and Remy in the house helps set a standard.  I was very impressed when one climbed up the stairs and then seeing me complaining and grumbling scurried back down the stairs again.  That was extraordinary.  Most need gentle prompting down the stairs.  Always easier to go up than go down.  Sometimes the puppies will bark a little when they are first in the house but by being ignored or hissed at a little when they do they soon cop on that it isn’t the done thing. 

I am really proud of all the puppies now.  They practice restraint, they recognise and respond to different tones of voice, they stay with me when being walked alone or in a group, they do sometimes get excited and go teeth and claws in play but are improving every day.  They do not run off or forget to stay together (yet) and they can run up and down the big long plank we use for getting down to the garden. They are also quite solidaire.  When Fara persecutes  Esther she gets biffed up by the others as a direct response to her uncalled for displays of dominance.  

It is good for all the puppies to have an opportunity to play in small groups.  The ones that are not pushy have an opportunity to express themselves.

Princess and Joy also follow these operations keenly indicating when they would like to pass some time with the puppies.  Princess now has milk and Joy no longer does.  They are wormed again and I check them for burrs which are now appearing in parts of the garden.  Must chop them down.  

The skin on their ears is now strong enough to be de-haired.  That will happen this week.   I now keep a chart of every puppy and a tally of how many times they have had certain experiences and treatments including time inside, worming, walks, time in the crate, on the lead and so on.  I keep a tally.  It helps a lot.

The pups have all been soft mouthed since tiny as they were initially hand fed to see if they were ready to eat.  The only time I have been nipped was recently when they were having a feeding frenzy over raw sardines.  From about six weeks puppies love raw sardines.  I have been a little late in starting sardine feedings with this lot.  It is curious that this taste for raw fish seems to be specific to a particular age group.  I have a theory that it is so there is always often a plentiful supply of something that only growing pups really like and a crucial development age.  At about three months they are no longer interested in raw sardine.    Sardines can also be dried very slowly in the oven.  They last for ages and dogs of all ages love them.  Same for liver…of course.  For rewards they are given peanuts in their husks or brewers yeast tablets.

A lot of enquiries last week from the UK.  In fact puppies have to be ten months old to legally travel to the UK.  This is because there are certain instances when the rabies vaccination does not work and this can only be verified a certain period after the vaccination course is completed.  People have sometimes looked into boarding the dog in France but of course this is costly and most people would not want to miss the puppy months of their new dog.  

It is fun at this age to take all the puppies on an outing.  We throw them in the back of the car and set off into the woods.  Joy and Princess especially enjoy these times.  In the evenings the puppies are walked in groups of threes and fours to a nearby field where Joy and Princess put on a show for them chasing each other around like mad things.  The puppies are so like happy young people when you watch them on these walks.

From this age the puppies start to become as good as you are in terms of being clean. The more times you give them an opportunity to do the right thing the more they will do it. They do not like to soil their space, for example only one puppy has ever soiled a crate on the plane trip from Paris or Munich to LA.  


Sophie writes about Joy's Litter - Ninth week

By now have finally mastered distinguishing the last two puppies we kept confusing. For a week there were two puppies both called "Luigi or Peter". Now at 13 weeks when I am finally coming out of the fog of keeping increasingly inquisitive puppies exercised and entertained it seems ridiculous that we could have once confused the two.

Around this time I have to keep a tally of which puppies have done what. It is not longer possible to rely on them being collectively taken care of. I have a checklist that includes spending time in the crate with another puppy and alone, being taken for walks on the lead and in a smaller group, being wormed, coming into the kitchen and spending time goofing around as a house pup, having their ears cleaned, and other columns I try to fill like whether they are subject to car sickness. When they come in to the house it means they also get quality time with Joy or Princess, or both. Right up until they leave these two will pull puppies aside and give them a thorough going over, subjecting them to inspections that usually finished with the pup, blissfully, being pinned to the ground and given a good licking.

Two of the largest and easiest tempered pups were the last two still available. There is often truth in the expression gentle giants. Clients are attracted to the fact that we breed the larger standard poodle but wish, nevertheless for one which will not be on the bigger end of the scale.

This week our usual vet is out a lot taking care of the inoculations against the latest livestock virus inevitably working itself up to Europe and is being replaced a lot by locums. I am not at all amused. Her young receptionist made a pig's ear of filling in the electric chip forms and between her and the locum vet failed to do the usual necessary forms for sending a puppy to Spain. I have switched to a vet service that is run by several different vets rather than one person using locums…and a secretary that smiles. Much more satisfied. I have found the previous vet not as good as she was when less busy, concerning giving explanations…and a very mainstream thing here in France, suggesting homeopathic and traditional remedies. While the puppies were still quite small the one we call Scrawny developed swollen glands and puffy eyes. After a couple of days the swelling had not gone down so we took him to be looked at. She prescribed anti-biotics and cortisone without any explanation of what she thought it was. Very frustrating. The second practice seemed convinced it was an insect bite. Both dismissed puppy choke. I suppose because Scrawny was otherwise in good spirits and form. I am pleased as I has been reading on the net about puppy choke an apparently quite mysterious acute condition which puppies get where the glands swell to large that the puppies cannot breath. I am very interested if anyone has a diagnosis of this in a standard poodle. Both the vets here seemed to dismiss it as an option without a second thought.

The last two boys kept not finding homes for weeks. Suddenly everyone wanted a brown female, of which there was only one (that we have decided to keep) or they were enquiring from the UK and of course we can’t send puppies to the UK until they are at least 10 months which is out of the question at the moment. The same applies to Scandinavia, Hawaii, Ireland and Australia.

Poodle grooming is their only drawback as a breed. This is amply made up for by the fact that they do not shed hair, but it does involve consistent vigilance in several respects. Until about 8 weeks the skin in the ears is still too tender to pull but by week nine they begin to need to have their ears cleaned. When we started I regretted not having started a week earlier. They were already jolly hairy. The first ear pulling is quite an operation. Attila kicked like a kangaroo. When Niki had his check up the vet extracted a wild wheat grass seed from his ear. Something that could well have not happened had his ears been squeaky clean. This time of year it is a nightmare and our garden still has areas ‘under improvement’ where wheat grass needed to be continually removed. Ears need to be inspected regularly.

I learnt an interesting thing with this litter that hugely sped up ear inspection. After a walk at night they all got back into the hall before I had a chance to systematically check ears. Two had already had grass seed irritating the ear that week and so I was obliged not to wait until the morning. As the hall in the château was too dark to have a really good look I simply put my fingers into their ears and felt carefully for foreign bodies. While generally the ear checking ritual remains non-consensual until the pups reach quite a considerable age of maturity, to my astonishment instead of the almost inevitable struggle when you try to look and probe at the same time they actually seemed to enjoy this and did not struggle at all which meant I could examine the ears far more thoroughly. Not extremely hygienic of course on that occasion. One should really have washed hands between each ear.

Poodles have webbed feet and this skin is tender. Paw hair should be kept short and between the toes needs to be checked for sharp grass seed regularly when it is about.

For puppies the main point of ear cleaning is to remove the hairs and get them accustomed to the procedure. With adults it needs to be a more thorough hygiene thing. I have now got it to a fine art that I will put on the grooming page soon. Briefly they always prefer if you use fingers rather than the special scissor-like clamps that are only sometimes necessary. Either way the fine powder sold for this purpose is the best aid I have found. It helps to give a grip on the hairs. Joy has very hairy ears and if I do not stay on top of it she can get ear mites. Ear mites live on ear wax and epidermal debris so clean ears means there is nothing for them to eat, and no hair means no stockpile of epidermal debris and ear wax. Ear mites can easily be transferred which is why I am usually careful to wash hands and change materiel between ears.

As the puppies get to this age I begin to regret that I have not done more to ensure a puppy sale to a breeder or someone in a good position to produce a litter. As the puppies leave I have a tendency to hold back one that I think would be suitable for breeding our type of dog. All the females we have ever sold have been neutered and so have most of the males. I feel as if I should ensure that a male goes to somebody who will breed but the question involves much preparation and study. Professional breeders are rightly very weary, there are many pitfalls and the tests available for poodle problems are not always straight forward or reliable and then there is size. The chances are that most of the male pups in this litter will be outsize for the breed standard in all the countries I know of. Then there is colour. Many countries are very strict about colour. Princess’ nose colour is an anathema in France, and Charlotte had freckles. I loved them but for Kennel Club breeders that could spell shame and financial ruin. Bacchus who visited with his owners has a very slight cream go faster ridge along his back. That simply wouldn’t do for many breeders.

I do have one of Princess’ boys in San Francisco whom I part-own with a view to breeding. He is just coming of age now so I need to catch up with his owner and take the next steps. One of the puppies in this litter is sold to a family who are thinking of breeding.

This week puppies taken to the vet for vaccinations, electronic chipping and examination. I did it in two separate trips as the vet is very busy and could not come to the château. Each puppy is weighed and examined. Ears stomach, temperature, glands, heart rate (with mouth closed) and genitals are examined. All the boys testicles have already dropped. Their weights varied from the lightest 5.8 Kilos to 9.400 kilograms. They are all therefore already overweight to travel in the cabin of an aircraft.

I have stopped over indulging Joy and she has stopped gaining weight. Phew. Princess is now actually producing more milk than Joy.


Sophie writes about Joy's Litter - Tenth week

Three puppies have now left home and Marie permanently has two lodging with her. It is good for them to get the extra attention and they will be travelling to Paris together so an opportunity for them to be extra accustomed to each other. What a doddle to have only six puppies to take out. Although the puppies still play in the garden regularly they do lots of walks too. One of the puppies is going to an experienced trainer who asked me to not always call the puppies but to clap. Its funny but that's what I do, and what everybody else seems to do instinctively.

They are now biddable and expected to sit, not jump, I have finally convinced Marie that chewing and biting humans is not good ever.

Nicki had a swelling over his left shoulder. It seemed familiar to me but since I was going to the vet with a client whose pup was being examined for travel I brought him in, just in case. It is a reaction to the vaccination even though the vaccination had been a week ago, and was gone after a few days.

Their eye colour until last week was still a beautiful green. It has now suddenly started darkening. The blacks are now already a proper dark brown and the browns are turning. Interesting to know how long they will take to stabilise. I am taking many notes for the post ownership questionnaire I have been intending and promising to send for years to monitor adult sizes, weights and other details and tendencies about the pups as adults.

They are all now spoken for except for Niki the gentle brown giant. Marie and I both adore him and imagine he has a special destiny. He seems to have had a great growth spurt and had a sore ear caused by grass seed which is why I have had the feeling to hold him back a little. He needs some beefing up and pampering before he sets off. Even when tiny he had legs like tree trunks so we take him aside for special extra protein feeding. Not only is he not a pushy dominant dog but he is quite particular about eating the good bits of food. He will not eat cooked sardines but will eat raw sardines. He loves hard boiled egg and of course raw meat but can’t be fussed to scrap over anything less. Luigi, Attila and Eugene are great muscly bruisers next to him and yet Niki is still the heaviest. It is a borderline age now as to whether dogs get more from being with siblings and parents or the new life of having more one-to-one attention. There are pros and cons.

There are some things that I get with our puppies that I am always ridiculously proud of. They have always had lovely wide chests and very well shaped griffon feet. They are all lovely and square with smooth circular hip movement. I am not of the school of restricting completely stair climbing etc. Mine struggle up and over sand heaps, jump up and down steps and take good walks. I believe that a gentle amount of scrambling and climbing, walking and running can only do the bones good in developing. It seems a no-brainer to me although I always do recommend no exercise that requires stamina or impact or endurance style sports until the puppies have reached a year.

I took Eugene and Ella to the beach this week. They came straight in to the sea after me. It was a completely waveless day but I was pretty impressed anyway. They were great. Princess sat on the beach looking. She has never been one for the sea though she loves fresh water.

Now there is much chatting and organising for travel arrangements. Crate sizes seem to be more obfuscated than they need to be.

I have decided to summarise essential useful trips for plane travel that will join my version of essential grooming information before long or at least before the next litter next spring.


Sophie writes about Joy's Litter - Eleventh week

The real business of who to place each pup with is full blown now. Decision time. I have a knack for placing puppies which always seems to work in terms of matching temperament colour, gender to the wishes of the client and keeping our pack at home going through the transitions happily. Usually I have figured out which puppy will go to whom by the time people arrive but with this litter it has seemed appropriate to give a certain choice to some of our customers. Some people are extremely precise about what sort of puppy they are looking for and if there is no good reason for not sticking with it those puppies are obviously spoken for.

We had a puppy from this litter going to join the family of Princess’ litter of two years ago. The family came to collect him and it was wonderful to see how beautifully cared for, and handsome Princess’ two year old was. He was veritably amphibious and the puppies were fascinated by him. The owner has taken some classes from her groomer and had his legs beautifully scissor cut. A lovely style. He is brushed thoroughly every day, his hair misted with conditioner and he looked absolutely beautiful. I am a disaster with clippers and book mine in for a number two when they really need it. I made good resolutions to myself and took a note of the products she used and packed them both off to the beauty salon without delay. Joy is in really impressive condition. Maybe a couple of pounds overweight. Puppies have been completely weaned now for weeks but Joy still needs oil rubbed on her belly and princess too but more for the sake of fairness. I did offer this family a choice of two different puppy types and I think they found it really difficult to make up their minds. I think they wished I had not given them the choice at all. To help them make up their minds we all went down to the river to play. Their dog Bacchus was a great hit with the male puppies. He plays tirelessly in water. There are more photographs of him lower down this page.

As a breeder of brown poodles I am often asked about how well the brown coat colour keeps. I have heard of some browns ending up really not very brown at all a colour that has been described to me as a muddy grey. Although a good coat colour is something I take into account in selecting matches I think that it can be taken to an extreme, a sort of poodle Barbie legend. A breeder of white poodles once told me that that is why she stayed with white - the issue of changing hair colour did not come up. They stayed white. When I bought our first brown poodle it seemed an obsession with fellow poodle owners as to how fast the colour was going to hold. In fact I have been very fortunate and Joy still has a very good coat colour. Her father had an exceptional brown coat at 7 years. However I think that going to great length and sacrificing other virtues in order to try to have a natural Dylon brown or black poodle can be taken too far. In French kennel Club regulations breeders are not allowed to breed one colour with another. This is yet another breed restriction they cannot afford with the scant number of standard poodles in France although it does mean that as far as coat colour goes they are very dependable. There are also health issues to do with pigmentation and skin cancer although I have never come across cases.

Still eating three times a day. They are wolfing down whole raw sardines now and the duck croquette and occasionally raw meat and large knuckle bones. I also sprinkle yeast flakes on the food and use peanuts and dried liver for treats.

Joy and Princess give them a really good telling off less and less. They are really very good, but do need space to play - and things they are allowed to chew. Right up until now with little Esther remaining, Joy and Princess will still regularly take a puppy aside pin it to the round and give it a good going over with grooming and nibbling. Puppies are transported to bliss when they are picked out for this and completely surrender.

Still lots of travel plans being sorted out. People in Spain need to know height of Attila when sitting. Already 65 cms !

Beginning to get news of how well puppies are adapting to their new lives. Quite a few have gone to join older dogs and it is so far always a great thing rejuvenating the older dog. I am a big believer in having two dogs if you can afford to. It is simply not good for animals to be left alone and although that intense closeness possible with one dog is very special there will always be times when you cannot take the dog. We have never had an unsuccessful story of pup joining another home.


Sophie writes about Joy's Litter - Thirteenth week

In every litter there is a puppy that continues to suffer from car sickness longer than the others. Generally the puppies immediately take to going out in the car and quickly cop on that there is something fun at the end. People worry that it will never improve and I know some neatniks who do not crate who choose never to get their puppies over it but it does improve.

Half way through week thirteen the last three but one pups are leaving. Their owners are meeting me in Paris to fly them home to the US. This way they are escorted and do not have any sensation of abandonment. The puppies did not turn a hair in the noise and bustle of Montparnasse train station. I was astonished and proud. The three of them trotted forward on their leads as if they did it every day. On the TGV I was misled by the train actually being two trains and had to make a dash to the other train via the platform where workmen were working with noisy machinery. To my amazement they hurried past with me and with a persuasive yank even jumped up on to the train. I brought them chews (life saver) and things to lie on (also essential when training puppy not to wonder around when you are out and about) and water before the journey. They sat quietly under my table in the first class being no trouble to anyone huddling into a closer and closer heap as the train filled up approaching Paris.


Sophie writes about Joy's Litter - Fifteenth week

Although pups all gone, I am still following up with paperwork. Three of the names need to be changed because they are already taken by professional breeders as kennel names. Getting great feedback from the families. Miss them but seem to have so much time. Esther now is being properly crate trained and house trained. Joy still shows off to her and both still play with her a lot. Joy was a bit sulky for a few days but with lots of walks and extra grooming she is back to her usual happy self. So many more things I wanted to add. Tips and observations but this diary will never finish if I do not stop here. Esther will no doubt inspire some more accounts so for now good bye. Joy is in such good shape and such a good mother that we have decided, as an exception, to breed her again next year. She will be seven and it will be her third litter. I must here thank all my clients for taking such good care of what, I must admit, I always think of as our pups. Also Marie Ansart, who with her keen understanding and observance, hands on affection and interest turned moments that could have been a desperate slog into fun.

You can read more about this litter on our Testimonials page and see pictures of them below



Some Photos (end May 2009)




Joy is an exceptionally sweet natured bitch with a thick consistently dark chocolate coat. As well as being leggy, elegant and swift. Joy is the sort of dog that falls in love with everybody and everybody falls in love with her. Her sire was a Champion of France.


Photos of Joy on day 8 (11 April)





is also magnificent with a faultless black coat and an outstandingly good natured temperament.



Photographs of Joy's litter in 2006.






Litter - 10th March 2007

Princess, at three and a half years old, had her first litter on 10th March 2007. All of the puppies were champaigne or apricot in colour. (In France a distinction is made between apricot colour and champagne colour, which is lighter than apricot)

Princess proved an ideal mother. All puppies are large and healthy, and all had opened their eyes by 24th March. All have their Sire's black nose.

Below are some photographs of Princess and her litter.


17th March 2007
24th March 2007  
30th March 2007  
5th April 2007  
7th April 2007
8th April 2007
21st April 2007
25th April 2007
May 2007


Click for larger picture.Click for larger picture.see Princess's pedigree.

Princess was three and a half years old at the time of her first litter. The sire we chose was a very French Kennel Club dog. The advantages of these show dogs is that they are very rigorously tested on the usual European checks that is to say hips and eyes, they also have something resembling a back knee cap that is verified. The standard size however in France is relatively small by our normal standards.


Victorien des Pres de L'Eden is as large as standards are allowed to be in France at 61 cms. He is a well built and muscular dog with good feet, chest, tail set, and a very sweet temperament. He is also an intelligent and sensitive dog. He is a snow white colour with very black skin colouring.

see Victorien's pedigree.

Princess is Joy's full sister. She has an exceptionally pretty face. She is very bright and affectionate. While a little more reserved than princess she is perfectly behaved with strangers (unlike Joy who will try to climb on their knees).

She has a slightly more wiry rather than silky coat than Joy which is easier to look after. Like her sister Joy she is elegant and swift. Princess was an exceptionally good aunt to her sister Joy's litter last year.

Photographs are given here, and more can also be seen below among the photographs of Joy's litter.



Puppies will be ready to go to their new homes as follows :

  • European mainland: 10 to 12 weeks arrangement)
  • USA and Canada: 10 to 12 weeks
  • UK and Ireland: 10 months (due to legal restrictions)

We will not be able to keep any puppies until ten months on this occassion but we are usually able to offer the possibility of boarding one puppy until the age of 5 months.


Princess playing with Louis, 2006Click for larger picture.All puppies are 100% guaranteed to be clear of eye and hip problems. Parental eye and hip certificates will be supplied along with BKC pedigree papers. Our bitches have no known cases in their ancestry of sebaceous adentitus or addisons disease. They do not have weepy eyes or dry coats.

Our puppies are raised on superb nutrition, play, fresh air and love. They enjoy regular contact from birth with adults and children, their own mother and her siblings.


Princess and her mother Charlotte, 2006Click for larger picture.We have one litter per year. First reservations will take precedence.

We will match puppies to orders to our best ability according to preferences. We hope that some of our pups will be trained for dog jobs..

If you require a special service regarding delivery or age of adoption, or would like to know about our good practice incentives drop a line or call:

From France: 04 68 20 11 42.
From USA: 011 33 468 20 11 42
From UK and most other countries: 00 33 4 68 20 11 42.

If you are interested in reserving a puppy please telephone or send a message to arrange a good time to talk. Please e-mail Sophie at RealStandards.




Litter 7th August 2006

Joy (Exuperantus Una) was paired with Louis (Canen Thanks) in June 2006. They are two exceptionally beautiful and sweet natured standards, both with completely clear health records.

Of the eight puppies, all were sold to order:



Some Photographs of Joy's litter in 2006.



Joy is an exceptionally sweet natured bitch with a thick consistently dark chocolate coat. As well as being leggy, elegant and swift. Joy is the sort of dog that falls in love with everybody and everybody falls in love with her. Her sire was a Champion of France.


Louis is also magnificent with a faultless black coat and an outstandingly good natured temperament.





Sophie writes about Charlotte's first litter:

Charlotte.Charlotte.Charlotte (Canen Sioux) and Real Standards had their first litter together. The result was twelve boisterous, affectionate and healthy puppies. Below are some valuable tips and observations about the experience.

Charlotte was a month short of three years old and very large. We were expecting quite a large litter but had no idea what we were in for. When I went upstairs on 30 June 2003 I knew that Charlotte would be giving birth very shortly. At 6.30am I was awoken by tiny squeaking noises and immediately ran downstairs. At the bottom of the stairs were two squeaking newborns pups. Charlotte was not in her bed, but unusually under the table. I knew that the pups must not get cold but instinctively knew that I had to make sure Charlotte was happy and knew I was there for her before I attended to the pups. She had another pup squeaking by her under the table. She seemed mildly confused but not distressed and willingly was lead to her bed where she obediently waited whilst I gathered what I reckoned to be the first born in a towel. Bringing it over to Charlotte I rubbed it gently and presented it to her. She immediately started licking it and by the time I had fetched her other two she was paying no attention to me, already engrossed in the cleaning and nuzzling of these mysterious creatures that were apparently hers. She spent the entire day producing more and more puppies. At ten pm the count was ten and then by midnight twelve surviving puppies and all seemed quiet. Charlotte was by this time enormously proud of her self and could only be persuaded to leave her clutch once they had all been piled into a comfortably bedded low cardboard box she could peer in and from which they could not wander. She could then be persuaded to take a reluctant walk around the village. It had been decided before whelping that we would not attempt to resuscitate stillborn or weak pups. Two were born poorly and quickly expired. There were no weak pups remaining in the litter. With twelve healthy boisterous puppies to care for and keep things fair for as it was I had no doubt that we had made the right choice.

This non-interference was only to insure the best care for the completely healthy pups. I had read that dogs have a throw back from the wild days of expecting to lose weaker pups in the early days. We are not against human intervention on principle. Dogs are such sociable animals and I believe are hard wired to need some mid-wifery in respect to what to do with a newly born pup and emotional encouragement that all is well.

Charlotte was shockingly over fed following her whelping with a diet of sardines and eggs as well as her regular croquettes. Although it paid off in terms of well-being to teeth and bones to pups and mother, Charlotte gained too much weight. Next time I will buy super quality croquettes but again give the puppies on the rich fish and vegetable and dairy supplements that they have all done so well on.

One of the most valuable tips I can offer is something I cottoned onto on the first day alarmed by the unexpectedly large litter we had to care for. In order to reduce the relentless demands of twelve puppies I would remove sleeping and obviously satiated pups and place them in the cardboard box. This turned out to be a fantastic ploy. It was inspired by Charlotte's own bay system. She would lie with two or three snuggled under her tail, against thighs and between her back legs: The Sleepers, then several on the nipple bay, The Feeders, from where the more lively would be shifted into the space between her forearms that was the cleaning bay where they were nuzzled, licked and smelt. There would also be the lucky one or two tucked into the armpit, which seemed very recherché. The supplementary cardboard box bay worked really well for three reasons. Charlotte did not have a potential 48 sets of claws and 12 gums mauling at her all day, it gave charlotte a manageable number of pups with which to hone her mothering skills, and the puppies that were sleeping could sleep undisturbed by the blind and greedy struggling of the not yet full. The feeding puppies could have a non-stressful uninterrupted feed. At night I left them altogether and quite a lot of sleeping seemed to go on. I have since read of another tip that I will definitely employ next time which is to file so as to blunt the tiny needle sized claws capable of damaging the mother's soft belly.

In order to reduce the risk of dehydration for Charlotte I decided that I would encourage the puppies to drink water as soon and as possible and was surprised by how soon this happened. Whilst the puppies were still only blindly crawling around I disturbed fresh water in a bowl to make a splashing noise and the puppies made a bee-line to drink. At this point Tokai was always the first to do everything. The sound of water is obviously deeply hardwired into the wee things.

A previous litter. Click for larger picture.Charlotte.We all learnt a lot and are happily proud of the resulting robustly healthy, happy and playful puppies resulting from our inexperienced but enthusiastic diligence.

We would love to hear other puppy rearing tips from you and will talk about older pups in the next instalment.


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