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Moving Forward

Following our last litter of Colorado Mountain Dogs we've had some tough decisions to make. In this last litter, three out of eight puppies had overbites. This was quite a surprise as Sophie and Beau both have perfect bites. In researching malocclusions (misalignment of the teeth), we found that this is generally linked to genetics, particularly in our case as it affected just over a third of our puppies. These traits have not been displayed in either of their lines previously, which makes it even more of a surprise.

The genetics of it all seems to be poorly understood as more than one gene is responsible for the shape and size of the dog's head, which all plays into malocclusions. So, even though we've done genetic testing on both, this is not a trait that will show in the testing, at least at this time. Unfortunately, all of this likely means that Sophie and Beau both carry some small amount of genetics leading to this trait.

We've had extensive conversations with other breeders, our vet, and even the founder of the Colorado Mountain Dog, Wendy, to determine our best course of action moving forward. We believe in being responsible breeders, and this means that we will not be pairing Sophie and Beau together again. They created beautiful puppies together and this was a very difficult decision.

In my head, I had planned to keep a puppy from their last litter together, for future breeding. Knowing that we would never again have Sophie and Beau puppies made letting go of all of them even harder. We went back and forth on keeping one. In the end, though, we decided that we are just not ready to fix Beau. He is such a magnificent dog and I think he has more to offer the breed. Right now we are not set up to house unfixed, related dogs (hopefully in the future), so we decided that we would not be keeping any from this litter.

So, as is the case with most disappointments, we have found another path forward and we are excited to see the positives of this path. In March, we will be heading to Colorado to pick up another puppy! This will set us back a bit as we will have to wait for her to grow before breeding, but we are so excited about this new addition to our farm and just can't wait to meet her.

Our new girl was born just before Christmas. She will be ready to come home in March and we are going to turn this into a family road trip.

The kids have always been interested in the Oregon Trail so, starting in Nebraska, we will follow the trail past Chimney Rock, Scotts Bluff and Fort Laramie, into Wyoming. We will cross over the Platte River. There are even spots along the way that you can still see wagon ruts as the trail makes its way up towards the South Pass.

We will then head south west towards Steamboat Springs, Colorado. On our Yellowstone trip a couple of years ago, Annabelle had wanted to swim in hot springs. Unfortunately, they springs in that area were closed due to COVID. I am hoping to surprise her with a day a Strawberry Park Hot Springs.

After Steamboat, we will head to the west entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park. The road through the park is closed until May, so we will take a southern route, traveling east and then north, up to Estes Park and the east entrance of the park.

After that, we will pick up the puppy and head for home. It will be a long day with about 12 hours of driving. I have a few stops penciled in on the way home so that we can get out and stretch our legs, but mostly it will be a "push day", as the kids call it. At least we will have a new puppy to entertain us along the way!

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