By Eva Rappaport
Mothering ability is both learned and inherited, and we here at Kings Valley had searched for a family of traditionally good mothers. In 1973, when Marion Durholz was planning the fifth repeat breeding of “Tawny” to “Hawk”, we were sure we would find there, the quintessential traits common to all great brood bitches. Photo at left: Jancada Tender O’ Kings Valley.
“A line transmits temperment, not just conformation – Empathy, good cheer, and generous lactation. From ‘SUGAR’ (Hi-Fi’s Smooth Sugar) to ‘TAWNY’ (Ch. Glocamora Evermore of Emboy, dam of 12 Champions) to ‘Tender’ to pups of her gender, each super-mother bears more to transcend her.
The great producers are generally dominant figures in their canine society – “alfa bitches” they are called by some – and we can safely assume that they all display a “total-look-like” matrons – their bodies capacious, well muscled, and functioning with regularity. “Easy keepers,” they eat well, metabolize efficiently, cycle punctually, breed with gusto and determination, and whelp with stamina. After weaning litters, their bodies promptly return to normal, top condition. Allergies are unheard of. “Earth-mothers” through and through, they meet stress with aplomb, competition with benign arrogance, corrections with eagerness to learn, praise with pride in accomplishment!
These experts at nurturing are themselves products of much TLC from mothers that had uncomplicated whelpings of large litters and robust pups; dams endowed with long and ample lactations, tactful and loving weaning methods, and inspired teaching abilities. Their puppies early develop proper eating habits and seek out discreet toilet areas. By seven weeks, their kids are free-heeling, retrieving, and coming when called. Their dams’ continued presence and involvement provides a secure emotional environment for their fertile young minds.
Such dams, and their daughters – even as puppies – are remarkably self-directed individuals with a strong instinctual sense of the appropriate. (Responses are appropriate when they have survival value.)
A great producer’s most significant gift to the breed is her genetic reliability! She contributes continuity to the breeding program, for even when bred to very different studs (and regardless of her mates’ producing abilities), she will prove prepotent for her virtues, not her faults; and she will, predictably, stamp her offspring with her own unique qualities.