Two of our females went into estrus late summer, and one has given birth to 10 healthy pups October 17th, 2017. Our other female is due a week later. The mother of this litter is Molly, our Central Asian Shepherd. We had her shipped to us from the East coast about two years ago. Her sire was imported from Turkmenistan, and came from real working lines. He is a large, jet black, athletic shepherd dog, common to the Central Asian steppes. They are used primarily to protect herds and flocks from large predators such as the Eurasian wolves and bears. So Molly is only one generation removed from the remote rural steppes, where shepherds have worked with this breed for 4,000-6,000 years.
We have two Central Asian Shepherds. Our original plan was to breed them to have 100% CAS pups; then keep one or two such pups to cross breed for our BPDog (Boreal Prepper Dog) breeding program. But Molly and Darius (our male CAS) just couldn't seem to spark a true romance. To be more accurate, Molly was not attracted to Darius, and was violently opposed to breeding with him. On the other hand she has had a long standing infatuation with a few other dogs. Being at her breeding prime, we did not want to pass up a chance to have a litter of pups from her. So we settled on breeding her with Ladislaus, our KBDog. They succeeded in conceiving a large litter of 10 pups.
Ladislaus is a rare grey coated Karelian Bear Dog, like many that live in Russian Karelia. He is mentioned in the blog post about our moose hunting adventure.
He comes from a mother that was almost completely black accept for a white ring around the neck, and his father was the rare grey kind of KBDog. So it is not surprising that about one third of the pups are black bodied with white trimmings. There are also some with a grey coat and white trim. What we didn't expect are the three pups that are dominantly white with a few black spots. At present they are all vigorous, hungry little pups wrestling with each other to find nourishment.
It is important at our kennel to have a reason for breeding dogs, particularly hybrids. We are not in the business of making mere ego soothing pets, although our dogs can fit nicely into the social fabric of a human home. We are making purpose driven dogs... dogs that work... dogs that are useful co-workers in the wilds of Alaska's harsh environment. Our end game is to cross breed some carefully selected breeds to improve our old time Freight Husky line. The goal is to create sled dogs that are more capable of hunting tasks, suspicious of strangers, and protective of family and property. We require dogs that can identify as a pack and work as a team, but also be vigilant against intruders that are not a part of pack/family.
I originally settled on three classes of breeds to choose from. The first were Eastern Shepherd breeds such as Caucasian Mountain Dogs, Macedonian Shepherds, and Central Asian Shepherds. All are similar breeds that have a guardian temperament with a pack identity. They tend to be winter hardy and large enough to protect against large predators. I chose the Central Asian Shepherd from that class of breeds.
I also wanted some hunting drive from northern hunting breeds like Siberian Laika, Karelian Bear Dogs, and Elk Hounds. At present I have both KBDogs and Siberian Laika. By fusing the guardian shepherds with the northern hunting traits of a KBDog, we are one generation away from merging it with the sled dog line. Thus our goal of having a guarding, hunting, sled dog will hopefully be achieved.
The third class of dogs are the Akita. I have experience crossing Akita and husky in the past. The Akita is a very loyal and intelligent dog. It has a very strong social bond with it's owner and can be very protective and possessive. They seem to have an almost human intelligence if allowed to reach their full potential. They also have some dormant hunting drive from their early history as big game hunting dogs in Japan. So Ladislaus has bred with our Husky/Akita hybrid female to give us pups with another combination of traits to choose from. But that is a topic for another blog post.
So Molly and Ladislaus will give us some pups to choose from for this plan. It may be possible to train these pups for some harness work pulling a ski-pulk or basket sled a year from now. At 8 weeks we can begin some initial temperament testing of the pups to determine which ones will be suitable for our plans. At about 4 months they can be taken out for early hiking, harness, and hunting training. Between 4 months to one year, they will be monitored for more accurate personality/skill evaluations. In this genetic mixture there are many possible traits that could or could not show in a particular pup. Some will be more oriented to harness, others may have prey drive, while others may be shy of strangers and cautious in contrast to some who may be very gregarious. Some may be solitary dogs and not pack oriented, and some may be very pack oriented. So we will be looking for those primary Boreal Prepper Dog traits that we have been planning for.
Hopefully we will get some real winners in this plan.