Edgerton puppies could follow paw prints of award-winning mom
EDGERTON—Tugging at the end of her leash, Rumor ran circles around her handler as staff members at Kenlyn German Shepherds in Edgerton brought her eight puppies outside.
The award-winning German shepherd had her first litter of puppies five weeks ago. The pups continue a robust gene pool after Rumor earned Best in Show at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in February.
Kenlyn is trying to wean the dogs off their mother, but it's hard to separate them from Rumor, handler and owner Kent Boyles said.
The eight black-and-beige fur balls chased their mom to get a meal, and Rumor stood calmly, happy to oblige.
Traffic on Interstate 90/39 whizzed by just a few hundred yards away, but the noise was barely noticeable compared to the captivating sight of a puppy parade and the sound of their high-pitched chirps.
Rumor soon will turn 6, and it's unusual to wait this long for a first breeding. But she and all eight pups—four males and four females—are healthy and strong, Boyles said.
The normal breeding age is about 3 years old, but Rumor was entrenched in the show circuit at that time. She competed in 175 events in 2015, so her owners postponed breeding.
“She turned out to be such a popular show dog. She went down that avenue,” Boyles said. “It was a fairly hard decision in the fall of 2016 to decide if we wanted to risk holding off another season and showing her again in New York. We opted to wait. It seemed to work out fine with eight puppies.”
Eight pups is a normal number for a litter. The kennel will hold on to all of them for now before deciding which to keep and which to sell, he said.
Boyles expects a few of the pups to carry on Rumor's healthy genes and possibly become show dogs.
He isn't sure who the father is because he bred them with two males. It's possible to have a dual litter, with some pups coming from one father and the rest from another.
Either way, the two dogs bred with Rumor have been successful on the show circuit and possess the strength and intelligence desired in a German shepherd, he said.
Rumor might breed again, depending on her age and the continued health of her first litter. She's adjusted well to motherhood and takes good care of her pups, Boyles said.
Mothering has a much different pace than the show circuit. After winning at Westminster, Rumor now relaxes more and does occasional appearances at children's hospitals and for veteran organizations.
Whether Rumor gives birth again is uncertain. For now, she and Boyles will enjoy the eight young pups before they must—regrettably—get bigger.