New Grand Champion and S.T.A.R. Puppies

Excited to pass along that Heartstrings has another home-bred Grand Champion!  Mambo, with limited showing, has ticked another Title off his list.  He is also currently ranked in the US Top #10 DDB’s in breed standing at just over 2 years old.

Mambo became a Daddy earlier this year and 2 of his boys earned their S.T.A.R. Puppy Certifications (Soicilization, Training, Activity, Responsibility).  Big congratulations to Moose, Knox and their families.  Knox shown here with his little girl who clearly thinks her puppy is a S.T.A.R.


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New Title!

Great start to the week and month!  On Monday August 1, 2016 9 month-old Crash earns his CGC Title – forever recorded in history as an American Kennel Club Titled Dogue.

CGC (Canine Good Citizen) is an obedience title and the team must successfully complete a course consisting of 10 challenges.  Sit, stay, down, a timed 3-minute sit or down-stay whereby the handler walks out of sight, and passing other dogs appropriately are a few of the challenges.

These two have worked and practiced very hard and we are over the moon for them.  No surprise – their instructor tells us they broke the curve, star students in her class and she is encouraging them to continue with a working/performance/conformation career.  Great job Dawn and Crash – you make us so proud!

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Summer Time – Keeping it Cool

Greetings Friends!  We have several exciting show and puppy announcements forthcoming but first we must take pause to talk about health and safety.  As the “dog days” of summer approach we must always be mindful of our beloved 4-legged family members in the heat.

Here in Ohio things can get hot and steamy and we treat warm days and high humidity in very much the same manner as -30 days/risk of hypothermia and frostbite.  Dogues go outside, do their business, then straight back in to the air conditioning.

Sadly, every summer we will hear accounts of people losing dogs to heat stroke.  This can happen very fast and even with the most careful of owners.  It is a good idea to know the signs of heat stroke and first aid.  A dog’s average temperature is around 101; for those not-so-brave people like ourselves, ear thermometers are available.  Additionally, many local Red Cross facilities offer classes in pet first aid.  You would do this for your infant child, why not for your 4-legged baby as well?

Enjoy some photos of 2 of our Dogues keeping it cool.  The lovely Mila diving into her pool.  And Mr. Kaiser – enjoying a swim in his pond after raiding the family garden for a cucumber.

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Socialization and Puppy Evaluations

Greetings Friends!  We have made final decisions on our Mambo x Jazzy litter and the babies have started heading out to their new homes.

Many have asked – how on earth do you choose the final show prospect puppies?  It is a difficult and daunting task to say the least.

We start watching and observing early on.  In addition to the conformation, who has the “it” factor to become a potential show star?  Intuition:  who just seems to leap out at us?

Then of course we work with a battery of experts and garner their opinions.  We are blessed with a reproductive vet who is also a breeder, recently retiring the top-winning Shar Pei of all time.  We schedule an extended appointment and make the long drive to have her examine every puppy from tip of nose to tip of tail for health and her “nod” before going to new homes.  We also set the puppies up and get her opinion on the top show prospects.

We load up and drive to meet a trusted Judge friend for her evaluations.  An enormous resource with 40+ years of Doberman breeding in her tool box.  Here, we will spend several hours setting puppies up on a table, going over each one with a fine-toothed comb as she provides critiques.  The tail set, we measure the coupling/balance, a hard look at the dentation and bite, the overall structure and angulation just the short list of the evaluation.

We have included photos of lifting the front left leg.  This, for instance, is how we evaluate the angulation of the puppy.  The angulation translates into how the puppy will move as an adult.  Looking for typey and correct movement with the proper reach and drive.

A few of the factors as we are typically blessed with many fine-hair decisions when selecting show prospects.  And always, of course, much fun socializing – meeting “100 Strangers” off campus prior to going to new homes.  Enjoy!    -photo credits Raney Days Photography

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Breeding Confirmed – Columbus OH Ring Assignments

Delighted to announce our Champion Heartstrings Mambo x Champion Heartstrings Shirley upcoming babies!  An exciting pairing, puppies are due late April and we will be committing/accepting 2 advance deposits for companion homes.  Additionally, we are interested in working with families in Ohio and contiguous states on “show contracts” whereby we can watch and see how our top litter picks turn out and retain the ability to show the puppies.  Please contact us to discuss.

Shirley Championed 2014 out of the Bred by Exhibitor class.  She also received the 2014 DDBSA Top Bred By award from the national club.  Shirley is CHIC health certified.  This is her 2nd litter and what a great mama:  we are watching her 2015 babies come along famously and are excited that at least 4 of the puppies will start show/working careers later this year.

Mambo Championed 2015 out of the Bred by Exhibitor class as well and is working towards his Grand Championship.  He finished in the US Top #10 in the National Owner Handled Series and with very light showing so far 2016, is currently ranked #8 DDB in the US in Breed Standing.  Clear heart on echocardiogram by Dr. Schober, chief cardiologist and department head of cardiology at Ohio State School of Veterinary Medicine.

We will be home on maternity watch but 3 of our Dogues, including Mambo, will be exhibiting in Columbus OH 04/23, 04/24.  The address:  Ohio Expo Center at the Ohio State Fairgrounds.  717 East 17th Ave, Columbus OH 43211.  Saturday 04/23 ring #4, 8:00 am.  Sunday 4/24 ring #4 at 10:15 am.  Nice entry – 11 DDB’s Saturday, 14 DDB’s Sunday.  A great opportunity to meet and see 3 of our boys who live all around Ohio in the ring and hopefully we will be cheering some great results!

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Just for Practice – Mambo Currently Ranked #8 DDB in US

Champion Heartstrings Mambo is currently ranked #8 DDB in the US in Breed Standing (01/1/16 – 03/31/16).  Extra exciting:  Mambo has only been to 2 shows so far this year “just for practice” where he was rewarded with Best of Breed wins!  Recall he has been shown lightly, but still managing to finish 2015 in the US Top #10 of the National Owner Handled Series.

He creeps closer and closer to Grand Champion, having earned many of the requisite points and 3 of the 4 required Major Wins.

Mambo will be exhibiting in Columbus, OH April 23 & 24.  We are hoping for exciting show results and will post the ring times and numbers here when they are available.


Art of the Craft – Subtle Distinctions

A beautiful photo of Heartstrings Vauquios RN captured by photographer Mark Plonsky.

Breathtaking photo.  You wonder what those beautiful amber eyes have to say, you can almost feel that soft, velvety fur or his ticklish funny whiskers.

But look carefully.  See these wide-open naris/nostrils.  To us, this is a very subtle and often overlooked part of the “headpiece.”

As some breeders make choices to manipulate head type, perhaps to shorter muzzels, perhaps to “rounder heads” or whatever the market demands, we stay true to breeding the correct Dogue de Bordeaux consistent with historical and empirical data.

Our mission has been to stay in keeping with the beautiful athletes that our breed embodies.  Vauquois is a wonderful representation.  Again very subtle, but something as simple as nostrils getting larger instead of smaller, tighter is very satisfying.

One look, Vauquios screams – “I was bred to do my job as history has set forth.  I am an athlete.  Despite my size I can work and do my job all day.”  Well done, Vauquois, you make us so proud!


Jazzy x Mambo x Popeye Babies Have Arrived! Dual-Sired Litter.

No friends, this is not an April Fool’s joke.  In this case three *is* company.

The puppies from this litter are spoken for, but we wanted to take some time to explain the rationale and process behind dual-sired breedings.

Understand that we breed first and foremost for ourselves and the furtherance of our program.  We “keep” from every litter with an eye towards the future – minimally a “5-year plan” involving a complex matrix of pedigrees, ongoing health tracking and carefully calculated coefficients being the scientific basis behind choices.  Then the right-brain factors; the art, craft, the fine-eye of the movement for example – will the puppy grow, speak to us and one day make the cut into our elite breeding program?

A girl in our program will have minimal litters so we must choose very carefully and wisely.  We begin with finding the best possible male(s) as matches.  A dual-sired breeding choice gives us the ability to see and watch what our girl will produce when paired with different Sires and Lines.  To us, it is ideal on a girl’s first litter.

Shortly after birth each puppy is dna’d.  This is a non-invasive process involving a cheek swab with what looks like a mascara brush.  The kit on each puppy is mailed off then we wait for results and try to avoid guessing.  The puppies could be from either sire.  The puppies could be from both sires, which is optimal.

There is nothing economically practical about dual-sired breedings.  It is a long wait for the DNA results which we rely on to make careful choices for the future.  It is expensive;  the DNA kits, the insemination, potentially double stud fees, up-charges for registration being the short list.  But as “preservationist,” “craft,” or “artisan” breeders…dual-sired is an easy choice.

Additions To Our “Vault”

Hutch Mobysemen semenWe are proud, honored beyond words, privileged to announce the newest collections of frozen semen to our Vault and program.

Collections from 2006.  World Champion Moby de Legeane,  Multi European Champion Obelix du Domaine de Peyrehaut.

To say these acquisitions are complicated,  have taken years of negotiations to put together and span multiple continents would be the brief summary.  Once again, we have been entrusted with “secret holdbacks” – semen that no one knew was even out there much less available, at any price other than the honor system, trust, “high beams” on us be people we had no idea were watching, and earning their respect.

The frozen semen rolls in a vat of liquid nitrogen at a cool temp of -340 degrees F.  Very tight customs and controls it can only be shipped from licensed hand to licensed hand.

It literally takes a hired “army” of trained shippers, customs agents, scientists, veterinarians and techs around the globe to get this in our storage facility and program when it’s “go time.”   Then executed Special Op style – we only have so much time.  If the collection thaws on the tarmac waiting for a plane on a connecting flight, it is ruined.  If the collection gets hung up in customs, it is ruined.  If it isn’t processed fast enough upon arrival, it is ruined.

Incredibly fragile and delicate, the semen is stored and shipped in tiny straws.  Much like the size of coffee stirrers.  A few photos of the process, enjoy!



All About the Bitches!

We were happy to close 2015 as our 4th consecutive year in a row with either the #1 or #2 Bitch in the US in Breed/Show Ranking.

2012 – #1 Bitch in the US – Bronze Grand Champion Urszula z Orisku.

2013 – #2 Bitch in the US – Bronze Grand Champion Urszula z Orisku.  After having puppies and only 90 days of showing, right back in shape and winning.

2014 – #1 Bitch in the US – Silver Grand Champion Heartstrings Jasmine.

2015 – #1 Bitch in the US – Silver Grand Champion Heartstrings Jasmine.

Without question – the boys are impressive.  But 50% of the future is behind the Bitch.  Some would even say as high as 74%.  We ignore “popular sire syndrome” – instead focusing on the ground, the foundation, the roots, the Bitch.

When we look back at generational pedigrees and are making breeding decisions – we pay at least, if not more, attention to the “bottom” of the pedigree; the Bitches back up the history.  Their health, their type, their temperament the short list.

For some “Bitch” is a tough word to say.  It takes some time and practice to let it roll off your tongue.  Much less, consider the term or someone saying: “Wow – that is a GREAT BITCH” a extraordinary compliment and badge of honor.

Well done to our beautiful Bitches, well done!

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