Given that we don't have much time to show regularly, we don't generally show a dog beyond its championship, and given that our puppy Scarlett has only shown a few times, it was a nice surprise to see that we actually had 3 different pugs who ranked in the recent release of AKC Owner Handler Best of Breed competition .... Lilibeth, Parker, and Scarlett!
And here was Robert for 2021:
We CAN'T BELIEVE Robert just turned 3 years old. He is the most magnificent pug, and our Grand Champion GCH Hill Country's I'll Bee Your Shining Star. Every day he seems to get more beautiful and exceptional. He's sweet, kind, soft, solid, incredible conformation. We are forever grateful to his breeders for entrusting us with him. Here he is with his special birthday "Milk Pugs" toy stuffed with treats .... of course, Miss Dior had to 'help' him find the treats. When it comes to food, well, it's game on for pugs!
We've been making plans for a long time now to welcome this amazing pug puppy and Jeff has been finalizing plane, train and other reservations for his trip to Spain in October. Jagger's official name will be "Diabolbric's Start Me Up" and he is maturing to be such a magnificent pug. Truly, this boy is going to make such a contribution to our line and we can't wait to get started training, loving, showing, and winning with this boy. Many thanks to his breeders for entrusting us with him .... we are counting the days until he joins us in Alabama!
It was so wonderful to hear the behaviorist/trainer we hire to do puppy temperament evaluations say "this is the most consistent and balanced litter you've bred yet". We are so happy with the 4 girls of the Coffeehouse litter and so grateful. They truly are very uniform in not only looks but temperament as well.
Did you know?
Pugs have wrinkled faces because Chinese breeders purposely bred them that way. They actually aimed to create a pattern of wrinkles on the dogs’ foreheads, which resembled the Chinese character for “prince” (王).
Here is the most recent Pickwick Pug puppy to go to a new home (Fergus, new name Shorty, from the Flying Kilt Litter). Aren't his markings incredible? Like art .... God size art.
Here are some other Pickwick pugs we have bred over the last 8 years:
Our Annie, (Zobear's American Idol), bred by Julia Ashton in Scotland, has a gorgeous diamond on her forehead. She was younger in this photo so the pigment was still developing.
Did you know?
It takes time for these wrinkles and markings to develop. The same is true for pigmentation (the lighter ears on puppies will gradually darken as they age). Sometimes it can take up to 2 years before the face 'masterpiece' is finished maturing. For example, here's Macintosh (CH Pickwick's Peachtree Hill Country Mighty Macintosh) as a young puppy, then adolescent puppy, then at age 1.5:
In Leah Clarke's wonderful book "The Pug Dog Illustrated" she explains more about a proper pug head, according to breed standard . . . .
And, regarding the wrinkles . . . .
With each year of our participation in dog shows it seems that more and more pugs are being shown who have hardly any wrinkles or pigmentation on the face. In fact, some exhibitors (breeders and judges) have commented that "they prefer a lighter face". Perhaps these markings are being lost because of the never ending quest to create lighter and lighter (blonde and cream actually, versus the specified "Fawn" color) coats. But, whatever the reason, we are going to work hard to fight to preserve the wrinkles and expression AND pigment. It's an important aspect of the breed to us and one important reason we chose this breed back in 1990. So, when we see these clear faces with no black in the wrinkles, or sometimes not even any wrinkles, it's sad for us to see judges awarding these pugs.
As newer breeders, we are constantly consulting more experienced experts and it is always emphasized that structure must always come first .... and they tell us to never let a gorgeous face "blind" us to the body attached to this face. "You can't breed a head" is a constant mantra we hear. And we agree. Our goals (if we had to choose 2) as pug breeders are: "a pug with a gorgeous face who moves well". (Yes, we'd love a soft mink like double clear coat, bush tails, high tail sets, big round heads, lots of bone, etc. etc..... but, if we had to choose ONLY 2 things, it would be face and movement).
Every breeder will have something they focus more on but, whatever these are, we hope that the beautiful wrinkles and markings of pugs will start appearing more in the show ring and in whelping boxes. We hope that these wrinkles and markings will become important again in the years to come ..... with judges, breeders, owners, and all supporters of the pug breed. When exhibitors and handlers paint on these markings and dye ears it doesn't help the future of the breed. At some point, it's going to become obvious that the painter is a human and not God and the pug breed will have disappeared.
We had a great time at the Mobile, Alabama dog show cluster. Two Toy Group shows on Wednesday, and a show each day Thursday-Sunday plus a wonderful AKC Puppy Match (for Heather and Bridget in the 3-6 month puppy class) Friday night. Bridget won the breed and Toy Group and Heather won her class. Scarlett picked up a few points toward her championship in her first 'official' show winning Best of Breed OH, then placing 2nd place in the OH Toy Group under pug breeder judge Charlotte Patterson who also awarded her Best Bred By pug. Scarlett also won Winners Bitch and Best of Opposite a couple of days under Molly Martin and Charlotte Patterson, and Reserve Winners Bitch on all the other days against a 2 year old finished champion. Here are some videos and photos from our adventure!
Heather's first puppy match at 3.5 months of age . . . .
Heather meeting Sophia (a junior handler who helped show her in the match since Amy was showing Bridget). Not sure who is speaking ringside, but it's not us ;)
Of course, we had to get some photos with the Azalea trail girls when they came Saturday. With a name like "Scarlett" how could we pass this opportunity up? See if you can guess the FIRST photo Scarlett took .... eventually she got used to those loud swishy dresses but it was hilarious seeing all the dogs' reactions to these outfits.
Heather and Bridget showing off the pink ribbons from the Puppy Match:
What a fun party the girls of the Coffeehouse litter enjoyed! Many thanks to all who came to help us socialize these gorgeous and bodacious pups ;)
Iona, Heather, Marie, Fergus, and Princess Buttercup are helping me cook dinner ;)