Mabel's Fables - Sparta Blog 1
Welcome to Mabel's Fables, our new blog series following puppy owners who have been inspired by our journey with Mabel. We'll follow them as they bring home their new puppy and throughout their training journey.
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THE ROAD TO SPARTA ISN'T EASY
I grew up on an island in Greece, my family always had dogs that had a purpose. We had a hunting dog because my father hunted, and we have always had a German shepherd as a guard dog. Our first German shepherd lived to be fourteen, and when he passed my family purchased another one. I moved to Canada for university when I was eighteen and all through my undergraduate degree, I wanted a dog of my own, but wanted to wait until I had a proper job. When I moved to the suburbs with my partner, we adopted a cane corso/bullmastiff mix and a wheaten terrier, however when we split up, he kept both the dogs. So, after seriously considering my options and deciding that I did really want to get a dog again I got very serious about finding a good dog breed, but more importantly to me, a great breeder.
What I was looking for in a dog: I am a woman who lives alone, so my main priority would be guarding ability. I am a three-time international level powerlifter, so I would enjoy having a dog that is also strong. Furthermore, I enjoy a couple of daily walks, so a medium energy dog seemed like a good fit. I work as a strength and conditioning coach for youth athletes, and since my workplace is pretty casual, my plan was to start bringing the puppy with me from day one and train her to stay in her corner during sessions and then walk her and interact with her between sessions. It would be important for the dog to be good with children since I work with them and planning on having some of my own in the dog’s lifetime. I am also doing my masters part-time, so it was important to have a dog that would be able to chill in the house when I was doing schoolwork. Having had previous experience with dogs, I felt comfortable owning a strong-willed guardian breed. Lastly, I enjoy the occasional 8-15km hikes, perhaps every month or so, and would love to have a dog that could come along with me.
I watched almost every video on the Fenrir Canine Show channel about different breeds and thought I wanted a bullmastiff (thanks Roxy). I looked for breeders in my area and found a good one that had an upcoming litter. The litter was due on December 16th and I had been in contact with the breeder since October, I had gotten approved and was waiting for them to be born to send in a deposit. December 16th came and went and so did the following days, so I reached out to the breeder multiple times but couldn’t get a reply. That soured the prospect of a bullmastiff for me. I started doing more research again, reached out to a couple of English mastiff and Giant Schnauzer breeders, but none felt quite right.
I did a few (okay, a lot!) of online quizzes to determine the best breed for me and the Black Russian Terrier came up, so I researched the breed some more, I read everything I could find out about it. They were bred in Russia to work alongside soldiers, they had Rottweilers and Giant Schnauzers as ancestors, they were the size I wanted, so I naturally became very interested. I looked for breeders in my area and found one about three hours away, I called her and talked for over an hour and immediately knew I liked her. She had a breeding partner (someone who kept intact dogs from the kennel that were breeding prospects) that lived only a six-minute drive from my house. I visited her that week and fell in love with her two girls. The day I visited the breeding partner, the breeder welcomed a litter of ten puppies (when they were only expecting eight).
I stayed in contact with the breeder and the breeding partner, I even took one of her dogs for a walk to get to know her better. A few weeks later, the Fenrir Canine show started a series about selecting the perfect guard dog breed for you, so I submitted an application. I was still dragging my feet about putting a deposit down for the puppy and thought that would help me make my decision, however Will got thousands of applications, so I didn’t get an answer (at least not immediately). After following my breeder on social media and seeing how much effort she was putting in with the litter as well as all the dogs she had bred, I was sold. I put down my deposit, secured a female and picked her up on March 14th.
A few things that made me feel that the breeder was the correct choice for me were as follows: She had a Facebook group where she added anyone who has bought one of her puppies and answered all their questions, the breeding partner lived close by, so I knew I would have guidance should I need it, the breeder had trained and bred numerous therapy and service dogs, all her dogs and litters are raw fed, she shows her dogs and requires her breeding prospects to champion in the ring and pass all the health testing at two years old, she only has two dogs of her own, one thirteen year old that was one of her foundation dogs and a five year old with many titles, the breeding partner has a seven year old dog with 63(!!!) titles in everything from nose work, confirmation, obedience and any other dog sport she can do. It was clear to me that she bred with a lot of care and purpose.
When March 14th came around, I got to meet my puppy. I didn’t select the puppy, the breeder did temperament testing at six weeks and matched the puppies with families she thought were appropriate based on applications. When I picked her up, she was only 20lbs and I named her Sparta, a big name that I knew she would grow into.
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