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Saturday, January 28, 2012

The picture says it all - mini longhaired hunting puppies


I absolutely love this picture, which we received from Teddy Moritz, a falconer and breeder of mini longhaired dachshunds for hunting.  She wrote: My bitch Garmin whelped these four pups a week ago.  Their sire is a dynamic little hunter named Rhett who is out of my Bane and Lorraine Simmons' Darter. All the pups, two males, two females, are going to falconers. They ought to be pretty good hunters. Thought you'd enjoy the picture.
 
Congratulations Teddy on such a fine litter and thank you for the outstanding picture. Good luck with the pups!
 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Two mini dachshund trackers for Samantha Allen from Salisbury, North Carolina

We wrote about Samantha Allen from Salisbury, North Carolina before. As it turned out Cabela, Ollie's sister, became avialable, and she joined Sam's four-legged family. Sam wrote:

I am so happy with Ollie and her progress this year I figured if I could get a puppy close to her I would be happy. She has found 10 deer so far this season and she is almost 1 year old. I drove 4 hours to pick her sister up for our trial run to see if we liked her. It is now one month later and she is a keeper! I have named her Cabela and we are currently up to about 300 yard lines aged at 4 hours with 3 ounces of blood and track shoes. She is a little different from Ollie as she tracks slower and with great concentration, she does not overshoot her lines very far at all!  Two young dogs keep me pretty busy with laying practice lines and also taking "adventures" to different places for hiking, playing etc. to get them comfortable with all types of settings and people.

Oh, and for Christmas I received tracking shoes, a blender for churning my tracking blood, new cabinets in my garage for all my tracking items and some camo clothing!! Not too many wives would have been happy about that but I was ecstatic!!

Samantha Allen with Ollie
Cabela
 
 


Thanks Samantha for sharing the gorgeous pictures of Ollie and Cabela!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Experience makes a difference: tracking dachshunds at 5

This was just a pure coincidence. In the last week I have had a short e-mail exchange with two handlers of blood tracking dachshunds, and they both marveled over the superb performance of their dachshunds who are five years old now.

Gary Kata wrote about Buster: "Buster is doing great, he will be 5 years old in May. This tracking season I really noticed his maturity level and concentration improve. He did really well on some tough tracks, my confidence in him and myself really grew. I have always thought he has done well but this year it was different, the change in him was very obvious."

And Christian Elwell said: "I had an incredible tracking season this past year. Josy is unreal in what she can do. It's so fun to see the difference now that she is around 5. She just puts her head down and works- and she is a blood thirsty killer. I'm trying to work on some articles about a few of the tracks from this last year, I'll share them with you once they are finished."

By the way, we are not breeders of these dogs: Gary got Buster (who was sired by our Billy) from Carl Eisenhard, and Josy was bred by Laurel Whistance-Smith. But here you have it - the dachshunds got into their prime at the age of 5. Be patient; don't expect your puppy or an adolescent young dog to perform at this level!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Our breeding plans for 2012 - we will be having spring puppies

I am sorry for having taken a break from blogging but the work on our house has made our life pretty difficult. If this was not enough to handle, both Keena and Paika came in heat. This is earlier than we were anticipating.

Anyway, our Keena (FC Keena v Moosbach-Zuzelek) is going to be bred tomorrow to FC Tom vom Linteler-Forst. Keena is almost seven years old, and this is going to be her last litter. She was examined by a vet few days ago, had her full blood panel done, and everything looks good. She was declared to be very healthy and got a green light from our vets for breeding.

FC Keena v Moosbach-Zuzelek is a daughter of FC Billy v Moosbach-Zuzelek and FC Gilda v Moosbach-Zuzelek

Our FC Paika v Moosbach-Zuzelek, Keena's daughter, came in heat today and she will be bred to FC Nurmi v Moosbach-Zuzelek "Moose" again. This is going to be a repeated breeding of our S-litter. In 10 days John will be driving to Michigan, and I hope that the weather will cooperate as in winter the drive there is not going to be much fun.

FC Paika v Moosbach-Zuzelek is Keena's daughter.

Recently I spent some time on updating info on our main website, especially on Keena, Paika and Tommy. Click on the above links and you should get to the current information.

We stopped taking reservations for puppies some time ago as we have not had enough time to process the inquiries and questionnaires we received in the last three months. We might take more reservations when puppies are born.

Wish us luck!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Young dachshund puppy's first blood tracking season

From a breeder's perspective - it does not get better than this. Matt and Jenny Willis from Missouri are owners of Moose and Paika's puppy called Dubya (Strut von Moosbach-Zuzelek), who was born on August 4, 2011. This is Matt's report describing the pup's first tracking season.

Jolanta,
I still can't believe it's been three and half months since our trip to meet Dubya for the first time. All of my hunting days have been spent running training lines with Dubya, I can't say John didn't warn me. I enjoy watching Dubya run the lines so I didn't mind much. Dubya did find his first deer and ran an amazing natural line, more on that later.

October 9, 2012: Jenny and Matt Willis in Berne, NY with their new puppy Strut aka Dubya
Dubya is maturing into a very handsome dachshund. His coat is exactly what I hoped it would be! He is incredibly popular every where we go. I really enjoy introducing him to people who own americanized dachshunds, their questions/reactions always make me smile. This past weekend we were out with Dubya and ran into a woman holding her dachshund with its long body, short small legs, and little tiny head, who looked at Dubya and said, "Uh is that a dachshund?" I replied, "yes it is." She looked at Dubya, looked back at me with a skeptical look, and said, "I have three other dachshunds." Lord knows what she was thinking but I am pretty sure she was trying to tell me I was wrong and Dubya couldn't possibly be a dachshund because he didn't have the same frail build as her dog. Jenny and I are really proud of him!

The big deer outing in my family is opening weekend of rifle season in Missouri. I couldn't imagine not bringing Dubya even though he was still a young puppy. I was trying to keep my expectations reasonable even though he had shown tremendous ability on our training lines. Going into the weekend I was hoping for a couple short natural lines we could use to give Dubya the experience of being on a real line.
 
The weather was horribly hot which made the hunting slow. After an opening morning with very little action and weather only getting warmer I was a little concerned getting Dubya on a line was not a certainty. Trying to tell myself it's still early in the hunt, I headed out for my afternoon hunt. As the minutes turned to hours unfortunately none of the shadows turned to real deer. I was really beginning to feel the pressure when I heard a shot; it had come from a ground blind where one of the other hunters in camp was sitting. I immediately began to hope the deer ran at least a few yards to offer Dubya some work.
 
I got back to camp soon after to get the scoop. The blind sits on the edge of a cut corn field with a creek a few yards behind. The deer had come in to 50 yards and was feeding in the cut corn. At this point I was thinking this may not be much of a track. The hunter said the deer had run past the blind and splashed into the creek, where he believe it had expired. I was pretty excited we would at least get a 60 yard natural line out of the deal, we got a little more than we bargained for!
 
Thinking this was going to be a very short track I was grossly unprepared. We got to the hit site with Dubya about 2 hours after the shot. There was some bright blood and Dubya was excited. He had a little trouble getting started but then locked in and off we went. It took Dubya little time to cover the roughly 60 yards to the creek bank, I shined my light in the creek and saw no deer. At this point I wasn't sure what we were in for. Dubya continued down the very steep creek bank to the edge of the water, I couldn't find any blood and wasn't sure he was still on the line until he stopped and smelled a leaf on the edge of the water with a blood drop on it.
 
 
The water was calf deep so we carried Dubya across to the other side where he promptly picked up the track again.
 
First crossing
 
We went about 50 more yards on the edge of the creek when Dubya started to head back down the bank to the waters edge. We carried him across the water again where he found blood on some rocks.
 
Second crossing
He took us up the other side of the creek and back out to the cut corn, we worked from the cut corn to some CRP and then to a hard wood ridge. At this point we had gone a couple hundred yards. Dubya worked up the steep ridge, overcoming being distracted by a dead mole, to take us to the top of the ridge. We were confirming his line with drops of blood and the occasional larger blood spot. After a detour to check out some osage oranges I asked Dubya, "where did he go?" Dubya responded by finding some more sign and leading us further along the ridge.
 
We realized the track was on a trail leading past a stand where my brother was sitting. He stayed on stand 40 minutes after the shot and never saw the deer come by. The blood has all been bright arterial blood but this new information in conjunction with the distance we had travelled at this point, we began to believe the deer may not be down. We continued along the track, which led us past my brothers stand through an opening in the barbed wire fence and into another CRP field.
 
We couldn't believe Dubya had stayed with it this long but were still finding blood spots and decided to continue. This is some very tall dense CRP, I wasn't sure how well Dubya could move let alone track through it, but off we went. Dubya was still very determined and continued to follow the track over, under, and around the grasses. Luckily most of the track was on a deer trail working through the CRP.
 
Dubya's view
I was in awe of this little dachshund at this point but this is where he really blew my mind. There were a lot of deer trails in the CRP field, any of which could've been used by the wounded deer. Every time I was pretty sure he had followed the wrong trail I would find a little blood spot confirming he was still on the right track. I can't even imagine how much different scent he had to sort through to follow this specific deer but somehow at 13 weeks of age he was doing it.
 
After 800 yards and a flashlight battery change and still on the trail we decided the deer wasn't down. Reluctantly I decided to abandon the search for the night. I really wanted to find this deer, Dubya deserved it! After the next morning's hunt I decided to give Dubya a shot at closing the deal. The track now 17 hours old we headed back to the CRP and picked up the track. Dubya continued to the track another 400 yards to the property line, where we couldn't get permission to continue so we were forced to stop. Right on the fence line we found a spot of blood about the size of a nickel to confirm he had indeed taken us on the right track all the way. It was bitter sweet, I certainly couldn't over look the fantastic work Dubya did but at the same time I was very disappointed the track didn't end with a deer. We are pretty convinced the wound wasn't immediately fatal.
 
In total Dubya took the track 1200 yards! I never could've imagined that was possible for this 13 week old puppy! I believe this speaks to the quality not only of this litter but the quality of the breeding program you and John have established. I don't believe enough credit can be given. I can't thank you enough for all you've done! I have included pictures of different parts of this track. The "bloodsign" photo is an example of the average blood spot found during the track. The "dubyaview" photo is an example of the CRP Dubya tracked through. I hope the rest will be self explanatory.
 
End of track

The next night Dubya found his first real deer at the end of a 50 yard track. This track was 2 hours old and went across a creek with lots of blood. He had no trouble. He approached the deer cautiously, had a smell and was ready to move on. I have included a picture of this find.

Dubya's first deer

The final picture is of Dubya from yesterday. We hope all is well with the two of you and look forward to keeping up with the next couple litters!

Dubya at five months
Best,

Matt Willis
 
Thank you Matt and Jenny for such a great report and all the work you have been done with the pup!




Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Happy 12th Birthday to Jackson (Arko von Moosbach-Zuzelek)!

This morning Arlene and Jerry Davis from Kitty Hawk, NC, sent us this e-mail:

Jackson "Arko", arguably the best dog ever, turns 12 today! Born Jan 18, 2000, he is the son of Kuba and Branie, and littermate of Elli's mom. He's fit and fine and still tracking. Happy birthday, Jackson!

I cropped Jerry and Arlene's Christmas picture showing  Jackson (left) and Jezy (a 2010 Joeri/Keena daughter), who look like twins in this frame:


Also Happy Birthday to Agata, Elli's mom and Jackson's sister!

Hello from Julie Weidner, a teckel owner in Basel, Switzerland

Few days ago we received this super nice e-mail from Julie Weidner from Switzerland. What a treat!
It was wonderful to hear from you Julie - best of luck with Freddie and a future puppy! Keep in touch. We are very happy to be of some help to you.

Dear Jolanta and John,

I commented on your wonderful story of Elli the other day and realized that I should really just introduce myself/write you a little note. I've been reading your blog on and off for the past 2-2.5 years... ever since my partner and I decided that we wanted a Wirehaired Dackel for our very own.

I'm originally American (from Wisconsin) and I'm currently working towards my PhD in Molecular Biology at the University of Basel, CH. Anyhow, I convinced my Swiss boyfriend (also a PhD student at the ETH Zurich) after a couple years of being together that we really needed a little something in our lives to take away the lab stress. I have to admit, it was the best decision we ever made. We decided after a number of months and meeting the wonderful dogs from Kennel Barbwired (colleagues and friends of ours) that we wanted a Dackel.

In summer of 2010 we picked up our first puppy (Fallilou du Sangre Bleu, aka Freddie) from a new breeder outside of Paris. He had a nice pedigree and we were optimistic of what the future would bring as his parents (Kobeddus Effendi x Canaille de la Meute à Chéops) have both show and hunting backgrounds .

We have been super active with Freddie and participate in obedience and BHP training as well and Jagd training here in Switzerland and Germany. Your website has really been my go to for a LOT of tracking/spurlaut, etc... questions! My German is nowhere near fluent and having an English blog at my disposal has been so fantastic. All the literature up until I found you website was German or Swedish or Italian and very frustrating when trying to learn all about tracking, and general tips on training the dogs.

Freddie was born in France and now lives in Switzerland
I recently picked up John's book on blood tracking and am super excited to read it. We recently took part in our first 1200m/20hr Schweissprüfung this autumn, which went off better than we could have hoped for our first trial with our first dog (82pts, 2nd prize). We are planning on getting our second dog this year and I'm planning on using some of the info from the book for training. I love hearing about how the Field trials, shows, tracking, etc... works in the US (since I'm now very accustomed to the rules in Europe and FCI).



Anyhow, I'm sorry to bore you with so much background, etc... I really just wanted to show my appreciation to you for what you have done for the breed. I think it is really great to have such a knowledgeable and active set of Rauhaar breeders in the US. I wish you the best with your two new little ones (I just saw all the S litter pictures) and wish you a happy, healthy and successful 2012!

Best regards,
Julie Weidner
----------------------
Some of you might have not seen this kind of color in wirehaired dachshunds. You can read more about its genetics here. Chocolate (or brown) color is controlled by a recesive gene b and, a wild boar dachshund can carry this color. We had a big surprise when we bred a wild boar FC Gela von Rauhenstein to wild boar Drake von Moosbach-Zuzelek (a son of Alfi von der Hardt-Höhe). This was our "H" litter.  As it turned out, both Gela and Drake had a recessive gene b (their genotype was Bb) and they produced three chocolate pups and three wild boar pups.

Hobbit at the age of 8 weeks

Hickory at 14 weeks

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

2011 Dachshund Club of America Field Champion Merit Standings

Tracy Freeling, Dachshund Club of America Merit Points Tabulator, released Field Champion Merit Standings for 2012. Congratulations to Cheri Faust whose Danika placed first by earning 401 points and 21 placements.

You might ask how the merit points are calculated. If a field champion places first in a stake of 20 champions, she gets 20 points. For the 2nd place a dog in this particular stake would get 19 points, for the 3rd - 18 points and for the 4th - 17 points respectively. The number of points collected is also a function of the number of trials that the dog participates in. The more, the better. Another factor is the number of entries in a field champion stake. For example, in the Northeast field champion stakes combine both genders and  tend to be large. In the Midwest field champion males and females are usually run separately so there will be twice as many dogs with placements but they will earn fewer points as stakes are smaller.The bottom line is that the dachshund has to be good and  has to participate in a lot of trials.

The names in bold designate wirehaired dachshunds out of European bloodlines (it might be an oversimplifications as Buster is a shorthair out of wirehaired parents). The names in italics are descendants of our FC Asko von der Drachenburg (7 dachshunds out of top 20). There are 3 "von Moosbach-Zuzelek) wires: Auggie and Dixie owned by Sherry Ruggieri and our own Billy. 

Paika with 82 points and 3 placements was 27th. BTW, I attended 3 weekends of field trials in spring and 3 weekends of field trials during the fall 2011. Billy got two Absolute wins and Paika got one. Tommy placed 3rd at the Buckeye Dachshund Club Invitational trial.

When I have more time, I'll update this post with pictures. Now because of the renovation my Internet connection is rather slow and not reliable. 

1 Danika FC Danika vom Nordlicht TD ME, 401 points,  21 placements

FC Danika vom Nordlicht TD ME was bred by Larry Gohlke and is owned by Cheri Faust. She is a daughter of "Buster" FC Clown vom Talsdeich and FC Fredrika von Moosbach-Zuzelek. 

2 Carmen DC Siddachs Carmen MW 282 12

3 Zuni DC Rellih's Little Indian MW TD SE 219 11

4 Buster FC Clown vom Talsdeich 204 7

5 Darter FC Melwyn Under Wing Darter ML SE 192 7

6 Lily FC Diamant Lily von Lowenherz 174 8

7 Dieter FC TownFarm He's So Fine 163 5

8 Auggie FC Augden von Moosbach-Zuzelek RE ME 147 10

9 Dixie FC Anja von Moosbach-Zuzelek RN SE 145 7

10 Ana Maria FC Hurricane Ana Maria v Czar SW JE 140 8

11 Duditz DC Melwyn Dreamcatcher ML RN 134 8

12 Oslo FC Audi Oslo Von Dorndorf 133 10

12 Trooper FC Rosie's Little Trooper 133 4

14 Guinness DC Amtekel’s Guinness ‘N Harp RA 130 5

15 Nix FC Nix vom Nordlicht JE 129 10

16 Bonnie FC BG's Jive Talkin' MS 125 6

17 Gypsy DC Short Shadows Runaround Sue CD RE TD AX OAJ NAP OJP JE 118 8

18 Billy FC Billy von Moosbach-Zuzelek 113 4

19 Rose Bud FC Westrose Guns & Roses MWD 112 9

20 Rainey DC Lockshire Rain Shadow SW JE 102 9

Points are earned for placements in the Field Champion stakes at AKC licensed or member trials. They are tabulated using the Delaney System +1 for first through fourth place, based on the number of starters. In the case of ties, dogs receive the same place award, with the next place(s) being skipped. A minimum of two placements in Field Champion stakes during the award year are required to earn an award, and / or be included in preliminary listings.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A mini long dachshund puppy Reilly benefits from an older dog's experience

Teddy Moritz wrote recently "I sold a pup to a Canadian falconer and he has successfully introduced her to hawking. He has an eleven-year-old miniature longhaired I sold him, a dapple called Emmie. She has taught the new pup, Reilly, about rabbits and field behavior. The falconer, Steve Dickson, sent this photo early in the season. Nice when a pup works out well."

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Moose and Chuck - a superb deer and bear tracking team from Hillman, Michigan

It was good to hear from Chuck Collier whose tracking partner is a four-year-old Moose. Moose's regsitered name is Nurmi v Moosbach-Zuzelek and he is a son of FC Clown vom Talsdeich "Buster" and FC Asta von Moosbach-Zuzelek "Emma".  Moose is a  highly trainable versatile hunting dachshund who excels in blood tracking. We are very grateful to Chuck who put time and training into developing Moose; they both have an exceptional relationship. By the way, one of new ventures for Moose in 2011 was siring two litters, including our own S-litter.

In Chuck's own words:

This is Moose's synopsis of 2011. It has been a thrilling year as it was his first as a father. There has been nothing but positive feedback from the puppy owners so far.

As far as tracking it was a tough year as I was really busy working on some serious matters during prime tracking time. I was able to refer many tracks to other trackers as more and more trackers become available. Moose and I have become members/trackers for Michigan Deer Track'n Hounds as well as UBT. I'm proud to be a part of a Michigan based team as well as a national group such as United Blood Trackers. We need to promote unity in tracking. If we stick together, we can promote the awesome thing we do.

As of the second doe season which was the last track we attempted we went on 16 deer tracks recovering 7 and 3 bear tracks recovering 2. This puts Moose at 43 deer and 6 bears recovered so far. My working so much holds him back. What makes Moose more special to me is he does whatever I ask him to do. He is a 365 day a year dog. He is an awesome house dog/companion. He pheasant hunts and did great again this year. As far as rabbits he runs a rabbit almost every time we walk out to the barn. If moles are in the yard he is on them. We went out to the pond the other day and he was trying to dig out a man eating muskrat.

I've attached seven pictures and will explain them as we go.

The first was a short track in very dense (as usual) bear cover. It was about fifty degrees and there was a light rain. It was his first track of the year and as John said in his book I could tell Moose knew what we were doing was on the edge. Moose looked as me over his shoulder as if to say "Hey dad I'm on this but this is one of those big bad stinky bears and we're a team right?"




The second picture and bear was a liver hit the morning after the shot. We tracked from the hit site about a hundred and forty yards into the thick again. Moose did great. The hunter was a young boy. His grandfather was an experienced hunter, and the bear would have been found eventually but Moose made it a lot easier and quicker.


I don't have a photo of the best track he made on a bear this year. I had worked two jobs from 5:30 am to 11:30 pm. At the end of my shift a good friend showed up at my house and requested help tracking a nice black bear he had shot that evening. We were tired but started tracking at 11:45 pm. We worked hard and Moose tracked it between 800 and 900 yards by 2:30 am before we quit. After approximately 850 yards of dense cedar and spruce hell and crossing a creek we got to a small opening. The bear had stood there for a while with drops here and there as it circled around. I am convinced the archer made a high hit and the bear was getting tired of being tracked. I called the track. It was beautiful track with occasional confirmation blood but the bear was not dead.

The third picture was a beautiful 18 inch inside spread 7 pt. It was one of the best tracks Moose has ever done. It was shot the night before and we took up the track the next morning. It took about an hour and a half to work about 300 yards to where the buck had bedded for the night. He jumped up and Moose squealed and away we went. An amazing thing was even though Moose was squealing and we jumped the buck a second time Moose still took the time to smell a badger hole as we cruised by. The buck had a broken front left shoulder from a rifle shot. The buck was tough and would run a few hundred yards at a time and lay down. We tracked 2.9 miles before locating the deer. The deer was in a low bushy area.


The fourth picture was a gut shot buck that bled little but fell in a tall grassy area. The hunter was thrilled with watching Moose at work.


The fifth picture is the biggest state land buck he has helped recover. The buck was hit back in the intestines as it surged forward as the shot was taken. It was shot the morning before with a rifle by a very experienced hunter. It was in a beaver pond marsh area and was very wet and hard to traverse. The hunter, his brother and father had tracked about three hundred yards before deciding to contact Moose and I. We all went out and Moose did a great job of retracing the first three hundred yards before veering towards the tall grass of the beaver flooding. We went up to the edge of the deep water and Moose looked at me with the "He went across" look on his face. I advised the father of the hunter of my theory. He went around the twisted wet misery to the right and I went to the left. Within minutes he was yelling for joy as the deer was dead on the other side edge. According to my GPS he was on a direct line from where Moose and I hit the water.



The sixth picture was not a considered "find" for records purposes as I shot it well and knew it was going to be laying a short distance further. But it was special to me as my dog and I got to find it together. Me and my boy.




The last picture is a picture of my wife's first deer (a mature doe). It was shot with a muzzle loader in the last moments of the last day. I was in the blind with her when she shot. The smoke caused me not to see the deer's initial reaction to the hit. It ran 60 yards across a food plot and crashed full speed into a spruce cedar nearly impassable swamp. I checked and saw absolutely no visible blood and there was an inch of fresh snow. I believed she might have missed. She declared that she was on it and although a steep angle she was sure she made a good shot. She was not going to hunt deer again if she missed as she was so sure. We went and got Moose for the final say. Moose went in. It was so thick the snow didn't reach the ground in the thicket. I had to belly crawl as it was too thick to be on my knees. After about forty yards I felt the familiar tug as if it were a fish biting. Although I couldn't see it I knew what it was. I yelled to Kim that Moose had found the doe and was getting his chew on it. Needless to say she advised me she knew she had hit the doe well. It was very fulfilling to have the "Moose man" ready in the pickup.     

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Unplugged

This is just a short post to let you now that we are going through a major renovation of the lower level of our house. Because of the tropical storms  Irene and Lee some water came to our house. Now we have to get rid off the mold growing in the walls. My office/den and our dog room are most affected, and new drywall has to be put in. The bottom line is that unfortunately my access to the internet and my main computer are limited, and I will not be posting as often for the next three weeks. I'll do my best.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Remembering Elli


Regular readers of this blog know that our Elli was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure at the end of January 2011. She did very well on medication, but 5 weeks ago she developed inguinal hernia, which had to be corrected surgically. It was a high risk procedure because of Elli's heart problem, but she survived the surgery and for a while was doing well.

In the last week, however, she started to decline. On Thursday night she was in a bad shape - she was having problems with breathing and was becoming progressively weaker. There was no additional treatment available, and on Friday we decided to let her go and took her on the last trip to a vet.

I miss Elli terribly. In the last year she was my shadow, and I am not used yet to not having her around me. She was the only dog that slept on my bed. Many tears have been shed and my heart is broken, though it certainly helps to have her family around us - her sire Asko, half-sister Gilda, sons Billy and Bernie, granddaughter Keena, great granddaughter Paika and great-great grandoffspring Sky and Summer. So as some pointed out, it is very true that Elli is not gone - not gone from our hearts, and not even gone physically as we will see glimpses of her in her descendants.

I spent most of Saturday going over her pictures and videos, and I chose some to include here as they have a special meaning for me. 

It all goes back to "Kuba" (FC Zuzelek's Globetrotter SW 1991-2005), the dog I bred and loved like no other. He was not without his faults, and we used him for breeding only once. On January 18, 2000 Branie vom Dornenfeld produced 4 puppies sired by Kuba: Agata, Amos, Arko and Albrecht, and we decided to keep Agata for ourselves.

Agata v Moosbach-Zuzelek SW at the age of 4 months
All this was happening around the time when John and I were starting the North American Teckel Club, and we were trying to reduce the size of our dogs. While Kuba was a very handsome dog with correct proportions, he was also a big dog, and in his middle age his weight was around 27 lbs. Agata, even when young, looked like she was following his steps.

Then on May 12, 2000, a friend of ours, Duane Bush from Erie, PA, brought his friends Mike, Kathy and Michelle Vincent to our place as they were interested in a getting a puppy for tracking. The only pup left from our "B" litter (Skyder x Sabina) did not appeal to them as he growled too much at the end of an artificial blood line while defending a piece of deer hide. On the other hand, they liked Agata very much. A plan was developed to let the Vincent family have Agata on a co-ownership agreement until her first litter. We retained the right to choose a sire for Agata's first litter and we would get two pups. After that we would transfer Agata's ownership to the Vincents.

Agata went to live with Mike, Kathy and Michelle, and it looked like it was a right match. Deep down I had this ache that the only daughter of Kuba was not ours any longer. But I reminded myself that when you are a breeder you can't let you heart make breeding decisions. This is something that I still think about often.

For Agata's first litter we chose Asko von der Drachenburg, who was imported in 1999 from Germany. Asko is on a small size, under 20 lbs, and it looked to us like he was a really good match for Agata. Eight puppies were born on May 13, 2001, and Elli was one of them. When I went to McKean, PA to evaluate the pups, they were very young, just 8 weeks old. I could not decide which ones to take and decided to take one female (Elli) and two males (Elton and Erik).

July 9, 2001 - Michelle Vincent (left) and I (right) are holding three pups that traveled with me to Berne, NY on that day: Elli, Elton and Erik

Elli on her first day at her new home with us. What appealed to us about Elli's conformation were her long legs as our dachshunds tended to be too low to the ground. 

The three pups together: Erik, Elli and Elton, at the age of two months

Elton and Elli at the age of four months
In the end we decided to keep Elli and let Elton and Erik go to tracking homes. And the Vincents have kept Elli's sister Kirsche.

Elli matured nicely. On August 24, 2002 she was shown at the NATC Zuchtschau under Judge Wördemann, and her conformation was rated as "excellent". Her weight was around 20 lbs. She was a calm and relaxed dog, and her type was described as "elegant and strong". Her gait was ground covering. We loved her disposition, but her temperament could be described as somewhat soft. This changed subsequently when she matured fully and claimed her position as a leader of our pack.


Elli proved to be a talented tracker and excellent field trial dog. She finished her AKC field championship on May 8, 2003 (after her first litter of pups). We liked her responsiveness in the field and her working style. She would come back to the point of loss and had perseverance and determination to work out difficult checks. Her strong voice on rabbits was her hallmark. Elli's field trial career really started after her last litter and she was #3 field trial dachshund in the country in 2007 and #8 in 2006. She won three Absolutes, and earned 483 DCA Field Trial Merit Points.


She proved herself as a blood tracker with several difficult finds of wounded deer.


John with Arlo (elli's son), Jolanta with Elli
One unusual thing about Elli was the long interval between her heats. The first one came when she was 10.5 months old. When her second estrus came on January 2, 2003 we decided to breed her to Alfi von der Hardt-Höhe, a tough-as-nails, multititled male we imported from Germany. We ran this breeding three times, and altogether Elli and Alfi produced 26 puppies. She was an exceptional brood bitch and a super mom to all her puppies. 
  • 1st litter born on March 11, 2003: Archer, Attila (Bear), Asta (Emma), Augden (Auggie), Arlo, Acorn (Zora), Amy, Anja (Dixie), Ariel
  • 2nd litter was born on February 08, 2004: Baldur (Blitz), Bastian (KC), Billy, Bodie, Boss (Daryl), Brix (Toby) and Bonny
  • 3rd litter was born on October 15, 2005: Darin (Bernie), Dylan, Danica (Dita), Danka (Maggie), Dee (Blaze), Demi (Cretchen), Diestel, (Anna), Drossel (Della) and Dyani


Of the 26 pups, 25 went to blood tracking homes. Eight were field trialed and became AKC Field Champions. Some have been very successful in other performance events; good exmples are Sherry Ruggieri's Auggie (two times winner of the Buckeye dachshund Club Invitational trial) and Dixie. We could probably write a book about Elli and Alfi's offspring. Five of them have been used for breeding and subsequently have passed "a piece" of Elli to next generations.

She raised not only her own puppies but was good with other females' pups too. She could put a stop to puppies' foolishness and pushiness with one stare or quick gentle nip. They would get a message right away.
Elli has aged with grace. Her favorite spot was on the top of the old picnic table in our dog yard, and from this place she was monitoring the situation while basking in the sun. Her favorite dogs were her son Billy and Joeri, for whom she had a special affection. To the very end she loved running rabbits in our field, and our last outing took place on December 31.




I will miss Elli's soulful eyes as they followed me everywhere.
I will remember Elli mostly as my personal companion. We had together such a good time: Our walks in the field, her almost constant presence at my feet when I was working, her routine of putting me to bed - licking my face before I turned the light off.

Good night Elli, sleep tight.

PS. After Elli's death we received  numerous letters and notes from our friends and people who knew Elli. There are too many to post them here so I will just include several.

1. From Sherry Ruggieri

Your post on Elli was wonderful and it is difficult for me to type through the tears, I can only imagine the pain you are suffering. I am so deeply sorry. As you know, I was especially fond of Elli – she will always have a special place in my heart. She not only produced the dog that I love beyond words, Auggie (I love Dixie too), she reminds me of what a wonderful dog should be. I am proud to say that in many ways Dixie is so much like Elli, wonderful temperament and in looks too – with that beautiful face and soulful eyes. I have many wonderful memories of Elli – especially the time when I was visiting and she “claimed” me – she was such a loving dog. I also got to watch her in the field and saw (and heard) some beautiful runs! I remember too when I was visiting and you took me to the beagle club there – she ran with Auggie – she took one rabbit all over – it was lovely! I also remember her outrunning both Auggie & Dixie at field trials – they could never match their mom!
I wish there were words to say to take away the pain you must be feeling and the loss. I know the deeper the love, the deeper the loss and that it why it is so heartbreaking. I will always remember Elli and she will live on through her legacy and our memories – it’s just a shame they can’t live longer than they do. My heart goes out to you.
Hugs,
Sherry

2. From Mike Martien

Just a quick note to let you know that your loss has been on my mind… My deepest sympathy on the loss of Elli. I was saddened to hear the news. I found the following, and refer to it from time to time. I guess the quote (unknown) is about as real and true as it gets…
There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and lives we can't live without but have to let go. Death is unavoidable and a given, however, love and relationships create memories that death or no other can ever steal.” R.I.P. Elli…
Take care and may God speed the healing process and fill the void.

3. From John Merriman

I'm so sorry to hear about dear Ellie's passing; she was an amazing dog and I will always remember the great runs she had--especially with Buzz. I bet they are having a great time with rabbits in Heaven right now, with God finally yelling "pick them up" when they are happily exhausted from hunting!
Please let me know if there is anything I can do ... You and John will be in my prayers and Adam sends his best.
XO
John

4. From Michael Polavin

Jolanta & John, so very sad to hear about Elli. You mentioned "an amazing legacy" Elli has left. As you know my dog Maggie is one of those 26 puppies that make up Elli's legacy. Maggie is in a working home and has most definitely changed this owners life. The absolute joy I see on hunters faces when she recovers a deer that they couldn't find. I too consider Maggie a great hunter, however it's so many of the other personality traits that Elli passed on to Maggie that makes her such a true companion and part of the family.

Thank you Elli.
5. From Henry Holt
 
I'm very sorry to hear about Elli Jolanta. She produced some great dogs including the one sitting in my lap.

We have a beautiful spot on our farm where we bury our dogs that we visit often. There's a bench there and in the spring there are daffodils and a grove of redbud trees I started from seed. I hope you have a place like that for you dogs too.
 
May she chase rabbits forever in her dreams.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dachshunds getting exercise on a cold wintry day

It was a very cold and windy day, and young dogs needed exercise. With the wind chill of -3F (-19.5C) I was not willing to take multiple trips so I let Paika, Bella (first row) and Summer and Sky (second row) go together. The picture was taken just after I had let them out of our gated yard to the field. They were crowded by the gate waiting for me to open it and when I did it, they ran in one direction (where usually rabbits are). This is why they are so close together, and obviously Paika and Bella took the lead (as they are older, bigger and faster).

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

They Call It Blood Tracking

by John Jeanneney for Full Cry

They call it “blood tracking”, but the name is certainly misleading. Hunters, especially men of my age, sometimes say “If there’s blood to track, what do we need a dog for? Dogs and deer hunting don’t mix. EVER”. 

For many years I’ve been tracking wounded deer after hunters gave up on them because there was no more blood. I even do my advanced training with tracking shoes, deer feet attached that lay a scent line produced by the interdigital glands between the cloves of the hoofs. This works, but my deer hunting experience this fall reinforced my faith in the capability of a dog to follow a designated deer, even an unwounded one, just as a police bloodhound can follow an individual “alleged perpetrator”.

I was hunting on a food plot in my own woods when a doe came in. Following her was a buck, a big six of the sort that never has a chance to get much better in my part of New York. I had caught him on my trail cameras and he was distinctive; there was nothing else around like him. I waited and finally I got the “perfect” shot down into the oat plot  50 yards below me. The cross hairs were just where I wanted them, and at the shot the buck took a big leap into the brush and disappeared.

I went down quickly to the hit site. No blood, no hair. I knew this does happen sometimes. I knew my gun and I was confident/super optimistic as even experienced hunters can be when it is their own deer and a good one. What I did not see, until several days later, was the top of the log behind which I had been sitting as I shot.


 My scope had shown a clear shot, but the rifled slug barrel, an inch and a half lower, had been in line with the top of the log as you can see. The shot had been deflected, and I had never hit the buck at all. All this I did not know until I went back to this stand several days later.

It was getting dark and I didn’t have much time to look for sign in the briars and logging slash. I had seen nothing, but I knew that my tracking dog would make short work of the problem after supper. And we would get there before the coyotes.

After supper I took Joeri down to the woods. My plan was to work the woods roads around the five acre block the deer should be in. I wanted to make sure that there wasn’t a blood trail leading out of it and down into the valley. Normally I begin at the hit site, but I had already checked this thoroughly, and I didn’t want to work through the thick stuff again if I didn’t have to.

On the circuit around the block Joeri indicated, at one point, that a deer had crossed  the woods road, but there was no visible blood; Joeri was willing to leave this line, so I just marked that point with tape and continued around to the hit site.

I put on the long, stiff tracking leash, said “Find him!”, and Joeri began to work down through the briars and logging slash. He had a definite scent line, but I never saw a trace of blood. Oh well! Once you get started, you don’t quit. If a hunter had called me from 30 miles away to say that he had shot at a nice buck, but had no evidence of a hit, I would have gently turned down the call. But with my own deer on my own land it was different. More about this later.

Joeri came out of the slash, crossed the wood road exactly where he had previously indicated  scent and I had marked the scent line. Still no blood, but the scent line was only two hours old and Joeri had no problems. He is a slow, careful worker, which is just what a 76-year-old guy needs.

We worked down into the valley and  on to property where I had permission to track. Now it was not so thick and with my coonhunter’s headlight I could see 50 yards ahead. We had gone about a half mile on the steep timbered hill and there he was! He got up and he flagged as he took off. I could distinctly see the high rack. I’m not too sure about why he was lying down and let me get so close, but there was no blood in the bed where he had been. And he had raised his white tail as he took off. Not good! But we continued for another 3/4 mile over hay fields and across a creek. Sometimes I could see his tracks in the frosty grass. I’m sure we crossed the scent lines of other deer, but it made no difference to Joeri. He was on his designated deer.

We crossed a state road, and I had no permission for the property on the other side. I marked the crossing and the next morning we were back with the necessary permission. We tracked another half mile, which was much more difficult. There was still no blood or bloody beds. When we came to another creek, wide and deep this time, I gave up. I still had my doubts, but Joeri and I had done all we could.

When I later returned to my stand and saw the log in the photo, I felt better. I knew that I had not killed that buck for the coyotes.

As I said earlier I would have turned down this call if someone else had called me from a distance with the information that I gathered at the start of my track. The problem is you can never know for sure as you screen calls. Earlier in the bow season a bowhunter called me on my cell while I was having lunch at Subway. All he had was a couple of drops of blood, and he had searched in vain all morning. Since he was very close by, I said, “All right, I’ll check it out for you.” It didn’t sound good.

Joeri took the line. No blood for 300 yards. I told the hunter and his buddy, “It doesn’t look like we’ve got anything here. Everyone agreed but Joeri. When he saw we were ready to turn around he yelped and pulled. “All right” I said, “I’ll give it another 100 yards.” Fifty yards farther on, there lay the deer.

In most European countries, where tracking dogs and handlers are much more numerous than here, it is the custom, and often the law, that all shots, which are not clearly a miss, have to be checked out with a tracking dog. These are called “control searches”. One study of control searches for roe deer shot in Denmark showed that 25% of the control searches there led to finding the deer.

We are a generation away from anything like this over here. Tracking dogs and handlers are still spread so thinly that we usually have to screen our deer calls and only take the ones most likely to produce a dead or mortally wounded animal. We like to learn that there is a good amount of blood at the start. But once we are at the hit site, a good dog knows that there is a lot more to blood tracking than blood.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

How did Darren spend his birthday? Tracking, of course.

On December 27, 2011 Darren Doran wrote:

I took today off from work to celebrate my birthday. I was actually going to practice with my new bow and put out some trail cameras. I was sitting at the table working on the puppy questionnaire when the phone rang. It was a friend that had shot a deer with the muzzle-loader this morning and couldn't find it. The hunter told me that he had white hair at the hit and tracked for about 100 yds and lost it.This guy is a responsible and good hunter and I thought we stood a chance either finding the deer or proving a non fatal hit. Karl and I haven't had any work since Dec 1st and I jumped at the chance to track.

We met up and proceeded to get started. I was actually surprised with Karl's actions during the ride. He knew we were going tracking but acted much calmer than usual. We got to the hit site and it was as the hunter said. There was white hair at the hit site and the blood started about 30 yds away. He had the line flagged and Karl started right down it. He got to the last blood too quick for my liking and proceeded to track to a small creek. He was still pretty worked up at this point and rather than cross the creek, I restarted him at the last blood hoping he would take the same route to the creek as before. That didn't happen and I restarted him again.

The third time was the same as the second so I crossed the creek and Karl tracked to an empty bed. This was a good sign as the bed was only 200 yds from the hit. Karl tracked on from the bed down a deer run towards a heavily traveled main road. If the deer crossed the road we were done. A one point Karl acted like he didn't have it and I brought him back to the bed. He restarted and tracked through some stick trees and towards an open field. Just as we entered the field I saw a drop of blood and knew he was right. He tracked across the field over a black top driveway and into another woods. We came to another bed and I think we put the deer out. Karl was tracking hard and digging in. I was finding blood and the occasional bone fragments on the line now.The deer had started to make a big loop and was heading back towards the area it was shot at.

We had tracked a little over a mile and we were heading towards the Matchaponix Brook. This river is not wide but is deep with steep mud slick banks. I could see the deers tracks leading up to and along the river. All of a sudden Karl turned and went right down the bank into the river. The next thing I see is a deer swimming up the river with Karl trying to over take him. I yelled to the hunter that I found his deer and he was alive. I got Karl out of the river and the deer pulled its self out and crossed a bend in the river and went back in.We didn't bring the gun so the hunter sent his boy back to the truck for the muzzle loader. We just kept an eye on the deer without getting too close and waited. When the gun arrived the hunter finished the deer. The first shot had entered low on the left side and raked a lung. When it exited it destroyed the right leg at the first joint from the shoulder. This deer would have died but after the first bed, and until we got the deer up the blood trail was very sparse. The hunter admitted he would not have found this deer if it wasn't for the dog.