Search This Blog

Monday, May 31, 2010

Dachshunds watching the Memorial Day Parade in Berne, NY

Just like last year, we took a couple of dachshunds with us to watch the Town of Berne Memorial Day Parade. Its route goes just by our driveway so we did not have to go far. John took Joeri, and I had Paika with me. This is the sight we encountered at the end of our driveway, where there was a staging area.

Nothing fazed the dogs, and both Joeri and Paika enjoyed the attention from the parade paraticipants.

Paika being petted by kids. Actually she has never seen so many kids in one place before.

Joeri watching the parade

The whole thing took no more than an hour but by the end of parade dogs were ready for a snooze.

Treeing bears, New Jersey style

Teddy Moritz sent the pictures and a short caption:
"Twice the lurcher treed this sow and her three cubs. She was collared so the second time we treed her I called Fish and Game and they came out and darted her out of the tree, removed her collar and did some tests on her. She had been raised by a rehabber and released about three years ago. She is considered a successfully rehabbed bear since she's staying out of trouble and she's bred and had three cubs. Made for an interesting evening."
Teddy, thank you for sharing your adventures with all of us!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Report from United Blood Trackers Trackfest 2010

Report submitted by Cheri Faust, United Blood Trackers Director

Trackfest 2010 was held on May 15-17 in Marshall, Michigan, with headquarters at Squaw Lake Farm, owned by John Walters. UBT hosted the event with the assistance of UBT Member, Don Dickerson. Not only did Don secure the beautiful headquarters property for our use, he was called upon to locate additional nearby training and tracking land due to the event being so well-attended.

Twenty-six trackers participated in the event, with nine additional family members in attendance.

Trackers by Location
Michigan 9
Illinois 4
Missouri 3
Indiana 2
Wisconsin 2
Ohio 2
Kentucky 1
West Virginia 1
Pennsylvania 1
Canada 1

UBT President, Andy Bensing (Pennsylvania), UBT Vice-President and author of Tracking Dogs for Finding Wounded Deer, John Jeanneney (New York), UBT Secretary, Cheri Faust (Wisconsin), UBT Director of Testing, Larry Gohlke (Wisconsin), and UBT Director, Alan Wade (Louisiana), served as instructors for the event.

During the classroom portions of the event, UBT instructors spoke and gave demonstrations on topics, such as Blood Tracking as a Team, How to Lay Artificial Bloodlines, Working with Puppies and Adolescent Dogs, Training Techniques, and Weapons and Techniques for Putting Down Wounded Deer. UBT Member, Chuck Collier, gave a helpful update and explanation on the most recent tracking legislation in Michigan. Additional presentations included GPS Use in Tracking and a show-and-tell of tracking lights, leads, and collars.

Twenty-two dogs of 10 different breeds or varieties received individual and group training during the field work sessions.

Breeds/Varieties of Dogs
Dachshund, Wire 12
Dachshund, Smooth 2
Dachshund, Long 1
American Foxhound 1
Bloodhound 1
Deutsch Drahthaar 1
Deutscher Wachtelhund 1
Basset/Beagle mix 1
Bavarian Mountain Hound 1
Jagdterrier 1

The weather was nearly perfect for the weekend’s tracking events, with mild temperatures and partly cloudy skies. Participants got better acquainted while eating lunch catered by Marshall’s Cedar Crest Banquet Centre while seated in the shade at the picnic tables located on the property. A feast of swiss steak, cod almondine and baked pork chops was enjoyed at the Saturday evening buffet, with more chances to share tracking adventures and tales of “the big one that DIDN’T get away” (thanks to our wonderful tracking dogs).

On the Monday following the two-day Trackfest 2010 event, evaluations were conducted for 15 dogs. While these evaluations are “pass/fail”, they provide invaluable feedback to trackers on the strengths and weaknesses of their handling techniques and help determine future training goals for the dogs. The criteria for passing the test is for the judge to determine, based on the performance that day, whether they would recommend the tracking team to their friends or family members if they needed help in finding a wounded deer.

The UBT 1 evaluation is a 400 yard artificial trail with two turns and one wound bed. The track is aged at least 2 hours. Eleven dogs were evaluated on UBT 1 tracks - ten on trails with 8 ounces of dripped blood, and one on a trail with 3 ounces of dripped blood in addition to tracking shoes with deer hooves attached. Eight of the ten dogs on blood-only tracks passed. The one dog on the hooves/blood combination track also passed.

The UBT 2 evaluation is an 800 yard artificial blood trail with three turns and two wound beds. The track is aged overnight, or at least 8 hours. One of the three dogs tested on the track with 8 ounces of dripped blood passed, and the one dog tested on a track with 3 ounces of dripped blood, in addition to tracking shoes, passed.

As always, the weekend ended with new friends having been made, plans and goals for future training, and renewed enthusiasm for the next tracking season.

Pictures taken by the Utych family and John Jeanneney are posted at

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Curious coincidence and two litters with six puppies

We barely managed to recover from Keena's whelping when we had to assist Gilda with her whelping. Our females' cycles are synchronized and they come in heat at the same time. Last year Keena and Gilda whelped four days apart. This year their litters are three days apart.

Gilda von Moosbach Zuzelek bred to Joeri vom Nonnenschlag produced today four boys and two girls

So today Gilda whelped six puppies - four males and two females ranging in weight from 230 to 335 grams. Everybody is doing well.

Between Gilda and Keena, who both were bred to Joeri, we have 15 puppies - seven females and eight males. Last year we also raised Gilda and Keena's pups - 15 pups with the same gender ratio.

The funny coincidence is that today there was another litter whelped, on the other side of the Atlantic, in Germany. The breeding that produced Joeri was repeated by Rosi Bauersachs, and today Ilena vom Nonnenschlag whelped six puppies, also four males and two females. These pups are aunts and uncles to our puppies - the same date of birth, the same number and gender ratio!

In Germany Ilena vom Nonnenschlag with her six pups.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Keena's perfect whelping results in 9 puppies

Yesterday Keena stayed all day in the whelping box, and she was very quiet. The night passed uneventfully. This morning first puppy was whelped at 6:30 am. The last puppy was out at 11 am. It took Keena 4.5 hours to whelp 9 puppies - 5 girls and 4 boys. Pups' size ranges from 8.2 oz to 12.0 oz (230-340 grams), and all of them seem to be doing really well. More information about the whelping will be posted later today at our puppy journal.  This litter is a result of one mating, and the sire is FC Joeri vom Nonnenschlag.

Thanks to all who sent us their best wishes - they worked!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Waiting for puppies - Keena is going to whelp today

I think that Keena is going to whelp today. We bred her to FC Joeri vom Nonnenschlag on March 22, and it looks like she is going to have quite a few puppies. She looks big, and if I were to speculate, I'd say that she probably carries 7 or 8 puppies. All signs show that she is going to whelp today or tonight.

Keena four days ago

She spent yesterday in her bed next to the whelping box.

Last night she threw up several times. Today she is staying in the whelping box, not eating and is breathing heavily. She wants me to be near by. These are all the classical signs that she is the first stage of labor. This is when her cervix is thinning and opening, and the whole process may last up to 24 hours. We hope for safe delivery and healthy puppies!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

This doe's death is going to make a difference

Last night when John was coming back from Trackfest in Michigan, he noticed a dead doe killed by a car just a few miles from our place. This morning he called DEC, and then went to get a doe.

According to the New York Times, in 2006 the New York State Department of Transportation disposed of more than 20,000 deer on state highways (the number comes "just" from highways). The doe that John found had been hit on a local road.

As it turned out the doe was big and heavy as she was very much pregnant. When we opened her, inside there were two fully developed fawns. This was a sad sight.

The only upside of the situation is that the death of this doe is going to make a difference. We took good pictures of her anatomy and will incorporate them in the book Dead On!, which will help educate hunters on how to take clean shots so animals are killed quickly and humanely.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The 14th Birthday for Lolly, outstanding field trial dachshund

Fourteen years ago, on May 16, 1996, Gerte vom Dornenfeld whelped a litter of 6 puppies. Four puppies survived, and two were lost during whelping. Gerte was eight years old at the time, and it was her last litter. This was our "U" litter, and actually it was a repeat breeding that produced our previous "S" litter. The sire was Zalud Staccato, a Czech dog, who lived in British Columbia, Canada. Logistics of the mating were nightmarish, but thanks to our friend Brigitte Walkey, things got done.

The four puppies in this litter were named: Ulrika (Lolly), Ulla (Brandy), Upton and Undine (Dee), and they all went to blood tracking homes in Deer Search. From the blood tracking point of view, "S" and "U" litters were the best we have ever bred. They were not great looking dogs and some of them did not open on live game, but  these dogs could track!

Lolly is the only one who still lives and thrives. In hands of Larry Gohlke, a close friend of ours from Wisconsin, Lolly has been living a more versatile life than most of her siblings, and she has accomplished great things in the field.

In 1999 Lolly won the Dachshund Club of America National Field Trial. John and I both were there and witnessed the win. It was a thrill! In 2006, at the age of 10.5 she won the Buckeye Dachshund Club Invitational Trial. These two are the most prestigious trials that a dachshund can win in this country. Lolly made it look so easy.

FC Ulrika von Moosbach-Zuzelek SE - pictures taken in October 2009

Lolly has now over 1000 lifetime DCA field merit points, and she is still placing in field trials. Two weeks ago she placed 4th in the highly competitive Field Champion Bitch stake at the Buckeye Dachshund Club trial in Ohio. We will talk about her breeding legacy some other time (there is a lot to write about that), but today we are celebrating her life - a great companion for the Gohlke family and outstanding versatile hunting dachshund.
Happy Birthday Lolly!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A very old dog

It has been a week since we said good-bye to Alfi, and in that time I have been thinking a lot about old dogs. I think that a picture of the oldest dachshund I personally knew is the one of Gustav von Moosbach. Gustav was bred by John, and he was born on June 11, 1980. I am not sure how old he was when I took this picture - he was either 16 or 18. I am pretty sure that I took it on May 5, 1996 at Pine Plains, NY at the PRA clinic, but then for some reason the picture on my computer is labelled with the 1998 date. Unfortunately, I am not able to confirm the date with Gustav's owner.

So here it is Gustav von Moosbach, a wirehaired dachshund, at the age of 16 or 18.

The Power of the Dog

"There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie -
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart to a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet's unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns
Then you will find - it's your own affair -
But, you've given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!)
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone - wherever it goes - for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We've sorrow enough in the natural way
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we've kept 'em, the more do we grieve.

For when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-term loan is as bad as a long.
So why in Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?"

Rudyard Kipling 

Friday, May 14, 2010

Paika, a new AKC Field Champion

It seemed like it was yesterday when Paika was born. Actually it took place on March 30, 2009, just a bit over a year ago. Last weekend at the field trials in Maryland Paika placed first in the OAAB stake of 30. Now with three placements, one win and 63.33 points she is a new AKC Field Champion. Good girl Paika!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Do wirehaired dachshunds shed? How to groom them?

I was reminded about grooming needs of wirehaired dachshunds this morning when I was feeding our beagle Rip. Right now Rip is losing his winter coat and he is shedding profusely. Shedding is a natural process and for outdoor dogs such as Rip its timing is very seasonal. My guess is that many beaglers do not brush their beagles, but when dogs are worked on rabbits and go through heavy cover, they will lose the old and dead hair quickly as a new coat grows in. The natural brush will act as a grooming tool.

Rip as a puppy, eleven years ago

How does Rip compare with wirehaired dachshunds? In my experience wires shed very little. And a little bit of grooming goes a long way. Since we usually have around ten dachshunds, it is hard to say which ones shed more than others. I have written about problems with wirehaired coats before on this blog. This is anecdotal, but I was told by a couple of friends that their softer coated wires shed less than they harsher coated dogs.

With most wires, the best approach to grooming is by hand-stripping. This is the only way that will maintain a correct wiry and harsh texture of the coat. By pulling out old coat you will make room for a new and strong coat to grow in. If you clip your wire, you will just cut the hair tips, that's all. The old coat will not be removed, and in the long run the coat will lose its desirable harsh texture. I tried to find a good guide to stripping a wirehaired coat on the web, and the article I like very much (not too technical and lengthy) is  at It deals with Border Terrier's coat but principles are exactly the same.
"Kuba" had a perfect coat. Here he is posed on a grooming table, after his coat was stripped.

A good alternative to hand-stripping is Coat-King comb by Mars. It pulls the hair out quickly, and you can groom a wire much faster this way than by hand. I use it a lot for the fast, casual grooming. There is a lot of good info about this tool at Make sure you see "before and after" pics at .

"Tasha", Kuba's niece, was an exceptional blood tracker, who passed last year at the age of 14. This picture shows her with her natural coat, not groomed. If I were to groom her, I would hand strip her body coat with some help of King-Coat comb, and I would clip her furnishings and hair on her belly.

Clipping is recommended if a wirehaired dachshund has a very soft, fine and fluffy coat. Pulling out hair from this kind of coat would be very painful.

These pictures show Gunnar before and after his coat was clipped.

Many hunters and tracking dog handlers like a rather short coat as grooming needs of such dogs are minimal. The below picture shows Zosia von Moosbach-Zuzelek, a wirehaired dachshund with pretty short coat and minimal beard. Sometimes this kind of coat is called "pin wire", and it may never need to be stripped.

As we said before, wirehaired dachshunds' proper coat does not breed true. Even if you breed individuals with a very proper wirehaired coat, you will get, most likely, a wide range of coat textures in their offspring. The below picture shows Blitz, who technically is a smooth dachshund (he has a short body coat and no furnishings), and his grooming needs are not different than of a "regular' smooth dachshund - occasional brushing and nail clipping. He is a son of Alfi and Elli, both with excellent proper coats.

How often do we bathe our dogs? Very rarely, only if they get into something stinky and so dirty that we could not brush it out of their coat. If they get into heavy mud, we might rinse them, dry and brush them. Some of our dogs have never been bathed at all. Giving frequent baths and using shampoos is not recommended as it strips the skin of natural oils leaving it dry and itchy. Our dogs are allowed to swim in the pond as much as they want, but this is a different matter - no shampoos are used in that process!

"Winnie" (Wynnona von Moosbach-Zuzelek)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Alfi von der Hardt-Höhe is gone

November 5, 1997 - May 7, 2010

Sire: BCh 1997 Shadow van der Nerendijk, VII, BhFK/B, BhFN/B, Sp/B, SchwhK/B (Belgium)

Dam: GS 1994 Zara von der Hardt-Höhe, Sp/J, Vp/J, SchwhK, BhFK, GTSt 94/1994 (Germany)

Breeder: Heinrich Wyink, Germany
Alfi's ttitles/ratings: AKC - FC, FCI: Sp/J, Sp, SchwhK, SchwhK/40, SchwhN, Sw, St, Vp, BhFK, BhFN, BhDN, WaT, BhFK95, SchwhK-F, Sw/40, Waldsuche, Schußf ; conformation rated "Excellent"
On Friday, May 7, our twelve and a half  year old Alfi was put to sleep. In the last two weeks his abdomen got larger, and X-rays taken on Wednesday showed that it was filling with fluid. His heart was enlarged. We had an appointment with a cardiologist this week, but Alfi deteriorated very quickly on Thursday, and on Friday morning we made a decision to let him go. A quick necropsy showed that he suffered a congestive heart failure. He also had a tangerine-sized benign mass on his spleen and his pancreas were hard and inflamed.

Dogs are incredibly tough! On Wednesday he was a happy dog with a large belly, he ate, moved well and  showed no sign of discomfort. On Friday morning he would not eat and and move, and he was in a rough shape. I know that we made a right decision.

In 2000 as we were expanding and diversifying our breeding program we imported Alfi from Germany when he was 2.5 years old. He had already produced several litters there.A Gebrauchsieger, he came laden with DTK working titles and an "ideal" conformation rating.

We liked him very much, but he was a dominant tough dog, always in charge, and not always easy to handle. I would also describe him as hard headed, strong willed and independent. Very self-assured, when he walked into our dog yard for the first time, he looked like owned the place.

He has proved to be an exceptional producer.  He passed to his puppies enormous hunting desire, toughness, strong voice and a very nice working conformation. He sired five litters - three with Elli, one with Vamba and one with Laurel Whistance-Smith's Lutra.  His litters with Elli (26 pups) proved to be excellent producing such dogs as Billy, Emma, Arlo, Henry Holt's Bear, Sherry Ruggieri's Auggie and Dixie, Bill Yoder's Daryl, to name just few.  Alfi has produced ten field champions. He left a very impressive legacy, and he certainly made a big impact on blood tracking and field trial wires in this country.

But Alfi was not just a producer; he had real merit as individual. He has done very well in AKC field trials on cottontails. In the fall 2004 he was invited to run in the First Buckeye Invitational Field Trial. The best dachshund field champions were there from all over the country. Alfi won the trial convincingly. His son Auggie has won the Invitational twice since then.

Rest in peace Alfi! We'll always remember you and hold you in our hearts.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Old Dog

Another great post from Teddy Moritz. Thank you Teddy! Gavia is an extraordinary dog.

Took Gavia out with her daughter Fitz today. Gavia is a month away from 15 years old and Fitz is almost 7. When I got to the farm and let them out they found a groundhog under some stainless steel tanks and ran it into a den. I put Gavia away and Fitz got into the den before I could get her transmitter collar on, not a good situation since she is small and can go pretty far into any den. I lost track of her when I dug a hole ahead of her, in the wrong direction as it turned out. I could hear her bark a few times and I could hear digging but I had no idea where she was. The ground was very muddy with roots and loose rock in it. Not good.

I got old Gavia out of the car and asked her opinion. She's hunted for me for her whole life and knows more than I ever will about locating game. She went to the original hole, sniffed a bit, then went to the deeper hole I'd dug. She listened but she's mostly deaf so she stuck her nose into the soil and sniffed a few times. Then she began to dig at the wall of the hole, but up higher than I thought the den would be. I went to the original hole and opened back to the blockage. I poked my trowel in and there was Fitz's nose. She had turned around and was trying to dig her way out. I put her transmitter collar on her and let her go back in. She began digging again and it turned out the groundhog had tunneled up, not down and was in a side room, just beyond the wall where Gavia was digging. I opened the hole and shot the varmint. Good dog work and a happy farmer.

Gavia and Fitz

Thursday, May 6, 2010

What's happening at

I am going to take a short break from blogging until next Monday as I am going tomorrow to another field trial, where I am judging on both days. It will be the same place as two weeks ago - at Shawsville, MD. But first, I'd like to share a short update on what is happening here.

John's book Dead On! is almost done, and we are putting final finishing touches. John will be leaving for Trackfest in Michigan on Thursday next week.

Spring is in a full swing - fruit frees are in their peak of flowering, and some look absolutely spectacular. Like this one:

Dog training has resumed. Young dogs are being trained for field obedience, blood tracking and field trials. Older dogs are run on rabbits for exercise, and occasionally they take a swim in the pond.

Paika running rabbits

Joeri is practising how to retrieve on land.

Asko, while on a walk around property, couldn't resist and jumped in for a quick swim.

New life is sprouting all around us.Like in the neighbor's field. 

Our females are pregnant and have 2-3 weeks to go in their pregnancy.

Keena is due around May 24. She was bred to Joeri.

The only bad news concerns Alfi, who is 12.5 years old, our oldest dog here. In the last couple of weeks he has developed a big belly. My first reaction was that he might have Cushings disease as one of its symptoms is abdomen enlargement. Yesterday we took him to a vet, and X-rays showed that his belly is full of fluid. We have an appointment with a specialist next week and will know more then. Alfi does not show any sign of discomfort, he eats and acts happy, but my gut feeling is that he is not going to be with us for much longer.