Jaana’s False Pregnancy – A Dog Owner’s Perspective

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Most large race teams that run ten plus canine athletes are breeding a litter or two each year while others prefer not to raise pups an purchase dogs from top mushers. We also need to put some puppies on the ground in order to feed young blood into the race team. In our experience, sprint racing dogs typically have a small window of performance two to six years with the occasional phenomenal yearling and veteran.

Given the distances we are training, 18-25mi, we are looking for certain characteristics in our line of sled dogs. This is nothing new for many mushers but it is much different than the limited class mushers some of whom only run two to four miles.

Before I get into Jaana’s actual breeding I’d like to give a little background on what we are looking for in a sled dog.

Some Characteristics of a Canine Endurance Athlete – In no Particular Order

  • Tough Feet – Not enough can be said about a dog that has really good feet as no one likes putting on dog booties! Pads have to be tough and wear resistant handling sharp or old snow as well as sand and gravel. There’s also the issue of fissures which appear as  larger or small paper cuts on the bottom side of the dogs webbing. The Grace X Ari litter has really tough feet. I’ve only had to booty those bitches a couple of times in adverse conditions where any dog would have to wear booties.
eurohound sled dog alaskan husky

Diamond – every characteristic we are looking for in the hound crosses

Good Coat – Some of these hound crosses have pretty thin coats even though they are still dual layer. Having a thicker, but not too thick of a coat, protects the dog against the extreme cold while retaining heat thus burning less calories in the colder months which helps retain weight and is easier on your food bill. All the bitches in the Grace X Ari litter are one scoop dogs, very nice.

  • Athleticism – An injured dog cannot help the team. Our dogs need to travel well on a variety of trail conditions at speeds from 12-22 mph in harness and up to 35 mph while free running. Fun hikes with the puppies in the forest teach them from a young age to navigate challenging obstacles while having a good time.
  • A Good Eater – A definite no brainer. When you put food and/or water down in front of the dog it needs to eat it without hesitation. This is especially important while traveling and racing to keep them hydrated and their immunity up. Mindy is the pickiest eater in our kennel however I learned a trick from my friend Dave Turner to give it to her frozen in her box. For some odd reason she will eat it that way. We also prefer that they are not big eaters and easy on the groceries. For example, two dogs of similar weight, drive, coat etc. but one eats 2 scoops at dinner time vs. one that consumes 1 scoop.
  • I could get into more characteristics but these are some of the essentials assuming the dog shows leader potential, has great drive and concentration, and is a fast learner/ good listener.

    Jaana X Kulane


    Kulane – Chuck Gould

    My friend Chuck Gould has kept up his old alaskan husky breeding lines going back to Grover from George Attla. We need to water down the hound lines in our breedings to get the prior characteristics. I was willing to split a litter with Chuck to get some of those old lines so I paid him a visit with Jaana who was in standing heat at the end of March. I took my time looking at his male dog yard there were a lot of good looking dogs and some were successful producers. But the dog that caught my eye was Kulane. Kulane is a Hobo (Lance Mackey) grandson with Burner (Roxy Wright-Champaine) and Streeper lines further back.

    I took the time to drive up to Chuck’s in Isabella for each breeding instead of leaving her there. They were bred twice, once on Wed. and the second on Friday. Puppies have a gestation period of sixty-three days so we were looking at early June. This would have been Jaana’s second litter.


    false pregnancy dog

    Jaana at day 60 from the first tie.

    The hound crosses usually start to show something at five to six weeks but Jaana was still trim at this time. Coming into the 8th week she still was not showing any signs of carrying a litter. At week nine, her mammaries started to grow but her abdomen did not drop. She also started to nest trying to dig a hole under the shed and started lactating at day sixty-three. During her first pregnancy she was bigger than a tick at this point so we thought maybe one or two puppies.

    Over the next few days I kept a close eye on her watching for changes in mood or signs of discomfort while checking her temperature and possible discharge. She showed no change in anything and would still vigorously chase squirrels and chipmunks around the wood shed.

    Given advice from experienced dog people I decided to take her into the vet for an x-ray to check for a possible stuck puppy and a blood test for pyometra. The x-ray showed a clean abdomen and the blood test no elevated white blood cells.

    A false pregnancy! What a bummer. I’ve raised six litters, three of my own and three at Windigo and was really looking forward to having puppies this summer. None of my other sixteen bitches have come into heat yet this season which is really odd. Hopefully Chevelle or Joan come into heat before the end of the summer so we can have a planned breeding with her and Ari.

    By | 2017-03-16T09:40:35+00:00 June 16th, 2016|Categories: Breeding, Jaana, Puppies, Sled Dogs|Tags: , , , , , , |Comments Off on Jaana’s False Pregnancy – A Dog Owner’s Perspective

    About the Author:

    Tone is an independent marketing and promotions professional specializing in web design, optimizing SEO, integrating social media, creating media (graphics and video), and print/TV ads. As a coach, has been working with human athletes since 1998 with his first coaching job at the Marshall School helping out with the cross country ski team. He later moved on to coach swimming, as the head coach of the North Shore Swim Club at the University of Minnesota Duluth. During that time he raced (1997-2009) as an elite amateur cyclist (road, track, cyclocross, mountain) all over North America and a few races in Central America competing with riders that raced in the Tour de France. He also is competitive at running, triathlon, swimming, and xc-skiing completing over 700 events. His first dog was Helena a retired Alaskan Husky. He picked up Toivo in 2006 as an 8 week old puppy who later started skijoring and bikejoring with him. In his free time he enjoys photography, archery hunting for big game, grouse hunting, fishing, spending time with the dogs, and training himself.