Pretty exciting around here!
Ten gorgeous Kangal puppies were born Friday Jan. 15! Banu kept me up all night pacing and asking to go out, come in, go out... but waited until morning to start delivering. Now, I love a daylight whelping, but it would have been nice to have some sleep first! However, she obliged me by popping them out at a good rate, finishing around 1:30 and settling in to feed a suddenly-huge family clustered around her suddenly-deflated belly.
Of course, she gets a bowl of vanilla ice cream.
Six girls, four boys, wahoo! Every one of them is beautifully pigmented, with velvety-black ears and deep masking. There are a few white toes here and there, small to medium white chest spots, some with a rear dewclaw or two (common in the breed). Everything 100% normal.
They look very dark, of course, as all Kangals do when they are born. That's a genetic trait associated with the sable coat color, which means a red or yellow base coat that has dark guard hairs mixed in to greater or lesser degrees. Sable puppies are born dark--especially sable dogs that also have black masking, like Kangal Dogs. They will all lighten up as they grow, but the really dark ones will retain more sabling as adults, giving them a very cool gray cast to the coat, making their chest spot more pronounced. Just like their daddy Sivas.
It's Day 3 now, and all of them gaining weight at a good pace, averaging a 23% weight gain in 48 hours. (Yeah I did some googling to learn how to calculate that in my Excel spreadsheet.)
It's remarkable how fast they grow in size and strength. They can move along at a good clip now, all around their 6x4 whelping box, and I love to watch them hoist themselves up on her belly and over her back, to tumble onto their littermates and burrow into the huddle. Strong forelegs!
Banu of course is eating ravenously to keep up with milk production, and I am happy to coddle her with cottage cheese, eggs, cooked chicken and broth mixed into her puppy food. She's really putting it away! She's rather funny, how obsessed she is with keeping the pups all within licking distance. But she doesn't know how to do that when they crawl away to sleep in little groups, so she barks loudly to request (er, demand) my assistance. Constantly. Sigh. As a dog trainer, I remind myself, "You get the behavior that you reinforce" but I just can't ignore that insanely loud bark!
I crave sleeeeeeeeeep.