SoftMaple Curlies

Mark and Cathy Lewandowski
8282 Soft Maple Road
Croghan NY 13327

softmaple@curlycoat.org

Home of the First Curly AKC NA, OA and AX.
Home of the First curly USDAA AD.
Home of the first CCR with an AKC Championship to earn a Master Hunter title.

We have bred dogs that compete in agility, obedience, conformation and field. We have been active with our curlies at Therapy dogs. We participate in 4-H, school and scouting demonstrations.



2004 CCRCA National


Those First Weeks

Here's the age old question: Is temperament the result of heredity or of environment? You have already done your homework into the backgrounds of the sire and dam; you've checked on temperament, trainability and stability. The job does not stop here. do you want to take a chance that the greatest factor is not environment? In a litter, you are lucky to get one or two good show dogs. You may get a couple of good field prospects, maybe even a future top obedience or agility dog. Every pup should have a super temperament because 90 percent of the litter will end up in pet homes. Their owners will not care about how many titles the parents won, at what age they got their first major, or how many tries it took them to get their SH or CDX titles. These people care that their dogs will be wonderful additions to their family.

When I plan a breeding, I take time off from my full time job to start another full-time job-- the one of raising a litter. It does not matter how wonderful and independent a mom your brood bitch is, you still have a full-time commitment with each litter.

I start working with the pups when they are 3 days old. I take each one and put it through a series of five exercises known as the Bio-Sensor method. (see the May 1995 AKC Gazette for an article on this) In brief, this is a series of exercises that stimulates pups in a way they would not otherwise experience at this early age.

Once the pups have their eyes open and start to venture out of the whelping box, the fun begins! Over the years, I have developed a "puppy playground." This is designed to introduce the pups to sound, texture, movement, vibration and music. It includes "swings" made from carpeted milk crates that hangs from the ceiling. The pups quickly find these and they are not bothered by the swinging movement when they are in them. Often I will find the swing jam-packed with pups sleeping and gently rocking! I also have low, padded and carpeted seesaws. The pups first reaction to these is usually to be startled when they walk up the low ramp and it moves under their weight. however, the puppy urge for exploration gets the best of them and soon you see 6-week old pups trying out their "sea legs" and balancing on the middle of the sea saw like expert agility dogs.

The playground also includes a variety of tunnels made of tall kitchen trash containers with the bottoms cut out. The pups race through these, roll them around, and then all pile in for a nap. There are also ramps of various materials and textures, milk jugs, hanging fleece toys and short steps made by stacking large wooden blocks. One object that the pups love is a fleece octopus with four squeaky arms. It hangs about five inches from the ground, from a rope that has a long line of sleigh bells attached to the top. The noise it makes! There are also low mirrors on the walls and an assortment of balls, toys and chews in the puppy room.

At about 6 weeks, the pups are introduced to water, under supervision. I take an extra large Vari-Kennel bottom, line it with rubber bath mats, and fill it with three inches of warm water. I place this in the puppy room, with a couple of rubber balls floating in it. The boldest pups are soon in there! There is no pushing or forcing; I just let them go at their own pace.

Each puppy also gets individual attention every day during which they experience a variety of activities. They may drag around a short leash, be introduced to wings and birds, go for a ride in the car, or have their toenails trimmed.

The playroom setup enables me to sit and watch the puppies for hours to see which are the most adventuresome which have the quickest recovery time, and which are more hesitant. This helps me decide on the homes that will be best for each one.

Article written by Cathy Lewandowski for the Curly Coated Retriever breed column in the AKC Gazette


We at SoftMaple have been active in showing and breeding pure bred dogs since 1979. Active in Curly Coated Retrievers since 1993. We do not earn our income from the sale our puppies. For me raising a litter is a very rewarding, time consuming and expensive passion. We are breeding for healthy, sound, highly trainable, versatile dogs without compromising the correct structure and breed type set out in the standard.

SoftMaple bred and or owned Curlies hold 86 titles to date in conformation, field, obedience and agility. Most SoftMaple dogs go to loving companion homes, or to personal hunting homes and are never shown. Titles do not make the dog, nor do they make a dog great. We are more interested in producing healthy, cherished companions, than having our primary goal to put letters before a dog's name.

Early puppy stimulation, as well as continued puppy socialization are key in our breeding program. We stress temperament and health. Our dogs are family companions, first and foremost. We are only interested in finding homes for our puppies in which potential owners are genuinely committed to loving a Curly for its life-time, be it a pet, show, or hunting companion.

We as breeders are caretakers of the future of the Curly Coated Retriever. Breeding just to fill a demand for puppies can damage a breed for years to come. Not all dogs are worthy of being bred. Having a Championship title is not a good enough reason to breed a dog. There are many judgment calls that a breeder has to make according to their own conscience. There is no perfect dog, and unfortunately, no perfect breeders!

Breeding dogs is a labor of love. Their health and well-being is of primary importance. We check Hips (OFA, or foreign country of origin hip score equivalent) Eyes (CERF)and Cardiac (OFA). Puppies come with a contract covering replacement of puppies that do not OFA, do not CERF, or do not pass Cardiac testing.

Since a dog is a living creature, we can not guarantee that the dog will not have any problems. We do our best to check the health history of the parents, grandparents and siblings. We study pedigrees and dogs to help make informed breeding decisions. No one has yet bred the perfect dog. We will stand behind our dogs if there is a problem.

The pups are raised in the home. We use the Bio Sensor method of early puppy stimulation. We temperament test our puppies at 7 weeks of age. As we know the personalities of the puppies better than anyone having lived wiht them since birh, we try to match each puppy with the appropriate family for its needs. Every pup that leaves SoftMaple goes with the condition that if for any reason you cannot keep the dog I will always take it back, for whatever reason.

A curly is not for everyone. They are a strong willed, challenging, intelligent dog. We screen our prospective puppy buyers. Your not just buying a dog from SoftMaple, your joining a family. We ask you questions, and strongly encourage you to ask us questions. Anyone looking to add a Curly to their home shouldn't stop at just contacting one breeder. We encourage you to talk to as many breeders as you can.



About the Book

Follow a litter of puppies from birthday until they go to their new homes. The diary contains lots of pictures, tips on puppy rearing, some breed specific information, and lots of information on the care of any breed of dog.

I started doing an on-line puppy diary since many of the people that would be getting one of my pups would not be able to travel here to see the pups. I did not want to put a bunch of cute puppy pictures online, and encourage anyone to have a litter just because they wanted to see cute puppies! Breeding dogs, if done the right way, is a lot of work. Lost sleep and sometimes heartache. It takes a lot of time, effort and money to raise a litter of puppies. Once I started doing The Puppy Diary, I realized I had a captive audience. These people logged on every day to see the pictures, and read what was happening. I used this opportunity to cram as much education into each day as I could. Health, Coat issues, grooming, feeding, socializing, vet care, puppy evaluations, shipping puppies.... you name it! I tried to put it in The Diary. It was suggested that I make it into a book. Well here it is! There are 560 pictures and over 300 pages of living with and watching one litter grow up.

I am sure may conscientious, caring breeders raise litters similar to the way I do. Its is a good look into the time, money, commitment it takes to bring up a litter of pups. Some of the things that go on behind the scenes, that the eventual puppies owners (family), never realize go into the litter. Enjoy my litter as I see them. Day to day

Contents

Chapter One (Week One) ... Page 1

Seger comes into season
Happy Birthday!
Removing the Dewclaws
Start of the Bio Sensor program

Chapter Two (Week Two) ... Page 48
Coat issues.
Tail Gland Hyperplasia
Do Curlies Shed?

Chapter Three (Week Three) ... Page 94
End of Bio Sensor Exercises
Worming The puppies
Eyes are open
First pup escapes from the box

Chapter Four (Week Four) ... Page 130
Weaning. The great food fight!
Introduction to the puppy play room
Shark Cage

Chapter Five (Week Five) ... Page 156
Field dog? Show Dog? CPE?
Happy Mothers Day!
First Stacked pictures

Chapter Six (Week Six) ... Page 195
Toys! Toys! Toys!
What�s In A Name?
Kids and Dogs
Introduction to Wings

Chapter Seven (Week Seven) ... Page 236
About Puppies and Retrieving
Socialize your puppy
First Shots & Vet Visit
Splish Splash, first bath!

Chapter Eight (Week Eight) ... Page 286
Shape up or ship out!
Requirements to ship puppies
See all the pups!


Showing Your Curly Coated Retriever


This Site Created By SoftMaple Curlies




I don't often use the most convenient stud available. Several times I have bred to overseas dogs. You have to develop a relationship of trust with the breeders and owners of these dogs when it comes to health issues. The studs from overseas I have used will not have OFA numbers. (being that the *A* in OFA stands for America.) In these cases I will check out the equivalent health test for that country.

SoftMaple litters health clearances:

#1 Am/Can Ch Pasha N'Charwin's Black Jack,Am/Can WC ROM CR-200G26M, CR-314 X CH Avanti's Best Bet CD CGC ROM ROMX CR-CA12/56F/C-ECHO, CR-483, CR-408E24F

#2 CH Riverwatch Desert Wind ROM CR-EL30, CR-429E24M X CH Avanti's Best Bet CGC ROM ROMX CD CR-CA12/56F/C CR-408E24F, CERF CR-483 95,96,99

#3 CH, HR Elflock-Ranah's Rising Son WC WCX WCQ JH CD CR-549, CR-426G37M X CH Charwin Even Song JH WC WCX CD CGC HOF CR-CA22/41F/C, CR-480F35F, CR-489

#4 Luxembourg Champion, Dutch,VDH, German Ch. Caballus Inferno JWW'98, W'98, Europasieger '99, Bundessieger'99 Hips A/A(Finland), B1(Holland) X CH Mathel Felicitation ROM CR-CA3/38F/C, CR-453G24F,CR-497 (For this litter, I shipped Bumper overseas for the breeding, so the stud has his foreign country of origin hip score equivalent.)

#5 Ch SoftMaple's O' Dark Thirty JH SH MH WC WCX WCQ CD CGC HOF TT CR-CA177/89M/C-PI-ECHO, CR-685, CR-536G27M-T X CH Charwin Evensong WC WCX JH CD HOF CGC CR-CA22/41F/C, CR- 480F35F, CR-489

#6 CH SoftMaple's International Fling CGC CR-CA134/34F/C-PI CR-640G26F-PI, CR-EL97F26-PI CR-753sired by Jet CH SoftMaple's O' Dark Thirty JH SH MH CD WC WCX WCQ TT HOF CR-CA177/89M/C-PI-ECHO, CR-685, CR-536G27M-T

#7 SUCH Ringlets Constant Wind Cardiac clear, eyes clear, hips A/B to CH SoftMaple's Fairway Explorer CGC CR-CA74/16F/S-PI CR-EL98F28-PI CR-642G28F-PI, CERF (This litter is the product of an imported semen breeding using shipped-cooled semen from Sweden, so the male has his foreign country of origin health checks.)

#8 CH SoftMaple's International Fling CGC CR-CA134/34F/C-PI CR-640G26F-PI, CR-EL97F26-PI CR-753sired by CH Aberbran Bar Von Bern JH SH WC WCX ROM OFA good; CR-608G24M-PI CR-CA123/37M/P-PI CERF

#0 Our 2004 No-litter, and an idea of what preparing for a litter costs.

#9 2004 litter between CH SoftMaple N HunterBay's NYwkend CGC TT CR-EL99F28-PI CR-645E28F-PI, CR-CA135/34F/C-PI and SR Curlygleann Kiwi Dream WC TDI CGC CR-677G24M-PI, CR-EL111M24-PI, SN91060601, DOB May 2 2001

#10 CH SoftMaple's O'Dark Thirty MH WCX CD CGC TT HOF CR-536G27M-T OFA cardiac, CERF 2001 and SoftMaple N HunterBay's Poetic Justice CGC, PennHip, CR-CA158/21F/C-NOPI, CERF 2004

#11 SoftMaple Gunflint's Beauty CGC CR-715G28F-NOPI, CR-EL131F28-NOPI, CR-CA157/28F/P-NOPI and Boyerie Dese Maestro Music Please CR-CA148/24M/C-PI-ECHO CR-696G24M-PI CR-750

#12 Ch. Dese's Black As Coal, CD, WC, CGC, TT, JH, RN CR-530G26M-T, CR-CA47/30M/C-T, CR-582 and CH SoftMaple's Pheasant Dreams WC CGC CR-722G34F, CR-El134F34, CR-CA178/41F/P-NOPI, CERF 2005 CR-814N

Our Next litter plans

We at SoftMaple have been active in showing and breeding pure bred dogs since 1979. Active in Curly Coated Retrievers since 1993. We do not earn our income from the sale our puppies. For me raising a litter is a very rewarding, time consuming and expensive passion. When I breed a litter, I focus on the whole dog. I don't breed to whatever stud is nearby, or to whatever stud is winning in the showring, regardless or health or if he would complement my bitch. We are breeding for healthy, sound, highly trainable, versatile dogs without compromising the correct structure and breed type set out in the standard.



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