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October 13, 2013

The New Q

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know that Bob considers the Q’s, Quick, Queen, Quinn, and Quid the best litter he and Rick have bred.  Slick sired them and Beauty---I have five puppies of Beauty---was their dam. 

I own Quid, my sample from that litter.  Quid has show markings: blue eyes, a gray coat, and a nice facemask.  At any age, he ran as well as any dog I’ve owned who had seen as many years.  I got him while he was in his prime, and he was easily the fastest dog in the pack. 

With his speed, I tried Quid in lead.  It became clear that he was finding commands hard to deal with.  He didn’t understand them---nobody does at first---but he froze mentally rather than relaxing and trying to figure out just what gee or haw mean.  He clearly wasn’t happy in lead, so the experiment didn’t last long.  All of the Q’s have been great team dogs.  None has become a leader. 

Along with this, Quid reigned at the bottom of the pack’s intellectual pecking order for years.  The dog in the kennel who fell for the most mind games was Quid.  That too has seemed to be part of being a Q. 

All this stayed more or less constant until Prudhoe and Kennicott joined the pack.  At a glance, one might have expected these littermates to be pretty bright dogs.  Jarvi was their dam and Yukon their sire.  Not only were these two dogs bright, they came from litters that clearly had some intellect.  However, it was not to be.  Kennicott now holds the position as the dog in my kennel with the lowest IQ.  Quid and Prudhoe seem about even at next from the bottom. 

In spite of a dearth of active brain cells, Prudhoe has been a stellar sleddog.  At every speed, his tugline has been taught.  Moreover, he can lope or trot comfortably over a wide speed range----most dogs have a relatively sharp transition at a given speed, but Prudhoe gleefully matches the gait and speed of whomever he runs across from. 

Prudhoe also runs happy.  I didn’t know how to see this on runs I took with Quick and Queen, but I understood that they ran this way too.  Of my older dogs, Jake and Tanner also run that way.  Shoshone has run as well as any of my dogs, but it’s always been a more somber affair. 

On top of running better than any dog in the kennel, Prudhoe is half Quid and the rest of the Qs’ ages.  He’ll turn six in two weeks, Quid et al. will turn 12 on the first of December.  In my kennel, only Gaiya is younger than Prudhoe.

All of which makes it nearly inevitable that Prudhoe makes the team going to Nome.  And so, like I did years ago with Quid, I’ve been putting Prudhoe in lead.  At this time, he’s more confident than Quid was when I tried him, so he isn’t upset when he doesn’t understand a command.  In fact, he often happily tries to ignore them and go his own way.  Corrections from me and/or other dogs haven’t phased him and he is comfortable with the rest of the A-team behind him.

Bob has thought the Q’s were the best dogs he bred, Quinn being at the top of that list.  I think it’s the J’s.  They are a hair slower, but their heads are better.  At a year and a half old, nothing phased Jake as he led out in front of the foursome I had.  He also surveyed the trail ahead of him to find the best footing.  The J’s are smarter and include real leaders. 

Prudhoe’s dam, Jarvi, is a J.  Prudhoe clearly isn’t.  Checking out his curriculum vitae, it’s clear.  Prudhoe, welcome to the Q Continuum. 

   
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