THESE PAGES WITHIN THE WEBSITE WILL GIVE YOU A BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE LITTERS THAT COLA, ISLA AND RHEA HAVE HAD IN THE PAST 5 YEARS. THE PUPPIES THAT YOU VIEW IN THE PICTURES ARE TIPEX MARKED TO IDENTIFY THEM THROUGHOUT THE TIME THEY ARE WITH US PRIOR TO GOING TO THEIR NEW OWNERS....THEY ARE NOT SPANIEL CROSSBREEDS !!
Monday 6th August
Two pieces of news to post to the website today...one good and one not so good. On Saturday our 10 year old dog Rigg had be put to sleep.....over the last three weeks he has had respiration issues and it was discovered that he had both lung and bone tumours. He was a fantastic dog who will be fondly remembered by everyone who new him and we are all devastated to loose him at so early an age. On a happier note we found out the day before that Kylo is a daddy.....Honey, the yellow bitch he covered in May, has given birth to 9 puppies, 7 yellow and 2 black, born on Friday morning. Mum and puppies (good chunky pups) are doing well......fingers crossed!
Sunday 17th June
Thought I would commend Sally and Belle on a very satisfactory initial training session today....normally I don't comment on a students performance but their can be exceptions, as I bear witness to now. Sally and her 1 year old Pointer pup really picked up (no pun intended) on everything I had to offer with comparative ease and should have plenty to be going on with over the coming weeks. Well done!
Wednesday 6th June
Our fingers are crossed for some summer puppies after Kylo performed his Daddy duties for the first time on Monday. A repeat performance today also went well with another 15 minute tie....... we’ll just have to wait and see. Honey, KC name Edencraig Ruby Brilliance, is a 2 year old Yellow with fox reddish colouring with good Field Trial lines in her pedigree. Hopefully more details to follow on this in 4 to 5 weeks time!
Tuesday 20th March
Re-edited footage of the Novice Field Trial that was posted back in 2010 has now been uploaded onto Youtube. Many of you out there asked why it was taken off when it had been so popular with nearly 10,000 hits......for any of you not familiar with Field Trials and there workings, it gives a good representation of just what is involved in this country pastime.
Just uploaded to youtube are the latest videos of the Branxholme Syndicate days for the end of January 2012..... Click on each day to load the video Day 1Day 2Day 3
Tuesday 17th May
Footage of the Branxholme Syndicate days back at the end of January can be viewed Here Part 2 will follow shortly Here (hopefully it won't take another 3 months!!)
Monday 16th May
Well the pups are now 6 weeks old and are really thriving. Mia and her brother are needless to say inseperable and I am very releived that we don't have any socialising issues that might have ensued should only one puppy have survived the whelping process. .....the saying that 'they are attached at the hip' certainly springs to mind as seldom is either puppy far away from the other. After their initial 3 weeks mostly eating and sleeping in their whelping box they are now certainly making up for lost time with their new found freedom in the big wide world. The recent good weather in April has given them every opportunity to be outside in the garden and the woods. They are now socialising with the adult dogs who are quite happy with them most of the time...however sometimes the puppies exuberance can annoy them and you can just imagine them saying to themselves 'when are you going away to your now owners!' They will leave for their new homes on the weekend of the 5th of June after 9 weeks in each other's company. You can view video footage on youtube with the following links.
It's 2 weeks since I posted on the site and I'm glad to be able to say that the puppies are doing fine....well they are doing much better than fine really and are growing like mushrooms. Yesterday they opened their eyes for the first time so it won't be long before they are scuttling around the whelping box at a great rate of knots......the next day or so I would expect them to be getting up on their hind legs and doing what can only be described as the commando-crawl...the funny half walking/crawling on all fours that they attempt with such determination. We only have the boy dog to place as the bitch had been reserved by a charming couple in the Glasgow area. To view pictures from Rhea's latest litter as well as previous Branxholme litters you should click the following link. Puppy Pics
Sunday 3rd April
Well it's been a hard days night I can tell you...certainly full of emotion. Rhea started her stage 1 labour at 2.30am and this progressed till about 6.00am when she entered stage 2 when after another hour a puppy was born at 7.00am.....unfortunately the boy pup was stillborn. Another boy was born an hour later at 7 and survived I'm glad to say...both puppies were 16oz which is the biggest by a long way that we've had in all our litters over the years (we've had them as small as 7oz and survive)....but 10oz is a good weight to start life after whelping. Another pup was born an hour later weighing in at just 6oz and this too was stillborn. The final pup was born again another hour later, this time a girl weighing a healthy 12oz, and she is fine. The vet thinks the first 2 boys were possibly vying to be born first which resulted in Rhea having difficulty with the 2 very large puppies. Anyway, the main thing is that Rhea is fine and nature being what nature is, we just have to accept what occurred and be thankful that a worse scenario didn't ensue. Prior to whelping Rhea didn't look that big so I thought that she would be lucky to have the 6 puppies that she did last time....and if the total weight of the pups is added up that figure wouldn't be too far out. The 2 pups are now receiving very attentive care from mummy. Watch this space!!
Tuesday 29th March
One week to go and Rhea is fine. We are breeders of top class gundogs in the Scottish Borders offering private gundog tuition for dog and handler. Accredited Trainer and assessor with The Gundog Club of Great Britain. Check us out online at "branxholme". Puppies are reared within our home until they are ready to be transferred to our purpose built puppy area within our garden and grounds. This weaning process at 4 or 5 weeks ensures the best possible transition from the lactating bitch......the play area where the puppies are reared has been knicknamed "Alton Towers for puppies" by many of the new owners who come to view their puppies prior to the eventual visit, a sad time from my own point of view, at 8 or 9 weeks of age when they depart to their new homes. Under no circumstamces would we let the puppies go before this age...the bonding time they have with their siblings at this age is a crucial element in their behavioural development. The puppies are always bred from top gundog lines...the advantage of this, and this is a personal view, is that the puppies can be more biddable (easier to train) than other strains. They have a smaller head and are not so chunky as their show bred brothers and sisters which gives them a more lithesome appearance.... therefore, if you are looking for a show dog then our kennel would not be fulfilling your requirements. The Sire and Dam (Rhea & Jagdens Druid) of our current litter have the distinction of being Field Trial winners themselves. The progeny of Rhea's first litter 2 years ago, Kylo, can be viewed either in person or from the handsome pictures and videos we have of him. Jagdens Druid was the stud dog on that occasion and we decided to use him again seeing as we were more than happy with the resulting puppies. Videos and hundresds of pictures of our puppies can be viewed at our website and on the links displayed there...alternatively you may search google with the "anmackay" parameter.
Tuesday 15th March
Without actually getting a scan done to confirm for sure that Rhea is in fact pregnant I would rate it a 95% certainty. However, it's still possible that nature might intervene and disappoint us all so we will just have to be patient and hang on for another 3 weeks. That said I would encourage all parties that have expressed an interest in the puppies to confirm their continued interest by email in the next 3 weeks. Fingers crossed for some happy news around April 5th!
Sunday 6th March
On Tuesday it will be 5 weeks since Rhea was covered by Jagdens Druid. This is the same dog that we used for her first litter which produced beautiful puppies Even by todays reckoning I would guess that she is pregnant with her puppies. However, not taking anything for granted, I will give it another week before I pronounce for sure that she is with pup!! If all goes according to plan she would be hopefully giving birth around the 5th of April........watch this space as they say!!
Monday 20th December
Part 1 of the video of Rhea's first litter has been uploaded to youtube.....you can view Here or doubleclick the following link........
I have just posted on to youtube a remastered video of Rhea's puppies at 9 weeks old. You can access the video by clicking HEREor typing the following link into your browser. The identity of each puppy is confirmed by locating the tipex markings...and I'm guessing that the owners will have forgotten what they were so here are the markings for each puppy.......however Cookies owners will not really need this info for obvious reasons!!! I will do another video remastering in the coming weeeks for Part 1. Myriam Wilkie Black Bitch Juno Top Head , Rebecca Bohle Black Bitch Tess Left Ear, Linsay Graham Black Bitch Leona Right Ear, Jean Munroe Black Dog Blade Bottom Tail, Mackays Black Dog Kylo Top Tail, Steph Lelue Yellow Bitch Cookie. Part 2 below...
The following links will bring up the video for The Lothian & Borders Novice Trial that was held at Mayshiel near Longformacus on the 8th September. In my capacity as picker-up for the day I was also allowed to record the proceedings for posterity! The winner was Thomas Bushby and his dog Levenghyl Boxstone. The judges on the day were Peter Bates, Joe Maclure, Anne Faulds and Kirsty Cousins, who was incidentally officiating at her first trial. Summing up on what was a perfect day and a perfect trial, good weather and scenting conditions prevailed and the trial was hosted with the kind permission of the Packard family and their enthusiastic and knowledgeable young head-keeper Mr Philip Savage on perfect ground with a plethora of game....Oh yes, and not forgetting that we were able to declare a happy and worthy winner at the end of the day in Thomas Bushby!
It's been a while since I posted anything of note to the Branxholme WEB pages but I keep chuckling to myself after my experience this afternoon. Wendy and Richard from Heiton near Kelso were having a lesson with Finn their 12 week old Black Labrador...just a taster session really, to start doing things correctly from day one as it were. Well I can honestly say I have never come across such a well behaved and biddable 12 week old puppy in all my years of gundog training. He just did everything 100%....he sat and watched what was going on, concentrating all the time, even with another dog close by, hardly ever needing to be corrected. Well done Finn, 10 out of 10. .... and I'll tell you something else.... it's got me thinking about another litter from Rhea !!....don't tell Shiela.
Tuesday 23 March
Thanks to all of you who have enquired about any forthcoming litters from Rhea. We had intended to cover her this week but due to having 2 bitches in season at the same time and in consideration of her not being due for another 3 weeks, we miscalculated the start of Rhea's season by approximately 3 days, with the result that we've 'missed the boat' for this year. All going well we will try again next spring as having a litter in the winter months is too much of a chore.
I have decided to repeat the Special Rate on the One2One training courses that we introduced last Spring........a block booking of 4 lessons will be reduced by 10% to £90.
Friday 12th March
Great news on Kylo's Hip Scores......The Vet phoned me this afternoon to pass on the result of Kylo's recent Hip Scoring. A combined total of 6 (3 and 3) means that he has excellent hips. Hip scores are marked from 0 to 106, the lower the better, so 6 (the breed average being 15) is really fantastic !.........also good news for owners of Kylo's siblings from Rhea's 1st litter.
Tuesday 9th February
Here are the links to the youtube videos of Keepers Day at Hallrule Estate last Saturday.
Congratulations to Rebecca Bohle and Tess for passing the Grade 2 Gundog Club Assessment on Wednesday (which just happened to be Tess's 1st birthday). Not content with just a 'pass' or 'merit' grade Rebecca achieved a mark in excess of 90% which classed her award with 'distinction'. Graham Gibson was her instructor for the 8 week course near Biggar and will no doubt hope to see her in the spring for his Grade 3 training. View picture HERE
Wednesday 3rd February
Branxholme Torr: Many happy returns to Kylo today on the occasion of his 1st birthday! Today in Edinburgh Kylo passed his Eye Examination for future Stud requirements.... so fingers crossed for the Hip Scores next month!......owners of Kylo's siblings take note.
Friday 29th January
Before I upload all the fun of this years Keepers Day at Hallrule I thought I should remind you of what happened last year. Click the following links:
Mr Alan Kennard has had success with Branxholme Bailey of Highdunscott in the last few days, winning the Cornwall Field Trial Society 12 Dog Open, having previously won a Novice last year on the Isle of Wight. This won't qualify him for The Championship as it needs to be a 24 dog stake but it will give him one leg of the two required to be a Field Trial Champion... wow !!! (dogs need 2 Open Trial wins to be awarded their Champion status) Bailley was born in 2006 by Tudorcourt Blueback of Silversnipe out of our Cola (Stockiemuir Tinker) and originally went to a trainer in Wales with his sister Branxholme Bianca. Alan has the good fortune to be running in another 4 open trials in the next fortnight so we might see a Branxholme dog in the Championship yet !!!
And success closer to home should also be mentioned whilst on this subject....even if I say so myself !! Last Saturday at the Golden Retriever Club of Scotland 16 dog Novice Trial at the Dupplin Estate near Perth, Branxholme Star and myself had the good fortune to come away as winners.....together with 2 handsome trophies no less. Branxholme Star, or Rhea as she is affectionatly known, will be 3 years old in November and produced her first litter earlier this year. Any of the puppy owners from that litter should take note of this success and amend their puppy's pedigree accordingly.....and please send another £100 to me ASAP......only joking of course!.........For picture of happy me and Rhea see Here
Monday October 19th
Back again....jumping from June to October we're now about to enter into the main Shooting and Trial season. Game started with grouse in August and then partridges and pheasants in September and October respectively. TheTrialing season starts with rabbits in August for the Novice Trials and usually ends at the end of November with the completion of the Open Trials which qualify dogs for the Retriever Championship in early December.
Sunday June 7th
NEW LITTER OF PUPPIES FOR BRANXHOLME SKYE ......Common Riding Friday arrival of seven labrador puppies for John and Lillian Hope. How appropriate for John, Hawick Common Riding Master of Ceromonies, for Skye to bring her puppies into the world on this day!....and needless to say Lillian didn't see any of the proceedings on Hawick Moor! Four yellow (1 dog& 3 bitches) and three black (2 bitches & 1 dog) puppies made up the litter. Skye was mated with Jagdens Druid, the same stud dog that I used for Rhea earlier this year, so the progeny should look pretty much like Rhea's puppies. For further details contact John, Lillian or Julie on 01450376598
Wednesday April 15th
SHOOTING GAZETTE HEADLINES !!! .....YOUNG LABRADOR PUPPY OF 10 WEEKS MAKES 1ST RETRIEVE……… Tonight in the wood above the Firs, Tess, one of the 3 remaining puppies, appeared from the bushes with a baby rabbit dangling from her mouth. To say it was a retrieve would maybe be stretching it a bit, but after a chase round the wood in hot pursuit of Tess I managed to salvage the critterbefore Kylo and Cookie got in on the act. (they were chasing Tess as well, and always looked to be catching her before me) The poor Rabbit appeared none the worse for it’s after dinner run around and I left it tucked in to a nice clump of cover where it hopefully made a full recovery. I’m glad the wee rabbit’s after dinner run around didn’t turn in to an after dinner tasty treat for Tess. Phew!!
With Cookie leaving on Friday and Tess going on Sunday things will start to return to normal at The Firs… but nevertheless it is always a sad time for us (OK Shiela, maybe not as sad for you)…. However, we still have Kylo to keep us occupied but it’s never the same, even with one puppy remaining… you really need a brace or more to see them frantically tearing about after each other and getting up to mischief that only puppies can get up to and get away with it.….. and it was really nice to get the feedback from ‘Juno’s’ new owners, who commented in their email…. “Just to say we are having a lovely time with this wee pup. She is very bright and has got the hang of asking to go outside which is fantastic. We had a couple of noisy nights but all is fine now.”…… “Anyway thank you once again for giving us this great experience. We really appreciate all the work that you have done to make this puppy such a delight to have.” ……Thanks for that Myriam and Victor.….Shiela and I love to hear all the latest developments with the puppies that leave The Firs.
Eight weeks old today.....Saturday sees the departure of three puppies to their new homes. Two girls are heading for Edinburgh and a boy is staying closer to home in Selkirk. The good news for Kylo is that he will still enjoy the company of two of his sisters for another two weeks prior to their departure to London and Linlithgow. Now that the weather has improved our own little 'Alton Towers for puppies' is proving to be very popular. The only downside to this is carting the little blighters all the way up to the top of our garden near the main kennel.....carrying two at a time is akin to lugging a half bag of coal....probably worse..... the bag of coal doesn't wriggle!
See the video of the puppies in action at Alton Towers Part 1.....HERE and Part 2 HERE.....PREPARE TO LAUGH!
Yesterday a new colour was added to the official KC colours associated with Labradors....Black & Tan? The puppies were playing contentedly at our back door when I heard what appeared to sound like a 'rumble of thunder' in the distance...closer inspection revealed Cookie, our little yellow girl, emerging unscathed from the coal bunker after a brief forage. As Shiela owned up to leaving the hatch open it was left to Shiela to dispatch Cookie to the kitchen sink for her 1st meeting with soap and water.....and knowing what Cookie is like it will only be the first of many future visits!.....or it may be that she just has a desire to evolve into a little black girl like her sisters?.......NA, I DON'T THINK SO
New slide show of puppies to see on Rhea's 1st Litter subpage.....click......HERE
Eagle eyed visitors to our video uploads pages will have noticed one of our little boy puppies gamely careering about on three and a half legs! Last Thursday evening his over exuberant mummy jumped into the whelping box and fractured his hind quarter!! A visit to the vet confirmed the damage and a splint was subsequently attached to his hind quarter. As the videos bear witness it doesn't seem to hinder him in the slightest...he still tears about in pursuit of his brothers and sisters. The splint is due to come off this Monday so we will have to be a little more wary of him geting into any physical dust ups with his siblings in the short term. However, Kirsten likes the idea that he will need some swimming lessons in the bath to strengthen the muscles in his leg.... now we can look forward to videos of Kirsten and puppy playing in the bath together! Her boyfriend in Canada will no doubt find them very amusing! Watch the videos........ the upshot of this unfortunate incident is that 'Jake the peg', the name he goes by till Kirsten comes up with his permanent name, will be residing at The Firs and will become the 5th member of the Branxholme kennel. The things you have to do, something trivial like breaking your leg for instance, before you get your own way!!
The puppies were registered today with The Kennel Club and the names we have chosen should be confirmed by the weekend. The boys are to be Branxholme Torr and Blade and the girls Avena (yellow) Juno, Candy and Leona. After much deliberation and cross Atlantic chatting, Kirsten and Cam have decided on 'Kylo' as the pet name for Branxholme Torr. By mutual agreement the other shortlisted name of 'Duke' was discarded because of the Scottish- Canadian pronounciation differences.....Kirsten assumed that 'Duke' would become 'Dook' and that she didn't want her dog to be confused with a swim! Sorry Cam.
Shiela and Kirsten had the puppies outside in the sunshine today. The pups had their lunch at the top of our daffodil bank and top of the head, in keeping with her 'minnie the minx' nickname, proceeded to do a roll down the said embankment! The large hedge also proved to be an attraction with most of them disappearing for some time to explore the wonders of this new-found terrain......so much more exciting than the kitchen floor!! Needless to say barricades have been erected to deny the little scoundrels future escapades into hostile territory! On the plus side this sojourn into fresh air has done wonders for their appetite and they have shown more enthusiasm with their puppy gruel.....they will get extra rations of raw mince later this evening as a reward for this new found desire to fill their bellies!
The first spring course of the year under the auspices of The Gundog Club started today. We have 2 Labs, 2 Springers and a Cocker (not forgetting 5 handlers!) in a Grade 1 Class. The next courses are scheduled for early May, another Grade 1 and possibly a Grade 2.
Watch the video of the puppies at 34 days... Rhea’s 1st Litter 34 DaysHERE
Watch the video of the puppies at 19 days... Rhea 's 1st Litter 19 DaysHERE
Today was a sad day for us here at The Firs. Our second dog Tally made his final journey from our home to the big kennel in the sky. He was 2 months short of being 13 and every day of that life he just wanted to be your friend. I would guess that there wasn't a softer dog on the planet than Tally....he wanted to be friends with everyone....he would amble up to your side, always with something in his mouth, and plonk himself down beside you looking up with his toothy grin. If I were honest, probably this day should have occurred earlier, such was his obvious discomfort with arthritus, and not forgetting that he was nearly deaf and half blind, (wait a minute, I fall in to this category!) but Tally would soldier on and was happy just to be part of the family, watching everything that went on around him and with never a thought of complaint, but you tend to take the objective view that his happy demeanor meant that he was content with his lot regardless of the downsides that prevailed. Tally, whatever you're up to up there, we'd like to tell you that all of us down here will never forget you and the happy times you blessed us with.
They're here!.....although 5 days early I'm happy to announce the births to Rhea and Tallow of 6 Labrador puppies.(what breed did you think you would get Alistair?!) We have 2 black boys and 3 black girls with the bonus ball of a yellow girl added for luck. Shiela and Kirsten had a blonde moment announcing the wee yellow lass as a boy! .....they are going to enroll in Andrea's primary class for some extra tips re the birds and the bees me thinks! Weighing between 6 and 10 ounces, and not much bigger than a mole, the little devils are going to need some extra postnatal attention with their feeding requirements although Mum should have plent of milk coming in and the fact that there are only 6 to feed instead of 8 or 9 should bode well. Sadly we had 1 puppy stillborn.
Hallrule Keepers Day. With over 30 bodies at the muster (still alive at this stage) a great day was had by all with over 130 head of game accounted for. The most productive drive was Ruecastle with Steven marshalling the birds as if it was a 200 bird Mid November day. On this evidence Steven must have been wishing the season had another month to run ended late February instead of January...it would have paid for another wing, and not that it's needed, (it's already bigger then Hallrule House) on 'Southfork o'Rule'. Thanks again Steven for puting on a great day for us.(over 30 bodies still alive at the end by the way!) Check out the videos on the Keepers Day 09 link on the main menu.
You may remember the video of my sister receiving her Boxing Day Surprise (check it at the bootom of this page) ......well Stoker is now 2 years old and I had the privelege of accompanying him on his first shoot day with the Branxholme picking up team. See how the day progressed (I think that is the correct word) in Stokers Report Card....HERE
I have just spent a lovely day on the Temple Estate of Mr Peter de Vink. As a co-judge with Gary Ford, Joe MacLure and Andy Whiteford at the Lothian & Borders Novice Trial we experienced hosptality beyond compare. Under testing conditions for handlers and dogs alike Steward of the beat Mr Nail Patton excelled himself in presenting the birds at a timely interval. A worthy winner was Mr Steve Hore with Esmoro Dipper. See the pics and report.....HERE
It has been confirmed today that Rhea is 'with pup'. Almost exactly half way through her confinement Rhea is in good health and is still very active in her picking-up working capacity. Unlike humans dogs don't get 3 months off work prior to giving birth!
On Saturday 6th December, Rhea was covered byJagdens Druid. A repeat mating was carried out 2 days later and on each occasion we had a tie for around 17 minutes. By early January we will know if we are going to have puppies in early February.