Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies

Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies

Artificial insemination, both chilled and frozen, is very successfully done with canines all over the world.

However, the litter of Rhodesian Ridgebacks born about 11 weeks ago and owned by Sarah Hamilton of Crownridge Kennels made history here in Barbados as it was the first Barbados Kennel Club registered litter of puppies born through the AI process with frozen imported semen.

When I visited Sarah yesterday, only 3 puppies out of a litter, I think, of 9, were there. The others had gone to their new homes. They were really adorable. Extremely friendly, playful, and full of energy. Out of the three puppies, one male and two bitches, she was hoping to select the puppy she thought would do the best in the show ring and also one, a female, would be co-owned with another person and possibly also enter the show ring.

All looked very nice and my choice would have been the male puppy as the best potential for the show ring.

The above photo was taken when I was leaving as by then, they were finally tired and had retired to their bed 🙂

I had looked at the AI with frozen semen method several years ago, and had gone through the process with the Senior Veteninary Officer, Dr. Mark Trotman, who worked out the guidelines with the Barbados Kennel Club. This was over three years ago.

The local guidelines are based on The Kennel Club’s UK guidelines. Written approval must be received from the local Barbados Kennel Club and the form submitted to them has regulations that the proposed sire of the litter must has sired at least one litter naturally before approval and that the semen is from lines known clear of hereditary defects in the breed. Other conditions would be that the bitch is under 8 years at the time of whelping and has not had more than 6 litters.

The Barbados Ministry also has regulations and guidelines and an import licence must be obtained before frozen semen is imported, just as in the case of the importation of dogs. Frozen semen does not carry the taxes that the importation of puppies/dogs do but as the frozen semen is shipped in a container of liquid nitrogen there are other expenses involved. The container would be stored at the vet’s clinic until it is ready to be used.

Just as Barbados has restrictions and regulations as to countries dogs/puppies can be imported from without a six months’ quarantine, the same restrictions and regulations apply to the importation of frozen semen.

So it is important to look for frozen semen from dogs who can travel to the UK under the Pet Passport Scheme and/or live in the UK. Once a dog can enter the UK and be released from any quarantine applicable, it can enter Barbados.

At the time I had made the arrangements for a frozen semen collection from a top UK Bouvier, a poultry disease broke out in the UK and the same morning that the selected UK Bouvier was scheduled to go to the vet, the process was stopped as Barbados put a ban on poultry and its by products coming out of the UK. The frozen semen would have been set in egg yolk.

So I shelved the idea and instead imported a dog from the Netherlands who had a Pet Passport.

Ch. Rick Lois From The Dogsfarm at Calliope

Ch. Rick Lois From The Dogsfarm at Calliope

Not shown much in the UK but getting a CC and Best of Breed from the bouvier specialist judge Mark James at The Ladies Kennel Association UK Championship Show, Rich competed against 30 something other Bouviers at that show. You can see his pages here. Rick Lois

At his local progeny’s first show, however, he was nearly beaten by his daughter, Rhapsody who was just 6 months and went Best Puppy in Show and at just 12 months, Rhapsody at her 2nd show beat her imported father and later on went on to win her first Best in Show.

You can see Rhapsody’s pages here. Rhapsody

But it is history created in the dog world in Barbados from the Crownridge Rhodesian Ridgeback breeder and it took a lot of planning, work and dedication.

Anyone trying it should remember that it involves working very closely with the Vet doing the AI with the frozen semen. Frozen semen does not last very long and retain mobility after it thaws so it is essential to do blood tests on the bitch to get her correct ovulation pattern.

The Central Veterinary Clinic at Lower Estate, St. Michael, headed by Dr. Gus Reader, was the first clinic in Barbados who should be credited with the first successful AI with frozen semen in dogs in Barbados.

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