When we brought Koko home, she grew to be the most intelligent, beautiful dog in the world. We thought to ourselves, let's have puppies so we can have one more of her and share her with the world. Of course we may have been a bit biased about her looks and intelligence as Koko was the first dog Dave and I had ever had. Sure we had lived with other dogs, but they were always someone else's dog.
So as Koko aged, we began to read about breeding dogs. We read books about dog genetics, and whelping puppies. We looked up and read everything then available on the internet about whelping. And we learned that we needed to check out a few things before we actually bred Koko. So off we took her to a canine opthamologist suggested by a friend who breeds miniature Schnauzers. Koko's eyes were fine, but it was a Canadian canine opthamologist so did not go into the OFA/CERF data bases. Lesson one, check into all the different categories of testing. So then we got her hips checked we knew they needed to be sent to the OFA, and that's where the X-rays went. They came back as Fair. This did not mean she had or would develop hip dysplasia, it just meant her hips were not as good as they should have been. Lesson two, be sure to feed a good quality food to your large-breed puppy to regulate early growth and weight gain, and don't have them jumping and putting a lot of strain on those growing bones.
So despite the less than perfect testing and with the knowledge that whelping could endanger her life, on we went with our plans for a breeding. We began our search for a male chocolate lab with a friend who had a lovely chocolate lab that he had got from Maureen Elgert of Irishcreek Kennels. Maureen was a perfect contact as she was more than willing to help out. Her chocolate male Panchanga's Big Country Max had died so was not available for stud, but Maureen suggested two males that had come out of her breeding program. We were able to track down the owners of IrishCreek's Brady. Brady had excellent hips, was a tall, lanky male and seemed like a good compliment to our somewhat overweight, short Koko. We introduced Koko to Brady on Valentine's Day 2004. It seemed like fate.