“So what are you waiting for? Why don’t you take Oonah to meet with Chili now?” Our 15-year-old asked this morning

Her questions were followed by a simple answer that Oonah is not ready yet and that she would just get angry at Chili if he tried to do anything at this point. We need to wait until she gets ready.

Below is a more facts based explanation of a dogs heat:

The canine heat cycle is also called estrous or season and it has four stages:

Proestrus. The signs of the first phase are bloody vaginal discharge from your female and somewhat enlarged vulva. This discharge is often bright red coloured. Males will be attracted to your female but she will be unwilling to mate. This phase can last for 4 to 20 days with an average length of 9 days.

Estrus. Not to be mixed with the entire cycle name estrous. During this time your female’s vulva will get even more enlarged and the vaginal discharge will change it’s colour from bright red to pink-yellowish. It is during the estrus that mating occurs. This second phase can last for 3 to 20 days with an average of 9 days. It is during this period that eggs are released. After they have been released the eggs need 2-3 days to mature. It is generally more difficult to find the right day for mating if a female has long lasting estrus.

Diestrus. This is the time after estrus or mating. It can last for 60 to 90 days. If the mating was successful the pregnancy lasts around 60 +- 5 days.

Anestrus. This is the period of resting and is characterised by sexual and hormonal inactivity. It lasts for 2 to 3 months or as long as up to 9 months.

The above description of the canine heat cycle is a profoundly simplified one. There are several other factors that are affecting the heat cycle such as several hormones and environment female is living on just to name a few.

So where in the cycle is Oonah now?

We are now in day seven of Oonah’s heat which means that she is still in the proestrus period. Her discharge is clear red and she is not ready to meet with Chili. So for now we can’t do much but wait for her to get into estrus. It is first then she will allow Chili to try to mate with her.

If I go back to Oonah’s previous heats I would say that she will come into estrus around 27th of March. This means that we have one more week to go before any big news can be shared.

Still no heat but is it close now?

7 months and 9 days since the last time Oonah was in heat. The time between the two last heats was 6 months and 10 days. Shouldn’t her next heat be close now I wonder?

She is showing many of the signs that it will come soon such as, peeing 6-7 times during our walks instead of just 2-3 times. As soon as she see a dog in a distance she forgets everything called obedience. At the same time, at home, she is more clingy than ever. And the latest behaviour that we can add to the list of signs is that my other dogs have started to sniff Oonah under her tail.

So will the heat start soon or is Oonah just getting more dominant? Honestly I don’t know. I so hope that it is a sign of the heat being close now but the only one who knows for sure is Oonah and she kind of don’t want to tell me. She is just being very cozy and relaxed. Maybe that is what I too need to be in order for her to start with her heat.

Feeling grateful

I can’t stop feeling grateful for all of you nice people that are showing your interest in Oonah and Chili’s future puppies. All of you that I talked with and that are seriously interested in a puppy from us are so kind, engaged and offer perfect homes. That makes me feel blessed. Thank you very much for your interest and patience! I can’t be 100 % sure when Oonah will get in heat but I so hope that it will be very soon.

WAITING PART 2: Possible colours of the little ones

I know that it is not only me that is waiting for Oonah to get in heat, we are several that are waiting for that to happen. I don’t know what you are doing to get your time to go faster but for me there were some pleasant tasks I could do. One of them was to check which possible colours could Oonah’s and Chili’s puppies get. I will share my findings with you below, but first let me write a link to >>an article<< written by Caroline Coile that explains the basic genetics of saluki colours. It will help you understand things I write below. Please read it before you continue to read this post if you lack knowledge about colour genetics.

Very short explanation is that there are two loci that are important for Oonah and Chili combination and these are A locus and E locus. There are other loci as well but these are the same for all salukis, regardless of their colour, so I will leave these out.

Some colour codes’ combinations:

  • Eg/e at/at will result in grizzle saluki
  • Eg/Eg at/at will result in grizzle saluki
  • Eg/E at/at will result in grizzle saluki
  • Eg/e with at/ay or ay/ay will result in fawn or red with fringes saluki
  • Eg/E with at/ay or ay/ay will result in fawn or red with fringes saluki
  • Eg/Eg with at/ay or ay/ay will result in fawn or red with fringes saluki
  • E/e with at/ay or ay/ay will result in fawn or red with fringes saluki
  • E/E with at/ay or ay/ay will result in fawn or red with fringes saluki
  • e/e with at/at, ay/ay or at/ay will result in cream or red saluki
  • E/E or E/e together with at/at will result in black and tan saluki


Now here is what I know about our couple. The bold characters below means that I am 99% sure of them being right. Only by testing for these genes we can be 100% sure of them being there.

Let us start with what we know about Chili:

His father is red, probably e/e ay/ay
His mother is red grizzle with Eg/e, Eg/Eg or Eg/E and at/at

This actualy means that Chili is either e/e, Eg/Eg, Eg/E or Eg/e and has at/ay. If he is e/e he could also be at/at and still be red. In another words we don’t know so much about Chilis colour genes.

What about Oonah?

Her father is red, probably e/e ay/ay.
Her mother is black and tan with E/e or E/E and at/at.

This means that Oonah is either e/e or E/e and has at/ay. So we don’t know much about Oonah’s colour genes too.

However, people do say that if your dog had one black hair when puppy it is not e/e. So can you see on this picture of Oonah if there is any black hair?

Photo: Sven Elen

And to summarise it all: the good thing is that both Chili and Oonah have at least one at locus. This means that if Chili also has one Eg locus there could be grizzle puppies. In the same way, if Oonah has one E locus there could be some black and tan puppies. And if they don’t have these loci there will only be cream and red puppies.

BUT, and it is a big but, some people say that there must be one more gene, that we are not aware of today, which regulates the depth of coloration e.g. the difference between cream and dark red dogs or black and tan and black and white dogs just to give some examples. This gene could also make all puppies look cream or red even if Eg or E are present. Unfortunately there is a high possibility that Oonah and Chili carry that unknown gene.

So, as I prefer to base my assumptions on facts I sent a way Oonah’s DNA sample to Davis University of California today. Hopefully they will be able to tell me which of all E-loci she has.

But even then we will not know which colours puppies will have. So we will still need to sit tight and wait until they are born.

WAITING PART 1: Waiting for the heat to start

We all wait for something but I must admit that for me the hardest part is all waiting I have in my role as the breeder.

It all starts with the decision for a specific litter.

Usually the decision for the litter has been taken several months prior to the probable start of the heat which for me means that I will count days and weeks until that probable start of heat is finally here. During this time I am trying to fill my days with something else to think of why it is good to have a lot of work to do, such as to throw myself into renovation of the old kitchen of ours, just to survive.

Now when we are hopefully ONLY three weeks away from the heat, at least if Oonah keeps the schedule from the previous year and a half, I am desperately looking for the first signs that can announce the arrival of her heat.

During our walks I suddenly find myself counting the number of times she does her pees with just one thought in my mind: “Is she trying to leave her scent for possible father-candidates on so many places as possible?” This counting is off course not reasonable at all as I don’t count how many times Oonah do her pees when she is not in heat so I don’t have any numbers to compare with. Never the less I still keep counting. And yes she is probably peeing more often now compared to what she did just a couple of weeks ago. So check on that one.

I am also trying to check if Oonah is eating more than usual. This is probably the easiest thing to notice as she is very picky with her food. Check on this one too, Oonah is finally not leaving any food left behind.

So the calendar and the fulfilled checks are going to make these three weeks go veeeeery slowly for me. And how is Oonah taking it? Well, she is not aware of my worries at all and takes it easy, very easy.