|THE GLORIOUS WHITE PEKINGESE
|Having decided to embark upon a serious effort to breed Champion quality white Pekingese, I would like to take this opportunity to educate the Fancy as to the breeding and care of them. Since our Standard calls for all colors to be equal and no longer states that a black mask is preferred, Judges must be willing to look at the whites with the same eye as they use in looking at the other colors. This has not always been the case. Now, we must take this one step further and be willing to admit that the whites must be equal in quality to the other colors. No longer can we afford the statement “it’s pretty good—for a white”.
Since white is recessive to all other colors we must breed white to white in order to consistently produce white. If we breed two dogs of any other color together, and one of them carries a strong gene for white, you will get an occasional white puppy in the litter. These probably will not be what we call paper white or ice white, but will have some crème in the coat. A creamy white bred to an ice white will produce both colors in the litter.
Since it is impossible to breed a white with a mask, we must make sure we never lose the jet black pigment around the eye rims, mouth, and pads of the feet. The eyes should be so dark that you cannot see the pupil except in the brightest light. With these qualities in your line, you should be able to breed white to white for several generations without losing pigment. You will probably notice the first sign of poor pigment in the pads of the feet or the nose. Newborn puppies are born very pink and white with no sign of black. They will be a few days old before you notice the darkening and if it takes longer than a week or ten days for the nose to completely turn black you will know that you are looking at a possible problem in the future.
Admittedly, we have seen less than perfect whites in the show ring in years past. However, it is now time to admit that the only ones who should be shown are the ones that are as well constructed as the other colors. I have attempted twice, and failed twice, to breed this quality of whites and as they say, the third time is the charm! With the addition of SINGLEWELL TONIC to my existing line of bitches I have managed to produce what pleases me. So far, Tonic is an American and Canadian Champion and is the sire of two champion bitches and one champion son. We are just beginning!
In order to produce these gorgeous creatures for the show ring, the bitches that we use in the whelping box must be properly constructed. There is absolutely no reason to breed a bitch that is less than quality. Surely there are some that don’t finish because they don’t like the show ring, have an eye injury, etc., but the quality MUST be there before we consider breeding.
Whites come in various shades. Our Tonic is ice white and absolutely shimmers in the sunlight. Then there is paper white, which is not quite as brilliant, but is still very white. From there we go through several shades that I still call white (creamy white, white with cream shadings, etc.) before you get to cream. I was told years ago that in order to breed an ice white you should start with a particolor and breed the spots off! If you look at parties, the white is always a brilliant white. I have never tried doing that, but do realize that some whites are actually “phantom particolors”. The best way to determine the true color is by getting them wet. It is in the tub when you see the different shadings.
Breeding white Pekingese is not for the faint-at-heart! Coat care is somewhat the same as for any other color, with a few exceptions! They demand more frequent bathing and a continual effort to keep the faces clean. First of all, you will notice the eye staining on the face where you wouldn’t with a dark face. This isn’t because whites are the only ones that stain, but you will notice it more. Minerals in the water, being on concrete or grass, etc. can cause staining. Not all whites have eye staining and I am going to attempt to breed away from this problem. If they do stain there are a few things you can do to minimize it. First of all, keep the face cleaned daily with a weak solution of boric acid and distilled water. You may also use Johnson’s baby shampoo to wash the face without hurting the eyes. An occasional drop of Gentocin Durafilm will also help. One of the best products I have found comes from Canada and is called Eye and Wound Powder. This product has a penicillin base and is made for treating pink eye in cattle. It can safely be used in and around the eye. Unfortunately, I am not sure it is available any longer.
I, for one, refuse to keep my dogs up in wire bottom pens—they are free spirits here—so I am always on the lookout for products to keep the coat white. Believe me, I don’t have all the answers yet, but there are new shampoos coming on the market almost daily designed specifically for white dogs. You just have to try them out and see which ones you like the best. One helpful product is Roux Fanci-Full Ultra White Minx. You can put it in a spray bottle and spray on the stained areas and brush dry. Experiment a little until you find out what works best for you.
Can we continue to breed white to white and not lose pigment? I think so, but am still getting to that point. Does black in the line help keep the pigment black? Maybe, but only if it is dominent for black pigment. There are a lot of unanswered questions, but with more breeders willing to undertake this endeavor, the answers will come.
Needless to say, this is the labor of love. There is nothing as glorious as a beautifully presented white Pekingese strutting its stuff around the show ring! I don’t understand how any of you, judges included, can resist them.