So, you have decided to enter the exciting world of canines <g>! (Not
enough to do in your life, eh?) Here are a few of the facts that you need to know to
handle all aspects of your pet's life--including breeding--properly.
Canines reach their full-growth and are considered "adult" at twenty-one Centurian months. Canines under twenty-one months are called "whelps," "pups" or "puppies". Female canines are called "bitches" or "bitch-puppies" when they reach eighteen Centurian weeks (nine Centurian months); male canines are called "dogs" or "dog-puppies." Males who have been bred are called "studs."
CARE AND UPKEEP
Now that you have your canine(s), how much is it going to cost you a year to keep him in fine form? What special equipment are you going to need? What happens if he gets ill?
Canines thrive on "leftovers" and dry kibble (This is available from any Beast Guild.), with 10-20% of the daily "intake" being fat (from meats, mostly). Canines require the following:
|Younger than six weeks||four to five meals per day|
|Six to eight weeks||four meals per day|
|Eight to eighteen weeks||three meals per day|
|eighteen weeks weeks to one year||two meals per day|
|After one year||one meal per day|
Cost per adult animal per month is twelve bronze pieces (six bronze pieces per week).
Pregnant and nursing bitches require a special diet and cost two silver pieces five bronze pieces (250 copper pieces) per month (one silver piece two bronze pieces five copper pieces per week). This diet consists of a normal canine's meal plus foods rich in iron, calcium (in the form of milk) and protein to enable the bitch to nurse her pups without depleting her natural resources.
Weaned whelps also require a special diet and cost 3 silver pieces six bronze pieces per month (more than a mother but less than an adult <g>; one silver piece eight bronze pieces per week). The whelp's meal adds the following to the normal canine diet: yellow and green vegetables in quantity--one cup of each per meal--plus cod liver oil, of all the strange things. Your kennels may smell like a fishery, but it is worth it for the beautiful coats on your canines as well as for the health and vitality of your animals.
Haras has a beautiful bitch, Pickles. Haras has not bred Pickles, so the bitch is treated as an adult canine. To feed her for a year will cost the Beast Guilder 228 bronze pieces or two gold pieces two silve pieces eight bronze pieces (Don't forget our yearly "Time Warp" in your calculations <g>!).
Next year, Haras does plan to breed Pickles, so the journeyman is looking at the following costs instead: Six weeks for pregnancy plus six weeks for nursing equals 1500 coppers or one gold piece five silver pieces per pregnancy (twelve weeks/six months total). If she breeds her canine only once, the Beast Guilder has twenty-six weeks of normal feeding remaining, at 1560 coppers or 1 gold pieces five silvers and six bronzes for a total year outlay of 3060 coppers or three gold pieces six bronzes.
If she breeds Pickles twice, Haras has fourteen weeks of normal feeding remaining, at 840 coppers, for a total year outlay of 3840 coppers or three gold pieces eight silvers four bronzes. This is of course without counting the feeding costs of any pups she keeps from the one or two litters <g>.
Still interested? Then follow along to the next step!
Grooming a canine consists of brushing it thoroughly, trimming out any mats that may have developed and checking its toenails and teeth. This will take you an average of ten (10) minutes a day per animal if you do it every day from the time they are born. This time is regardless of the type of canine you have--long-haired or short-haired--it only takes you the ten minutes a day (per canine). But, with your long-haired canine, if you let knots form or allow the animal to play in briar patches, you can be looking at a three- to four-candlescar job before your pet is once again presentable!
You might be saying "Okay, I'll just have a short-haired animal then. It will be less trouble." Not really because brushing does more than keep a canine's coat from tangling. It massages the skin and "knocks off" the sand, dust and dirt, keeping the animal's coat clean and shiny and keeping your pet healthy. It takes much longer to wash your canine once a week than it does to groom them daily. Daily grooming also lessens the risk of skin infection in your canine and keeps pests from living on your pet. (Ticks and fleas have no qualms about living in the desert <g>!) A special herbal repellant is available from Beast Guilds to keep the pests away. (Available at three bronze pieces 1 copper per pound--which lasts about 10 Centurian weeks.)
A good set of grooming tools (brush, comb, small scissors, small knife or clippers for nails) will cost you two (2) gold pieces, but they will last the lifetime of several animals, needing replacement every twenty (20) to thirty (30) years. If you have more than one canine, you might consider investing in more sets of tools, but this is not necessary.
Centuria is an agrarian society, so things like collars and leashes do not have the "necessity" that they do on Terra. But if you plan to train your animal to do anything at your bidding, you will need to purchase these items.
Leather leashes and collars cost between one (1) and (two) 2 gold pieces, depending on how "fancy" you want the workmanship. A body harness (such as a guide canine wears) would cost two (2) to three (3) gold pieces. Some of the larger canines can be put to work by miners, pulling ore carts; their gear costs in excess of three (3) gold pieces.
Canine beds, special "toys," and other paraphernalia are rarer on Centuria, but they do exist. If you are interested in something along these lines, please contact L.A. Malcor at Legend@malcor.com with a description of the item you want. She will get back to you about whether or not you may have it and, if you may, with a price.
The standard serious diseases suffered by canines (parvo, distemper, rabies) and the like, can be magically cured by a Healer, if you can afford the spell (Prices vary, depending on your location and the Healer. Check with your BOD if you need a Healer to perform this type of service.). But this doesn't mean your pet cannot get sick. Inoculations are given to all puppies when they reach six Centurian weeks. This service is performed for free by the Beast Guild to all registered breeders.
Neutering of males is handled around the eighteenth week by either a Beast Guilder or the breeder.
Most of the canines on Centuria are working animals--guard, herd, hunting, guide, spit and war dogs--and get their exercise (or most of it) while performing their duties. But all of the large breeds need exercise. Working canines, such as guard dogs at a manor, do not require any special exercise program to keep them fit and healthy. But they do need a secure shelter for sleeping and getting out of the elements and the War!
If you have a kennel, you want to figure approximately 125 square feet for every large adult dog you plan to house. 40 feet of it should be in a straight line so they can get up to running speed within its confines. With a properly-sized kennel, the dog can run when he feels like it without you having to supervise the activity. Canines need about an candlescar of good, solid running per day. Now, you can let that slide a bit if it's raining or the Cinnamarians are raiding heavily in your neighborhood <g>, but the animal will not be in peak form until you get him back on his exercise schedule. The animal should be allowed to roam freely with herds (or whatever) as much as possible during the day.
Oh, and for all of you Dragonriders, you do not have anywhere in Dumnonia that you can build permanent housing for your canines. The base camps of the Dragonlords are mobile tent cities, and you are assigned a different tent every time you are on duty in the King's Camp based on availability and on who is still alive in your century. You will need to make arrangements with a Beast Guilder or other individual to watch your dog when you are off fighting. If you own a lot of dogs, you might want to consider bankrolling a Journeyman Beast Guilder somewhere who can watch them for you.
During the first few months you are housebreaking the canine and teaching him social skills--no jumping on people, barking only at intruders or danger, eating only when allowed (no snacks on duty), etc. Other natural skills are also worked on during this time, training the canine to perform them on command. These include swimming, tracking, digging, fetching and guarding, as well as learning to travel well via dragon, wagon or whatever.
Between six (6) weeks and eighteen (18) weeks you can only teach them simple commands such as "Come," "Sit," "Down," and _possibly_ "Heel" with any reliability.
"Stand" and "Stay" and other, more complicated commands can be added at eighteen weeks. Dogs can also be taught to back up (They can do it, but they won't do it naturally--it's a learned behavior.), jump and perform other "tricks" at this time. "Sitting up" is too hard on a large dog's back prior to eighteen weeks; same with the other strenuous stuff, like jumping hurdles.
You only need an candlescar each per day for a superior training job. Pups can only concentrate about ten minutes at a time until they hit about eighteen to twenty weeks, then you are lucky to get twenty (20) minutes out of them--that's how long you can expect a dog to remember the command "Down--Stay!" "Sit--Stay!" is only good for fifteen (15) minutes! As the canines get older, you can work several dogs at the same time. It takes a couple of weeks of repetition for a dog to learn a command with any consistency, about three (3) weeks for the command to be truly set. You can train several commands, say up to six (6), at the same time, remembering to reinforce previously learned commands whenever possible.
You can breed a bitch twice a year (approximately every nine Centurian months), starting when she is two (2) years old. You want your studs to stand for the first time at around two (2) years. You should breed them no more than one or two additional times that year. Thereafter you can breed them every month until they lose interest <g>.
Stud Fees will range from one (1) to three (3) gold pieces, with the upper number for the truly outstanding animal. (Most breeders have their own studs, so this is not used as often as in runner breeding <g>)
Bitches come into heat every nine (9) months and are fertile for approximately one week. (For real specifics on how to ::ahem:: handle the actual breeding, contact L.A. Malcor at Legend@malcor.com <g>.) Every time you breed your bitch during the proper time period, there is a 90% chance she will conceive. (Roll 1d10, 1-9=yes, 10=not this time.)
Gestation (full term of pregnancy) takes six (6) weeks.
For litter size, roll 2d4 (range 2-8, average 5). Give a 10% chance of a runt (1 on a d10) and a 1% chance of stillborn (1 on a d100). Each pup has a 50-50 shot on sex, so roll 1d6 (1-3 male, 4-6 female) for each pup.
Purchase Prices for a Canines would range as follows:
|Pup (under 6 weeks)||2 to 2 gold pieces 5 silver pieces|
|Pup (6 to 7 weeks)||3 gold pieces|
|Pup (4 to 9 months)||3 gold pieces 5 silver pieces|
|Pup (9 months)--partially trained||4 gold pieces|
|Canine (1 year)--fully trained||6 gold pieces|
|Canine (2 years)--proven trained||what you can get <g>|
So if you have currently have, say, seven (7) bitches of breeding age, each with an average litter of five (5) pups, that's thirty-five (35) pups in a six-month period.
Keeping, say, two (2) for adding to the breeding pool, leaves you thirty-three (33) for sale. If you are cagey and only sell ten (10) pups at around six (6) weeks and ten (10) pups at around four months, saving the rest to sell at the nine (9) month and one (1) year gold pieces, you will average around 262 gold pieces per annum at two litters a year.
[30 (10X3 at six weeks) + 35 (10X3.5 at four months) + 24 (6X4 at nine months) + 42 (7X6 at 1 year) = 131 gold pieces per nine months, doubled is 262 gold pieces a year.]
Not a bad income <g>.
It is very unusual for any breeder to sell off older stock unless the canines have been kept and trained with that in mind. Your prize studs and bitches are like members of the family, your children. It's not like raising cattle--especially with all the time you spend training and grooming them. So keep in mind that if you want to sell older, proven stock, that it is that much harder to part with them. Most breeders will simply keep any stock they don't sell by one year, as it adds to their breeding pool. If there is some question about the care and training canines that we failed to answer, or you really want to know the "real deal" about breeding the large canines, please contact L.A. Malcor at Legend@malcor.com. If you have a question about dice rolling or pricing please contact Dragonlord Krin at Legend@malcor.com.
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