Zorro at 9 weeks.jpg

Swiss Chinooks 'Zorro'

Swiss Cheese Name: Tomme Vaudoise

Sex: Male

Birth Weight: 365g (12.86 ounces)

Zorro (aka "Gentil Zorro", originally named Tommi) was initially named after the Swiss cheese, Tomme Vaudoise. This is a soft cheese with a flowery rind typical from the French-speaking part of Switzerland. It is said to have originated in the 17th century in the alpine chalets bordering Lac de Joux in the Jura region of Vaud, before moving down to the plains in the cantons of Vaud and Geneva. It is made from cow's milk and has a typical taste and a soft centre.

Swiss Cheese Litter
Swiss Cheese Puppies
Zorro at 9 weeks.jpg

Swiss Chinooks 'Zorro'

Swiss Cheese Name: Tomme Vaudoise

Sex: Male

Birth Weight: 365g (12.86 ounces)

Zorro (aka "Gentil Zorro", originally named Tommi) was initially named after the Swiss cheese, Tomme Vaudoise. This is a soft cheese with a flowery rind typical from the French-speaking part of Switzerland. It is said to have originated in the 17th century in the alpine chalets bordering Lac de Joux in the Jura region of Vaud, before moving down to the plains in the cantons of Vaud and Geneva. It is made from cow's milk and has a typical taste and a soft centre.

Since birth Zorro was confident, active, opinionated and was a natural leader (when he started crying, all the pups started crying. This did not happen when other pups started crying). We perceived him to be a bit 'macho' whilst observing him develop and interact with his littermates from birth. He always got himself to one of his mum's nipples and never had any issues with lactation or filling his tummy! Even though is brother, Willy, was nipping the most, Zorro also needed an extra dose of bite inhibition training and calming 'sessions' to get him over his bouts of  overexcitedness.

We have high hopes for him for breeding in future as he was evaluated to be the first pick of the litter and had excellent conformation as well as an excellent temperament. Let's hope all his health tests have good results after he reaches his second birthday!

Sierra at 9 weeks

Swiss Chinooks 'Sierra'

Swiss Cheese Name: Luzerner

Sex: Female

Birth Weight: 340g (11.99oz)

Sierra (aka Eeey Sierra, Sierra Montaña, Monti Sierra) was initially named Luzi from Luzerner (Rahmkäse) cheese, which is a popular, semi-hard cheese made from pasteurised milk and cream from the Lucerne region, taking 5 to 6 weeks to mature. It is delicately creamy, mildly aromatic, has a slightly acidic aftertaste and is naturally lactose-free. It is typically used in Swiss cuisine to make traditional Älplermagronen (a Swiss ‘macaroni and cheese’ dish), which gets its name from a combination of ‘Älpler’, a term for alpine dairymen, and ‘magronen’, which is a loanword from the Italian word 'maccheroni'. Älplermagronen are now regarded as a traditional Swiss alpine dairyman's dish. In fact, pasta only arrived in the Central Alps when the Gotthard tunnel was built and the Italian workers brought their usual pasta with them, which soon became naturalised.

It had become apparent that Sierra was one of the most laid-back puppies of the litter. Since she was born, she was confident, very sociable and never missed a meal! She was almost always first to breast feed and after all her other littermates had fed, she always went in for a second round of feeding! She has been chosen as the best of two possible breed females of the litter so let's hope her health results live up to breed quality after she turns 2 years old.

Willy at 9 weeks

Swiss Chinooks 'Willy'

Swiss Cheese Name: Appenzeller

Sex: Male

Birth Weight: 288g (10.16oz)

Willy (aka Willytongo) was initially named Appi from the Appenzeller cheese, which has a documented history of at least 700 years. It is a hard, cow's-milk, Alpine cheese produced in the Appenzellerland region of northeast Switzerland. A herbal brine, sometimes incorporating wine or cider, is applied to the wheels of cheese while they cure, which flavors and preserves the cheese while promoting the formation of a rind. The cheese is straw-colored, with tiny holes and a golden rind. It has a strong smell and a nutty or fruity flavor, which can range from mild to tangy, depending on how long it is aged.

Willy was the most boisterous, cheeky and playful of the litter. Since he was born, he consistently played and challenged other littermates even though he was the lankiest of the group. He stayed with us the longest (until 17 weeks old) so he was taken to puppy class since he was 8 weeks old. He was always closest to Vreni and it was particularly hard for him when she left for her new home 2 weeks prior to him leaving. Let's hope that maybe one day they can be re-united at a family reunion.

Lila at 9 weeks.jpg

Swiss Chinooks 'Lila'

Swiss Cheese Name: Emmentaler

Sex: Female

Birth Weight: 314g (11.08oz)

Lila (aka Violetta) was initially named Emmi to represent Emmentaler cheese which is a yellow, medium-hard cheese that originated in the area around Emmental, in the canton of Bern in Switzerland. It is classified as an Alpine cheese and was first mentioned in written records in 1293. It has a savory but mild taste and is usually consumed cold (as chunks or slices) and is used in a variety of dishes, particularly in gratins and fondue where it is mixed with Gruyère.

Even though it was a coincidence that Lila was given a pink ID collar, she definitely lived up to that stereotypical persona until she left for her new home (9 weeks old). She was opinionated, confident and feminine and regularly challenged other littermates. She was chosen as our second breed female so we look forward to seeing her health test results at 2 years old.

Vreni at 9 weeks.jpg

Swiss Chinooks 'Vreni'

Swiss Cheese Name: Zincarlìn

Sex: Female

Birth Weight: 305g (10.76oz)

Vreni, pronounced 'Fre-nee' (aka Vreniska) was initially named Zinca from a cheese called Zincarlìn, a Ticino fresh cheese made from sourdough produced exclusively in the Valle di Muggio from raw paste. Its shape is unmistakable, reminiscent of that of an upturned small cup. To make Zincarlin, rennet is added to raw cow's milk with a small percentage of goat's milk. It is acidified for 24 hours and the curd is left to drain for another 24-48 hours in a cloth and, if necessary, pressed. Salt and pepper are added to the resulting paste which is taken to specific underground cellars of Monte Generoso and washed almost daily with white wine. After two months maturing the resulting cheese is called Zincarlìn da la Val da Mücc.

Vreni was always the puppy who needed a little more time to adapt to novelty things. She was the sweetest of the litter, a very affectionate puppy and was closest to her brother, Willy, who she regularly played with (bossed about!).

Nanuk at 9 weeks_edited.jpg

Swiss Chinooks 'Nanuk'

Swiss Cheese Name: Tilsiter

Sex: Female

Birth Weight: 284g (10.02oz)

Nanuk (aka Nananuk) was initially named Tilsi from the name Tilsiter, which is a semi-hard cheese made from cow's milk with a red smear rind and 30 to 60% fat in dry matter. It is named after the East Prussian town of Tilsit, now Sowetsk. Cheese dairies already existed under the rule of the Teutonic Order. Tilsit cheese is a result of improved recipes by Dutch Mennonites, Salzburgers and immigrants from Switzerland. These had migrated to depopulated northern East Prussia as religious refugees after the Great Plague in the first half of the 18th century or followed the calls of the Prussian rulers. Tilsiter has been produced in eastern Switzerland since 1893, after two local cheese makers brought the recipe back from a trip to East Prussia in 1890. In 1950, the Swiss office for Tilsiter cheese was established in Bern. Since 1999, it has been marketed under the protected brand name "Tilsiter Switzerland". Production takes place mainly in the cantons of Thurgau, St. Gallen and the Zurich Oberland. Swiss Tilsiter does not have the strongly holey shape common in Germany or Denmark and its taste is not as pronounced or comparable. 

Nanuk was the most laid-back of the litter, so much so that we thought there might be something wrong with her because she slept a lot more than all the other puppies as they played and challenged each other in the whelping box. She is very tolerant in nature and is very calm and collected. She loved cleaning her dad, Manuk's, ears! We are all lucky that I purchased a doppler device (thanks to Patti Richard's advice (Forever Greene Chinooks)) because if I hadn't used it on Nana when her contractions seemed to have calmed down, we may not have had Nanuk who was our 7th and last puppy to be born. 

This was the first Swiss Chinooks litter and second litter of Chinooks born in Europe. Initially 7 puppies were born (3 males and 4 females) but very sadly, Mr. Purple died on the fifth day. Puppies were born in the following order: Mr.Purple, Zorro, Sierra, Willy, Lila, Vreni and Nanuk.

Puppy Evaluation

All the pups were evaluated for their physical conformation on Day 4 with Susan Burrell (Burrell Handling, LLC), Jessica Maurer (Great Mountain Chinooks), Patti Richards (Forever Greene Chinooks), Lynn Philipp, Rene Philipp and a helper present. The evaluation took around 3 hours via Zoom and it was concluded that the puppies were ranked in the following order for the intent of breeding in the future (provided, of course, that all their health test results came back healthy i.e. hips, elbows and eyes after their 2nd birthday): Zorro, Sierra, Lila, Willy, Mr. Purple, Nanuk and Vreni. All the pups were re-evaluated for physical conformation at the end of 7 weeks and were ranked in the following order (for breeding): Zorro, Sierra, Lila, Willy, Nanuk and Vreni. All the pups were evaluated for temperament via Zoom with Susan Burrell, Lynn Philipp, Rene Philipp and two helpers present.

 

Puppy Enrichment, Socialization and Lactation

All pups received Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS) and Early Scent Introduction (ESI) from Day 3 to Day 16. All the pups received enrichment and socialization training/exposure until they left for their new homes. Willy and Vreni required a rabies vaccine (plus 21 days) to be able to enter their new home countries (Scotland and Germany) so we took them to puppy classes from 8 to 15 weeks old.

 

All the pups got their mother's milk until they left for their new homes (9 and 11 weeks) with the exception of the last two pups: Vreni and Willy who stopped receiving milk at 12 weeks, when Nana decided she had had enough.

Our experiences

This was our first experience raising a litter and dealing with all the logistics and bureaucracy that comes with owning and transporting a dog in/to different countries. The covid pandemic definitely didn't help the situation but we managed to finally get all puppies to their new homes safely and with the least discomfort and most care possible.

​​

Logistics with Lila

 

Lila was the first to leave as her destination was Lithuania, which would have taken a minimum 15-hour drive (one-way) to pick her up if she had been picked up after 9 weeks of age. Due to the fact that most airlines will allow only a maximum weight of 8 kilograms for both pet and pet carrier in the cabin of an aircraft, puppies need to travel to their new homes at around 8 to 9 weeks old (after they receive their first round of basic vaccinations). So Lila left at 9 weeks of age by aeroplane from Zurich to Vilnius via Copenhagen. This in itself was a logistical nightmare owing to the fact that most European countries had already changed their laws and were not allowing any puppies in (even in transit) without a rabies vaccination (one has to wait 21 days post vaccine to be able to enter the country). Rabies vaccinations can be given only as early as 12 weeks (which isn't ideal, ideally 16 weeks would be better for the puppy), which means that the puppies (Willy and Vreni in our case) were only able to leave for their new homes as of 15 weeks old. Lithuania still allows puppies to enter the country without a rabies vaccine so it was, we felt, better for Lila to travel by plane to her new home but the only way was to transit via Copenhagen as Denmark also allowed puppies as of 8 weeks old to travel in transit. Thanks to all the research, trial and error (loss or changing of flights) that Lila's new owner, Žilvinas Karpis, went through, we now know that it is currently possible to fly in Europe and across the Atlantic with a puppy as of 8 weeks old only with SAS (Scandinavian Airlines).

Straightforward with Sierra and Zorro

Sierra and Zorro were picked up by their owners in Switzerland at the end of 10 weeks/ beginning of 11 weeks old and travelled to their new homes in Valais and Basel by car.

Nitpicky Bureaucracy for Nanuk

Due to the covid pandemic and the fact that Austria was going through a second wave of high risk infection, we needed to drive Nanuk across the border to meet up with her new owners so they could return home without having to go through quarantine. This too was a bureaucratic mess, notwithstanding that travel restrictions were changing almost every 2 weeks, Nanuk required an EU health certificate and we (as breeders) required a PCR test and a breeding certificate (Zuchtbescheinigung) to be able to enter Austria. After weeks of paperwork and 'back and forth' stress to prepare all the necessary paperwork, we were not even asked to check anything at the border!!! Despite the exasperation, we were so pleased that Nanuk was safe and she was united with her new owners with the least amount of stress for her.

Food Issues with Vreni (pronounced Fre-nee)

Vreni's new owners came to pick her up once they received a covid vaccine and their country (Germany) did not require them to quarantine upon their return. We didn't need to prepare an EU health certificate for Vreni but she stayed with us until 15 weeks old as Germany requires puppies to have a rabies vaccine (plus 21 days). This meant that I was taking her to puppy classes once a week for an hour from when she was 8 weeks old until she reached 15 weeks of age. The main issues with Vreni involved problems with her stools (we went to the vet's at least 3 times for this) which started when we began to wean the pups on to solid, dried kibble at 4 weeks old. In retrospect it has become clear that it was the brand of dried kibble that we used that had caused so many problems with the pups, which we will no longer be using in future. We changed Vreni's diet, which is something her new owners also improved when she reached her new home and she now is happy and healthy.

Border Worries with Willy

Willy was the last to leave our home at 17 weeks of age. He didn't have any health issues and was one of the few pups that tolerated the kibble we weaned them on to. He was the most mischievous of the litter and was the pup that bit and nibbled the most so we emphasised training with him on bite inhibition at home and in puppy class (from 8 to 15 weeks old). He was also one of the most boisterous of the litter so we spent a lot of time gradually getting him used to relaxing and calming down (using slow and gentle caressing, kisses and massage) especially when he got overexcited. Scotland also required a rabies shot (plus 21 days) and due to the covid situation and constantly-changing travel restrictions, my husband Rene travelled 14 hours through Germany to Belgium (with a 2 hour break) to get Willy to his new owner, Lizzy who had driven all the way from Scotland (via ferry to Amsterdam) to pick him up!

Lessons Learned

Now that we have survived this ordeal and know how to do things differently next time around, we also know that new applicants need to be made aware that they will be required to take an SAS flight from Zurich to Copenhagen and another flight from Copenhagen to Newark or JFK airports (also only SAS) if they reside in the US. We also realise that there might be much more work involved in raising pups destined for countries in Europe that require a rabies vaccine. This means that once a certain number of people have applied for future litters, we will only be able to accept a small number residing in those countries due to limited resources and practical reasons. Of course one of our main goals is to find new homes for Chinooks in Europe in order to make breeding this rare breed more convenient. So this side to raising a Chinook litter for clients living in different European countries is a very difficult challenge that influences are decisions on where to place pups.

Sierra at 9 weeks

Swiss Chinooks 'Sierra'

Swiss Cheese Name: Luzerner

Sex: Female

Birth Weight: 340g (11.99oz)

Sierra (aka Eeey Sierra, Sierra Montaña, Monti Sierra) was initially named Luzi from Luzerner (Rahmkäse) cheese, which is a popular, semi-hard cheese made from pasteurised milk and cream from the Lucerne region, taking 5 to 6 weeks to mature. It is delicately creamy, mildly aromatic, has a slightly acidic aftertaste and is naturally lactose-free. It is typically used in Swiss cuisine to make traditional Älplermagronen (a Swiss ‘macaroni and cheese’ dish), which gets its name from a combination of ‘Älpler’, a term for alpine dairymen, and ‘magronen’, which is a loanword from the Italian word 'maccheroni'. Älplermagronen are now regarded as a traditional Swiss alpine dairyman's dish. In fact, pasta only arrived in the Central Alps when the Gotthard tunnel was built and the Italian workers brought their usual pasta with them, which soon became naturalised.

Read More...