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Singleton puppies


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Oban was a singleton puppy -- his mother's only precious child! I never thought much about this, but I was talking to a local breeder a few days ago, and she mentioned that singleton puppies have different personalities because they were raised without littermates.

I have had four cairns over my life, and each had his or her own quirks, but they have also shared the typical cairn confidence and enthusiasm. They were each also uniquely different. I don't know whether or not a couple of these dogs were singletons as we know nothing of their origins (rescue dogs).  But I guess I never thought Oban was much different from our other cairns in behavior.  He is a bit of a mama's boy but I attribute that to acquiring him the day after I retired.  He spends much of each day with me. 

Any thoughts? Are singletons different? How so? 

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Our first cairn Tali  was a singleton, the biggest difference with her was that she never really liked other dogs. She would just totally avoid them, she'd want to cross the street if she saw one coming. We tried taking her to puppy class ( maybe a bit too late she was a bit more than six months old) and all she would do is run away from the other dogs and hide behind us. It never really mattered that much, she wasn't aggressive towards them or anything, we just avoided them.

Other than that she was in every other way a cairn. It's very different with Tewcsby, he's in love with every dog he sees, almost too much so at times.

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Bradl - what I am trying to figure out is how they are different.  The woman I talked to mentioned their behavior... but Oban really acts like other cairns I have had.  That alert behavior, whether looking out a window or checking out a squirrel from the window. That enthusiasm for people he loves, food he loves, walks he loves...his keen observation when looking out for prey (chipmunks, squirrels, birds -- they all count as prey), the ability to be sound asleep (and so so cute!) in one minute, and frenzied in the next.  His ability to communicate with me - the "I want food" bark, which differs from the "I want out" bark, which differs from the "let's play with the rope or the ball" bark...and then the "there's Hamish...or Baxter...(neighborhood dog friends) etc. etc. out on the sidewalk and I want out" bark. 

The only difference I do see is his attachment to me. He is my velcro dog.  And again, I attribute that to being around him 24/7.  As I mentioned, I got him the day after I retired.  We spend about 20 hours a day together (I do go to my studio for part of the day, and dogs are not allowed. How unfair is that!). He sleeps right next to me at night. He often is in the same room I am in (unless I run the vacuum). He does check out for naps in his favorite places, but often chooses the favorite place nearest to me. But I am not convinced this is singleton behavior so much adapting to routine.  

So exactly how are singletons different, personality-wise?  Clearly, Stella is special. (I think you would think her special even if she were not a singleton!) But I am still trying to figure out what that means...

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I know. I struggle with this. No matter what trait, anyone (everyone!)  will say, "well my Cairn is just like that." Example: while she played with the other dogs, she was somehow always apart from (and above :lol: ) them.  She has a certain sort of nonchalant fearlessness; she exhibits sensible caution but will drive off any dog of any size large or small who invades what she considers her space (if she feels like it) although she does it more like a princess dismissing them than a dog fearfully guarding her space. Her connection to us is strong in a way I just can't describe. She is not slavish in her attentions  but it is clear we are the ones that matter to her.  I imagine it might be because lacking littermates we handled her *a lot* as a puppy and she interacted with us second only to her mother for a long time. Also as a singleton she absorbed all the hopes and fears and attention that an expected litter would have received :P  We also thought she might not live past six-nine months (long story) although now at 13+ clearly she did (yay). So she went through a lot as a singleton and it may be we are as imprinted on her as she might be on us. 

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Nelly's first litter was a singleton, followed by a second litter of seven!  I'l have to ask Nelly's breeder how the singleton is faring.

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Max and Nelly

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