Sharing photos of the dogs:
Here are some photos of the puppers. They have been in our family a long time. We got Sugar when she was a tiny puppy small enough to fit in the palm of one hand. The boys were little then and wanted a dog so we thought one small dog would be okay.
Then we bred Sugar and kept one of her puppies. Sparky is about three years younger than she is. At the time we thought two dogs were okay because the boys could claim they each had a dog then. As it turned out Sugar turned out to be more partial to mom than to the boys. Given the choice she would rather sit in my lap or lay right next to me.
Later we got Ginger as a surprise birthday gift for our youngest son. I should clarify, my husband got Ginger. We had been talking about what to get him for his birthday, and I was going to stop at the store after I got off work to pick something up. Then I got a phone call from my husband letting me know I didn't need to stop after work because he already went and got a gift. I thought, great, that saves me time. When I asked him which of the things we talked about did he decide on, he responded, "Oh, uh, you'll see when you get home. It's a surprise." I didn't realize I would be the one surprised. Of course the boys, my husband, and the new dog worked on me til I relented and said she could stay.
As a puppy, Ginger was about the same size as the chihuahuas, but with that puppy awkwardness and clumsiness. Those two could run circles around her nipping and biting. They did not like her intruding in on their place at all. Poor Ginger! We felt so bad for her, but she was oblivious to their mean ways and kept at it trying to follow them around and play. Pretty soon she got bigger and still had a wealth of playfulness. By this time the chihuahuas had trouble getting her to mind. Pretty soon her herding instincts kicked in and before they knew it she was herding them around getting them to do what she wanted.
As It turns out, she is one of the smartest dogs we've ever had. I heard somewhere a comment referring to this breed of dog, they were as smart, and knew and understand as many words as a 4 year old child. I swear she listens when my husband and I are talking. It sure seems she knows what we say sometimes. She is a great hunting dog when my husband and the boys go pheasant hunting in the fall.