Picking a pup

A friend posted a question on Facebook: how does she choose a show puppy from a beautiful litter?

It’s a given that you start with a responsible breeder that knows the breed and can help with evaluating the puppies.  Presumably both parents were health-tested. And with luck they have produced some healthy pups with good temperaments.

Personally I’d always prefer a puppy with a bit of attitude.  They may be naughty puppies, but if they’re confident they have the potential to be charismatic as well, and to show well in a place filled with noise, distractions, and strangers.

Then there are the conformation tradeoffs: do you want great angles at the expense of a great head, or vice versa?  How important is topline to you?  If they have terrible feet will that bother you for the puppy’s show career?

There are so many things that can go wrong when you choose a show puppy, the least of which is that they don’t turn out as perfectly as you hoped.  There are a lot of puppy evaluation systems out there, and I think they all involve a certain degree of magic and hope.  Which is not to say they don’t work, just that they’re not foolproof. But injuries, unexpected illnesses, and bad first experiences can all end a show pup’s career–and then you have to make a decision whether to re-home (or return to the breeder to be re-homed), or whether you love that pup enough to make it part of your family forever, no matter what.

For this to work, I think the puppy has to have a say.  I think Kunga chose me as much as I chose him.  I was already partial to him from his pictures, but when I met him at 7 weeks old, we seemed to reach a mutual decision to be together.  It helps that I bought him as a pet, and only later decided to show him, but after the first few weeks with him I knew I could never give him up.  So I told my FB friend: go with your gut.

Alxe meeting Kunga for the first time, at his breeder's in FL

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  • Kelley

    So true Alxe! You just know when you meet the one who is meant to be yours 🙂

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003407133543 Gabriel

    Go to AKC.org click on Breeder Referral. It will take you to the breed you are looking for and will have club names. There you will be able to look up Breeders that Bred to btteer the quality of the bred NOT TO MAKE MONEY. When you belong to a specialty club you must sign a Code of Ethics and go by THE CODE. Make sure you get a Health Guarantee on Eyes, Hips, Heart, and Elbows. Look at the dogs sire and dams pedigrees and if possible look at the litter mates to the sire and dam and if they have produced litters check them out also. It is best to do a lot of research BEFORE buying any dog than paying the vet a lot of money down the road.Also, make sure that if something happens that the Breeder is willing to take back the dog at any age. That will tell you what type of Breeder they are. And get a contract with everything spelled out before any money changes hands.References : Breeder and Handler of AKC Ibizan Hounds for over 12 years