Thursday, June 11, 2009

Puppy Selection Continued

Okay, so let’s assume all the puppies have complete trim, brown eyes and bilateral hearing.

There are breeders out there how will now say they are all “Show Quality”. At best they MIGHT have show potential, but no one can guarantee at 8 weeks that a puppy will become a champion. There are just too many pieces to the puzzle.

And it is rare to have all puppies truly be “show potential”. We will start playing “Show Dog” with the puppies at about 3 weeks. All the puppies will be trained to stand and be handled. Even those not destined for the show ring need this valuable training. Your veterinarian will thank you for having a pup that enjoys standing, being gone over and having his ears, toes and tail touched daily.

So, what are we looking for? EVERY dog has faults. A good breeder realizes that even their most favorite dog of all time is not perfect and will recognize what is close to ideal and what could be improved on. To not do so is called “Kennel Blindness”. “My dog is perfect, but THAT person’s dog is not”. Ask us individually and I will tell you what my dog’s strengths and weaknesses are. The idea of breeding is to IMPROVE on the weak points and reinforce the good points.

Then there are faults the individual can live with, and others they just can’t get over. Some of the thinks I personally place strong weight on:

  • Nice tight feet – without good feet there is no way the dog can hold up to long endurance rides. You will see dogs with flat feet, no arch over the toes. To me, this is a major issue and I always check out a dog's feet when evaluating him. Just can't get over bad feet.

  • Tail set and carriage – the tail should be carried level, with a slight upward curve. Tails carried up over the back are very incorrect and definitely distract from the overall picture. I once saw a Dal whose tail curled over it's back like a chow's!

  • Front legs – feet should point FORWARD. Toes pointing out are frequently called “Easty-Westy”. Toes can also point in – “Toeing In”. These dogs will have issues again with distance work. I found that when I road worked Windy (over 12 years ago), because she did toe in – her pads did not wear even. She would get blisters on the outside of the feet where they landed wrong and rubbed on the pavement.

Got to get to work, more details later!

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