Picking a pup.

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Picking a pup.

Postby K Locke » Tue Oct 02, 2018 11:57 am

So how do you go about picking a pup to keep out of a litter? Is it a process of elimination where you pick the last pup standing or do you just pick the pup you decide? For instance let’s talk about a litter of 10. Only 5 are female. Out of the 5, 2 of the female pups are timid so now you’re down to 3. What are you looking for? Do you want the most aggressive pup? Aggressive may not be the best word choice but you know what I’m talking about. Maybe frisky or spunky. I’m talking about the little girl who just whoops up her brothers. Are you looking for the boldest or smartest pup if you had the choice? Do you want the pup that will submit and lay on his back or the pup you can’t turn over without a fight? This is all under the assumption they are all swimming and pointing just fine. What else are you looking for? What other qualities are you trying to avoid?
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Re: Picking a pup.

Postby orhunter » Tue Oct 02, 2018 12:32 pm

First thing I look at is the breeder's reputation, then pedigree of the particular litter. When observing the entire litter, I'd be inclined to concentrate on the loner pup, one that shows interest in the world around it and not the rest of the litter. The breeder's opinion carries some weight too if the breeder is trustworthy. If I saw genuine timid behavior in a couple of pups, I might be inclined to walk away. Physical characteristics are also important and that includes the parents. The coats must be the correct color and no odd color patterns. It's tough to judge the adult physical characteristics of a 9 week old pup so ya gotta go with what your gut tells you. The smaller side of the litter gets bonus points. I'd walk away from any litter from oversize parents.
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Re: Picking a pup.

Postby JONOV » Tue Oct 02, 2018 12:59 pm

K Locke wrote:So how do you go about picking a pup to keep out of a litter? Is it a process of elimination where you pick the last pup standing or do you just pick the pup you decide? For instance let’s talk about a litter of 10. Only 5 are female. Out of the 5, 2 of the female pups are timid so now you’re down to 3. What are you looking for? Do you want the most aggressive pup? Aggressive may not be the best word choice but you know what I’m talking about. Maybe frisky or spunky. I’m talking about the little girl who just whoops up her brothers. Are you looking for the boldest or smartest pup if you had the choice? Do you want the pup that will submit and lay on his back or the pup you can’t turn over without a fight? This is all under the assumption they are all swimming and pointing just fine. What else are you looking for? What other qualities are you trying to avoid?

I'm not an expert, and I'm not a breeder, but aside from obvious physical faults, or an overly timid or fearful dog, I think that obsessing about it is wasted energy.

Pick the well adjusted dog that stands out to you. Some folks want the dog most likely to turn into a chainsaw, some would rather have a dog that trains easy so they can go about the business of hunting.

If the litter is researched than any of the middle of the bell curve should do.

My dog was the "chill" one that was also the smallest in the litter. He's now taller than the sire, and skinny at 71 lbs.
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Re: Picking a pup.

Postby K Locke » Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:30 pm

orhunter wrote:First thing I look at is the breeder's reputation, then pedigree of the particular litter. When observing the entire litter, I'd be inclined to concentrate on the loner pup, one that shows interest in the world around it and not the rest of the litter. The breeder's opinion carries some weight too if the breeder is trustworthy. If I saw genuine timid behavior in a couple of pups, I might be inclined to walk away. Physical characteristics are also important and that includes the parents. The coats must be the correct color and no odd color patterns. It's tough to judge the adult physical characteristics of a 9 week old pup so ya gotta go with what your gut tells you. The smaller side of the litter gets bonus points. I'd walk away from any litter from oversize parents.



I appreciate the input orhunter. I'm asking this question more from the breeder's perspective than the puppy buyer's perspective. I agree on the pups coat. That can be a deal breaker for sure. It is interesting you talk about the loner pup.
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Re: Picking a pup.

Postby hicntry » Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:56 pm

From a breeder's standpoint. The first thing to realise is that the more dogs are bred, the more they gravitate to the average. That is why animals in the wild have the dominate bulls, lions etc......they keep the herd at the strongest. Picking pups, forget the loners, the ones that come to you first, etc. To maintain your future pups at the highest level you have to pick the most dominate. Not the weaker and not the bullies, but, the one in the middle that can walk though all of them with indifference.
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Re: Picking a pup.

Postby AverageGuy » Wed Oct 03, 2018 6:03 am

I observe the litter multiple times if possible. If I see a pup that consistently goes exploring on its own using its nose, that also has a decent or better coat, that is the one I will pick. I like the bold ones that are most interested in independently exploring and using their nose.
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Re: Picking a pup.

Postby orhunter » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:45 am

I suppose my use of the word loner was incorrect. Should have used, curious. One way would be to wad up a piece of paper and throw it out on the lawn away from the pups. See which one spots it and goes over to investigate. If it's the same pup(s) every time, those are the best.

From a breeders standpoint, all pups should appear to be pretty equal, there shouldn't be a huge variation among them. It shouldn't be easy to sort out the best pup(s).
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Re: Picking a pup.

Postby JONOV » Wed Oct 03, 2018 1:16 pm

hicntry wrote:From a breeder's standpoint. The first thing to realise is that the more dogs are bred, the more they gravitate to the average. That is why animals in the wild have the dominate bulls, lions etc......they keep the herd at the strongest. Picking pups, forget the loners, the ones that come to you first, etc. To maintain your future pups at the highest level you have to pick the most dominate. Not the weaker and not the bullies, but, the one in the middle that can walk though all of them with indifference.


I find it interesting that you describe the dominant ones as such.

RE the one that comes to you first, isn't that what you've suggested in the past? That you get the boldest one.
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Re: Picking a pup.

Postby hicntry » Wed Oct 03, 2018 2:58 pm

JONOV, I described as middle of the road because I didn't feel like a drawn out explanation. The dominate pup will go either way. He will play nice with the weaker pups and he will play with the bullies just as nicely because he has no equal and has nothing to prove. Yes, it is usually the first one to do things. The others will follow suit according to how strong they are. Being the first to come is no guarantee because pups are handled so much from day one that any of them may well be the first to come.....so the breeder has to look at the other signs of dominance. I don't handle my pups hardly at all because I want to see what each brings to the table without the environmental influences.
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Re: Picking a pup.

Postby Urban_Redneck » Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:43 am

I had a conversation with an EP breeder/field trialer about puppy picking. He said, you can't tell what a 8 week pup will be in 6 months or which pup will be the best dog at 1 year. He typically will keep 8 pups for a year with the goal of ending up with the two best at 2 years.
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Re: Picking a pup.

Postby hicntry » Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:39 am

UR, one thing I learned years ago. If a person says he can't do something, it is best to believe that he probably can't. After my first 50 pups I couldn't pick one from another. After raising the first 500 pups I could see a lot more when I looked at them. Then, after 1500+ pups the differences I saw in each pup was like night and day.
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Re: Picking a pup.

Postby JONOV » Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:00 pm

hicntry wrote:UR, one thing I learned years ago. If a person says he can't do something, it is best to believe that he probably can't. After my first 50 pups I couldn't pick one from another. After raising the first 500 pups I could see a lot more when I looked at them. Then, after 1500+ pups the differences I saw in each pup was like night and day.


To paraphrase William Jefferson Clinton, "it depends on your definition of the word is."

The problem is that the argument depends on ones definition of "Best." One man's best could be another man's uncooperative self hunter. One man's best could be a dog that another man can't take to half his grouse covers because of porcupines, or that isn't sharp enough to go after a wounded honker.

Taking the example of a Field Trialer, Gary Lester has sold pups that have gone on to win the Nationals at Ames. He said something to the effect of "There's dogs that fit my program and dogs that don't fit as well, and I only have so much room on the string;"

The closest thing to extremely objective, stacked rankings of dogs that I can find is NSTRA, only in that its scored more or less like a basketball game. But that isn't a great measuring stick for a hunting dog anyway.

Everything else, wild bird hunting, NAVHDA, JGHV, Field Trials, are either less objective or measured against a standard. IE, in an FT your dog could have four finds to your competitions three and lose for other (subjective) reasons.
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