Page 182 - ShowSight - August 2019
P. 182

Usually at eight weeks and, yes, of course I have made a mistake. After 50 years in dogs, no one is perfect. —Pamela Bradbury
First “sorting” of the litter at six weeks then at eight weeks, just as they leave the nest. Anybody who says no to making mis- takes isn’t looking close enough. We have all made mistakes. —Anonymous
My mentor evaluates the litter between eight to nine weeks old. Yes, we all make mistakes, because we’re human. —Wendy Ball
Believe it or not I start from a week old. Watching them nurse you can see the arch in the neck, shoulder placement, turn of stifle and length of body. Born pure white I keep track of the puppies by the color of their birth collar. Being Dalmatians, we must wait for the eye and nose pigment to fill in. Then the spotting pattern. At six to eight weeks we do the BAER (hearing test). The Dalmatians are a coaching breed so movement is paramount. Have I been wrong? Many times. But the disappointment is when you have a puppy that fits exactly what you bred for and you learn it’s deaf. —Anonymous
Eight weeks is a good age to look at the outline on my Whip- pets. But my pick always takes into consideration the one puppy I’ve become particularly attached to as they’ve grown. Whippets go through the most awful, gangly, ugly stage, often at around six months to ten months. It can take a lot of patience to wait it out and not place the puppy. Then, like swans or butterflies, they start to blossom again.
Once I offered an unlovely six month old puppy to someone and they turned her down. Two months later, I was so happy they did, as she turned out to be one of the most shapely and lovely of my champions.
Ch. Paris Panther was unique from the moment he was born. I can still remember looking into the whelping box and seeing his neck arch as he reached for his mom. He grew up to be an important sire in Europe, a dog whose arched neck, smooth outline and pow- erful movement gave him “something to give away,” as is said about stallions. My favorites are the puppies who look great when they are born and always look great thereafter. So that you never have those days of doubt where you’re thinking, “Should I sell her?” But you don’t always get that. —Sharon Sakson
Eight to ten weeks and, yes, I have made mistakes.
Six weeks and yes, over 40 years, two were not finishable.
Normally six to nine months. Yes I have made mistakes.
Between 9-12 weeks and yes, sometimes good, sometimes bad.
Much has been written and debated about his subject. Many of those authors leave out the most vital component necessary is evaluating any breed of dog.
The absolute working knowledge of the breed standard. It does not matter how long you have been a breeder, handler or exhibi- tor, without this absolute working knowledge of the breed standard everything is smoke and mirrors. A guessing game. Puppies rarely, never, ever grow into or out of a breed fault or deviation from the standard. Only dreamers see it that way.
If one has the absolute working knowledge of the breed standard and has bred to that standard for a lengthy period of time, called experience, only then can one expect to be able to look at young stock and determine what is the best of the next generation.
In having bred for several generations you can see at a very young age in the new crop those traits that were successful from previous generations and can choose accordingly.
Speaking from experience, begin evaluating as soon as the pup- pies get on their feet. Poor shoulders, weak necks, wrong color eyes, etc. can all be seen and using the absolute knowledge of the breed standard along with a non emotional evaluation the best can be selected.
The lack of an absolute knowledge of the breed standard is the greatest failing of any breeder. That statement is as valuable now as it was 100 years ago. Lack of knowledge leads to an ego bound, emotional guessing game.
In over 40 years this formula proved successful. I can not recall these facts failing me.
My answer to your question is that I begin evaluating my pup- pies at about three weeks of age and then I take another look each
   My favorites are the puppies who look great when they are born and always look great thereafter.
  180 • ShowSight Magazine, auguSt 2019

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