Page 184 - ShowSight - August 2019
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                Survey Says: At what age do you determine show prospect vs companion? continued
 week till about eight weeks. That is when, based on an absolute knowledge of the breed standard along with experience and knowl- edge of previous generations, selections are made.
Have I ever been wrong? I have sold many “pet” puppies that could win a championship. I never sold a poor specimen as a show dog. Ethics. Ego nor the drive for a cash reward ever influenced evaluation of my stock.
Keep in mind that there are several levels of “show prospect”. There are those puppies that will finish a championship, yet, not be worth future breeding or a campaign for national ranking.
Show prospect and show quality are not a guarantee of great- ness. You know greatness at the end, not the beginning.
Working with the absolute knowledge of the breed standard a person can quickly see that the majority of dogs at any show are not the future of the breed. Yes, many will become champions, but few really worthy of the future. Over the years I have seen ego over ride knowledge at the highest level.
Time spent with any breed does not make a person successful. It is the absolute knowledge of the breed standard that does that. I was friends with a man that proudly stated he had been a breeder- exhibitor for over 45 years and in that time had finished six cham- pions. He also bred six to eight litters a year and his most famous quote was, “If I breed enough litters, I might get something good.”
After all those years in one specific breed this person failed to have an absolute knowledge of his breed standard. What a waste. If in fact the average time a person spends in the dog show business is a mere five years, that knowledge will with rare exception never be found.
The questions you posed will not be resolved here. So long as there are those who lack an absolute knowledge of the breed stan- dard there will be discussion. —Anonymous
At eight weeks, with my Miniature Pinschers, I can tell if any will likely grow too large (or too small) or any DQ mismark. Those are the easy ones to pick for companions. After that I look for best toplines and tailsets and keep those until four months.
By five months, I usually always pick my keeper for myself to show. Rest are usually looking for show homes. Of course, as my mentor told me, “Think about the three T’s: temperament, topline and tailset.”
I don’t believe I’ve ever picked it wrong. Thanks to learning from the best and 37 years in my breed. However, I always try to keep learning. —Anonymous
About four to nine months. Sometimes I’ve kept some I should have placed in a pet home and sometimes I’ve placed some I should have kept. —Anonymous
Eight weeks. Have I ever made a mistake? Haven’t we all? Remember, there many variables involved. I.e., each puppy inher- its a different set of genes and their environments are varied; there
are pups that are borderline show prospects; puppy temperaments/ attitudes vary; bloodlines mature differently than others, etc., etc. —Jean Heath
Anywhere from eight weeks to eight months, though with the older ones, it’s more likely that what looked like a show prospect gets downgraded to a companion. —Anonymous
Sixteen weeks (Wire Fox Terrier). Have I made a mistake? Yes, when I selected what pup to keep when litter was fewer than 16 weeks. old. Observation: at 16 weeks, the proportions of the mature adult are present, unlike when pups are younger or older. When older (but not mature), proportions can vary greatly—legs may lengthen, while back length remains the same, or the reverse could happen, etc.; but, when mature, as stated, the proportions will be as they were at 16 weeks. —Anonymous
Around ten weeks. At six weeks I start looking. And watch from months seven to ten. I know by then as I start leash training. I watch attitude; attitude starts around four weeks. And I watch the pups with the ‘it” factor—they stand out. —Anonymous
Normally, with Basset Hounds, I can tell by the end of the fourth month. That determination is a direct opposition to the tac- tics employed by AKC, penalizing dogs not registered within sixty days. That is a money grab. Different topic, but AKC doesn’t care, as long as they get the money. —Anonymous
For Brussels Griffons, one year or more. Have I made a mistake? Yes. —Anonymous
I look at puppies at exactly eight weeks. Yes, of course I’ve made mistakes in the 40 years I’ve been breeding dogs. —Marilyn Lande
First solid evaluation is at six weeks. In large breeds it can take another eight or nine months to feel comfortable with the decision. The puppies go through miserable growth stages and can come out the other end gorgeous or mud ugly. Anyone who says they haven’t made a mistake in grading a pup is not being truthful. I definitely have made mistakes in grading pups and I have been doing it for over half a century. —Anonymous
I can make my first cut at four weeks of age, by then they are steady on their feet and yes, used to stacking. By six weeks I re-eval- uate my show prospects seriously and eight weeks they are closest to what they will mature out to be.
Then I don’t scrutinize them again (to evaluate) until about 16 weeks. Their different growth phases will make them look too tall, not enough leg, long-backed and their heads change their stop dis- sipate, their head balance goes off. So I love, groom and ring train them without being overly critical. Yes, I’ve made a few errors but
 Show prospect and show quality are not a guarantee of greatness.
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