Page 186 - ShowSight - August 2019
P. 186

                  Survey Says: At what age do you determine show prospect vs companion?
  And to the folks who claim that they can pick the best puppy when it is a wet newborn: if after a half century in a breeding program I don’t have more uniformity than that,
I need to stop breeding.
  more of “average” puppy turns stunning then sitting on something that doesn’t pan out. —Judie Posner
I’m not one of those breeders who looks at a newborn and decides this one is a Best in Show winner. I start to evaluate my Norfolk pups around eight weeks of age and certainly by 12 weeks I’ve decided which I’m selling and which one I’m keeping. The one I’m holding onto I keep evaluating and make my final decision at around seven to eight months. Sure I’ve made mistakes but thank- fully not very often. —Anonymous
Normally 12 weeks. Have I made mistakes? Not from a struc- ture perspective, but missed on a couple of soft temperaments. —Anonymous
As the saying goes. “There’s many a slip twixt the cup and the lip.” I make an initial evaluation around eight to ten weeks. Gait and soundness doesn’t change much. Good coat is apparent then. But the fine points of breed type such as head-to-body proportions can change, as late as 8-12 months, especially regarding the stop- ping of growth. What can look like substantial bone in a pup can end up just being a bigger adult (here I’m talking about the differ- ence between an average champion and a specials quality animal). And to the folks who claim that they can pick the best puppy when it is a wet newborn: if after a half century in a breeding program I don’t have more uniformity than that, I need to stop breeding.
And if you have never made a mistake, you are keeping too many prospects. —Pat Rock
Of course I’ve made mistakes! Right now I have a gorgeous pick- of-the-litter male who’s almost eight months old and still has no testicles. Sadly I’ve reached the decision that they’re never going to show up so he’s leaving soon to go into training as a Service Dog. I’ve placed gorgeous pups as show prospects and seen them not turn out to be what I expected and more often, pups I thought would be just pet quality turned out to be incredible examples of our breed. Granted I’ve got better over the years (30+) but I’ll probably still make some wrong calls in the future. —Ginger Corley
I look at them (Cavaliers) at eight weeks and then again at six months and then again at 18 months. Yes, I’ve made mistakes but not often. —Anonymous
For me, the time frame doesn’t appear to be fixed. Re my present special, Brightwood Elrond of Primavera, and my bitch special, Pri- mavera’s Birthday Barbie, I knew as soon as I removed their sacks. Happily I was right both times. Barbie won three groups, hand mul- tiple placements and even won a rather large specialty. Ronnie went second in a Toy Group when he was 11 months old.
But, in all honesty, the great majority of my puppies cause me to sweat out the process of choosing. And G-d only knows that I make mistakes. Case in point, I kept a puppy because he looked a lot like his Grandmother, another specialty winner of mine. HAHA! He did indeed grow up to be a doppleganger for his mother. Unfortu- nately, his Granny was a showing fool while her grandson is scared of robins in my backyard!
I wish I could offer an immutable set of parameters for puppy selection. Unfortunately I don’t have one. The best advice I can give is:
1) Learn everything you can about the specifics of whatever breed has stolen your breath away. By the way, don’t even con- sider become a crazy person like the rest of us breeders unless your heart and soul demand that you do this. I say this because of the laughter, the tears, the disappointments, and the tragedies that you will encounter in this fancy. And you won’t make a lot of money either.
2) Next, learn everything you can about dog movement and structure. These two are inextricably intertwined.
3) Now here’s the tough part, combining type, structure and movement. This can take years but once you’ve done it it’s very very exciting. —Maxine J. Gurin
Usually by eight weeks of age. I make my show picks at six weeks but reserve the right to make my final decision at eight weeks of age. Not really any mistakes. I have let some go that were pick of the lit- ter but I knew they were structurally very good, but for some other reason they were placed. —Anonymous
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