How to pick a pup (pointer)Do you know where I can find info on how to select the best pup (German Wire-Haired Pointer) from the litter? I can find tons of info on breed standard for grown dogs, but it's hard to identify whether those traits exist in a puppy. Also any temperament predictors will be appreciated as well. Well How do I pick a GWP puppy?
Well there are many opinions on this issue and each dog owner/breeder has their own system. This is mine.
First thing when I start picking a puppy is take a long hard look at the parents. I want to at least see a picture of the male and I always want to see the female. How does she act when you are viewing the pups. Is she protective? Aggressive? If there is any previous breeding from this pair? If so then I want to see some of these pups and maybe even talk to the owners. So "What do they look like?" If they both show traits of looking like the Standard GWP Breed then it is a good bet your pup will have the furnishings and a coat very similar to the parents. Go to the AKC home page to review breed standards far as body conformation, coat and hair length.
Next I will ask while viewing the litter is "What guarantees the breeders stands behind?" Usually most breeders will replace the pup within the first year of its life if it develops any detrimental physical problems. But I must warn you - you must do your part and take proper care of the pup by visiting a vet and keeping up with the shots and having the health of the pup checked regularly.
The next thing I will ask the breeder is what do you do with the dogs. Do they hunt? If so what type of birds? I try to stay away from people who just breed for the money. If I am after a GWP that hunts, then find out if the breeder hunts. They should be able to show you some pictures or even show you what the dog can do by either seeing the female work a bird or maybe one from a past litter. Again ask for references because after all you are making better than a 10 year commitment here!
Another thing to ask is to fine out if the dog has ever been tested in one of the many systems used to test versatile dogs today. What did it do? AKC Hunt tests? How many tests did it take for a Junior, Senior or Master Hunter Title? Did they test the dog in the NAVHDA system? What level? Natural Ability? Utility? Ask what was the score. But again be careful. Getting good scores at a early age is not really the best thing for all dogs. To much pressure on a young dog can in fact ruin a dog if one is not careful.
If I like what I see then I reserve a pup by placing a down payment. So now what pup do I take? Well I try to visit the breeder several times as the litter is growing. I look for the hierarchy the litter has set up amongst it self. I DON'T want a pup that is passive or runs away or hides in a corner when other pups attack it while playing. On the other hand I DON'T want the bully of the litter either and there always is a Alpha male and an Alpha female - look for them it should be very obvious. I also don't want a noisy pup. Pups that consistently whine or cry I try to stay away from. So spend some time and just watch them play. Handle each pup. You should get a real good feel for what each pup is doing. At six weeks to seven or just before the breeder starts sending pups home I will visit one last time and take a few large wing feathers or even a bird wing with me. Sit down with the litter and just drop the wing. What do most of them do? Play with it? If you move it do they point? Don't worry if some of them loose interest to fast but I try to narrow my decision by looking for a pup that is not overly aggressive with me while I handle it or its litter mates. I look for one that will follow me if I clap my hands or coax it along and stay away from the ones that just seem to wander away from me and have no interest
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