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Puppy Selection Tips

How to select the best pup from a litter
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Most professional breeders use some form of line breeding as soon as they find a successful combination. In other words, outcrosses, random matings, despite the parents' apparent abilities and or titles, will not assure that the traits of the parents will be passed to the offspring. Only line breeding can offer this possibility.
 
Consider, too, there is often as much difference between litter mates in ability, temperament, and tractability as one might find between separate litters within a breed.

The chance factor remains, but the odds improve if the buyer:

1.  Buys from established, reputable breeders who know their business.

2.  Buys pups from breeders who specialize in producing the type retriever they desire.

3.  Buys pups produced by excellent gundog parents who have produced proven progeny from previous matings.

Other pointers:

  • Select breeders that maintain high standards for health an appropriate hip/eye/elbow certifications and who offer reasonable guarantees against health defects.

  • Select litters with strong mother lines. Dams should be trained hunting dogs and she should possess the qualities you desire in your dog, not just in the sire. Dams project more influence on the litter than the sire. Genetic inheritance is of course 50/50 from both parents, but mom has the pups with her 6 weeks and her influence is paramount. Good bitches are seldom mated to poor dogs, yet the opposite frequently occurs. A poor bitch is unlikely to produce good pups despite the virtues of the sire. Look closely for desirable traits and strength in the trailing bottom line of the pedigree That is the dam, granddam, great granddam, etc. Excellent mothers are important.

  • Don't pick litters based solely on the number of titles in the pedigree. These are impressive achievements to be sure, but they are not indicators of natural tractability, temperament, and gamefinding ability. Nor do titles indicate whether the traits may be passed successfully to the offspring. Evaluate parents of pups based upon gundog standards important to your needs and their demonstrated ability to produce good pups.

  • Seek out sires, dams and grandparents that project strong genetic traits that can be passed through to their offspring. Research has indicated grandsires and granddams prove to have more genetic influence upon the litter than the sire and dam.

Genetics can influence natural gifts such as:
  • calm temperament
  • tractability
  • marking
  • nose
  • retrieving desire
  • soft mouth
  • love of water
  • birdiness
  • intelligence
  • natural delivery to hand


  • Avoid negative heredity traits such as:
  • hyperactivity
  • shyness - gun, call, man, etc.
  • hard mouth
  • aggressiveness
  • excessive toughness
  • dominance


  • Positive genetic traits, accompanied by soundness and health, should be the goal of your purchase, not just confirmation, color, titles or size. Inherited gundog traits are what you really should be paying for in a pup.

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