does one evaluate a litter for performance? What do you look for when determining your pick puppy?
x2....pick the breeding, pick the pup that appeals to you. I don't think there's any real way to tell who'll be the stars and who will be the duds, no matter how many 'tests' and expert opinions you seek. Too many stories of how the last one no one picked turned out best for anyone to worry over what order of pick they have.Are you talking about your choice from a litter or choosing a litter?
IMO it's not possable to look at 8 puppies from a litter and know what the best pup is.
DITTO!Maybe I've just been lucky, but I've had a pretty good read on mine by 8 wks. I watch how they approach new situations/scenarios--- whether it's outside for the first time, and who is eager to go explore in the garden (cover), under the deck, under the shrubbery, to the field, the front steps (my nightmare, actually) etc.. I watch how they respond to new rooms in the house, and may have a temperament test done by a stranger in a new environment at 7 wks. I have a friend help me test them on live pigeons at 7 wks. I won't pick my own until after vet well checks and CERFs as that's another evaluation opportunity (and what if a problem were to be found?). I start looking at movement and structure as early as 6 wks, but watch to see who stays together thru 8 wks when we do the final evals for conformation. I want the whole package and honestly think it can be done. I also narrow the choices down for my buyers and so far, so good. So I think it depends in part how much time the breeder is spending w/ the litter actually watching the pups and trends.
The original poster was looking for performance evaluation in the litter. I guess it depends on what the phrase "whole package" means to the breeder. To me it means a field champion that is structurally sound and pleasing to the eye. To some people it means an obedience or agility dog. IMHO, it is usually impossible to pick out a future field champion from an 8 week old litter, even though I did once, it had a lot to do with the strong pedigree, owners, training, and knowing they were knowlegible enough to give the dog every chance to succeed. The characteristics you are looking for in a high end performance litter aren't determined by just throwing a pigeon. If it were that easy we could all have field champions which the breeder picked out. Outcrosses especially involving field and conformation lines are going to yield less predictability, especially if the dogs were not competed in that venue to begin with. Pick a litter with the most talented dogs that are proven producers and then cross your fingers you have a player.I want the whole package and honestly think it can be done. I also narrow the choices down for my buyers and so far, so good. So I think it depends in part how much time the breeder is spending w/ the litter actually watching the pups and trends.
Apples and oranges Anne. We are speaking about performance and not just temperament and obedience titles.Nancy, it sounds as though Nicole has picked a litter already to work with. I shared w/ her what I have done over the past 17 yrs or so, and it's been a very predictable experience for me. And no, not all my pups have been selected first and foremost for performance since I keep a blend here w/ an eye toward future breedings, but their temperaments/abilities have been quite predictable.
I appreciate what you're saying.(Simple?) Conformation evaluation for performance:
Let's assume you are unable to stand the puppy on a table and have an experienced structure evaluator check out all the pups angles, length of parts, etc.
Even if this IS possible, you still do the following:
At 7 - 8 weeks, look for a pup that will gait (trot) with the feet moving independently, not just bunny hop like they do at 5 weeks.
You DON'T want to see very much loosey-goosey in the skin rolling or in the major joints.
You DO WANT to see both the front and rear legs landing straight down. No twisting in or out, no elbowing out. If it looks 'odd', it probably is!
I'm trying to keep terminology simple - for the inexperienced 'puppy picker'. And this is strictly talking about conformation, which for performance dogs, does help to keep them sound - at least in theory. Sometimes their brain/desire is too much for their body to cope with over long periods of time.
Conformation has no bearing on marking ability....but it does have bearing on long term soundness. ;-) The worst built dog in the world may still be a great marker...but will that dog stay sound enough to fulfill its potential?I don't know how an FC can do a 400 yard mark when he has poor conformation which would prevent it...