Thinking About Puppies

 So here we are at that time of year where the season has closed in a large portion of the country and the thoughts begin to turn towards spring testing, trialing and even more exciting springtime puppies.

  You are probably saying springtime, we are still in the middle of winter. Well, if you think about the gestation of a litter and then the eight to twelve weeks that a puppy is with its litter then, yeah it is time that people are thinking about puppies.

Max 8 Weeks Old


  Going with that line of thinking potential buyers are starting to see breeding advertisements and reading what is being said about the sire and dam. Such things as what titles the dogs have, excellent hunter and great with people and dogs. We have all read these advertisements.

 So let’s talk about some of these. Titles that the dogs have won. Take the time to research what they require for the dogs to earn these titles and if that is the type of dog you want. Some people want dogs that can get all the way through the fully finished bird dog. While others want some with strong points and retrieves so they can run different events. Some want them to be able to do more than one type of hunting. So start the search with what falls best in line with what you want to do.

 The next thing is about the mentality of the dog. If the parents are friendly and get along with other dogs, then the offspring have the genetics to be the same way. It is up to you the owner and the breeder to ensure that the puppy is socialized and learns how to behave like mom and dad.


Leo before we picked him up.


The thing that is missing right now from what has been mentioned so far are the health clearances that a pair of dogs should have before they are bred.

  What am I talking about? There are certain breeds that are susceptible to health conditions. Things like Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) in the eyes, Hip and elbow dysplasia. Some lines and dogs are prone to develop cancer or have seizures. A side note watching a dog have a seizure is something that is very scary and heartbreaking.

  One thing that might help is doing some research about the potential health issues the breed that you are looking at may be prone to. We all do some research about the temperament and the abilities, but we should also read about the things that the breed is susceptible to. 


  This little research will give you the knowledge to talk to the breeder about the health of his lines. Not just the mother and father of the prospective puppy. It should include at least the grandparents as well. This will show at least some consistency in the health of the dogs in the line of the puppy. If the breeder has all the dogs even further back, then talk about them as well.

  Breeders that are quality and care about their dogs and the breed as a whole should not have any issues discussing these things with you. In fact, most of the ones that I know would welcome this discussion.

Leo Pointing a wing in the yard.

  Remember that you are hoping to explore the upland world with this little ball of fur. So, make sure you start off prepared the best that the two of you can.

6 Replies to “Thinking About Puppies”

  1. Hard to imagine that spring is right around the corner. For those just getting started, where can they start their research for breed specific health testing? I was lucky and found a breeder to mentor me for my breed but not all breeders are the same. I would agree on the seizure part, it can also become very expensive. A friend of mine bought a lab years ago to hunt with, he does great. However, my friend spends almost $500 a month in meds because the dog has seizures and liver issues. Turns out ran in the whole litter.

    1. It is hard to imagine that spring is right around the corner. To answer the question of where someone just getting started can look one of the places that I would start is the AKC web page. There they list the breeds and general characteristics. They also have a health tab so you can learn some of the common ailments in the breed. Then you can go to the AKC health foundation and see what they have to say.
      Once you know the names of the ailments then I would go to the Merck Veterinary Manual and learn about the conditions. Also, you can look up more information from universities such as Cornell that publish their studies and information online.
      After that talk to people that have the breed and see what they are experiencing. If you have a breeder in mind, ask if they will put past owners in touch with you so you can talk to them about the health of the dogs they are producing.
      The one time I didn’t do any of this it bit me, and I lost a young dog as anyone that reads this blog has already read about.
      So to avoid this heartache educate yourself and ask the tough questions of the breeder.
      Thanks for always being involved. I appreciate the comments and questions.

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