The first piece of course is deciding what two dogs to put together. What does the future dam of the pups have to offer? What is she lacking or needing improvement on? Who is the right dog who will be able to add to her good qualities and hopefully improve her not so good ones?
OK so we have chosen our future parents and we do the breeding and we wait. If all goes well we have a healthy litter of puppies. But then, we wait some more. Spotting, eye color, hearing, temperament and personality are all pieces of the puzzle and they each are put into place as we go along.
Finally, you have a final structural evaluation. You stack each puppy on the table and look at them through a critical eye. Yes they are all cute, but looks are not all there is when looking for that show prospect or pup to add to a breeding program. You have to be able to see each pups good qualities but also each ones flaws. You have to remember why you did this breeding and ask yourself if you accomplished your goal.
You take pictures, lots of pictures as you have each pup on the table. You will later study these to see if you might have missed something during the live evaluation. Once all of these puzzle pieces fall into their respective spots they form a picture. That picture is of the whole puppy. Not just each part of it, but the whole dog. This is when you must make your decisions based on everything you now know about each puppy.
Which have the potential for conformation? For obedience or performance? For other tasks such as service or therapy dog? Which pups will be best suited for a family dog? For a single person? For a couple, young or older? For a family with children?
All of the pieces help to make those decisions and when you have made them, you pray. Pray that each puppy goes into the right home or situation. And you pray that you have done everything you can do to ensure that when each puppy goes out into the world, it is a reflection on your job as a responsible breeder. That all of the other decisions you have made up to this point have been the right ones and that this generation is even better than the one that came before. That, after all, is the goal of a responsible breeder. To make better puppies, with each new litter.
And it isn't easy. It is often heartbreaking and disappointing, but when a plan really comes together and you know that you have done something truly wonderful, it is the best feeling in the world! To have a goal, a plan on how to reach it, the right tools and knowledge to put it all together. And then you achieve that goal or even surpass it. Then you can stand back as a breeder and watch each of those puppies go to their new homes and feel proud of what you have done.
I chose to put Jack and Whoopi together. I did my homework and as you can by these photos, it has paid off by giving me a litter I can be proud of.
Sally will be staying here and final details are being worked out for the rest of the pups. I will be posting a follow up with pics of each pup with their new owners once they have all gone to their new homes.
This has been a great experience and I am thankful to all the new owners as well as those of you who have been following the blog. Stay tuned for coming attractions as I will hopefully be blogging about the pups adventures.