When the moment arrives for selecting a dog of your own, you should have a good idea of what you are looking for. If you are primarily concerned with finding an average dog, we highly recommend your local animal shelter. Not only will you be helping to relieve the local over population of animals as well as possibly rescuing a loving little dog, you just might meet the best friend you will ever have.
No matter where you find the right dog for you, the same basic rules will apply. You will find that a very young puppy only vaguely resembles the adult dog you admired on the street or in the show ring. Older puppies, between the ages of six and twelve months or so, go through an awkward adolescent stage during which they seem hopelessly out of proportion. You will often get a better idea of what the puppy will eventually look like if you observe the adult members of his family, (when this is possible).
If you are looking for a puppy, rather than an adult dog, there are various methods of picking the best puppy from a litter. Some advise avoiding the weakest and shyest, even though the runt of the litter may turn out to be the best. Some breeders claim the mother picks out the best, so they remove the puppies from her and note which ones she brings back first. But everyone agrees that the signs of a good temperament in a very young puppy are friendliness, confidence, playfulness, and curiosity.
When you must choose a puppy from a litter you should proceed by elimination. First of all is sex, male or female, this will eliminate 1/3 to ½ the group. Then you might consider colors or markings, next a playful and happy attitude. But always bear in mind the role he will play in your life. Do you want an active playful dog, or one that is quiet and more reserved? Go with the one that most closely fits your lifestyle.
Choosing an adult dog is different. He has already achieved his full physical development and personality. He may also have acquired physical or mental quirks. When choosing an adult dog of unknown past, you must use all of your powers of observation. Like the puppy, a good temperament is the most important quality of all. Keep in mind that adult dogs are more difficult to train, as they have already been trained by someone else.
If you are looking for a show dog, temperament may be secondary to physical conformation. There tends to be considerable difference of temperament between the show lines or breeds, and the working lines of certain breeds. If you want a pet whom you can also show with some success, the best solution is to choose either one of the breeds in the sporting and working groups that have not been affected by artificial show standards.
Lastly, when making your final choice, choose from the heart and not so much by the book, and you both will be happier for it.
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