Picking Your Puppy

blue fawn and white pit bull puppy Annie on a blanket

There are a few things to consider when picking a puppy. Whether you are looking for a personal companion, family dog, show/performance dog, or therapy dog.

The two main aspects of a puppy to evaluate are:

  • Temperament
  • Conformation

Personal Preference – such as color and markings should always be considered LAST. You want to pick the puppy that has the temperament and qualities needed to best fit in your life.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you adding another dog to current dogs?
    • male or female?
    • what is the temperament of my current dogs?
  • Are you wanting a dog for your kids?
    • is your home busy & loud? OR calm & quiet?
    • how old are your kids?
  • Are you wanting a therapy dog?
  • Are you wanting to show your puppy?
  • Are you wanting to get involved in performance such as obedience, weight pull, barn hunt, agility, dock diving?

All of these questions lead to a different “ideal” puppy that should be chosen to fit your needs.

How to evaluate a puppy’s temperament:

Hold the puppy on its back. Cradling it close and safely.

  • a nervous pup will push away stiffly not making any eye contact
  • a independent pup will squirm and not relax easily
  • a calm and confident pup will relax and quickly be at ease in your arms with no fear or care, will also give eye contact

With this exercise allow proper time for the pup to respond. Some pups take a few seconds, but the process may take up to 30 seconds.

Take the puppy to a new area.

Watch the puppy’s attitude. Call them to you. The results can surprise you! A pup that was playful and confident in the puppy pen could now be fearful and shy. This reaction is a true evaluation of the puppies natural disposition.

  • a nervous or fearful puppy may freeze and refuse to move, tuck its tail between its legs or look for a hiding place
  • a independent pup will start checking out its new surroundings and not respond to calls, tail up
  • a calm and confident pup will hold its tail flat and wagging, will look around its surroundings and come when called

Evaluating Conformation – Why is this important?

The conformation of a puppy can be a very important aspect to consider, especially when looking for a conformation show or performance dog.

The way a dog is built can make the difference between a mediocre event dog or an exceptional event dog!

These decisions require research on your part. Know what you are looking for and why.

These are very helpful tools in gaining the knowledge needed to make the best selection possible for your new pup:

books titled Structure in Action and The Winning Edge

Structure in Action –The Makings of a Durable Dog

THE WINNING EDGE – Show Ring Secrets

puppy puzzle dvd the Hastings approach to evaluating the structural quality of puppies


The Hastings approach to evaluating the structural quality of puppies

Here at BarTin Kennels we have also used the Volhard’s Puppy Aptitude Test in choosing our puppies.