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Evaluating a litter 

and an Individual Puppy



**Please, it is extremely important that you read through the pages.... "What is a responsible breeder", and  "Evaluating a breeder"  BEFORE you go to buy your new puppy!!!! 

These pages give you important information about where you should buy your puppy and where you should NOT, and what to look for in a breeder.

If you have made yourself aware of the only "reliable" source to acquire a puppy, and the dangers you face going to a pet store or backyard breeder, GREAT! I hope this page will help you choose a puppy who's temperament  is right for your family and your situation.

**Note: A knowledgeable breeder, will be able to provide excellent guidance in choosing a puppy that is right for you. They know their dogs and their puppies, and have unequalled experience in matching the right pup to the right owner....listen to their advice!**


How to Evaluate the Whole Litter

First you should look at the litter all together. There is never a good reason all for the pups to be shy and reserved. They should be well socialized to humans and other dogs, before they are ready to go to new homes.

So if they seem to back away, afraid of you. Or are barking suspiciously at you....leave. 

You do not want any of theses pups, no matter what the breeder tries to explain. Even if a couple seem more outgoing and friendly, it is not advisable for you to purchase one those pups, either. As the shyness is probably in their genes and they haven't begun to show it yet.

See what your heart gets you for feeling sorry for the shy, fearful puppy and taking them home, by reading about my life with Zeus. "In Memory" page.

It is plausible that one or two pups of a large litter be a bit more shy and reserved then the rest, but the large majority should be happy to see people and be all buzzing around your feet, wanting attention. 

Let the puppies interact normally with you. Observe them wiggling around you, and note their true temperament. Don't try to coax a shy puppy towards you. His shyness is obviously in his genes and by making him warm up to you, you may be only masking a future problem. Shy nervous dogs, can have fear aggression problems later. Or at the very least may snap without thinking when startled.

Puppies with good temperaments are naturally curious and friendly. They will be wrestling with each other, climbing on you for attention and be chewing on your pant leg. If you sit down they will certainly climb up on your lap.

Once the novelty of YOU ;)  has warn off, observe how the puppies interact with each other. You can tell alot about each puppies personality, by the way they play with their siblings.

It is a best choice for most families to neither pick the bossy, dominant pup, or the shy, timid one. Most families should look for the middle of the road. Look for a pup who is good natured, one who is not shy, who does join in with the "ruff in tuff" games, but does not start it. One who can hold his own if the bully tries his stuff on him. The one I call a "Little wiggle butt".

Again, a shy or nervous puppy who is afraid of strange noises, is not the pup for most noisy family households. An alert, confident, inquisitive puppy would suit most busy homes.

 Then there's the puppy who did not seem to hear or care that their was anything new going on. This pup may have a hearing problem, or other health issue. Or he could be too independent to care. That pup could be very difficult to train, as they usually have a mind of their own.

With an independent nature being somewhat of a breed trait as they get older, a Pyr pup with an overly independent nature while young, just might be impossible as an adult!

                                                                                                         Mellow, Photo courtesy of Roz D

     How to evaluate each individual puppy

After you have noted the most dominant and the most shy/timid of the pups, ask the breeder if you can spend some time with each of the pups individually.

It's a good idea to see how each pups acts without the security of it's littermates. Sometimes a pup that seems bold will turn out to be rather shy when by itself. Or on the other hand, when his pack has gone, can become a calm little love bug, when he has you all to himself.

Crouch down and gently roll the pup on his back and hold it with one hand for a full 30 seconds.

Did he...


Let the pup stand up and gently stroke him from the head to back while

you crouch beside him. Continue stroking until a recognizable behaviour is established.

Pup may try to dominate by jumping and nipping or is independent and walks away.

Did he:


It is a good idea for anyone evaluating a individual puppy; to pick the puppy that has most of the endearing qualities. You want the puppy who cuddles up to you, is not frightened away by strange noises, is not overly pushy, dominant or excessively shy.


Sariena Foley

Regalia Great Pyrenees

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The comments in this article are solely and completely the "opinion" of the author. It is based on her experiences and information she has gathered from other reputable sources over the years.

***Anyone thinking about buying a puppy of any breed, are more than welcome to print this article, for future reference.

Furthermore, this article in its entirety may be reproduced and used anywhere, for educational purposes. So long as proper credit is given to the author. I would appreciate an email notification***

{TM} and Copyright 2002  by {R&S Foley Farms}. All rights reserved.
Revised:  10 Apr 2002 11:43:29-0400












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