You have decided to buy a gun dog and narrowed the breed to a Brittany, but you might need some puppy tips before you get your new dog from the breeder.
Brittanys are good hunters, excellent pointers, and loyal retrievers. They have earned more dual championship titles in field trials and showing than all the other sporting breeds combined, according to the National Brittany Rescue and Adoption Network
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Selecting the puppy can be fun, but it also requires a bit of technical thinking, especially if you are looking for a hunting companion that is true to its breed.
Here are some suggestions on how to select your new dog:
• First, do your research. Field and Stream magazine says
, “Smart money always picks the litter, not the puppy.” Meaning before you even view the dog, you know its bloodline, its siblings' and parents' field ratings, and the reputation of its breeder. Look for breeders who produce the kind of dog you have in mind.
They call this the “Iceberg Principle,” which stresses that the majority of your puppy picking efforts are done “beneath the surface.”
• American Brittany Rescue says
if you are primarily looking for a hunting companion, you will need to look for a breeder who maintains a "dual quality" line. That means they can prove their dogs' field and show performance. Ask the breeder if both parents are on-site, as it is important to be able to see both dam and sire.
• Try to interview people who have bought previous puppies from the line you are considering. If you can, meet those dogs to get an idea about what their temperament will be.
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• Pedigree is important. American Brittany Rescue says the parents and grandparents most influence the puppy's outcome.
• Ask if there is a family history of genetic defects such as hip dysplasia and epilepsy, then require the breeder to provide health certification and puts in writing their return policy.
• Once you've identified the litter you want to see, look for the best disposition among the puppies. How do you recognize this? Look for a friendly and outgoing, normal-sized pup. It shouldn’t be the largest nor the smallest of the group.
• A pup that makes eye contact is a prime example of an intelligent and willing hunting prospect that can be trusted, says Field and Stream.
• Look at coat quality. The dam will give you an idea of her health (and thus the pups') by the texture and brilliance of her fur. A Brittany’s coat should be fine, but dense with hair lying flat and slightly wavy.
• Brittanys are extremely intelligent dogs that must be kept busy, so be prepared to engage the pup in learning activities even at 6 weeks of age.
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