When I was kid, my mom brought home a puppy she came across in the grocery store parking lot. The entire litter was being sold out of the back of a pickup truck and there was a sweet little puppy my mom just had to take home. “Daisy was the cutest puppy in the bunch,” she always said.
As a young adult, I just assumed that if I wanted a puppy I’d simply pick up the phone, go see a litter, pick out my favorite puppy, and take her home. In fact, that’s how we got our first Weimaraner, Britta. She crawled into my (then) boyfriend’s lap and the rest, as they say, was history.
These days, I’m a breeder myself. And under no circumstances do I just let pet family home into my home, pick out their favorite puppy, and walk out the front door. (This doesn’t apply to breeder and other experienced colleagues.)
The number one breeding rule is to try to make the next generation better than the one that is here now. How a breeder does this varies, but the general consensus is for the breeder to keep the “best” puppies to further their breeding program and send the rest onto wonderful homes where puppies can thrive with their new families.
For the first 8-12 weeks of a puppy’s life, I’m constantly evaluating them to see which ones meet the most of my list of breeding goals for that particular litter. Those at the top of my list are selected to “stay in the family” so that I can raise them up, do lots of things with them, prove their value/contribution to our breed, and use them to create more generations of outstanding Weimaraners. Obviously, not every puppy in a particular litter will be my favorite puppy. Those that I decide not to keep for myself and/or breeder colleagues or other experienced performance homes are available to the right companion/pet homes. To state the obvious, I’d be doing a dis-service to my breeding program if I presented a prospective buyer all of my puppies, and that buyer walked out the front door with what would have been the best puppy for my next generation.
What makes a good home for Barrett Weimaraners?
For starters, a good home is a home that values my input as the breeder and trusts me to make the puppy placement decisions. 🙂 After all, I’m your puppy’s go-to human for the first 2-3 months of their lives and I promise you that I’ll know them better than anyone. If I’ve done a good job getting to you know you, the prospective puppy buyer, I’ll have a pretty idea about what you’re looking for, too.
What if you want to pick out your own puppy?! After all, it’s your purchase, your puppy, and your commitment for the lifetime of that puppy. You want to be sure you’re picking the right one for yourself, and you especially don’t want the one that didn’t warm up to you when you first met it.
I value your enthusiasm but if you’re not experienced and well-versed in structure evaluation and temperament testing for the Weimaraner breed, and you’re dead-set on picking out your own puppy, I’m simply not the right breeder for you. (Oh by the way, that puppy that didn’t warm up to you could have had the biggest, bestest game of chase with his littermates just prior to you showing up, and he was simply exhausted.) There are plenty of other Weimaraner breeders across the United States and surely, you may have better luck with one of them. In case you need a reference, they are listed here. In case you’d like some more reading material about the subject, there’s a discussion about why breeders don’t let owners pick out their puppies, here, here, and here. In summary, when you go pick out a car, you let the dealer ask you what colors you like and what options you want, and then you let them walk you to that exact car. When you buy a house, you pick out a realtor, tell them what you want, and let him show you the houses they’ll think you’ll love.
Buying a puppy is no different. Find a breeder, be patient, and have them pick out for you exactly what you want. You’ll be happy. They’ll be happy. Everybody wins.
Oh, and whatever became of Britta, the puppy the breeder let us pick out as an 11-week old?
Britta, currently 11 years old and Jedi Master in Training
That same breeder wrote out on a piece of scratch paper, “I, XXXXX, give you, XXXXX, one AKC-registered Weimaraner puppy. Note: I don’t have her AKC papers with me but I’ll send it to you as soon as I get it. Sincerely, the breeder.”
The papers were never mailed. Voice messages were never answered. And a few months later, the telephone number was disconnected entirely. Today, Britta is a happy, bouncy 11-year old who rules our roost. But we’ve also had to overcome separation anxiety and intestinal/digestive issues and having the breeder as a resource would have been helpful. Actually, having a breeder who didn’t breed dogs with questionable health, temperament and separation anxiety would have been nice, too.