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If you’ve ever contacted a responsible breeder about a puppy, you may have been told that they don’t decide where each puppy is going until after they do evaluations.  But what is the purpose of this, why do dog breeders evaluate their puppies?  Responsible dog breeders put a lot of thought, research and financial investment into each litter that they produce.  Their goal isn’t just to produce puppies.   The goal is to improve the breed with each breeding that they do.  Of course, there is no perfect dog but responsible breeders try to breed as closely as they can to the breed standard.

What Is The Best Age For Evaluating Puppies?

The majority of responsible dog breeders evaluate their puppies’ temperament around 7 weeks of age and structure around 8 weeks of age.

Of course, it depends on the breed but most 8 week old puppies are miniature versions of what they will look like grown up.  The general range for structural evaluations is 3 days before to 3 days after they turn 8 weeks old.

So, Why Do Dog Breeders Evaluate Their Puppies?

Responsible breeders want to improve the quality of their litters with each breeding.

Responsible dog breeders do a structural evaluation of every litter that they produce.  They either have a form that they fill out regarding different aspects of their puppies’ structure or they take detailed notes.  This way they get to see what they like about each puppy  and what they would like to work on to improve in their next breeding.  They look at the overall structure of the puppy.  Also, they take a look at the movement of their puppies.  Puppies who are structurally built as per their breed standard should move the way the breed is supposed to move.

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Responsible breeders want to make sure that they are producing structurally sound puppies.

When  doing the structural evaluation,  structural weaknesses would be discovered and noted.  The breeder can then do research to see where these weaknesses come from and if they are genetic so that they can try to avoid producing them in the future.  This takes a lot of research and also a good eye for canine structure.  These things usually come with experience in the breed.  Breeders that are new to breeding often ask experienced breeders or mentors to evaluate their litters and teach them about proper structure.

Responsible breeders want to breed dogs with exceptional temperaments.

There are several temperament tests for breeders to use with their puppies.  A common test that is used is the Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test. Another is Avidogs.  Breeders can use either of these tests, along with their observations in order to evaluate each puppy’s temperament.  These tests help the breeder to match each puppy to the home that best suits them.  Having a home that suits the personality and energy level of each puppy is very important.  Each puppy in the litter has their own unique personality and various energy levels.  Getting a puppy that is the right fit for you makes life for everyone much easier.  A breeder’s main goal is to make sure that their puppies are happy and that the new puppy family is happy too.

Responsible breeders want to keep the puppy that best compliments their breeding program.

Responsible dog breeders breed litters with the goal to keep a puppy from the litter to improve their breeding program.  They don’t breed to just randomly produce puppies to place as  pets.  Of course, they can’t keep every puppy from each litter so that means that the puppies that they do not keep will be available as high quality pets to the people on their waiting lists.  In order to keep producing the best quality puppies, though, the breeder evaluates the litter and picks the puppy that best meets the breed standard.  Sometimes there will be a specific quality that they may be looking for but they should also take a look at the overall quality of the puppy as well.

Responsible breeders want to make sure that each puppy home gets a puppy that best matches their lifestyle.

Besides keeping a puppy from the litter, the biggest part of evaluations is for placing puppies in the best homes for them.  One of the most important jobs of a responsible dog breeder is evaluating their litter.  A breeder who cannot properly evaluate their litter is in for trouble as it will eventually catch up to them.  Puppies who do not go to homes that can handle them can develop some serious issues.  They can develop temperament issues and quickly become out of control.  These puppies often end up being returned to the breeder.

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So, if you ever get upset with a breeder that won’t allow you to come in to their home and pick out your own puppy, just remember their reasons for this.  They spend countless amount of hours with their puppies and know them better than anyone.  They do testing to make sure that you get the perfect puppy for them.  You only get a little snippet of the puppies when you visit.  A lot of factors could affect what they are like while you visit.  They could be tired, or distracted or hungry.  All of these things can affect how they behave.  So, if you ever wonder why breeders evaluate their puppies, keep in mind how important these evaluations are.

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