Since many people ask me for tips on how to choose a puppy, here are some thoughts on that topic, based on my experience with To's litter.
I think the most important thing when choosing a puppy is to choose a line you like - the way they move, the way they jump, the way they learn, the way they behave to other dogs and people... - it definitely transfers! Since my puppies are mixes, they all look very different in a way - but yet they look a lot alike when we come to the structure, the way they behave and definitely the way they learn. They all seem to possess long legs, great generalization skills and most obviously, an enormous wish to work!
So when looking for a puppy, I make sure that line moves and jumps the way I like, that they like to please and love to work. - And then, how to choose the best puppy from the litter???
Is there such a thing? I mean, I was watching my litter pretty much 24 hours a day and I follow them further in Puppy Class and I sincerely have no idea which one is best. I do know exactly which one I would keep though! 🙂
Why him? Well, because he was just so cute in trying to tell me he loves me very much - mostly by biting me and making me bleed ha ha - and he just wouldn't take no as an answer. Just as he didn't take no for an answer when he was 1 day old and I tried to let the smaller puppies drink - and he was the only one coming back again and again and again - he just wouldn't take no for not loving him back either 🙂 He was also always the first to try things out (first to bark, first to pee where they should pee, first to jump in my lap).
So do I think he was the best? No. I think he was first in so many thing because he was a bit restless and I think he will probably be the hardest to handle and live with as he certainly is a bit hyper and hysteric and hm, well, the loudest too 🙂 But I still think he would be the best match for ME.
His big brother Toko would be his opposite - quiet, relaxed, happy with anything, thoughtful, extremely focused on the task at hand (unlike Loki who was interested in million things at the time), always avoiding trouble (unlike Loki who's nick name was Trouble) and loving everybody (unlike Loki who was petty clear he only cares about me). - One just had to love his happy attitude! They all had something they were best at, so I could easily rationalize keeping each of them. But I know I would choose emotionally at the end!
I was privileged to watch those puppies for pretty much 24 hours a day since day 1, so that would make my choice super easy. Having people over for visits made me realize how little one can see in occasional short visit though... They all had bad days - or maybe one was just playing hard just before the visit and was then too tired to do much else as sleeping. Also, sometimes one would grow so much in a week that it would make him sleepier for that whole week - Blue had a couple of weeks when he would sleep only!
So in case you live close enough - visit the puppies OFTEN and spend A LOT of time with them to get more realistic picture. If you can only visit once or twice, it might be better to ask the breeder to take LOTS of videos and then watch those instead - unedited, long and boring (puppy cam would be best option) if you want to really see something!
If you watch long enough, you will see A LOT. I had NO idea how much you can see in puppies just a couple of days old! You can only see it if you watch long enough as not all that much is happening at that age 🙂 - but it's just AMAZING how much you can see if you take the time! It's not so much about who is the best puppy of the litter - but you can see many personality traits. Go for the traits you want in your future dog. But at the end, go for the one that steals your heart and tells you to take him home.
Watching back Le's litter videos and trying to be objective, I would say all other puppies were better. We had to choose really early, so I basically chose based on color and "which one looks like mine". Seeing the videos as they grew, I was actually getting worried that might have not been the best choice as others always played harder and longer in the videos and were just more present and active - so her breeder actually made a special video of just her to calm me down that she is pretty o.k. afterall 🙂 And well, she did turn out pretty o.k. afterall 🙂
So don't worry about getting the best puppy. Because trials are never won by the best dog. They're won by the best team.
Also see: Some thoughts on breeding a litter