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Perhaps nothing betrays the novice in dogs so much as his statements when he sees a very young litter of puppies. In his mind is the standard of the ideal of the dog breed and he looks for this in the two-weeks old puppies, forgetting that the dog breed standard always considers the fully matured dog.
Where are the dark eyes the dog breed standard demands? The puppies have blue eyes. Do not worry—the dog’s eyes will turn brown or black within a few weeks. And those pink noses, so warm and moist and soft that nudge into your hand? What a dreadful fault! Do not worry; the pink will turn to coal black as months come and go.
The novice can betray himself most surely when he picks out as the choice of the litter the roly-poly, fat and rounded puppy. “Look at the head,” he exclaims; “it’s nicely filled out!” And this same puppy proves about the poorest of the litter. Beware; the plump puppy leaves no room for the growth and enlarging which must take place later.
To look at Great Dane or Russian Wolfhound puppies, for instance, at the age of two months is an astonishment to those not familiar with these dog breeds; they suggest their final type only remotely. Many other dog breeds also are deceiving in the very young puppies. And it is well to remember that like the fish that got away—it’s always the biggest one—the puppy that dies was the best of the litter and a sure champion if it had lived.
Excerpted from Dog World magazine, December 1930, Vol. 1, No. 12. For back issues of Dog World, click here.