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Discussion Starter #1
This is a puppy from the breeder that I'm probably going to buy from. Can't be sure yet that it is the one I'll get, but its the only yellow, which is what I wanted, and the breeder probably won't keep a male.

The parents are Am. Ch's, sire is Belgairn Tom Jones, the dam is somewhat of specialty type dog, although I think her points were from all-breed, she also has agility and obedience titles.

The goal is a dog that can do conformation and obedience/agility, so I am very concerned about having a well-made front and rear and nice balance. Have been trying to look at him from the perspective of pat hastings' book, but I haven't got any experience at evaluating puppies.

Of course the breeder will be evaluating the litter again at 8 weeks, but I would love some outside constructive opinions on him now, this is his 6 week old photo.

 

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For six weeks old, he looks pretty good. I see a soft topline, otherwise looks cute. :)
 

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Melissa, is that a soft topline? I am not arguing, I am just asking. Something about the big slope from the head to the tail doesn't sit right, and I wouldn't know how to explain it to someone. My thought was that the appearance was maybe due to a short neck.

But granted 6 week photos might not be the best time to evaluate this pup. I'd love to see a 7 and 8 week shot later on.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I wasn't sure about the slope either, only two in the litter have a more level topline at this time, they are the smallest so maybe they are just not at the same stage in development?

Here is one of the smaller puppies, with a more level back. He has no pigment so not a show contender, although I like how he is built, he seems like a more moderate-build Lab and has balance and good angles, I think so anyway. Am I totally off on thinking this?



On a related note, are non-pigmented puppies never kept as breeding stock? It seems to me that a breeder would lose out if the best puppy they ever bred was spayed just because it was a yellow with two choc genes. Maybe it can't be shown, but if it was obviously a superior specimen in other ways why not just make sure to breed it to a dog that does not carry chocolate?
 

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I prefer the first puppy to this last one, but would like to seem them in another week. As far as keeping a chocolate pigmented yellow as possible breeding stock, it would depend on the breeder...most of us keep dogs to do more than breed them. By keeping a dog that is a DQ in the breed ring, that takes that venue away from you right from the get-go. I also don't know anyone who would be knocking down a door to breed to a dudley stud dog, so unless you can use him on your own bitches, it's kind of a waste. This is why most will avoid producing dudley pups.

A word of advice- if you're serious about getting the nicest puppy possible to do both conformation and performance events, focus more on structure, less on color.
 

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It might be the angle the picture was taken of the first puppy, but it looks very upright in the shoulders.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Well, there might be a chocolate male available from the litter also, but it seems to me that his shoulder is more upright than the yellow one anyway, so I don't think he is better. It is entirely possible that neither will be suitable.

Just to be clear, the breeder did not do the taboo cross of chocolate to a yellow, the dam was black.

Also, I wasn't talking specifically about that dudley puppy being the best, just a hypothetical question.

Anyway, here is one of the choc males, any comments on him?

 

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Granted I am a sucker for chocolate, but he just appears more balanced overall to me. Also more square. He was just more visually appealing to me.

Although in comparison now, the first pup's rear looks too stretched out which would change the whole picture. And the second, I could be totally wrong, and I tried turning the picture so the table was straight, but the front end, the legs appear too short.

When you mentioned Tommey was the dad, I looked him up and figured Mom was either By or Byc and since the other boy is NBP, mom's got to be Byc since Tommey's Cy.

Admittedly, I am still a novice and had a friend who breeds and judges pick out my keeps from Grace's litter because I didn't trust my own judgement having fallen for each of them. But just based on the 3 photos and nothing else to go on, I like the chocolate the best.
 

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They all look like pretty nice puppies - maybe not show quality, but very nice. The first one is stretched out more, which might affect the look of his topline, but not so much the lay of the shoulder.
 

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The goal is a dog that can do conformation and obedience/agility, so I am very concerned about having a well-made front and rear and nice balance. Have been trying to look at him from the perspective of pat hastings' book, but I haven't got any experience at evaluating puppies.

In my opinion, this puppy is way off balance. Too long in body, too short in leg for starters. A nice pet. I would not put this puppy in a conformation ring. Rally and Obedience would be OK (keep in mind there are jumps in both). Agility, forget it!
 

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Can you have the picture taken without cranking the dog's heads WAY up like that...its hard to see just about anything up front ;)

I like the chocolate's balance, but its so very hard to tell anything when their little heads are being forced skyward.
 

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If you are looking for a working dog, I would be a bit concerned about fronts. FROM THE PICS, the first yellow and the black appear to be steep in the shoulders and that will create greater impact forces when landing jumps. The second yellow has the best layback of the three.
Would like to see a second pic of the first boy, the picture does him no justice. His topline appears to be sloping because he has much more rear than front because of the steep shoulders.
If I were to show the puppy I guess I would go with the chocolate. For working, I would go with the compact little second yellow.
However, not all lines are meant to be looked at at 6 weeks.
BTW, chocolate to yellow is not taboo...I did a chocolate to yellow breeding last year which produced Susan's Micah. I knew the dam did not carry yellow so I knew I would not produce Dudleys. The pigment and coat colour on the chocolate puppy were fine because his dam produces good pigment and coat colour :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Unfortunately these are the only stacked photos I have, the breeder's shots. It will be another week and a half or so before 8 week photos.
 

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Unfortunately these are the only stacked photos I have, the breeder's shots. It will be another week and a half or so before 8 week photos.
I know the breeder, and she will not steer you wrong. But do be flexible on color if at all possible! Anne
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I know the breeder, and she will not steer you wrong. But do be flexible on color if at all possible! Anne
Oh no, I don't doubt her in the slightest. Just figured the more opinions I hear the more I will learn about evaluating conformation, since each person sees the same dog a little differently.
 

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I think the most important thing a lab needs for competitions is heart. By that I mean drive, desire, tenacity, etc. My lab has a roached back,straight straight rear, easty-westy front, taller in the back than the front, and a host of other problems. She is one of the quickest agility labs, very high scoring Obedience and rally dog, loves field work, will try anything I ask.

Kelly and Amber
 

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I disagree with this 1000% (but that is the breeder in me).

It is unfair to breed heart into a dog and not give him the structure to follow through. Dogs with heart will persevere and love to work but it is despite every joint telling him that it is painful. I have a dog here who LIVES to work but his structure could not keep up with his drive and he now sits on the couch, crippled with severe elbow dysplasia while the other dogs get to go out and work.

Proper structure is not about beauty or fashion; form follows function and if the dog is meant to work, he had better be built to do the job. It is of even greater importance IMO that a dog with high drive has the body to withstand his efforts. I have lots of dogs here who have both outstanding drive and good solid structure to prevent them from breaking down. You can have both and to settle for less is not fair to the dog IMHO ;)
 

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I think the most important thing a lab needs for competitions is heart. By that I mean drive, desire, tenacity, etc. My lab has a roached back,straight straight rear, easty-westy front, taller in the back than the front, and a host of other problems. She is one of the quickest agility labs, very high scoring Obedience and rally dog, loves field work, will try anything I ask.

Kelly and Amber
Heart is important, but the day we overshadow basic structure and longevity (and temperament, general health, and trainability) as breeders is the day we breeders fail the breed. Many of the field dogs with a ton of "heart" are breaking down at relatively young ages and it's really sad to watch when you've known them in their prime. The key really is to be able to watch several generations from that program age.
Anne
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Kelly,

I'm glad your Amber is overcoming her conformation to work for you so well.

Having had a splay footed, bow legged, roach backed, slipped hocks, slipped patellas, hip and elbow dysplasic lab with epilepsy, hypothyroidism, and colitis, I can appreciate how much some dogs will try to go on in spite of the difficulty. In case anyone thinks I am joking, no way, he was a rescue dog and about 7 years old, except for the conformation he appeared healthly initially. He had the most gentle and loving temperament and never gave up trying to live, but agility, forget about it. I'm still sorry that the day we took him to be put down he tried to jump into the back of the van to go before I could lift him and his legs went out from under him, sorry that I let him fail at something he wanted to do. No dog should have to live or die that way because some "breeder" didn't care to consider basic soundness.

Anyway, now I'm crying. Here's hoping Amber lives a long and healthy life, if she isn't already on supplements, might I suggest fish oil and glucosamine.
 
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