How to Choose a Puppy from a Litter – A Complete Guide

How to Choose a Puppy from a Litter – A Complete Guide

Have you finally decided to bring a little furry friend into your home? Wondering how to choose a puppy? Well, getting these furry babies can be one of the most joyous moments in one's life. However, picking a puppy from a litter is a big decision.

This isn't just about cuteness. You and your family will be together with the pup for years.

So, you need to consider your lifestyle and your living space. You must consider how much time you have to play fetch with your puppy and clean up those inevitable accidents. Moreover, the most important thing is the dog's temperament. It can help you understand whether the dog suits your household.

Imagine you have little kids in your home. You would not want a dog that is too aggressive and can hurt your children, right? Or maybe you have some elderly person in your household. Then, an overly mischievous dog also won't be the right choice.

Well, maybe you've already researched and chosen a breed with admirable traits. However, even pups from the same breed or litter can have different personalities. Just like human siblings, they also vary. Some may be shy observers, some full of energy, and some with the perfect balance.

Remember, the breed does matter, but so do the individual pups. So, how do you choose a puppy from a bunch of wriggling littermates?

Don't worry! This is why we're here. Our years of experience will help you pick the best puppy from many littermates. We'll discuss some of the most critical factors for choosing the best puppy and provide you with a health checklist.

Let's dive in!

How to Choose a Puppy? - Facts to Check While Visiting the Puppies

Once you've decided what breed, size, and characteristics you want, it's time to choose from where you'll get the puppy.

Those adorable puppies in a pet store might seem tempting from outside the window. However, they're not always the best choice. There are many reasons, like –

  • Most pet stores, you see, keep the puppies alone in a small cage and won't let them interact with other littermates. In this case, you won't be able to judge their nature.
  • At pet stores, they separate the pooches too early from their mothers. Because of this, the pooches don't get the necessary milk from their mothers. It can make them weaker and lead to various health issues.
  • Separating the puppy too early would not give them proper guidance from their mother. Sometimes, this can lead the puppy to be fearful or even aggressive.

Because of these reasons, it's better to go to a breeder instead of a pet store. A breeder raises its puppies in a home environment. This can help you see how the momma dog interacts with her pups, which develops their personalities.

Once you've found a reliable breeder with the puppies you want, visit the breeder. While visiting the breeder, the question is how to choose the best puppy from a litter.

There are many important factors to check. Here are some of them –

A Suitable and Safe Environment

When you see the puppies from a breeder, checking their surrounding environment is essential. Ensure the breeder's place is clean and safe and has enough space for the pups to play. Check whether the puppies and their mother are well-fed and happy. A good breeder will prioritize the health and well-being of their animals.

If the place where the pups were born or kept isn't up to the mark, it can affect their development in many ways. Such as –

  • If the room isn't clean, the pups may catch different diseases because of harmful substances in it.
  • When the room isn't clean and big enough to play, it shows the breeder has failed to take care of them properly. It may lead to trust issues for the little puppies and problems in socialization skills. They may even become aggressive.
  • Also, if the water and food quality isn't good enough, it can lead to different issues for the pet's growth and development.

The Look and Behavior of the Mother and Puppies

After checking the environment, it's the fun part.

Finally, you can check all the puppies from the litter and their mother. But don't just think about playing as soon as you see them (honestly, it can be hard not to cuddle).

However, to choose the best puppy for your home, you need to examine them first. Make sure the breeder shows you the puppies and their mothers together. A good breeder will do this without even asking. Remember, you can leave if the breeder doesn't let you see the mother dog.

Here is what you need to check when you're examining them –

The Appearance of the Pups

Look at the physical condition of the mother and each puppy. They should have -

  • Shiny coats (long or short both),
  • Clear eyes, nose, ears without any redness or discharge,
  • A clean and dry bottom,
  • No visible ribs and
  • Sturdy legs.

Also, ensure the puppies and mother is free of visible health issues. A healthy look shows that they've been well-cared for.

You can walk away if the puppies or their mother seem unwell or uncomfortable. Many breeders don't care about dogs and just think about breeding to sell. Thus, you can report about the breeder if you're worried about the dogs' welfare.

The Behavior of the Pups

Remember to observe the whole litter together. It is an essential part of deciding which puppy to choose.

Before checking the pups:

  1. Check their mother.
  2. See how she behaves and whether she's friendly and attentive to her pups.
  3. Go for the litter.
  4. Check how the puppies interact with each other and whether they're playful and curious.

If, among four littermates, three are growling and barking at you, maybe you wouldn't find any ideal one from this litter. Even if the last one doesn't bark, the puppy will likely be scared or shy.

Remember, traits can persist into adulthood. Thus, it would be better for you not to choose one from a litter like this.

The Puppies' Adaptability to People and a Home Environment

After checking the puppies' appearance and behavior, make sure they are socialized with humans. They should be comfortable and show curiosity rather than fear.

Do you want a well-rounded, moderately active puppy ideal for a family and needs the most minor exercise?

Then, go stand in front of the puppies and check what they are doing. Remember, the first dog to run to you or the last one just sitting in its place wouldn't be a good choice.

  • The first dog that runs to you will more likely be over-mischievous. They can tire you even after playing for long hours. These pups can also ruin your house by chewing or biting different clothes, shoes, etc. They are super outgoing and bossy. It's like they just don't have an off switch.
  • The last one that just sits in its place is more likely a dog with trust problems and fear. A fearful dog can also become aggressive in the future. It can be a fear-biter and can't live a normal life daily.

Although there are ways to train a stubborn dog, it takes too much time and hard work. Thus, go for the pups that are middle in line. They don't generally catch your attention as they're not too clingy or fearful.

However, these puppies are friendly.

  • They may play rough house with the other puppies, but do not bully them.
  • These puppies are easy to train as they want to please or be engaged with people.
  • The most important thing is that they have a natural off switch. They play for some time and then go to take a nap.

The Puppy's paperwork

After deciding your choice, ensure the breeder provides all the necessary paperwork. Even health records and pedigree information are essential.

These documents are crucial for understanding your puppy's background and potential genetic health issues.

Also, don't forget to ask the breeder about every possible detail. If the breeder is reliable, he will expect questions from you. He will also want to know more about you to ensure you'll take good care of the puppy.

Examine the Puppy's Physical Health

Even after checking the appearance and behaviors of the pups, choosing a healthy one is essential. After all, you're buying it to have a companion for years. 

Remember, a cute puppy today is a grown dog tomorrow. Thus, you must consider the long-term commitment you need to give to your dog's health and well-being.

Most dogs have a life expectancy of 12 – 16 years, and some can live up to 20 years. However, if you don't choose a healthy dog, it won't live up to its general life span. Moreover, it will bring in high budgets for your dog's health.

Thus, choose a healthy dog to ensure it doesn't get sick quickly and lives longer.

However, among all the littermates, how do you pick the right healthy puppy? A litter consists of 3 – 8 puppies. Choosing one from a litter of so many pups can be challenging.

Thus, here is a thorough checklist for choosing the healthiest puppy –

A Thorough Visual Check

Before choosing a puppy:

  1. Give each one a thorough visual check.
  2. Look for signs of good health and vitality.
  3. Make sure they are not too fat or too skinny.

A dog's actual body shape comes when it is about four months of age. So, even a dog that is supposed to be thin or fat in the future shouldn't be like that now.

The Puppy's Eyes, Ears, Gums, Teeth, and Rear End

Examine each puppy's eyes for any crust or discharge. Check the ears for cleanliness and any redness. Also, check that its gums and teeth are clean for good dental health.

The rear end should be clean and free from any signs of diarrhea or infection. They should have shiny coats without any dirt or debris on their bodies.

Hearing and Vision Test

After checking the pups' overall appearance, conduct a hearing and vision test to ensure that the puppy can see and hear properly.

Clap your hands or make a noise to see whether the puppy reacts. Move your hands before the puppy or throw a toy behind it to check its vision.

Breathing and Gait

Check each puppy's breath and gait movements one by one. They should breathe easily without wheezing or coughing.

Their gait should be steady. Gait means how a puppy walks, trots, canters, and gallops. Make sure they're free from limping and stiffness. It will help you understand whether they have any hip or joint issues.

Jaw Control

It's essential to choose a puppy with reasonable jaw control. But how do you pick a puppy that has the best jaw control? Gently open the puppy's mouth. You can also let the puppy mouth your hands. It can help you identify any issues with their bite or dental alignment.

Try making a painful sound and checking if the pup is excited or concerned. If the pup responds properly, it will more likely have good jaw control when it grows up. It's important to ensure that the pup is gentler while playing with other dogs. This also ensures that they won't hurt someone when taking food or playing with them.

A Visit to the Vet

Now, you can finally choose a puppy and bring them home. However, after bringing them home, a thorough checkup is essential.

After some days, schedule an appointment to see the vet. The vet will conduct a thorough health checkup for your pup and provide necessary vaccinations.

Adjusting the New Pup at Home

It's important to keep your new puppy at home during the first few weeks. Except for short visits, you should keep it at home until it is 12 – 16 weeks (about three and a half months) old.

It is a crucial time for socialization and bonding with their new family. Limiting outings until they are fully vaccinated will also help you protect your new puppy from potential diseases.

Get The Best Dog Accessories for Your New Pups!

Choosing the best puppy from a litter is a big decision. It requires careful consideration and examination. We've provided a complete guide on choosing a puppy from a litter. Hope this can help you select your perfect furry friend. Remember, this little bundle of joy will be with you for many years. So, take your time and choose wisely.

After you've chosen your puppy, don't forget to give them a comfortable space. Get the best bedding, blankets, and harnesses for your babies. If you still don't know where to buy them, visit Doodle Couture. We have the best dog accessories at an affordable range, from harmless no-pull harnesses to cozy blankets. Contact us and get the best dog accessories to enjoy a hassle-free experience with your new friend!


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