The pups had more company yesterday, when Kathleen and Dave stopped by over the noon hour. Once the pups had slowed down a bit and gotten their peeing out of the way, we brought them all up to the family room so Kathleen could get some pictures. I snapped away too and finished off yet another set of batteries. Digital cameras are so perfect for puppy pictures since fewer than one in a dozen pictures is really a keeper.
The litter continues to look fantastic and I could not be more pleased with them. It's one of those litters where everyone (except the patch) could probably go to a show home. As the pups develop, it's great to see how sound they are and how well they move. A quality Dal is a lot more than pretty spots, and most of this group seems to have it all. On New Years Day we will be doing a set of stacked shots - pups set up in show poses, with pictures taken from all angles. This allows us to see their outlines and proportions and how they fit together. Jess will do the stacking and she will also note how the pup "goes together" when she stacks it. A really good puppy also has a good "fit" and its legs automatically set down in the right places - now, whether it will stay that way long enough for me to get good pictures is the question!
This evening the pups will come up into the family room again and I'll be watching them move and "set themselves up". I'll watch how they looking coming and going and from the side. I'll watch their foot placement, their toplines, how they carry their heads and tails, and whether they move with attitude and style.
They are almost six weeks old now, and by then the pups pretty much are what they are. Proportions and outlines are very similar to what they will be as adults, and although they will go through stages, Dals generally come back to what they were at six weeks. Some things are not fully predictable at six weeks - tail carriage, bites, and size can still be a problem later, but in general we know what we have by six weeks, or occasionally a bit longer.
Currently I am looking at Melitta and Maxwell, and could possibly keep both, at least for awhile. I like Maxwell a lot, and do not currently have a home for a top quality male if that's what he is, plus he's my favorte pup! Melitta looks like the most suitable girl puppy for me to keep, and is most promising, my reward for all the work of raising a litter!
Folgers is already promised, as are two of the girls depending on a variety of things including health testing. We've figured out the hearing status, I think, with two unilateral hearing pups. We'll check that again when I get together with Jess, and then the pups will get their BAER testing to confirm that the following Saturday. How can they be old enough for that already!?
Now I need to decide which of the fantastic homes on my list will get Gevalia the extra cute patch, and also need to decide where to place the girl I suspect is a uni. She's a gorgeous pup and probably would have gone to a show home, but if she is uni we might have to rethink that. Unis can be shown, and there are many top winning unilateral hearing Dals, but the people on my list for show puppies also want bilateral hearing since you have more options for breeding a bilateral puppy. Unilateral hearing dogs are more likely to produce deafness - BUT they can be bred intelligently. If she was my favorite puppy I would not have hesitated to keep and show her. BUT, what I will probably do is place her locally in a good pet home, and keep the rights to show her (at my expense). Time to check with the people on my list and see if any of them are interested. Are you?