Puppy Selection Policy

Breeders have different puppy placement policies and procedures.  Some breeders allow families to pick their puppy, usually in the order they received deposits. This practice may seem fair, but it doesn't take into consideration the temperament, confidence level, training attitude, sound sensitivity, or activity level of each puppy in the litter. Other breeders will help the new owners pick of their puppy. There are some breeders that match their puppies with their new families. 

Why do some breeders pick the puppy for the new owners? Most prospective owners lack the time, knowledge, and experience required to properly evaluate the puppies. The families usually come for one or two of brief visits with the puppies. Their first impressions are often misleading. A mellow, easygoing puppy may have a brief burst of energy during the visit. A high energy puppy that was active while the other puppies were napping may be resting quietly in the corner during a your visit. This energetic puppy may seem to be calm and easygoing to the visitors. Breeders that spend a lot of time with their puppies can identify the energetic puppy, a bold one, the sound sensitive puppy, and the easy-going one. Experienced breeders often evaluate their litters and have an active role in the selection process.

My current puppy selection policy is based on many years as a Labrador Retriever Rescue volunteer and 30 years of experience breeding Labradors. As a rescue volunteer, one of my jobs was to talk with people that needed to surrender their Labrador. Many of these owners had selected a puppy that was not a good fit for their family, and then they had to make the difficult decision to surrender their dog to rescue. During the first few years as a breeder, I made recommendations to prospective dog owners but I allowed the families to pick their puppy. I've learned from the successful placements, and from the few that were not ideal. For many years, I have been matching my puppies with their new families. 

My puppy selection process begins with information from the prospective owners about their lifestyle, family dynamics, the activities they have in mind for their new dog, and the characteristics they are looking for in a canine companion. I observe and evaluate my puppies as they grow and develop. I spend time with each puppy individually during the last 2 weeks they are with me. I evaluate their temperament, activity level, interaction with their litter mates and visitors, and responses to new sights and sounds. My litters are also temperament tested by a trained professional when the puppies are at least 7 weeks old. Traits like independence, assertiveness, training attitude, confidence level, and sound sensitivity are evaluated during the standardize testing procedure. 

  • A sound sensitive puppy is not a good match for a busy household with several active children or a family living in a busy urban setting. 
  • A mellow easy-going puppy is a good match for a retired couple. 
  • A dominant puppy needs a home with an experienced dog owner. 
  • An active puppy is a good match for an active family. 
  • The independent confident puppy is more likely to adjust to being alone during the work day. 
  • Place keep in mind that temperament is more important than color or gender. 
  • A good match will benefit both the puppy and their new family. 

The puppy for a family with young children requires careful consideration. A puppy and young children can be a very challenging combination. Both require close supervision. Puppies tend to interact with young children as if they were litter mates, and that includes rough and mouthy play. Jumping, nipping, and chewing are common problems. Puppies love to chew and they don't know the difference between their toys and your children's favorite ones. Also, an excited puppy can easily knock over a young child. Both the puppy and the child are vulnerable to injuries. At times, the puppy and a young child might be running in different directions, and no one can be in 2 places at the same time. However, with close supervision and ongoing training, motivated parents can keep both their children and the puppy safe and happy.

No placement decision is final until after the temperament testing has been completed. Based on the results, my observations, and the prospective owners requests, I will identify the puppy or puppies in the litter that will most likely meet the needs and expectations of their new families. There may be more than one puppy that is a good match for a family, but the puppies may not be the same color or gender. The puppy for first time dog owners, seniors, and families with young children are carefully selected. In some litters there may not a puppy that will be a good match for a family. 

Many reputable breeders have been matching puppies with their new owners for years. Some prospective owners may not familiar with this practice. I'm happy to answer questions regarding my puppy selection process. If being able to pick your puppy is important to you, I'm simply not the right breeder for youThe Labrador Retriever Club of Greater Boston has a puppy referral service. Contact information is posted on their website, lrcgb.org.