The last of Muse’s puppies went home this morning, so this seems like a good time to introduce the newest member of the pack.  This is Clancy’s Pumpkin Spice Ale.

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Many people have asked how I could go about choosing one particular puppy from a large litter to keep.  There were a number of factors that went into the decision.  One big criteria this time was gender.  I don’t like to keep a lot of male dogs and already have two, including Muse’s son, Gromit, from her previous litter.  That meant the decision was essentially between the two female puppies.  Had the option of keeping a male been available, there was one in the litter that might have tempted me.

The two female puppies were very different, and each had qualities that appealed to me.  Spice looks very much like her father, while her sister Lacy looks more like Muse.  Spice is very substantial and was actually the heaviest boned puppy in the litter.  She has nice proportions and angulation with a very pretty face.  Her substance is something I need in my breeding program and was a factor in my decision.  Lacy has a little more length of leg and is slightly finer in built- in order words built for more speed on the agility course.  I will admit, deciding between the two girls caused a little bit of a dilemma for me.  Showing in the breed ring isn’t  a priority for me anymore, as my beloved breed has morphed into just another over groomed, professionally handled, generic show dog.  On the other hand, I do still want to produce quality PBGVs that are true to type, so the right choice was to keep the puppy with better breed type.

Since I am looking for an all-around dog, structure and breed type were not the only factors in my decision.  We did formal temperament testing on the whole litter at 7 weeks, which largely confirmed the observations I had already made of the puppies.  Both girls were relatively confident (bearing in mind that hounds are by nature somewhat soft), but Spice was the more social and biddable of the two.  This fit with their behavior in other settings also- Lacy would frequently be the one to explore new territory and figure things out, but Spice would be the one following me and showing the most interest in what the people were doing.  20 years of training hounds for performance events has taught me clearly that the puppy who choses humans over the environment is the one I want as my next training partner. Lacy is a lovely confident puppy who will make an excellent companion for her new family.

So now Spice will adjust to being the only puppy in the house.  She is gradually meeting the pack individually, but needs to get a little bigger before hanging with the whole group at once.  We started puppy class this week and are taking field trips out into the community when the weather allows.  Her favorite thing so far was checking out the rats at Petco.  Spice is pretty food motivated and has some interest in tugging, which I will work on building.