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How To Pick a Puppy from the Litter

Golden retriever mom with a litter of puppies feeding.

‘The pick of the litter’ is the term used by many pet owners when they agree to stud fees. The male dog owner wants the pick of the litter or the best of the bunch. It is not much to ask when trying to get a female dog pregnant.

However, not everyone is in a position to make that demand. Those prospective pet owners then need to pick out the best puppy from those that are left. It is not a hard task; you just need to know what to look for.

One thing to do before you go get a puppy is avoid puppy mills. The litters of those dogs are not always healthy.

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Which Puppy in the Litter Is Best?

This is a subjective question. The best puppy is not going to be the biggest or the healthiest. If they have been treated right, they will all be healthy. The biggest just got to the food the quickest.

The one that is best, is the one that you want. If you want a quiet dog that doesn’t fight, then you pick one that runs away from its mates and sits in the corner.

If you want an aggressive or bold dog, you pick the puppy that seems to win all the time. Some ugly duckling puppies have turned out to be the best dog. It may take a few years but eventually, their true self appears, and they can be the greatest dog you have ever owned.

The best dog just depends on numerous factors. The most important factor is if you pick the one you like and love. The puppy will respond to that treatment and develop into a very good dog.

How Do You Tell If a Puppy is Dominant or Submissive?

Littler of black and white puppies leaning over a piece of wood

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The way to tell which dog has which personality, you just need to observe them when they are with their siblings. Here are some clues to help you tell the difference:

1. Dominant dogs

  • Mounting other dogs (male or female, it doesn’t matter)
  • Stealing or guarding toys and food
  • Getting attention from all the other dogs — even when they don’t want it
  • Pushing their way to the front whenever walking with other dogs
  • Making other dogs wait for them
  • Almost never licking other dogs on the mouth
  • Always winning when the dogs play tug-of-war
  • Starting staring contests — and winning all of them

2. Submissive dogs

  • Sometimes showing submissive urination when greeting other dogs
  • Turning away when other dogs stare
  • Allowing other dogs to win at tug-of-war
  • Providing attention and affection to other dogs, especially by licking their mouths
  • Backing off when other dogs want to take food or toys
  • Rolling on their backs to display their belly

** Both lists are from the Cesar’s Way Website.

Should I Pick the Shy Puppy?

German shorthaired pointer puppies on a dog bed

This is up to you. Shy puppies tend to have a few more problems than the more confident puppy. But those problems can be overcome if you are patient. Being shy does not make the dog bad or unable to protect you.

It just means that they may have experienced some trauma before they got to you. Or they just lack experience and tend to be afraid of those things other dogs are not.

Some people say those shy puppies will outgrow their shyness while others say those shy puppies will remain shy all their lives. Your experience will tell you which side of the debate is true.

Some people have reported success with getting their dog confidence and out of their ‘shells’ so to speak. Even if they remain shy all their lives, that does not make them bad dogs or be treated in a bad way.

If you like a shy dog, then get it. Don’t let those ‘myth busters’ influence you from getting the dog you want. Shy dogs have great positive aspects and should not be discriminated against because of something beyond their control.

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Should You Pick the Biggest Puppy in the Litter?

3 German Shepherd puppies outdoors

Again, this is up to you. The biggest puppy is not necessarily going o be the best because all the puppies in the litter inherit their parents’ personalities, genes, and traits. That makes them fairly equal except when it comes to eating.

The biggest puppy is said t be the greediest of the litter as it knows how to get to the nipple and the food the fastest and then takes more than its fair share. If you want the best puppy in a litter, look for one with a balanced personality or temperament.

Also, the biggest may not always be the pick of the litter. It is a judgment call and how good your dog is will depend on how you treat it.

Some Final Words

Golden retriever puppy in a dog bed

If you do not get the chance to get a pick from the litter, then pick the puppy you like the most. That will make training and raising it a lot easier.

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