Copyrighted Susan Dunivant
When approaching the task of evaluating a litter the best bet is to find a seasoned dog person possessing what is known as “an eye” for a good puppy who will agree to assist. Ideally, this would be a Kerry person, next in line would be a terrier person, and lastly a person in another group known for finding a good puppy whatever breed. There are those around, generally handlers or breeders, who have seen and graded many litters. Obviously it might seem a stretch to ask a sporting dog person to grade a terrier litter but not such a one as it might seem.
A truly knowledgeable dog person can read a standard, ask a few pertinent questions as to what you may consider important in your pick, then do a reasonably good job of pointing up the puppies which exhibit these qualities. Someone with “an eye” is able to see balance regardless of what breed he/she may be appraising. You might not get an evaluation totally specific to your breed, but more than likely that person can determine good shoulders, rears, etc.
It might even be a plus if the person is not a Kerry person as then he/she won’t be hung up on one thing about the breed; you know, headhunters, tooth fairies and the like. It is important that the evaluation will be on the whole dog.
Ask around. Choose the person that comes up the most as a good judge of puppies, then add your knowledge of the breed and go from there.
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