One of the most exciting things about buying a greyhound pup is that you will often get to pick your pup from the litter. Many people consider this as a bit of lottery as there is no fool proof method to finding the best pup in the litter, especially when they are just a few months of age. Having said that, selecting a young pup that is well bred (i.e. city winning family) and shows some early ‘chase instinct’ can certainly make it less of a lottery than simply selecting a pup based on colour or markings.
Good breeders encourage chase behaviour from an early age – usually with toys and squeakers, some of which they drag along on a rope to encourage the pups to chase. If you are looking at a litter, look for a pup that is keen to chase and play with the toy and who is pushing his brothers and sisters out of the way to get to it. That sort of determination can win races.
Confident pups tend to handle the many changes in routine that they will experience throughout their racing life much better than pups that are anxious or shy. Greyhound pups are generally lively and friendly, if not a little boisterous. Be very wary of whole litters that are timid or reluctant to approach you when you visit – this may indicate that the breeder has not spent sufficient time with the pups, and that they have not had enough early handling. If the pups have just had a meal or are sleeping, they may not be as excited about visitors, but generally you would expect the entire litter to be leaping over each other to get close enough for a pat.
When selecting a pup, the conformation (body shape) of the greyhound can be considered as well – long legs, a thick back, deep chest, straight toes and a long body are examples of things that many experienced greyhound people will be looking for. The colour of the pup will not determine its racing potential. The dominant colour for the last decade has been black, but prior to that a large percentage of the racing population was brindle. Winners come in all colours, and the inheritance of colour will depend on the genes carried by the parents.
Finally you will need to decide on whether to pick a male or female puppy. Whilst the racing careers of female greyhounds may be interrupted by seasons, those girls that go on to win races particularly in the city, may end up valuable breeding prospects. On the other hand, there are very few males that go on to become stud sires. Many owners are not really interested in going on and breeding, so the choice of male vs female is not really a major consideration.
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