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What to look for in a Dog Kennel

  So now you have arrived at the kennel, and the owner takes you out to the runs to see the bitches on sale. Here is the place to use plenty of discretion, for quite frequently the most winsome little bitch is not the one which will make the best mother for the litters you hope to have. Do not get too close at first. Stand off and watch them for a time, so that their feminine blandishments do not blind you into making a poor decision. In my own kennels the poorest bitch I own is the coyest little flirt, while my best one treats all newcomers with pugnacious disdain. Look these bitches over as carefully as you would the chorus at a burlesque show, and make your choice. Then make a second choice, and indicate your decision to the breeder. Now, but not before, it is safe to approach and interview your prospective purchase in person.

  But she is still only a prospective purchase. You may think this is far too much trouble to take over buying a mere dog, but consider the care you would use in buying a car, for example. You would visit all the dealers showing cars within your price range and would decide which make you wanted. Then you would go to the dealer showing that make and have him exhibit every car on his floor. You would go over each and every one with a fine-tooth comb. Would the paint job or upholstery sell it to you? Certainly not. You would want to know what was under the hood, and under the chassis as well. A car lasts for a few years at best before you either sell it or drive it up a tree, but your first bitch is a very different proposition. True, she will not last so many years herself, but the blood line you establish will, we hope, and she is the cornerstone of your foundation. If your foundation is carefully laid, you will not find it necessary to spend years breeding out the bad features which you inadvertently admitted to your kennel with your first purchase.

  After choosing the bitch you like best, have the breeder get out the pedigrees of your first and second choice, and the records of both bitches. I would strongly advise the beginner against buying an unproved matron. If she has had good litters before, you can be reasonably sure that she will repeat, but it sometimes happens that an unproved bitch never does have a satisfactory litter. I once kept a bitch for two years before finally disposing of her as a pet. In all this time she had never been in heat.

  Make copies of the pedigrees, and tell the breeder that you would like a few days to think it over. He will not think any the less of you for wanting to go carefully. He will realize that a pedigree cannot be analyzed by a beginner as it would be by an old-timer; and if he is really interested in the improvement of his breed and not just in making a sale, he will respect you for desiring to make sure of each step as you go along.
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