Why do i wait to grade my pups until 12 weeks??
Some folks have asked me  why i don't give them a price for a puppy at birth or
even take deposits before birth ,quoting the price for the upcoming litter. I cannot
see what the quality is until 12 weeks to know what the quality will be so i don't
know what the price will be until then! Seriously any breeder that  quotes a price
before  the pups can be graded  is just not ethical in my eyes or else they just are
selling " pet quality pups" and so grading them is not important to them. Please do
not buy from a breeder who charges a high price for ungraded pups!! To help you
understand the grading process i have made this page to give you some guideline and
to understand what i am looking for. It is my experience that i don't accurately
grade them before 12 weeks  and then sometimes it is still a gamble.
Here is a picture ( on the left) of this  girl at 8 weeks ugly short muzzle   and again
the other picture is at 12 weeks ( beautiful  muzzle!) See how much they change at
this young age???  This girl grew up to have a nice head and a very nice fore-chest.
Also the fore-chest will continue to drop and will get deeper as they get older. I
have even seen a top-line look great at 12 weeks and then go off until the dog
reached the age of 2. But i believe at 12 weeks you can see what the pup will look
like as a adult pretty much.  
Note the bad stack on the girl to the right  i put that one in to
see that some will drop the rear like that to make the fore-chest look bigger so be aware if
the dog is
sitting in a picture or rear is dropped at all the front realllly isn't as good as it
looks. A dropped rear can also hide a pup or adult who is high in the rear.( bad topline)
To understand how to guess the adult weight of your puppy ask the breeder to tell
you the weight at 10 weeks or 12 weeks. Rule of thumb is double the weight at 10
weeks and add a pound  or just double the weight at 12 weeks. This can help you
avoid buying a over sized pup.
                 See below for  more pointers
Shown here at the left is a puppy at
one week
eight weeks
twelve weeks
Note how much he has changed!
Especially in the chest area. If you are
looking to buy a puppy have the
breeder stack it for you and take a
video to show you the personality and
structure. I have seen some unethical
breeders actually photo-shop a puppy
to make it look better  so if you see a
video this will give you peace of mind
and show you what it really is!  Click on
the url below to see  a  video of a nice
outgoing puppy

BTW if a breeder doesn't know how to
stack a pup  you might seriously
question their expertise!!
I personally would never buy from a
breeder that does not show  to prove
their kennels quality!!! Now see a video
of a stacked girl with a painfully shy

Here are some more pointers to help
you see quality  in a pup you have raised
or are thinking of buying.
Stack them
1  Front view and rear view
2. Side view with pointers as to where
the keel is and ribs end
3. Side view of front of forechest , put
your hand there so you can really see
where it is and its not just fur!
A correct stack is where the dogs front
legs are well under the front and are
straight up and down. ( see pic) The
back legs are  placed so  you can see
the dogs length and the hocks are also
straight up and down. ( see pic)
Lay your finger along the slant of the
shoulders  and take a picture with the
sun or lighting so that it clearly shows
the structure.
Mark where the (K)keel is and where
the (R)ribs end  see examples at  right   
Also a note about identifying dapples
in  newborn, see below a picture of a
red dapple that only showed small spots
on his ears at birth. It is important to
check out newborns right away  from a
dapple parent. As a adult or older pup
you would not think this pup is a dapple  
but at birth you can see the faint spots
on his ears! You need to know this
information so you know not to bred him
to another dapple less you get  blind
double dapples !
Just born
1 week old
8 weeks old
topline and
chest has
started to grow
8 weeks
old ( this
pup is too
high in the
rear and
has no
showing forchest , length This is
Ch. Shamrocklanes Snickers who
won the DCA nationals sister
show  with a 5 pt major in 2009
showing K (
keel) and R
red dapple
with spots
on ears
shoulder slant
Note that this
dog is too high
in the rear, too
far forward  and
has a roched
topline for him
to be  a show
12 weeks old
rear view
front viewd
Click to see a stacked very shy girl
Click to see a very outgoing puppy
Below is This is a good example of a show
dachshund. Notice the balance and how the
front has the legs right under the withers not
the neck. Just imagine a line going straight
up from front legs and see that it is parallel
with the withers not the neck if at the neck
then the front is too far forward. The back
top-line is level with no dips....... heavy bone
and ribs go back far,, ( Shamrocklane
Cherry Soda)