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How do I pick a puppy from the litter?

by Amy
(Ontario, Canada)

I get pick of a litter from my friend. I was wondering about how to take my pick. I would like the largest, but also want to make the right decision when it comes to temperament. I had a rottweiler for 11 years previously and it was the best dog I have ever owned. We live in the country with lots of space for our new addition to run.

But as much as we know our new family member will be a huge sucky baby.....we want him to be big and intimidating looking because of the fact that sometimes I get nervous being alone at night for weeks at a time when my husband leaves.

Size isn't an absolute must for us but would be a huge bonus, so is there any way to tell as the pups mature which ones will be the largest?

Pups aren't even here yet. Not for another 3 weeks. It's like I'm impatiently waiting to have my own child! lol







Hi Amy
This is an interesting question, and although there's no 'one-size-fits-all' answer, there are some things to look for.

First of all though, I personally wouldn't put too much emphasis on size for several reasons, including...


  • Males are usually bigger, but not necessarily better in terms of protective instincts.

  • When you choose a pup, the biggest pup at 8 weeks may well not grow up to be the biggest adult.

  • Bigger, heavier dogs tend to have more issues with bones/joints etc. and aren't always the healthiest.

  • Sometimes the biggest males are the biggest babies :o)



First of all be sure the parents of this puppy are healthy, have OFA hip certifications, and have sound temperaments. Their puppies will inherit their genes and you want to be sure that he/she is sound both physically and mentally.

If this is all okay, then I would say personality/temperament is more important than looks as you're choosing a pet puppy. Conformation should only be considered very important if you are going to show a puppy, and even then great looks with a poor temperament aren't worth much!

Unless you are very comfortable and sure of yourself in terms of raising a possibly challenging and headstrong puppy, don't choose the boldest, bravest or most 'argumentative' puppy. You also don't want a shy, scared, nervous or 'skittish' puppy as he/she will require experienced handling and lots of extra time and effort to enhance self confidence. Look for the 'average' pup.... active, happy and confident but not body tackling you or dominating every interaction (or bullying every sibling in sight).

At 8 weeks old a Rottweiler puppy is a miniature of his/her adult form pretty much, should be cobby and sturdy in the body, strong bones, clean shiny fur, clean ears, no discharge from eyes or nose, no signs of diarrhea or of parasites such as fleas. The width of the head between the ears is indicative of the size of the adult head - the wider it is the bigger the head is likely to be. Also the 'conehead' look often develops into a strong headshape. Muzzle shouldn't be narrow or pointed, but a big square and quite short.

Basically, Rottie pups are like adorable little black bears!!

As you've already raised a Rottweiler, you hopefully have all the experience you need under your belt. Just remember that even if your new pup is going to be your guardian, his/her protective instincts will develop slowly and should be allowed to do so naturally.

I hope this helps some and I wish you the best of luck with your new puppy. I know how exciting it is to wait for a new arrival, but the time will come eventually! I'd love to see a photo of your new pup once you get him/her home. Enjoy.

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Jan 20, 2011
My story
by: Anonymous

Hi Amy,

I gather the pups arrived safe and sound and are adjusting to life in general with mum. You will have to post some pic of him/her when you bring your baby home.

My last dog was a german Sheppard and a big boy, when we brought him he was one of the smallest in the litter. I went for a walk and was asked by a stranger how old my dog was. He was shocked when I told that he was 10 years young because he looked so good for his age.

So when I went hunting for a breeder of Rotties I was drawn to one in particular as she really cared a great deal and even knocked back potential buyers if she thought they were not good enough for her babies. I ended up just letting her pick me a puppy. Well I think I got a winner, he is on the average side according to the chart but when I saw his sister and brother the other day I think my boy is the winner. LOL

The breeder did tell me that he was the second heaviest in the litter, but its not the weight its his bone structure that is really nice, temprament, the whole package is true to the breed standard.

Either way you really cant go wrong, as soon as that bond starts he will protect you no matter what. Rotties come in many shapes and sizes and I think they are all cute.


Oct 21, 2010
Thank you Sharlee!
by: Anonymous

I appreciate all comments. And as I said, I also had a rottie with hip problems and it broke my heart once he started having them. That is why he is no longer with me. But he did live almost 11 years, so I consider my self very lucky.

Oct 20, 2010
Size, male vs. female ...
by: Annie in WA's Mom

Congrats on your new to be baby.

We've had Rotts of all sizes, both m & f.
My own choice is a female, however our best Rott that ever lived was a male.

Beware, as has been said, of the hip problems with a supersized Rott. We had a friend that had a 200 lb. beauty, however he didn't have a long life span and his hips gave him trouble.

Don't worry about whichever one you choose being a good watch dog. My best was a slim female who would never have let anyone in the yard to harm us. (Thank you Sharlee.)

Oct 20, 2010
Wonderful Answers!
by: Anonymous

Thank you so much for all your wonderful insight! I will take it all into consideration! I do want to take temperament into consideration, as well as size, so I will mix and match your answers and I'm sure to come up with a winner! I had gotten my last pup from a reputable breeder, but once he got into his older years, his hips did bother him a lot. I really hope this problem does not plague our new pup as it nearly killed me to see my baby going through that as he got older.

I'm really hoping to get a big suck. Protective instincts will form in him naturally because I have no intention in forcing it into him. I know they are protective by nature and plan on letting him discover that on his own. I'm hoping that just the sight of him at our home will give people a second thought about trying to break into our home as I know our current Maltese does not. lol

I'm so excited to get another rottie and I for sure will send you a pick once I have him. Won't be until Christmas though. I'm patiently waiting for momma to show me those babies as I'm going to want to keep them all!

Thank you again for your answers to my questions! It's nice to have a little extra insight and I'm sure what ever pup I choose, it will be a wonderful new addition to our family!

Cheers!

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