Potential for Greatness

by Richard Reynolds reprinted with permission

Photo by Deborah J. Follet

Last weekend I was honored to be asked to “evaluate” a litter of Otterhound pups. There were only two challenges facing me- that was the definition of the word “evaluate” and the uncertainty of puppydom. Every dog is born a Best in Show winner and it goes downhill from there.

These were four bitch pups, all appearing to be show quality. How tough could it be to rank them 1-4 and be on my way? The definition of “evaluate” turned into spending an hour or so just observing the pups, considering various strengths and weaknesses. The eventual result was that I chose a nicely balanced, elegant (well, more so than the others) bitch because that’s what I thought would to best in the show ring. I could see her nailing the free stack at the Garden. The hunter in me though, chose another less showy pup that had more bone, more rear angulation and a bit less length of neck. The whole litter had forequarters like “fucking fenceposts” and great feet (so far).

The lesson learned this day was that “Pick of the litter” is very much dependent on the needs and wants of the picker. Given overall quality, one can select a pup for show, performance or breeding dependent on one’s needs. And no, nobody took fourth place. Every pup can be someone’s “pick of the litter.”