Carefully Examine Your New Pup


Choosing a puppy can be an intensely emotional experience. You may instinctively be drawn to the underdog, the hang back sad sac that gets trampled by her pushier brothers and sisters. Or you might be enamoured by the waggiest tail and broadest personality, the little spark that barks at you when you try to examine it. Control your emotions. Get advice from the breeder about personality differences within the litter and briefly examine the pup for any obvious problems. Here’s a simple checklist


  • symmetrical and looking straight ahead.
  • no tear staining below eyes
  • no extra eyelashes
  • no inflammation or discharge (conjunctivitis)
  • third eyelid may be visible but neither inflamed or swollen
  • eyelids neither rolled in (entropion) or hanging loose (ectropion)


  • no crust on tips, good hair cover
  • clean, sweet-swelling ear canals, no wax visible, no head shaking or tenderness when touched


  • cool and moist, no mucus when nostrils squeezed, decent nostril openings for easy breathing
  • Teeth
  • upper incisors fit neatly over lower incisors (scissors bite) If upper incisors are too far it is overshot
  • (In some short-nosed breeds like the Boxer, the lower incisors just overlap the upper incisors (reverse scissors or undershot bite).


  • pink and healthy, may have pigment spots
  • Top of head
  • no soft spot (fontanel) present


  • clean and smooth with no bulge at the navel (umbilical hernia)
  • Anus - no redness or hair loss


  • bright and shiny, no scale, dandruff, flaking skin, itchiness or obvious parasites, no moth-eaten appearance, normal puppy smell.


  • no inflammation, discharge or ‘pasting’ of hair, a sign of discharge and vaginitis

Scrotum and prepuce

  • both testicles present in scrotum
  • foreskin (prepuce) slides back and forth easily with no adhesions


  • straight and well-formed
  • Knees - kneecaps (patella) don’t slip off. We will check this, especially in toy breeds.


  • well-constructed, not loose. We will check this, especially in large breeds.


  • not splayed or flat-footed.
  • bear weight equally


  • free and smooth, no faltering or limping

Before leaving the breeders get the pup’s pedigree and registration papers, its worming history (including product name) and vaccination certificate showing when its next inoculation is due. Pick up a diet sheet. Check any guarantees before paying and ensure in writing that your purchase is based upon the pup’s good health and conformation and that this will be determined independently by us. We should examine your pup within 36 hours. There is no fee for this examination.

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