Every body and their mother have their opinion on what is the correct way to choose a puppy. Hundreds of books have been written on the subject. Many will say with goldens you can never go wrong. I’ve heard people tell me, “have you ever seen a bad golden.” As if all goldens are perfect. Actually I have seen some bad ones (not our own), but I’ve seen some hyper ones, and some very vocal ones. However, I believe that was due to lack of training and attention.
I’ve been around hundreds of goldens, whether from American lines to English lines. My exposure has led me to see many types of temperaments. English lines do seem to have a calmer temperament. However, I’m not trying to say American goldens are bad by any means. I’ve just been lucky enough to be around both sides.
So in a nutshell how would I choose a puppy? The answer would really depend on the factors I am looking for. For myself, I am looking for quality conformation. I want the dog to be structured, with a level topline. For me the health is important, so getting a puppy from a healthy line is important. I am not picky on personality unless they are very deviant from the standard. However, for people coming to me or to other breeders my personal preferences may not really help yours. Some people want a calm dog, others want a very active dog. When people come to choose a puppy, many times the puppies are sleeping. You really can’t tell the temperaments of the puppy while sleeping. In those cases I think it is essential to have good communication with the breeder. With us, Jolene and I keep track of the puppies traits and can aid in a final choice. Really at 4 weeks it too early to tell much about a puppy other than weight. 6 weeks you can get a better idea of their traits. Often a puppy can still change their traits in a different environment. In reality though it might be impossible to really know how a puppy may be when it gets older.
All the time people choose a puppy because of color, size, bulk of the skull and so forth. However, if physical traits are not important my best advise is to let the puppy choose you. If a puppy is afraid of you, or not interested in you the puppy may become independent and detached from you. I know people will tell you to push the puppy’s head to the ground to see if they squirm to check for submission. Some will even pinch their feet to see if they cry. Guess what they cry. Really, the last one does happen! Certain puppies adapt well to different people. Seriously though, if you have a tough time choosing, then let the puppy choose you. It’s really simple as that. I know I could get flack for that, but that’ just reality.