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Thread: Advantages vs Disadvantages of Owning Runt of Litter

  1. #1
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    Default Advantages vs Disadvantages of Owning Runt of Litter

    I would like to hear from anyone who has any opinions of owning the runt from a litter of labradors. If it is from a very well known, respected and highly regarded breeder is there anything that should worry you.? Should you stay away from the runt all together? Are there any advantages and/or disadvantages of owning the runt? If so what are they? Does the breed of the dog (talking about all hunting breeds)have anything to do with whether it is a good idea to take the runt? Any information you have would be grateful. I'd like to hear from you and thanks in advance for your time and response to the post.


    Easy
    Last edited by easy; 12-01-2010 at 07:23 PM.

  2. #2
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    easy,

    Good question! There are a lot of wives tales about the runt of the litter. The first thing we should do before discussing this subject is to define the term "runt". Many people may think that the runt is the smallest pup in any litter, but I define the term runt as "an abnormally small pup for his age and breed". Most healthy well nourished litters don't have a runt. I have never had a pup that I considered a runt in any of the litters I have raised.

    Using my definition I would be concerned about the cause of the pup's abnormal size. It could be due to a congenital defect of some sort or due to a genetic abnormality. Therefore, as a breeder, I would not consider keeping a true runt as a candidate for a future breeding animal.

    On the other hand, if you are just talking about the smallest pup in the litter who is not abnormally small for his breed and age, I would have no major concerns as long as he demonstrates good health and normal temperament. I recently locked my keys in the truck in front of Purdue's Small Animal Vet Clinic and had to call P. U. Police Dept. to get me in my truck. The young policeman was very friendly and helpful. I had Tess on a leash and he said that he had a Lab at home who was twice her size. He went on to explain that his dog's dad was, and I quote, "Gi-Normous", so he picked the smallest pup in the litter. His male pup grew to be 125 lbs. at two years of age and was the largest of the litter as an adult. It seems that the size of a puppy can be misleading if you want to use it to gauge the size of the pup as a mature dog.

    That is my take on the subject, for what it is worth.

    Swack

  3. #3
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    Swack;

    I guess that will be a question that I will have to ask the breeder in regards to whether or not they think/know that the pup size is due to some sort of genetic abnormality. The breeder is out of Canton, Mississippi (Huntfield's Kennel). Both Mark and Melody are well known from what I gather and they are a class act from all that I have heard and read. One of the pups in this particular litter is small and I've always used the term runt for the smallest in the litter. I always felt it was because they were always pushed back when it came to feeding time (under norished). I know that Huntfield's stand behind their dogs and would make things right if something was genetically wrong or the puppy had health issues. I'm sure if they knew that prior to sending the dog out me that they would not sell the dog. I will have other females to choose from. The litter had eight pups. Four males and four females. I have second pick on the females. For some reason though I like the way the small puppy looked. I know...I know you can't judge much of anything by looks. I will speak to them (Huntfield's) this coming Friday and dicuss the remaining females in regards to temperment, energy, and whatever else I might need to talk to them about. I know I'm not doing it the right way...meaning actually going to the kennel to meet the sire and dame (Sam/Penny), but I've done it that way before and have had nothing but success. That's they way I've done it in the past and that's the way it will be done this time. Swack, again thanks for the information.

    Easy

  4. #4
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    easy,

    In your situation, I would tell the folks at Huntfield what you intend to do with the pup including detail about the hunting conditions in your area. Tell them your expectations from the dog, and give them an honest assessment of your own personality/temperament (laid back or quick tempered and demanding, etc.). Then I would rely almost exclusively on their judgement. They spend a lot of time with the pups daily and by the time the pups are ready to go they will have a very good idea of the pup's tendencies and temperaments, so they should be able to match you with the pup who best suits your needs.

    Good Luck!

    Swack

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by easy View Post
    I would like to hear from anyone who has any opinions of owning the runt from a litter of labradors. If it is from a very well known, respected and highly regarded breeder is there anything that should worry you.? Should you stay away from the runt all together? Are there any advantages and/or disadvantages of owning the runt? If so what are they? Does the breed of the dog (talking about all hunting breeds)have anything to do with whether it is a good idea to take the runt? Any information you have would be grateful. I'd like to hear from you and thanks in advance for your time and response to the post.


    Easy
    If I'm not mistaken, I read (in Richard Wolters' book on the history of Labs) that Shed (Shad) of Arden was a runt. Also, wasn't King Buck (John Olin's famous dog) either a runt or a rather sickly as a pup? I've also heard the best advice is to pick the parents not the pup. It shouldn't matter as long as the dog is checked out o.k. with the vet. Often a smaller size dog may be an advantage - especially in a canoe. My 2 cents.
    BPiner

  6. #6
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    Swack/bpiner;

    Thanks to both of you for the information. Swack I will definetly have a good discussion with Huntfield on Friday and I will let you know what direction I went in. Thanks again to the both of you the information.


    Easy

  7. #7
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    Easy

    I agree with Swack, true runt's of a litter will probably show some health issues very soon after birth. I like yourself for years considered the runt as the smallest of the litter. Back in the 90's I kept the smallest female out of the last litter from my male and female because every body overlooked her. Let me tell ya I ended up selling that pup when she was about 4months old to a buddy of mine and after she was trained up she was by far the best hunting dog out of that litter. I wish I'd kept her myself. What I am getting at is, "don't judge the book by it's cover". That little female ended up weighing what her female littermates weighed and was an excellent gun dog.

    Mark
    " Time is one thing that can never be Retrieved "

  8. #8
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    Mark;

    I really appreciate the feedback. I will have three out of the four females to pick from. I don't know if the runt will be picked first or not. It might be a mood point if the runt goes in the first pick. I'm second, but you never know. I just thought I should at least try to educate myself as to what a true runt of a litter really is. "Like I said, I thought it was always the smallest dog in the litter". I don't think the breeder would let me down as to selling me a dog that had health issues. Naturally, if I did get the runt she would be checked by my vet to make sure everything was good on the health side. I guess I'm a little nervous that down the road there might be health issues, that I might have deal with because I choose the runt. I might be worrying over nothing. The other thing is I have been told that the breeder will have a lot more pictures tomorrow and will have a dicussion in regards to each of the females and their thoughts and opinions on each.

    Swack had some good points that I will definetly follow-up on. I will tell them my expectations, the hunting conditions and the type of hunting I do. I don't have much of a choice when it comes to judgement. Personally I have to rely on pictures, instinct and my heart. No doubt I will have to rely on Huntfield to help me on on eveything else. I know a lot about the Sire and Dame and that why I pick that particular litter.


    Easy

  9. #9
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    Default I pick the smallest in the litter

    Update...Well its a done deal! I pick the smallest one in the litter. There were 4 males and 4 females and she was the smallest. She will go by the name of Molly. After having about an hour long conversation with the folks at Huntfield, I was pleased with the information they shared on each of the pups. I will have Molly flown from Jackson, Mississippi to Sacramento, California. She should be arriving either the 14th, 15th or 16th of December depending when the flight can be booked. She is really a beautiful looking dog. I went with my gut feeling and I am confident that I made the best pick I could make outside of flying to Mississippi to make the selection. To tell you the truth, I probably would have picked the same pup, if I would have been there in person. You can call me dumb, but just don't call me stupid. I let you know how things go once I get her into her new home. Take care.

    Easy

  10. #10
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    Easy,

    glad to hear you are getting your pup. Keep us informed

    mark
    " Time is one thing that can never be Retrieved "

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