All puppies are so adorable to look at that it's easy to make a snap decision based on that 'awww' factor alone.
But temperament is going to play a bigger role in how well your new pup fits into your family and lifestyle than his size, coat color or expression!
Luckily, a few minutes spent on puppy personality testing can give you a better understanding of all of the little ones you're considering (or the one sitting at your feet!).
Testing a puppy usually only takes you about 5 minutes per pup and it's more than worth the time.
I'd suggest 'testing' all the pups in the litter, but if you only want to check up on the ones who's physical appearance tugs at your heart strings that's fine too.
While choosing a puppy based on looks alone can work out just fine, it's not the ideal way to choose a living, breathing little creature who's going to be a member of your family for the next ten years or more!
Puppies are like children, and every single one of them is a unique little 'person' with their own strengths, weaknesses, fears, attitudes and learning style.
If you're looking at purebred puppies, then there will be some 'breed-specific-traits' (ie behaviors that are seen to some degree in all dogs of that breed) as well as individual personality to consider.
Even mixed breed dogs can carry some of these behaviors, especially if they're a hybrid or designer dog breed (these are usually pups produced from two purebred parents from different breeds, such as a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle).
Young puppies will also have been affected by their momma dog's temperament, the conditions they've grown up in, and the care they've had from their breeder.
Between 6 and 8 weeks old, any pup will already be showing signs of his individual temperament in the way he behaves with his litter-mates and reacts to other people.
Experts say that the absolutely best time to use one of these puppy 'pop quizzes' is at 7 weeks old, but 7 to 8 weeks is still fine.
Although perhaps not as accurate, even a 9 to 12 week old pup can be evaluated this way as too and you'll still get a good sense of what type of personality he has.
What you can find out using puppy personality testing is general information about a pup's basic 'type'...
It's important to know these things because they affect how well that little guy might fit into your life and how easy (or not) he is likely to be to train.
But bear in mind these are generalizations and how you raise that little pup will also have a big impact on how he learns and interacts with the world around him.
A friendly happy pup can become fearful and even aggressive if he's mistreated, hurt or ignored.
And a shy, timid pup can grow in confidence and trust if he's raised with love and lots of positive socialization.
The 'nature v nurture' scenario applies to puppies just as well as it applies to children :)
Over the years, many dog experts have been devising ways to get a better understanding of the type of dog a pup will most likely grow up to be.
Some of the most recognizable names in this field include William Campbell, Wendy Vollhard and Gail Tamases Fisher.
The Vollhard Puppy Aptitude Test is the one that many professional dog breeders use to evaluate their pups and place them in the homes that are the best fit.
Because I've raised and trained a lot of puppies over my lifetime I totally understand what these tests are looking for, but the amount of information and detail can be a bit overwhelming if you're new at this.
So, let's start at the beginning....
There are six recognizable personality types in puppies.
They're known by different names or terms depending on which test you use, but here's a cheat sheet for you, starting with the 'hardest' personality first and the 'softest' last.....
By now you should have some idea of the type of puppy you're looking for, all you need to know is how to find that little guy.
So, I've put together a simplified puppy personality test that's easy to use.
CLICK HERE to jump to that page.
Take it with you when you go to visit that litter and you'll stand a much better chance of coming home with the perfect pup!
Good luck... the fun is about to begin :)