You have a new puppy!

A bundle of mischief and innocence, full of energy, enthusiasm, and curiosity about life and entirely free from inhibitions, perhaps a little lonely at being separated from his brothers and sisters and the maternal warmth, and slightly awed by the giants who now surround him. For the next ten years or so he will depend on you for his happiness, his well-being, his very life. It is a solemn thought...

It is as well not to be in too much of a hurry. Take plenty of time to decide what you want in the way of breeding, type and so on. It is a help to know both parents as you will then have an idea of what the pups should look like when grown. Generally one parent will be dominant, i.e. stamp his or her type on the pups.

Remember it costs as much to keep a "bad 'un" as a "good 'un" and conversely you cannot expect to get better value than you are prepared to pay for. Do not expect a breeder to give you a top show specimen if you only want to pay "pet" price; on the other hand, even if you do pay a top price, do not expect automatically to get a champion. No one can point to an eight-week-old-puppy and say: " That is a certain champion", though that sort of claim is often made. One can be assured that if it were so, the pup would not be for sale! It is true, however, that a breeder watching a litter from the day they were born has a far better chance of picking the best than anyone else.

Look for a sound, sturdy puppy, with good bone, plenty of spirit and a clear bright eye. He should be plump, have a gleaming coat, loose skin and be full of the joy of living. Temperament is of great importance. I like a bouncy and cheeky pup. As general health, beware of tight distended stomach, listlessness or discharge at eyes or nose. Condition of the mother is also a useful pointer as she should be well and healthy looking, not tired and thin. If you like, get a knowledgeable friend to go with you, though personally I think if you use common sense and go to a reputable breeder, you will do just as well to trust to your own judgment, coupled with his advice.

Having chosen your pup and paid for him, find out exactly what his diet has been so that you can continue feeding him in the same way. Sudden changes in feeding can be very upsetting, so any modifications should be introduced gradually.

Remember he is a very lost, very lonely little person, this new puppy, bereft in a moment of all he knows and loves; like a human child he will be homesick and perhaps frightened. Try to devote a lot of time to him, give him his own basket, rug and toys. If he cries at night do not get cross or shout at him, get up and make him comfortable he will soon be used to being alone. It helps at first to give him a hot water bottle to lie on, well wrapped up to reassure him.

Regularity is the chief key to health and contentment. All animals are creatures of habit, and like to do the same things at the same time every day; nothing disturbs them more than a change of routine. So establish a regular pattern and stick to it. Make a point of putting him out regularly in the morning. The magic formula, regularity. This will save you and your boerboel, allot of trouble.

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