We're interested in obtaining a puppy from you. Now what do we do?
Call us so that we can discuss your situation. In order to find the right puppy for you, we will need to know about your family, lifestyle, living arrangements, reasons for wanting a puppy, and any preferences you might have about the puppy's gender, color, and coat type. After our discussion, if we both believe a Cutwater puppy is right for you, we will discuss when litters might be available and what additional steps you need to take. I have a questionnaire which you must email me to receive - that's the first step, and then of course come and visit us!
We've heard people mention "show/breed" homes and "pet" homes. What do these distinctions mean?
While all of our dogs are placed in homes where they are members of a family, a show/breed quality puppy is one that we have evaluated as potentially having qualities worth preserving through breeding once they are mature. A "pet" puppy may have a slightly bad bite, a low-set tail or some other characteristic that we do not wish to continue. But a "pet" is still a healthy and happy dog who makes a fine companion.
Cutwater has a long-term goal: We want to perpetuate and improve all the good qualities that make the PWD a lovable companion and stable working dog. The only way we can achieve our goal is to have access to show/breed quality puppies for our downline breeding program. The breed will not improve if we spay and neuter show/breed quality puppies, or if we only breed pet quality animals.
Buyers who are willing to commit in writing to show and/or co-breed a dog receive a preference for our breeding quality dogs. A litter will normally have one or two breeding quality puppies, and an equal or much higher number of pet quality puppies. It would be rare for a litter to have a very high number of breeding quality puppies, but it could, and has, happened. In such a case, "pet" homes, buyers who are not interested in showing or breeding, may have to wait just a little longer for a puppy.
How do we select our puppy?
You will need to be able to trust in our years of experience to guide you in the selection process. Multiple factors must be evaluated in order to get the right puppies into the right homes. The most important factor is temperament. From our discussions we will know if a particular puppy's personality will match your needs. After temperament, we evaluate the puppy's structure and quality to determine whether it should be placed in a show/breed home or a non-breeding home. Finally, after sorting through these considerations, we try, as best we can, to match your preferences in coat, gender, and color. Regarding gender preferences: unlike some breeds, where gender-specific personality issues are often seen, there is very little difference between PWD male and female personalities. For the average pet owner a neutered PWD male makes the perfect family companion, as does a spayed female. Please remember that temperament is the most important consideration. You cannot live with a dog, no matter how beautiful its coat or markings are, if it does not have the right personality for you.
When will we know which puppy is ours?
While we observe all our puppies throughout their development, we do not complete the evaluation process until they are seven weeks old. At that time we conduct a Temperament Test. This test is a formalized and widely-accepted method of judging a puppy's personality. The test indicates factors such as independence, dominance, willingness to work with people, and sound sensitivity. Identifying these traits is very important. The dominant puppy might be too strong-willed for a home with very young children. The sound sensitive puppy would be physically and mentally miserable in an urban situation. The independent puppy, who can amuse himself, will probably be happy in a household where everyone is gone all day. These are the types of conditions and temperaments that must be weighed, balanced, and matched.
Additionally, structural evaluations, and sometimes certain health test results, are not complete until the puppies are seven weeks old. These test and evaluation results must also be used to determine the type of home needed for a particular puppy.
As soon as all the testing is completed we will call you about the results and the availability of a puppy for you. We cannot promise you a puppy from any litter until all of the test results are known. It would be irresponsible of us, and possibly heartbreaking for you, if we promised you a puppy prior to the completion of the testing. For example, suppose we promised you, prior to all the testing, a show quality puppy and then, later, the structural evaluation eliminated all the available puppies? Or, what if we allowed you to pick out a specific 4 week old puppy for your New York City home, and then, at seven weeks, discovered that the puppy was sound sensitive and thus, inappropriate for an urban setting? In both instances, you'd be very disappointed. Testing may delay some of the fun and gratification of planning for your new family member, but it insures that you get the right puppy for your home.
Thank you for your interest in Cutwater Portuguese Water Dogs. We want you, and the puppies we place, to be happy. You and your dog will hopefully be living together, and loving each other, for the next twelve to fifteen years. That's a long time. We adhere to our conscientious placement standards so that you will enjoy the years you spend together. We also want you to know that we will always be available for help and guidance with your Cutwater dog. We don't just place our puppies, we begin long and valued relationships with our puppy buyers.