This section is from the book "The Dogs Of Great Britain, America, And Other Countries. Their Breeding, Training, and Management in Health and Disease", by John Henry Walsh (Stonehenge). Also available from Amazon: The Dogs Of Great Britain, America And Other Countries.
In choosing the whelps in the nest which are to be kept, most people select on different principles, each having some peculiar crotchet to guide himself. Some take the heaviest, some the last born; others the longest of the litter; while others again are entirely guided by color. In toy dogs, and those whose appearance is an important element, color ought to be allowed all the weight it deserves, and among certain toy dogs, the value is often affected a hundred per cent, by a slight variation in the markings. So also among pointers and setters, a dog with a good deal of white should be preferred, on the score of greater utility in the field, to another self-colored puppy which might otherwise be superior in all respects. Hounds and greyhounds are however chosen for shape and make, and though this is not the same at birth as in after life, still there are certain indications which are not to be despised. Among these the shoulders are more visible than any others, and if on lifting up a puppy by the tail, he puts his forelegs back beyond his ears, it may be surmised that there will be no fault in his shape in reference to his fore quarter, supposing that his legs are well formed and bis feet of the proper shape, which last point can hardly be ascertained at this time.
The width of the hips, and shape of the chest, with the formation of the loin, may also be conjectured, and the length of the neck is in like measure shadowed forth, though not with the same certainty as the shoulders and ribs. A very fat puppy will look pudgy to an inexperienced eye, so that it is necessary to take this into consideration in making the selection; but fat is a sign of strength, both actual and constita-tional, when it is remarkably permanent in one or two among a litter, for it can only be obtained either by depriving the others of their share of milk by main force, or through such constitutional vigor as to thrive better on the same share of aliment. The navel should be examined to ascertain if there is any rupture, and this alone is a reason for deferring the choice until nearly the end of the first; week, up to which time there is no means of judging as to this defect. Indeed, if possible, it is always better to rear nearly all until after weaning, either on the dam herself or on a foster-nurse, as at that time the future shape is very manifest, and the consequences of weaning are shown, either in a wasting away of the whole body, or in a recovery from its effects in a short time.
Sometimes, however, there are not conveniences for either, and then recourse must be had to an early choice on the principles indicated above.