There are several qualities I want in a puppy. Health. Energy. Exuberance. Fearlessness. Socialness. Curiosity. Toy drive. Appetite. With these qualities, I can shape a puppy into a happy, well-behaved dog.
Then there are the more, um, shallow qualities. I wanted a white male Boxer. White because I've always wanted a white dog I can name Krypto. A male because hopefully it will be easier to raise with our female. And a Boxer just because I love the breed.
A Boxer is not an "amateur's" dog! They're ridiculously high energy and will get into trouble whenever bored. They're not even the dog of choice for dog professionals. They're wilfull and will try to find ways to subvert whatever you're trying to get them to do. (Lie on a bed? What if only half my body is on the bed? What about just the tip of my paw, does that count?) A border collie will learn everything just as fast and not try to mess with you at the same time.
But a Boxer is a dog for a person who loves, loves, loves dogs and loves to train them. They'll keep you on your toes constantly because they constantly need physical and mental stimulation. They will find the loophole in the rules you've set down and get into all sorts of trouble - but they'll make you laugh the entire time. You can't be lazy or sloppy with a Boxer, but you'll never stay depressed with one around either. And personally, I'll put a Boxer up against any ol' border collie any day when it comes to learning and smarts. Bring it on!
You have to be careful about white Boxers, though. The gene that produces a white coat also carries the chance of deafness. One quarter of all white Boxers are born deaf - which is why the AKC and other dog clubs will not accept white Boxers in competition. They don't want to encourage the breeding of genetic defects just for aesthetic purposes. As a potential buyer of a white Boxer, though, this worked in my favor, because all this means that white Boxers sell for much less than standard fawn or brindle Boxers. (Essentially, they're sold "at cost" - about a third the cost of the other pups.)
When our litter of puppies was born, we couldn't believe our luck. In a litter of seven, there was only one male. And he was all white (except for his ear and his eyebrow)! In a life filled with lucky breaks, I'd gotten one more. The universe had just handed me the exact dog I wanted!
As the puppies got older, the news got even better. Krypto was the largest of the litter, and the first to open his eyes. And he wasn't deaf! He proved to be the most explorative of the puppies, often ending up behind couches at the breeder's home. And when the rest of the pups were afraid to step onto the shiny, smooth linoleum, he fearlessly bounded onto it. We wasted no time in letting the breeder know we were interested in him and wanted to put a deposit down as soon as possible.
Last weekend, the breeder brought the litter to L.A. for a Boxer Club event. Now that they were seven weeks old and had their first shots, it was time to start exposing them to some of the world. We took Derby with us and she met Krypto. They played and got along marvelously. Krypto was everyting I'd hoped - he was face-lickingly friendly and loved to explore and chase toys and calm around other dogs. We overheard someone say, "He's really the pick of the litter. It's a shame he's white." Oh, no, it ain't! Cuz that made him ours!
So we're picking him tomorrow - but first we have to make sure we have everything we need and our household puppy-ready!
(I'd have included video of Krypto, but blogger isn't cooperating.)