Connemara Jack Russell Terrier LogoConnemara Jack Russell Terriers

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How We Evaluate Our Jack Russell Puppies.

We begin making assessments of a puppy’s temperament from day one.  We pay close attention to each puppy which can provide clues to subsequent development.  During their time with us we’re looking at sociability, emotionality, problem solving ability, group dynamics, motor abilities and more. Since the puppies live with us from the moment they’re born, we typically have a good idea of their individual temperaments, and which show natural inclinations toward certain traits.  By week seven, the amount of observation time and interaction with pups gives us a picture of personality.  The goal is to try to predict how puppy will be in the real world.  

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More about how we place our puppies and evaluate them to better help you choose the right jack russell puppy for your family and circumstances

Puppy Placement - Actual puppy scoring will be done on individual traits. Scores are indicative not predictive of adult behavior patterns. Puppies are then matched with waiting families.

Finding the right dog can be as important as finding the right spouse, but most people put more energy into buying a car that they will trade in 3-4 years than into finding a dog that may live as long as 18 years. Finding the right breeder is crucial as they need to understand how to match a pup to your family that will meet your needs, match your personality and ensure a life-long bond and friendship.

"What if some puppies don't pass the assessment and evaluation?"

It’s not pass or fail.  We indicate the behavioral tendencies of the puppy.  As such, there are no good or bad results, no good or bad dogs, but different dogs with different strengths and weaknesses. Just like children. These diversities in temperament explain why certain dogs are better suited than others to a particular environment. 

We use our own "Polished Puppy Assessment and Evaluation" to provide an accurate and objective evaluation of the behavioral tendencies of each jack russell terrier puppy.  Pinpointing tendencies in young puppies before they are influenced by their environment will aid us in helping select the best puppy for your family. Today, behaviorists, trainers and serious breeders recommend objective evaluation as a helpful tool in the screening process. Thoroughly evaluating a pups temperament, and asking families to wait until we have a complete picture, is the most responsible way to place puppies.  Not all puppies are exactly alike.  Responsible breeders will want to spend some time discussing a pups temperament with you before you make a decision.  This cannot be accomplished until the pup is roughly 7 weeks of age.

Interpreting the Categories after carefully reviewing all information and daily interaction with each puppy, we then evaluate obedience and aptitude as it further provides us with a general picture of a pup’s intelligence, spirit, and willingness to work with people. What makes a good companion dog for one person may not be the same as what another family requires. So we will place the pups into one of three basic personality categories. And then we will rate them as one of three energy levels. Some pups will be well suited for almost any situation while others may require experienced handlers who will be able to draw the best aspects of their potential from them. Not to worry, we at Connemara will guide you in the right direction and not let you pick a puppy based solely on its "cuteness factor".

Some breeders don't see the usefulness of formal assessments. You may hear the following reasons: "There is no need to do any of this because all our pups have good temperaments"

Evaluations don't give results in terms of bad/good. Evaluations are used to try to determine what are the principal characteristics of each puppy's character.  Anyone who has bred even one litter soon realizes that each puppy is different.  Some are noisier; others bolder, and some more shy and unsure. And about the blanket statement that “all our pups have good temperaments”… If you are not putting your pups to the test and stressing them to some degree, then how can you say you know how they will react under pressure? Dogs, just like people will do some very interesting things when put through a series of tests and the pressure is on. It’s not a bad thing to push puppies a little, within reason to give us more information.

"Evaluations cannot predict how a puppy will develop as an adult“

True to some degree - It is a valuable tool in the screening process but it is not infallible. It helps in identifying some behavioral tendencies which are not always evident in young pups, but can be important later on. The conscientious owner will use the environment to help the puppy to better develop his talents or diminish his less desirable traits to a point of extinction or near extinction. So while the evaluations cannot of course predict the future, it can help the new owner develop the pup into a more stable pup as the testing gives them that much more information to work with.

Worth the Wait?

Buying a puppy should be "fun & exciting" from people you feel comfortable with.  Not filled with stress & frustration due to mistrust. Does the breeder you are considering possess the knowledge and experience to be able to evaluate puppies for placement in homes that will fit the puppies individual personality and characteristics?  Ask tough questions and look for intelligent answers.

We at Connemara have a professional background including selecting, training and working Police K-9's in the areas of Narcotics Detection, Tracking, Searching, Patrol and Personal Protection.  We have been raising Jack Russell puppies since 1999 and have a very successful placement program that is proven. We are continually seeking out new ways (seminars, certifications and on-going education) to further educate ourselves.

What does all of this mean to you? 

It means we are experienced and educated in respect to evaluating puppy temperaments and personalities, no matter what the pup is destined for after leaving our home.  It means we are skilled in understanding animal behavior and recognize the differences with each puppy.  It means we know how to evaluate temperaments and energy levels as well - all in an effort to help you select the most appropriate puppy for your family. It all means we will be a great and continuing resource for you for years to come. 

Our main objective is to produce pups with excellent health and temperament first. The reality is that roughly 87% of all puppies placed today, are placed in pet homes as companion animals.  Show homes and working homes are needed, but they are the minorities.

If you are looking for a companion animal or a service dog (therapy, search & rescue or other scent work), we are experienced in these areas and are more than capable to help you.  If you are looking for a show prospect or a serious hunting terrier - We will be happy to refer you to someone more experienced in these areas.  We are not AKC/UKC promoters and we do not hunt anything more than mice with our terriers.
In most cases, if you have located a quality breeder, you will be facing a waiting period due to the demand for their dogs as well as the selective nature of their breeding practices.  Their puppies will be raised in their homes to allow for the monitoring, care, and socialization necessary to thoroughly know their dogs as well as to provide them with a lot of tender loving care.  They will not breed until they have a sufficient number of prescreened homes waiting for their puppies and they never have more pups at once than they can handle.  Try not to feel frustrated or impatient about the delay... it can be an indication that the breeder is serious about breeding for quality.  Use this down time to your advantage.  Spend those months you are waiting for your pup to:

If a breeder tells you their breeding goals are to “improve the breed”, don't be afraid to ask what they mean.If the answer has little or nothing to do with health or temperament, you may want to keep looking. The more litters a breeder has at once or if they are breeding more than 1-2 breeds, the less attention they can focus on the individual dogs, prospective families, and puppies.  Some commercial breeders may be clean and professional but realistically, how can one properly socialize and care for 8-12 litters at once?
While you wait for the right breeder and the right puppy, take this time to read up on dog behavior and different training methods, find a local kennel or training club where you will be able to take your puppy for "kindergarten" and obedience training;  Find a veterinarian, read up on puppy/dog care, nutrition, grooming, etc;   Plan the dog related "spaces" - indoors and out, and toward the end of this time, begin to purchase supplies!

We will do everything within our power to maintain a comfortable and positive relationship with you during this entire process and will always make ourselves available to provide support for the life of your dog. ~