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Discussion Starter #1
Can you tell during puppyhood how their adult conformation will look like? More specifically head type. Say a conformation type golden bred to a field type golden. Can y’all post your field bred golden pictures when they were puppies and then conformation type puppies, to compare? I would like a Golden with a conformation type head like the sire, but there are only 3 pups to choose from. I’m just trying to research and learn a little about this.
Picture of dam and sire. I found a person that has a puppy from this pairs last litter, and the pup has a head shape like the dams.
2AB97261-8D78-4012-A949-98818979E0C9_1575359381294.jpeg
 

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Head type eventuality is very difficult. The baby head is not near finished developing. When we look at structure, we ignore the 8 week old head (much less the 1,2,3 etc week old head) and look at the body stacked. At 8 weeks the body is proportionally equiv to what it will be at adulthood, after all the many 'puppy ugly' phases but there is no such 'test' for the head.
The lower jaw grows slower than the upper, the occiput will change over time, the eye fill will change, you CAN judge earset at 7-8 weeks and its been my experience that the flew stays about the same over time.
If you look at your pup's sire- his eyes are much closer together than the dam's are. The shape is different. The shape of the ear is different (and I would bet that the thickness of the leather is much greater in his case than hers). Even if you tried to do a muzzle length to rest of head proportional chart for each of the pups, it's not likely that will pan out as predictable (though if you could get a < 50% length it'd probably be more likely to stay less than 50% but I have never measured them other than by eye). I do like to find a muzzle that includes a deeper jaw but want to find that w a slightly overshot bite (due to lower jaw growth later making them end up scissor). It'd be nice if breeder took front/side shots weekly of their heads but don't ask her to- don't burden her in any way! Probably the most predictable piece of the head is the eye.
 

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Puddles
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FWIW there are far more important things to consider in your puppy than appearance. You want a personality that fits you, that will let you touch their feet, that willingly lets you or your children want to cuddle with them.
I happen to think the head on mom is beautiful so pretty sure you will like how any of the puppies look once you get them home.
 

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Not really. I look at eye size, ear set, stop and bite, but that doesn’t tell me what the actual adult head will be. It just hopefully let’s me see any issues that would be a DQ in the ring or a challenge to show. Socks who I thought would have aPHENOMENAL head, has an appropriate head but not as impressive as I had hoped. With Saucy everyone, myself included lamented she had an okay head but certainly not the prettiest in the litter but since she was structured better she stayed. Now at 6 months her head is lovely and getting better so her head is over performing.

When you do an extreme out cross like this you usually end up with very little consistency. When I did a big out cross, it was clear I was not as good with predicting what the puppies would be at adulthood as I am with more related pedigrees. My keeper puppy matured up to be strikingly different than at 8 weeks. That included her head, her height (she went oversized) and her body substance. Her brother is slightly different than what I though he would be but he is much more consistent in his development to what he was at 8 weeks. So, just be aware that in a litter like this what you see at 8 weeks, especially with regard to heads may not what you get at adulthood.
 

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the party's crashing us
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With a show x field cross you are going to get dogs that more favor the field type with perhaps more substance, lighter colored coat, somewhat better headpieces, but usually the same thin skin, thinner/shorter coat and legginess. I've done PLENTY of these field & show crosses and seen plenty of similar and that's just what you get.
They will be attractive goldens but they won't look like anything you see in the show ring.
As far as predicting type in a litter like this, my best guess is go with whatever is the obvious standout OR just pick the biggest one.
 

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I echo the above that it's really hard to tell. To me the biggest predictor is look at pictures of the parents when they were around the same age. I've done a couple of breedings with very different headpieces on the parents and for the most part, looking at pictures of the parents at 8 weeks were fairly accurate in predicting what the puppies look like now as young adults and adults.
 

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Denver’s litter was also a bit of an outcross. His sire was conformation bred and so was his dam, but he dam was an entirely European style pedigree. His breeder (who after purchasing Denver I realized was not great) mostly produces conformation type dogs. I do think that being an outcross breeding Denver’s siblings have a lot of variation, however they few of them that I see on Facebook definitely have more similarities now that they are older. We didn’t get to pick Denver but I do think we lucked out and got the dog with the nicest headpiece. He was also the smallest puppy and grew nice and slowly and is the same size as the rest of his siblings now. I can see a lot of Quapaw in him..

Here is a photo of Denver and 3 of his siblings. Denver is the only one that is still intact...the rest were all neutered around 8 months. I’m sure that to an experienced golden person all of their heads look very different, I can spot differences in ears, and eyes especially. The dog on the bottom left has a much narrower face and less stop than Denver. He was neutered at 6 mos. The dog on the top right looks the most like Denver. He was neutered at 9 mos. And the bitch on the bottom left Has eyes much closer together than her brothers she was spayed at 7 mos. It’s all very interesting. Genetics are fascinating.

So anyway, you cannot really tell as puppies. If you get a male puppy, keeping them intact or delaying neutering them generally produces a more masculine head which may be what you are referring to.
 

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Kate
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Can you tell during puppyhood how their adult conformation will look like? More specifically head type. Say a conformation type golden bred to a field type golden. Can y’all post your field bred golden pictures when they were puppies and then conformation type puppies, to compare? I would like a Golden with a conformation type head like the sire, but there are only 3 pups to choose from. I’m just trying to research and learn a little about this.
First - I actually like the Mom's head more than the Dad's head. It's not a bad thing if you get a male pup who is somewhere between the two. With a male who is kept intact and fed a good diet while growing - he's likely to develop a more masculine head. Which that + the sweet and soft expression that Mom has, would be ideal.

Then to answer your question - there's things that I think people look for in a young puppy (4-8 weeks) - including a beautiful head. Again, beautiful head isn't just blocky. You can see beautiful heads pretty early - but no telling how broad or thick the head/bone/etc will be with the adult dog until after 9 months at least.

And if it helps and actually gives you what you were looking for?

Here's a mix of pics -

I deliberately picked a long past dog who though not of the extreme outcross as your puppy will be, was a field/conformation cross. His mom was a Kiowa girlie and his dad was primarily Asterling lines. This boy, we jokingly described as an overgrown sussex spaniel. He was short legged, big bone, and had a thick silky coat. Technically speaking there were faults there, but this was a dog who attracted a lot of attention from show breeders when he was young on the basis that he was a very nice looking boy. By the time he was 2-3 years old, he started turning a deep reddish gold color - that again, you see with sussex spaniels.

He had a very nice head. He did have loose skin which caused entropion when he was young. The thin ears thing which Robin mentioned rang a bell, because I remember his ears being a lot thinner than my dogs today. He had a thick coat - and correctly was double coated. The fur was just softer/silkier than what it should have been (it's difficult to describe unless you are hands on comparing the two).

^^^ I shared a lot of pics of him, just showing that it isn't always a given that a field/show bred pup will look like a field dog when he grows up.

The other pics are a prior dog and then my Bertie - and just there as comparison, showing all show line dogs and you can see what they looked like as pups, as young dogs, and as older dogs.

I'm throwing that out there since you asked for that info - however, your breeder should be guiding you and or odds are with a small litter, you're going to wait until she makes her pick first.
 

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Esquire Golden Retrievers
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I agree with everyone else, not surprisingly.

What I would do is look at heads relatively, focusing on 2-3 elements. On an 8-week old puppy, I would probably look first for the one with the most masculine, broad and square muzzle, and then I'd look for the best stop (though every 8-week old puppy has a nice stop). You're not looking at this in a vacuum. You're choosing between a finite number of heads in the same litter. So at that tender age, for a male, the two things I would concentrate on first in comparing pups is muzzle and stop. If after that you still have a couple candidates, you can add one more element to help choose between the finalists. I would then go for the finalist with the best eye shape and set.

As Anney said, you're not likely to get the big show head out of this litter, but you can get a very masculine, attractive headpiece by focusing on these elements.

Hope this helps.
 

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Denver’s litter was also a bit of an outcross. His sire was conformation bred and so was his dam, but he dam was an entirely European style pedigree. His breeder (who after purchasing Denver I realized was not great) mostly produces conformation type dogs. I do think that being an outcross breeding Denver’s siblings have a lot of variation, however they few of them that I see on Facebook definitely have more similarities now that they are older. We didn’t get to pick Denver but I do think we lucked out and got the dog with the nicest headpiece. He was also the smallest puppy and grew nice and slowly and is the same size as the rest of his siblings now. I can see a lot of Quapaw in him..

Here is a photo of Denver and 3 of his siblings. Denver is the only one that is still intact...the rest were all neutered around 8 months. I’m sure that to an experienced golden person all of their heads look very different, I can spot differences in ears, and eyes especially. The dog on the bottom left has a much narrower face and less stop than Denver. He was neutered at 6 mos. The dog on the top right looks the most like Denver. He was neutered at 9 mos. And the bitch on the bottom left Has eyes much closer together than her brothers she was spayed at 7 mos. It’s all very interesting. Genetics are fascinating.

So anyway, you cannot really tell as puppies. If you get a male puppy, keeping them intact or delaying neutering them generally produces a more masculine head which may be what you are referring to.
Thanks for sharing this group of photos; it's fascinating to see how the pups all matured and look so different, despite being from the same litter! We're holding off neutering until at least 18 months on our boy (he is currently 13 months), possibly longer if we can. He's got a lovely blocky head that I thought was a result of his breeding (he looks a lot like his sire), and looks very similar to the one sibling we know of. I didn't know neutering would affect head shape!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I totally appreciate the informative posts. I’m going to google what a “stop” is. Is that where the muzzle ends and the forehead begins?
Also, this breeder is in agreement with not neutering so I’m thankful for that!

Found it!
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I am pretty sure my boy Sunny is field line but I will let others in here that have more experience make that final conclusion as I don't have pedigree information for him. The puppy pictures are at 10 weeks and then the others are at 10 months. I hope these pictures help give you an idea what a darker field line golden looks like. I am not sure how much broader his head will get but I don't plan on fixing him so we shall see.
 

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I totally appreciate the informative posts. I’m going to google what a “stop” is. Is that where the muzzle ends and the forehead begins?
Also, this breeder is in agreement with not neutering so I’m thankful for that!

Found it!
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Yup! The standard calls for a well defined stop....but not overdone. There is room for variation in the standard, and so sometimes you see less stop. In the shows I have attended females have has less stop and have a more feminine head and males have the broader more defined stop. I can't find a picture of an overdone head, or else I would post it.
 

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Puddles
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Like everyone is saying, it's really hard to tell. This is my pup at 6 weeks the day she came home & at 1 yr. I honestly could have ever know what her grown up head would look like from the puppy pic. So pick the one that captures your heart, both sire & dam have beautiful heads.

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