I agree with much of what is being said, then disagree with some also.
I believe that nothing is more important than the research and homework that you put into finding a dog. I'm not talking about $$$$, but that often times figures in. "I believe you buy a breeding." From this you should be able to judge size, ability, desire, etc.. There is always the exception, but you will be in the 99% range if you go with the research on the Sire & Dam.
As far as RUNTS, I don't believe that they are anymore or less than any other pup in the litter. They are just not getting as much tit as the others. To guys that want a smaller dog, find a breeding with the size parents you would like. A RUNT very, Very, VERY rarely means the dog will be smaller that the rest. Once they get to your house and start getting the food they need. Then the size will come. Most dogs that I have sold, when I see the larger pups versus the smaller at 1 year old, are closer to the same size, rarely any difference. So the RUNT thing just don't wash in my experience.
I also think the Picking is a Crap Shoot. To make a educated Pick, I believe you haft to see the litter at least 4-6 time in the last couple weeks to have a chance of really picking the type of dog you are looking for. I don't think the Wing Trick works at all. Hobbled Pigeons, Balls, Wings, etc. will let you see that the dog you pick has the desire to play with it, which is a good thing. But nobody knows the litter better than the breeder. So I would be telling the breeder exactly what type of dog I was looking for. And then, take his advise when I got there. That is the way I pick ALL my dog for my kennel, which most of the time are bought out of state and shipped to me. But the couple dogs, I could have got my personal pick, I still went with the breeders choice, from all the things I had told them I was looking for.
I see it to many times, where a person will tell me what they are looking for in a dog, and come out and make a different pick. This doesn't bother me, because they have a certain pick and that is their choice.
But here is what happens on Pick Day.
Say the client is coming out to pick at 10-11am. Well, I put the pups in the outside kennel (or where ever) at 7-8am, feed them, and they start playing grab @$$. By the time the clients get there the dogs that are the most energetic, ball chasers, etc., are wore slap out and laying around like they have absolutely NO energy, sleeping and can't be coached out for squatt. The pups that have sat on the sideline watching watching and waiting for the real fire pissers to tire, at this point are now the most energetic. So a guy looking for that High Energy Burner will pick one of the lesser energy dog, miss reading what is actually going on in a litter as a whole. Pups that will drag a pigoen or chase one all over the yard, will be laying around and not ready to play. The good thing is, with a quality litter you will still get a quality pup, but one of the pups might have been a little better pick.
This is where finding a quality breeder, with quality dogs can put you on the dog that really comes closer to the fit you are looking for. Alpha pup, a middle of the road, or one of the laid back personalities. The breeder will know this thing, or should. Most of the pups I have are shipped out of state, and I spend the time talking with EVERY client about what they want the dog for, what will be his environment, Field Trial, Hunt Test, Hunting, Companion, etc., etc., etc.. Quality Breeders are wanting you to have the exact dog you are looking for. It is good business, and gets you telling friends where you got your dog.
So, In Saying ALL That.
(1) I would buy a litter. (Heavily Researched) When you are asking questions, and all you can get is little short statements, like they don't have time to answer a question. Then I am done with them. If I am spending my money, I want someone to act like I am important, and they want to make a sale.
(2) I would ask for help in picking and listen very closely to a recommendation.
Dang, I am a wind bag.
Just a old mans opinion. :salude: cooter