A person may have the “Pick of the Litter” or a puppy may be the “1st pick male or female”. The dog referred to in both of these cases may or may not be the same dog.
The first usage of the term pick of the litter refers to the right to choose first a puppy in the litter. Pick of the Litter is a contractual and legal right to possess whichever puppy of a litter that person wants. It may be that the Pick of the Litter objectively is the runt with disqualifying characteristics. It could also be because of color, size, temperament or whatever the person is looking for that's valuable to them. Why the person wants that particular puppy is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that the person with this right acquires legal ownership of a puppy before anyone else. That legal right is paid for at time of deposit and picks are made clear at that time. Discretion will be taken because Mother Nature is never perfect.
Pick of the litter may be synonymous with First Pick of the Litter. However, there are sometimes ranks when it comes to the pick of a given litter. A purchaser may get Second Pick of the Litter, Third Pick and so forth. The value of each puppy and each pick, also, depends on how many whelps there are in that litter. A pick in a single-puppy litter would obviously have the most value since nobody else would get a puppy from that litter. Again, the term pick of the litter is referring to a legal right to choose next. A purchaser usually gives a deposit to the breeder in exchange for that right, and as a contract it would be legally enforceable if the breeder suddenly changes his or her mind.
Do not pick a puppy randomly. Have a plan and know what you are looking for so you can choose objectively rather than emotionally.
The other usage of the term pick of the litter comes close to the colloquial use of the expression that can be used for many things. In this usage, it is meaning the “best” of the litter. Between dog Breeders it is a reasonable expectation that the person with the right to pick first will pick the best puppy. Because the expression has such broad colloquial usage it is not the expression or description most professional breeders would probably use to describe a puppy with wonderful characteristics that are show worthy.
Who Gets the First Pick of the Litter?
The answer to the question of who gets the first pick of the litter depends on each litter of puppies and what a breeder has agreed with third parties. The right to possess a puppy is a property right that can be bought and sold. The breeder who owns the dam will possess and own the puppies.
The breeder may enter into contracts that sell the puppies even before they are whelped.
Note that the right to pick first is only the right to pick. If a buyer fails to pay this money, the right to pick of the litter may be terminated, and passed on to someone else.