Hey all! I don't know if there's been a thread similar to this one in the past, but I thought I would start one here. I'm just curious as to how each one you got starting in showing labs (or any breed for that matter ) Did your parents/family members show dogs? Were you friends with someone who was involved in breeding/showing that got you interested. Went to a match and was hooked? Where did you get your first show prospect? How did you pick "the one" Who helped/mentored you along the way?
I'm just curious to see how most people get started. The more I learn about labs, breed standard, types, ect, the more I'm interested in learning about conformation. It seems like there would be soo much pride and satisfaction from picking and raising your pup to handling him/her yourself in the ring (along with it's dissapointments and it's frustrations as well I'm sure!) On the other hand, when most pups born in a litter are only pet quality, it would seem that a breeder would be hesitant to give up a real prospect to a beginner. Any thoughts on that as well?
i actually started in obedience. most of the people i hung around with were also doing conformation. to me it was sorta a progression. they tainted me and i decided that conformation would be fun to do too. that's when i started looking for a bitch to get a puppy from. took me about 3 years to find one and then get a puppy from her.
I got my first lab about ten years ago (pet) - started getting interested in going to dog shows and about 5 years ago I decided to get a show potential puppy as my third lab. Looking back now I was very naive but also very lucky!
Saw a lab puppy I liked at a pet store. Found out the name of the breeder, who happened to live around 45 minutes away, and wrote her an e-mail about who I was, my lifestyle, what I wanted, etc. She was nice enough to forward my e-mail to a breeder friend of hers that planning on breeding her champion bitch for the first time. We corresponded, met at a dog show and got along very well. I met her dogs, we talked some more, did some research on the stud etc. and she offered to co-own a male (which is what I wanted).
The boy I got from her is my Ty and I finished him when he was two. The two breeders are now my very good friends. We got to shows together, I socialize and show some of their dogs, they sponsored me when I decided to join a local lab club. I'm hoping to co-own a show potential puppy bitch with my breeder friend soon. They are both my mentors and I have met some wonderful breeders through them. So like I said - I was very lucky
I was just looking for a pet. I had a heartbreaking experience a few years earlier when I adopted a shelter puppy who had too many health problems to name. After him I waited 3 or 4 years and went searching for a reputable breeder with health clearances and a long history in the breed.
I had never been to a dog show. I began to interview breeders and ask them every question I could. I became friends with my breeder and one thing led to another. Before I knew it I was hooked.
I grew up with 2 - 4 dogs in our household and my parents were and are "dog snobs" as every dog had to be a high quality purebred from a breeder (and they had to be girls as well). My dad was and is a bird dog man and grew up hunting over pointers, setters, and spaniels that his father and uncles owned and trained. His uncle actually had five black Labradors and did some breeding and trained one to his FC title in the 60's. My dad and Grandpa preferred upland dogs though. When my father and my mother married they got an Irish setter and then a Brittany. My mother showed the Brittany to 6 points and they bred her twice keeping puppies to hunt over. We had a variety of other breeds as well including a Pointer, two Llasa apsos, a Shar-pei, an American Cocker, and an English Springer.
My next door neighbor growing up bred and showed Boxers. I attended many obedience classes with her and even did some junior showmanship in conformation and obedience with her dogs. I still see her at dog shows and she always says the same thing "I don't know how you ever ended up with Labradors and not Boxers!"
Starting at 11 years old I owned and showed two Morgan horse geldings in various venues and showed Saddlebreds and a Quarter horse for friends. I was also very lucky to live nearby a friend who bred 1 - 3 Morgan foals a year so I did a lot of pedigree research with her and she taught me about breeding and foaling practices early on.
When my husband and I got married I knew I wanted to get a dog that I might be able to show and breed. We purchased Cuffy as a pet and then I wanted a black bitch but Mr. Clint came along and then Scout and now Wigeon.
Everyone that knew me in high school and college that I haven't seen for a while will ask if I have a lot of dogs and horses. I answer dogs only for now since they are easier to truck around and eat less!
I got started in obedience with Abby (who I got from a BYB ). Then I wandered into the conformation area where I was floored by how different the labbies looked and decieded I wanted to do both! ;D The search began for a conformation bitch. After going to a few shows and met a wonderfully nice man who I went to visit his place. We decided that with his next litter I would have a pick female!!!! WHOOOOHOOO. Well, she had a false pregnancy. After some thought, he decided to see if I wanted to take one of his pick females from an earlier litter that he had kept. After seeing Brandy, I fell in LOVE!!! Then I added Cali to the mix! ;D And soon, I'll have another little girl! Its kinda addicting!
We got our first lab as a pet in 2001, and he is pretty nice, but not show quality. My friend showed Rotties and I started getting interested in joining a lab club. When we got our second lab, I did join the club and started going to matches just to see if I liked the idea of showing.
I ended up focusing on obedience as our 2nd, Maddy, is a high drive field lab and we were better suited to doing obedience and hunting. But I had the bug at that point and knew the 3rd lab would be a show lab.
I worked hard for several years at the lab club, volunteering, absorbing knowledge from the great ladies showing and breeding for 30+ years, and when the time came that we wanted to get that show pup, I lucked into hooking up with a wonderful lady from my club who would give me the best pick bitch pup with no contract or co-ownership. I am indebted to her and know that only through my persistence and dedication to working at the club was I allowed the opportunity for such a nice pup.
So here we are a year later, and I am showing Grace. No WB yet, but she's always placing 1st or 2nd in her class. We are hoping she'll be our foundation bitch when the times comes...we'll see how she shapes up!