Hi, I am very intrested in getting a show quality puppy in a few months. And I would like information on how I can know if a puppy is really "show quality" or if someone's just uping the price for the heck of it.
I also have NO experience showing, so I was wondering if someone can give me pointers on what I should do to prepare myself.(websites, books, tips...) Any advice? Perhaps something you wish someone would have told you before you got into showing?
Thanks in advance!
Where do you live Chancie?
My first piece of advice would be to find a copy of the breed standard and don't just read it, but put it to work looking at photos of dogs online, in print and draw one up in your head. Once you get to know the standard and all its pieces, no one can deceive you into thinking a puppy is show quality, YOU WILL KNOW one way or another.
Also, if you are feeling deceived, chances are, that is not the breeder for you.
Get involved in the fancy by going to dog shows, attending training classes, the dog park etc. Learn what a show lab looks like, and you will be more apt to pick one out.
Have fun, and ask lots of 'stupid' questions!
I really don't have any great advice, except to say look for kennels that are currently showing the dogs they own. There are an awful lot of breeders out there advertising their puppies as "show quality" when they do nothing but breed their own labs. If they do nothing with their dogs (conformation, agility, obedience, etc.)...something...you most likely won't get a quality pup.
Also, look for kennels close to your area. If you're a newbie (like me), it will definitely be helpful if you can get your lab from a kennel that does a lot of showing and that can help mentor you.
Also, beware of someone advertising their entire litters as show quality...all the great breeders I've worked with and talked to say that they are lucky if they have 1 or 2 shining stars (read show quality pups) in a litter.
Like above poster said, get the breed standard (you can get a copy from the National Labrador Retriever club website) and study it. Mine is worn already...I must have read the dang thing 100 times by now.
Also, many breeders do not charge more for show puppies. Some large and successful breeders have a lot of people waiting for show puppies and may charge more and that's fine, but otherwise, ask a lot of questions if your breeder charges more than pet price for a show puppy as this is not really the norm. These puppies are prospects only and are normally sold for pet price as there is a good chance that is how they will end up :
To err is human:To forgive, canine."
One of the best things I've heard from various people is to go to as many shows as possible, and especially specialty shows where there are TONS of labradors of all different colors/shapes/sizes and breeding. Sit down with a show catalog (which you can purchase the day of the show at the show secretary's table) and mark those dogs in the ring which *really* appeal to you. You can then approach their breeders to look into possibly getting a puppy of that breeding.
You may have to agree to "co-own" a dog with the breeder- this is pretty common, especially with a newbie to the dog show world. Get involved with a lab club where you can attend meetings/events regularly, and that will help you meet local breeders who are interested in competing with their dogs to "prove" their lines. This will likely be the best possible way you can get a show prospect...if someone sees you are truly interested, and they have an upcoming litter, they may just give you a chance. By being involved with the club, you are showing people that you are not a "fly-by-night" puppy buyer- you are actually planning on being around for a while.
Oh, and don't be too picky about sex or color. A show puppy is a show puppy is a show puppy, especially for your first one! Make sure your breeder is willing to mentor you in and out of the ring.
I definitely agree with the bit about reading/studying/memorizing the breed standard. Wish I had done that when I purchased my little Libby as a "show prospect" (laugh). I adore this little girl...and we've gone far (in spite of the bilateral elbow dysplasia and right hip dyplasia)...but a show prospect she is not! Take it from someone who was taken advantage of as a newbie...do your research and ask a lot of questions about pedigrees and other breeders once you find a club to get involved in.
~Julie, Rogue, Monty, and Eddy~
"The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue." -Anon
I believe that is you go to a well known breeder/shower of dogs an you explain what you want they may put you on a waiting list BUT they will not give you a substandard dog. Let's face it, if the US is anything like Europe, dogs shown in the ring will carry the affix of the breeder and the catalogue will publish the name of the breeder. The breeder will not want the world to see a substandard dog in the ring with their name on it.
I've read the standard, but there are a few words I'm not familliar with, "Whither" for example? And how can I translate things meant for an adult dog into a puppy? Obviously coloring won't change, but how can I know about the rest? I just don't want to be taken advantage of. Especially knowing how much I'll be out if a puppy ends up not being up to par. Of course I'll still have a wonderful little friend to play with and love, but, well I think you know what I mean. Also, I was wondering if anyone could tell me what are the advantages of different registries, AKC, CKC, UKC...ext. I've seen all of them, and currently have an AKC Yellow Lab. I've also heard of people having dogs dual registered. Is that a con, or can that really be done? Is is worth it? Sorry I'm asking so many questions... I feel like my daughter (almost 3) who asks no less than 1000 questions a day, and then repeats them....
Thanks for all the replies, I look forward to reading anything else anyone has to offer!
I was going to ask you if you currently have a dog...you do. I would highly recommend getting involved in something with the dog you currently have. There's obedience, rally, hunt tests, agility...just do something to get yourself out there. You also want to join your local labrador club. Very few reputable breeders will sell anything with any show potential to someone they don't know so you want to become a familiar face. If you are "unknown" and just start calling around, you'll probably be taken advantage of.
Then when you do get a puppy, you have to realize that it's a show "prospect"...there really aren't any promises.
Where are you located? If you're in the US, you want an AKC registered dog. If the breeder dual registers with UKC, thats a bonus but you can do that yourself later on if you want. CKC in the US is a puppymill registry. CKC as in canadian kennel club is want you'd want if your in Canada.
Another problem I'm encountering. I live in NW Florida (in the panhandle) and I went on the Labrador Club site to search for "local" Lab clubs... Well apparently "LOCAL" in my case is at least 8 hours away from my home... What do I do now?
You have to get super knowledgeable about the breed, participate in agility, hunt tests, obedience, etc, in order to work your way in with the local lab community. Volunteer at local shows, etc. It takes years.
Forgive me- but weren't you just posting about tying your new dog out back, etc? If so, you have a long way to go until a reputable breeder will sell you a show puppy.