My name is Jim and I'm from upstate NY.
I've had dogs most of my life and decided I'd like to have a chocolate male lab.
I've done my research and now need to find a reputable breeder and was wondering if anyone on this board could point me in the right direction?
The labrador club for your area is a great place to start (is this one in your area: The Iroquois Labrador Retriever Web Site). Also try posting in the Lab Chat section, more people there will see your thread.
Make sure to read up on what makes a reputable breeder. Labs are prone to MANY health issues due to over breeding and not being careful. Therefore, before you consider a litter, make sure BOTH parents have had all their clearances (elbows, hips, eyes, heart, eic, cmn). These are not done at wellness checks at the vet, they are special tests. The breeder should have no problems talking about them and showing you proof.
Also make sure the breeder proves the dogs they breed in some venue. Conformation, field, hunt, obedience.
Also consider a rescue. Labs are the most popular dog and many people willy nilly breed their lab because "they are a great pet" or other random reasons. This means many many mnay labs end up in rescue (not because they are bad dogs, but people get a puppy thinking they will be calm trained adult). There are rescues in your area.