I am a 50 year old divorced male with 3 children that stay with me 1/3 of the time. Over the years I have had 2 wonderful Golden Retrievers. They were acquired from very reputable breeders. I have been dog less for the last 4 years because my job required extensive travel. That has all changed now and I am working out of a home office over 90% of the days. I would love a dog primarily as a pet, new member of the household and daily walking partner. I have always wanted a LAB. For the last 6 weeks we have looked into the shelter/rescue option without any success, since the kids and I want a younger dog or a puppy. The other day a friend shared a number from a newspaper of a hobby breeder who has 3 very sweet looking 9 week old lab puppies for sale at the low cost of 350. We spoke, the pups are from her 2 pets. While they look beautiful and the woman was pleasant to speak to, I have a few concerns and that is why I am posting this. I want to see what experienced lab owners think. My concerns are the following: she assures me that while the parents have not been xrayed or tested that she has been doing this for years with no problems. She also offered to meet half way and let me meet the pups in a parking lot. Unlike the golden breeders I dealt with you were so passionate it is obvious that this is just a hobby. Question is how to most of the pups from hobby breeders turn out? I dont mind paying more money for less risk.
I also spoke to a few serious breeders. One seemed offended when I told her I planned on calling and speaking to other breeders. While I was impressed with her and her husband on the phone, one does not fully develop trust and agree to make someone their one and only breeder based on a phone call. The golden breeder I dealt with in the 90's was very different. She loved the breed and was willing to be so helpful to see a golden placed into a good home. She was never worried that she was investing her time talking and might not win the sale. I will not make a decision like this without doing considerable due diligence. It is a living animal that we will get attached to so I take this very serious.
We are looking to welcome the right lab into our family. It will be an indoor dog, be well fed and cared for. I would appreciate any insite and I live in Dallas if anyone wants to refer any breeders or know of any good lab pups available. Thanks
I can't help you with your breeder questions but there are many here who are very experienced. I'm sure they will weigh in.
Good luck in your search.
I think you already have your answer. You need to be looking for a breeder like the one you dealt with in the 90's for your Goldens. The parking lot thing would be a huge red flag for me and I'd run away from that. Keep looking and the right breeder with the right pup will be found.
I also think you've answered your own question. There are lots of red flags with the "hobby" breeder you mention, so much so that I would RUN, not walk, away.
Where abouts are you located? We could potentially help steer you in the right direction with regards to reputable labrador breeders. You're very right in that you pay more for less risk, as reputable breeders do all health clearances to ensure their breeding stock is free from common ailments, "hobby" (or BYB in this case) do not do this.
For what it's worth, being a hobby breeder isn't a bad thing, as many of the best breeders are technically "hobby" breeders, because lord knows they don't make much (if any) income from breeding, as they put so much into it. What you described is called a BYB, or Backyard Breeder. These are the folks only wanting to make a sale that don't take ethics into consideration when they breed. That's not what you want.
Kudos for doing your research and asking questions ahead of time.
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
I assume you are in the Dallas area? There are quite a few breeders in the area, including Dickendall, Legasea and Tamerlane which have some awesome dogs.
The best way to start I think is to check out the local Labrador Retreiver Club - which for you is probably the Dallas-Fort Worth LRC. Click on their member list and you'll see some breeder names and links and numbers to call. http://www.dfwlrc.org/
You want to work with a breeder who clears their breeding stock for all potential orthopedic issues with hips and elbows and clears eyes and hearts. This does not guarantee that your dog will be completely sound - as problems crop up with offspring of clear parents - but you reduce risk. You will get a health guarantee from a responsible breeder.
You also want to use a breeder who competes their dogs successfully - as that helps to prove worthiness to BE bred. You want to be able to see and spend some time with the dam at least - you will get a good idea of temperament by seeing the parent. Many breeders use another kennel's male so you may not get to have contact with him - but the bitch matters most.
You want to get a puppy at no earlier than 8 weeks old. The puppies should be raised in a home setting andd handled early on by people.
Your breeder will have many questions for you,. will require a spay/neuter agreement of you, will offer to take back your puppy if for some reason you cannot keep him at any time in his life.
These are all the things that BYBs do not do.
Last edited by BigBrownDog; 10-08-2009 at 10:11 AM.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
The meeting in the parking lot would be a red flag for me. My advice, look for a reputable breeder.
I would also either look for a better breeder or continue to work with a rescue they do get puppies in you just may have to be a little more patient. Although if you go through a good breeder you may have to wait a little bit there too. I know one of our members Tobytrix works with one of the rescues in Huston I think maybe she can help point you in the right direction there. Whatever your decision I'm glad your doing your homework it will pay off to have to wait a little bit to have the right dog for your family.
I like looking through our member Labby's websit it has a ton of great articles some on breeding and choosing a new puppy. http://www.woodhavenlabs.com/articles.html
Some of these Back Yard Breeders can look really good. When we got our first lab, I thought that breeder was great. He had clean kennels, dogs seemed clean and healthy and happy. I thought we had found a real jewel.
The truth was, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.
Our puppy ended up having severe hip dysplasia and immune issues. We ended up losing her at only 11 months old and a vet bill over $8,000.
For our next lab, I did my research and found a great breeder. I paid $1,000 for the puppy, but have only paid for vet check ups and regular care and just a very few visits for illnesses. (Of course we've had our share of accidents and cuts and stitches, but that happens with any active dog no matter who the breeder is.)
My point....it is soooooo worth it financially to find a good breeder with healthy dogs.
I wouldn't totally give up on the rescues either.
I think it does sound like you already know the answer, and kudos to you for that. Many people would never give a second thought to some of the things that raised red flags for you.
FWIW, both of ours came from a shelter. If you can, I think it's wonderful to be able to save a life and give a home to a dog who really needs one. OK, that's my plug for rescue!
WOO WOO WOO! An educated owner to be - you already answered your own question - and correctly! GOOD MOVE! Welcome to the board - and we're happy to help if other questions arise!