Hello everyone, I've been reading up on the forum now for about 2 weeks. Trying to gather as mush information on this popular breed as I can before I take on the responsibility of actually owning one. Just from the 2 weeks alone on here I feel like I have a better understanding of the breed than before when all I knew was just from slight experience with friends or family's labs. As a young kid I've always loved this breed. They're able to be at a high energy, run to you drop level, and the next moment on your lap snoring. But some how have the ability to know when you're about to go outside and work on the yard or just going to the store and still want to be right there by your side. The one question I do have for the breed, and I've tried searching on here and also other sites but nothing seems to hit it on the head, is their common hip and joint problems. Is it as common as the public make it out to be? I'm aware that a lot of agility/ high energy level breeds are prone to this but it seems like the lab is higher up on this problem. I've experienced seeing the problem in a couple of friends labs. Although I don't believe they got the amount of exercise that they needed, it was hard seeing them in this condition (both dogs were probably around 6-7yrs old). One was put down a year after the injury. I wanted to finally take the step forward and ask the more experienced lab owners on their thoughts and better understanding of this breed. Just worried that around that same age (7yrs old or any age for that matter) this condition will occur and he/she won't be able to be go outside and be active as mush as I would want them to be and have to experience what previous friends had to. Thanks and I apologize for the long message.
It can happen. There are members here that have had ACL tears etc. You need to be very careful of the breeder you chose. Make sure that they do ALL the health clearances. That will help you toward a healthy pup. That is not to say that the problems won't occur. Even with clearances it can happen. It is something to keep in mind. It would never stop me from having a lab in my life though. They are so worth it. Even with the worries, the energy, the puppy chomping on everything, the counter surfing etc....I love our Sophie with all my heart, as I did our 12 yr old Maggie that we lost last May. They are worth every worry. If, Heaven forbid, something happened to our Sophie, I would get another lab. They are so loving and loyal and true treasures.
Sophie DOB 04/13/2011 6 mo
Sophie 15 months, with Skye
Well I have been lucky and up until now none of my boys have been affected by HD.
My last Lab who passed away at 13years and three months was diagnosed with HD at the age of 11 but it did not noticably affect his life for the remaining years but then he was a couch potato much like me !
Reading a recently posted study on HD, it is affected by the breeding as Pam said but also by the upbringing at a very early age i.e. no stairs climbing.
A number of environmental factors can affect the incidence of hip dysplasia in dogs
It isn't as common as it was 20 years ago. Better screening and breeding have really helped. Make sure you check the parents clearances. It isn't a guarantee but it sure helps. Then...keep the weight of and get regular exercise. I don't think it has to be a lot but it should be consistent.
Have fun...and good luck
Do your homework with a breeder, ask your local Labrador club for breeder recommendations. There are several great breeders on this forum that may also guide you in your search for a breeder. The next step is up to you, properly exercising, (not over exercising!), and a good diet are imperative. The study posted above has wonderful information. The popularity and indiscriminate breeding is a huge reason for the health issues found in Labs, it is very sad. Labs are wonderful dogs and as Pam said there is nothing in this world that would keep me from having one in my home. Good luck!
Maxx & Emma Jean
Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.
Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.
it IS common. as are OTHER health issues (blindness, heart problems, EIC...). A good breeder will test the dogs they hope to breed BEFORE making the decision to breed, and ensure the dogs are clear of all these issues and chose an appropriate other dog to breed to (also clear). there are obviously no guarantee as this is mother nature but the odds are on your side if you get a puppy from a breeder that did all the appropriate health clearances (and not just the parents but a few generations back as well). these are not test done with a regular vet, they are special tests.
there are also environment causes to hip issues.
your above description of a lab is the "ideal" well trained lab. There will be a few years of hard work before you get to that. teenage labs don't just drop and snore at your feet (nor should a dog ever be "exercised until they drop"). they bite, they jump, they eat everything - they are abit of a nightmare at times. only with training do they become what you describe (lots of training).
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
I have 2 female labs from the same parents.
Both parents have had all hip/elbow clearances and there is no history of any joint issues in the lines.
Java tore both ACLs at the same time when she was 13 months old. She had back to back ACL repairs. She also has ED, DJD & OCD. Her hips are excellent.
Her full sister Moka has no joint issues at all.
Java is now 3 years old and she is happy, healthy and extremely active. Her joint issues do not slow her down at all. I keep her very lean and she is on a great regimen of supplements.
Joint issues in a dog are not a death sentence. They can be managed very well and the dog can have a great quality of life. Java shows absolutely no symptoms of ED, DJD or OCD. The ED was found as an incidental finding when she had a complete orthopedic workup prior to her first ACL surgery.
Definitely find a great breeder that does all the appropriate health clearances (eyes, hips, elbows etc) but also know that it is not a guarantee that your dog will not develop issues at some point. ED/HD can have environmental causes as well as be genetic.
Acoording to the OFA, 12% of pups born to parents that are OFA good for elbows will have ED.
It is common amongst breeders that are not good. It does happen in reputable breeder lines...though the instance is lower than that of your garden variety back yard breeder. It truly depends on where you get your dog from. I have a back yard bred dog with bad hips and a well bred dog from show lines that has great hips and elbows. The other factor you have to consider is environment. You can't run a puppy at 6 months of age without damaging joints either, and if you keep a dog too fat or too slim, it also affects hips and elbows. It's not all hereditary.
Dani, Rider & Rookie
SHR Watson's Safari Rider, JH, WC, CL1-R, RA, CGC, TDI
SHR Endeavor Put Me In Coach, RN, WC, CGC
Member Since 6/2003
Just want to add my 2 cents on this. The choice of breeder is paramount. You may have some sticker shock when you see what a well bred and RESPONSIBLY bred puppy costs - but in the long run that puppy is a bargain compared to what a BYB or puppy mill Lab can set you back in Vet bills.
If you provide the area you live in we can direct you to responsible breeders in your area. A responsible breeder clears the adults for all genetic/orthopedic issues before considering breeding the dogs. They also only breed accomplished animals - those proven to be exceptional in some competitive venue (field, conformation, obedience, etc) and they select for temperament as well. Even if you never want to do anything competitive with your dog, it is important that the breeder does - it is for the betterment of the breed that only the best dogs get to reproduce.
You can discuss the sort of puppy you are looking for and the breeder will select that type for you. Someone who wants a dog for agility or SAR will look for a different degree of drive than someone who just wants a house pet. The breeder knows their puppies individual temperments and energy levels and can match a puppy to owner. Much better than the "first come first pick" some breeders allow.
And - appropriate exercise is important. You can exercise a puppy into a joint problem by doing too much too young. I always cringe when I see someone with a 6 month old Lab on a lead while the owner is biking - it's one of the very worst things you can do with your puppy.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
Thanks for all the great replies everyone. I actually read a couple threads on here about exercising your puppy when they're young and that they should not be going on jogs with you until the age of 2. As far as the exercising goes, ideally, I'm looking to get a lab between 6mo-1 yr old so, with common sense, is backyard play no problem? Also would like to get one of those 50yd leashes (believe those are it?) and take him/her to a field that is near by and let him/her open up to some extent. With college and work, It would be unfair to the young pup if I were to get one so young. At the age I'm looking at, I was thinking going to the rescue/ adoption route but with the information given might be better with a breeder. With adoptions, do you guys know if its possible to get the pedigree of the dog? Is it possible to know the history of health problems with the parents and where the dog was born? I am also looking at the American Labrador Retrievers (correct?). I love they're body style and that fit look. To me anyways, the English Labs look a little "pudgy" in some of the photos I've seen online. Nothing wrong with it at all, just the other lab I have fallen in love with haha. I live in the Orlando, FL area and the couple of breeders that I came across (mostly English labs, I believe they're mostly the show dogs?) online are asking for an arm and a leg and as far as I know of, I need those limbs right now. And again thanks for all the replies. Any amount of information really helps!
Last edited by Keep The Stoke; 04-05-2012 at 12:41 PM.