Lab families, I would appreciate any advice you can offer regarding the selection process of breeders for puppies. Our family is currently looking for a chocolate lab puppy to make a lifetime commitment to. With two little boys 6 and 8, I want to make the right choice and don't want it to be driven by $ alone. Right now we are currently on two wait lists, one with a professional breeder asking $700 per puppy and offering all the champion bloodlines, pedigree history and hip certifications, breeds for temperament specifically, English variety labs, and a long wait time for the next litter. We also have an opportunity to take a puppy (sooner) from a smaller family breeder (registered by AKC but not professional), who breeds American Labs, offers health certification but not hip, and states that mom's temperament is very calm, no history of hip problems, $450 for the pup.
Because we are just a regular family and don't have plans to be involved in showing or breeding, I'm trying to understand what the extra money for the professional breeder would really be for. If we could expect a significant difference in health and temperament, then it is really not an issue with the money. I realize there is a lot that can't be forseen, and a lot we could do to notice temperament issues when we select our puppy. I would just love to hear from those of you who have been around this block. Thanks in advance for your Lab wisdom!
We are just a regular family not interested in breeding or showing as well. We chose to pay a reputable breeder who did do health clearnaces on both of our pups parents. Supporting breeders who are breeding responsibly and for the betterment of the breed is where we chose to spend our money. The breeder we chose also asked us a lot of questions about our lifestyle and what we wanted in a dog. She chose two pups for us to choose from, we couldn't have chosen better ourselves, he is everything and more that we wanted in a pup. AND if ever a time were to come (I can't see it) that we were unable to keep our puppy she would take him back. Ours is from field lines if that is what you mean by "American" and we still found a very good breeder. The family we got our puppy from hunts their dogs and does field trials. This is only my experience, I am sure you will get more advice from more experienced people here. Good Luck with your decision and with your puppy!
There can be a big difference between bench and field bred labs. Field bred labs are usually much higher energy. The second litter sounds like a BYB and all I can say is run, as fast as you can. The parents of litter should have hip and elbow certification, as well as clearences for EIC, CNM and CERF for eyes. They should also be proven in some venue, confirmation, agility, etc. No one can tell you with 100% certanity that your puppy will not have a health issue, knowing the background of the parents, grandparents, etc give you a much better chance at having a healthy puppy. Please save yourself the possible heartach of buying from a back yard breeder or puppy mill. It is not worth saving a few dollars now. Who knows what you may pay out in the long run in medical bills for one of these dogs. 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.
Professional is not really the right word.
Just because a breeder shows and you don't want to doesn't mean you need to look at the back yard breeder who doesn't do all the clearances. A show breeder is breeding the most healthy dogs so that they can have a healthy sound puppy for themselves. This will be 1 or 2 out of a litter. The rest are perfect but just not suited for showing or potential future breeding, so they are sold to pet families that understand the value of getting this kind of dog. A show breeder does ALL the clearances (hips, elbows, 2 eye tests, heart, EIC, etc) so that you are ensured the most healthy puppy. Sure genetics throws a few burps in here or there, but you want to find the best, potentially most healthy pup for your future. The show breeder also is looking at pedigrees and past health issues to make sure they have bred very nice pups.
A back yard breeder who is breeding their pets is usually doing it for all the wrong reasons. As you stated, they can't even be bothered to do the MINIMUM of clearances (hips, elbows, eyes). You might save money now by only paying $450, but if that breeder didn't test for eye diseases, PRA for example...even though the dam is healthy and the sire is healthy, it's possible for BOTH to carry the gene for PRA (causes dogs to go blind) and suddenly when the dog is 6, you are caring for a blind dog. Or since the breeder has no clue about the pedigree and what non-testable issues might be floating around, your dog at 2 starts having siezures due to hereditary epilepsy (something that can't be pretested for and parents can carry but not have).
Best to buy a pup from someone who is willing to go through all the steps to ensure that the pups have the best start in life.
second breeder sounds like a byb - there is NO excuse to not do hips.
clearances are not about fancy dogs, they are about ensuring the pups have all teh best odds to be healthy and pain free. labs are prone to many horrible health issues, please only support breeders that ensure all the breeding stock is clear of known health issues. Hips, elbows, eyes, heart, eic and cmn should all be tested on both parents.
what do you mean by "professional" and "family"?
few to any breeders make money on litters. take a look at labby's post on her upcoming litter to see how much it costs to do things RIGHT.
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
I'd also avoid that first breeder if one of their selling points were that the litter would have "champion bloodlines".
Cara Deo Labs
~ Hollyridge Ports O Call At Plsrthyme "Portis"
The second breeder - the "family" one is a BYB. Orthopedic clearances are a basic expectation and no one who is reputable considers skipping this step. She can't say that the bitch has no potential for HD. That does not show up until dogs are older in many cases.
The first breeder - if they have a website send a link to me by PM and I will let you know what I think. What you have written may or may not indicate that they are reputable - very hard to say without seeing the pedigrees of the dogs and seeing what she is doing with her adults besides breeding them.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
Sharon, the breeder that I have had the most communication with is Trophy Hill Labs in Lake City, Florida. You can just google "Trophy Hill Chocolate Labs" and get to the website. I have no idea how to "read" the pedigrees for the accurate information, so I would welcome any input you can give. Obviously I need to educate myself on how to determine what "reputable" really means for a breeder. Can't thank you enough for helping me check it out and possibly showing me what to look for when I look at the pedigrees. I know this is a family farm but also a hunting plantation, and they raise some of the dogs as hunting companions. Thanks in advance for your guidance. Renee
Thank you all for your advice on being selective about breeders- it is graciously accepted. We will stay on the lookout for the breeders offering the more thorough health certifications and pedigrees. How wonderful to have such a forum where you all can share your experiences and help future owners make good decisions!