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I just got back from checking out a 3 month old pup who in all probability grow up to be as beautiful as the dark yellow lab you can see here (with the addition of a wide orange stripe running down its back). Here's a picture I took of the lab with the breeder's daughter helpfully keeping it posed while I worked the camera:



Other pictures of the pup can be seen here, here, and here.

This was also the biggest pup in the entire litter which I should mention is an entirely boisterous group composed of two males and one female. Everything's great with this one, the seller bragged about the champion lines in his ancestry outlined in his registration papers. You'll have to trust me when I say he's gorgeous, really (the entire litter and their cage took a quick hosing down in preparation for my visit) and I'm willing to forgo the cream color and short haired lab I was hoping for except there were a lot of red flags with the breeder. Another consideration is his prominent tummy. He's bigger than his siblings in terms of height and build but the tummy worries me. I saw his med certificate he's already got his complete shits and has been dewormed.

His scraggly appearance is due to the fact that cage they're in has been hosed down a bit by the breeder to clean the surroundings and that he's only been fed two times a day. This is probably moot but what do you think?
 

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The "champions" are they far back in the ancestry? unless his parents and grandparents and great-grandparents contain champions that's no selling point at all and should be ignored.

Have the parents been properly cleared (hips, elbows, heart, eyes)?

short haired lab? I am not at all involved with conformation but...labs have short hair as a general rule don't they?

What shade are the parents? Why do you believe he will get as dark as the pup in the photo? yes coat can change shades quite abit over the years but it seems like you really want a darker pup?
 

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he's already got his complete shits
Sorry, that's a funny typo. ;D

Seriously, it sounds like he's been raised in a kennel run? Although its certainly possible to get a nice puppy that was raised that way, it would be much preferable to find a breeder who raises the litter in the house, exposing them to ordinary household activities, noises and people.

Here are a couple checklists to see if you have found a good breeder:

http://www.inch.com/~dogs/breeders.html

http://dogplay.com/Breeding/ethics.html

http://dogplay.com/GettingDog/breedercomparison.htm
 

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I just got our pup 4 weeks ago.
I can tell you some of the things our breeder "offered up" as proof of being a good breeder.
I can also say that I had NO DOUBTS. If you have doubts...there will be other breeders and pups.

Here was my experience:
-The parents were both there to see in person. Running free. Came to see us. Friendly and happy looking.
- 2 year health guarantee
-Parents had all clearances (eyes, hips, ...) and documentation certificate proof.
-Pups were raised indoors and not caged. She showed us the area. It was a room (like an enclosed porch) directly attached to the home. We saw the whelping box in this room as well. You had to go through this room to get into the main house. The parents/other dogs came in and out of the house freely.
-The pups were just outside the house (room) in a free standing caged big area because it was a really nice day to be out playing and soaking up some rays. By just outside I mean about 10 ft. from the door.
-Also showed us the dog runs for the big dogs. It was all tidy and clean as was possible. Pups do mess but to be "hosed down" while all in the cage is strange to me. Red flag to me.
-Pups were very family raised and had been exposed to many family friends. Lots of holding and such.
-Breeder only breeds 1 to 2 at most times a year per female. She had 2 females.
-Breeder provided so much information. Most of it unasked. She was open and up front about all health issues. For example good instead of excellent eyes certificates.
-She has a very long pedigree chart for each parent.
-Although the pups had first shots and many dewormings...ours still had round worms at first vet check...common.
-I felt VERY comfortable with her and would not hesitate to reccomend her to (and have) everyone who asks where we got our pup.
-I researched breeders in our area. We drove 1 1/2 hours away to this breeder. The pup was not cheap. Most often you get what you pay for. I am not saying if you spend $300-500 for a pup it will be bad but...in my experience you usually get what you pay for. This is true in clothes, shoes, ... Pay now or pay much more later in vet bills is my belief.
-The breeder called just to see how things were going 2 times since we have had Belle (our pup). She has been awesome. When Belle had a shots reaction she called back to check yet again and offer advice and her insights.
-She believes her dogs are worth the extra money. She really puts an effort into producing "HEALTHY" pups she says.
-She even has a female that she will not breed because it did not pass her "healthy" requirements (fair eyes I think it was what she said...just a family pet now- was pick of litter for breeding to her male).

I hope this helps you.
Take your time. Take your TIME. This is a long term commitment. You do not want health or behavior issues.
Hopefully, you will have this dog for it's full life span. :)

******PS- MOST importantly...we felt like WE were being interviewed and watched closely for our reactions to the pups as well as all the other dogs. This breeder really cared about who was adopting her pups. We asked her "Can we get her?" after an hour. She was not pushy in the least.
 

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I honestly haven't seen a pup with that pointy of a head in a long time...seems very suspect to me.

I'd recommend looking elsewhere.
 

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I agree with Dani. I am certainly no expert, but that pup doesn't look very healthy or fully labbish to me. Not that you shouldn't adopt him, but I would ask lots of questions.
 

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Everything's great with this one, the seller bragged about the champion lines in his ancestry outlined in his registration papers.
Bragging about champion lines is one thing, producing actual evidence of those lines is another. For example, back yard breeders can brag on champion lines but they could be 5 generations back. A good breeder should be able to tell you everything about the dogs in your puppies pedigree. Also, "champion lines" only really holds merit if the parents, grandparents, etc., are titled. When the titles are in the 4th/5th generation those dogs don't hold much influence over your puppy.

only been fed two times a day.
This doesn't seem frequent enough for a growing pup. Puppies should be fed 3-4 times a day.

I also agree with the others that he doesn't look full Lab. Maybe it is the pictures or just poor breeding, but his head looks a bit hound-like.
 

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I wouldn't worry about the pups being "hosed" as much as other things- like the head issue and the fact that it actually doesn't look like a full lab. Puppies get into gross stuff and walk in their poop and food- a wipe/rinse isn't a big deal for me.

Other issues are though. I'd look else where.
 

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Is his head as pointy as it appears in the pics? He does look awfully thin to me. Pups that age really should be fed 3 times a day. He is a cutie though. Do you have a link to the breeders site that we can look at?
 

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I took another look at the picture. I'm not really sure= your picture is very, very difficult to actually see anything in- but if the stomach is as distended as it appears in the pic, I'd be concerned.

This is a belly shot of mine at 8 weeks:


And her standing:



She was a big girl at ten pounds. It shouldn't be hugely out of proportion - nothing that makes you go, wow, is there something freakishly wrong with this puppy?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Tanya said:
The "champions" are they far back in the ancestry? unless his parents and grandparents and great-grandparents contain champions that's no selling point at all and should be ignored.

Have the parents been properly cleared (hips, elbows, heart, eyes)?
The names in red and green colors on the reg certificate (signifying the titled ancestors) goes back as far as the grandparents but there were no medical certifications as the breeder said that those titles on the certificate were enough assurances that I would be getting a good pup.

short haired lab? I am not at all involved with conformation but...labs have short hair as a general rule don't they?
Yeah, but the light yellow labs I've seen have shorter hairs than the darker or fox reds that tend to have a bit of longer and wavy hair down the back. At least that's what I observed. ;D

What shade are the parents? Why do you believe he will get as dark as the pup in the photo? yes coat can change shades quite a bit over the years but it seems like you really want a darker pup?
The dam's color's a mix of light yellow with some orange, the breeder only showed me a picture of the sire (since he's only a stud) and there was more of the red or dark yellow color than the usual yellow. I'm not sure if he will get darker as he matures but based on what I read online and in one book he'll inherit the parents' colors. There aren't that much of the red or dark yellow labs around here and while I do prefer the light colors or cream colored labs the overall yellow color with a subtle wide orange "stripe" color running down the back of this pup was really attractive.

Chrissy said:
-The parents were both there to see in person. Running free. Came to see us. Friendly and happy looking.
The dam was there and she was let out for a while for me to observe. She's happy and friendly, a bit rambunctious too.

-Pups were raised indoors and not caged. She showed us the area. It was a room (like an enclosed porch) directly attched to the home. We saw the whelping box in this room as well. You had to go through this room to get into the main house. The parents/other dogs came in and out of the house freely.
-The pups were just outside the house (room) in a free standing caged big area because it was a really nice day to be out playing and soaking up some rays. By just outside I mean about 10 ft. from the door.
The descriptions are the same but they were in a cage rather than a room because the breeder's small house.

-Pups were very family raised and had been exposed to many family friends. Lots of holding and such.
-Breeder only breeds 1 to 2 at most times a year per female. She had 2 females.
-She has a very long pedigree chart for each parent.
-Although the pups had first shots and many dewormings...
-I felt VERY comfortable with her and would not hesitate to reccomend her to (and have) everyone who asks where we got our pup.
I'd put a check on the ones enumerated above as similar to the breeder I talked to but the last part. While I was comfortable talking with him and he wasn't pushy or anything like that but I'm not sure I'd recommend him to others because he was in it just because breeding was just a business for him. I mean I thought about it but maybe now I won't.

I hope this helps you.
Take your time. Take your TIME. This is a long term commitment. You do not want health or behavior issues.
Hopefully, you will have this dog for it's full life span. :)
It did. Finding the lab that fits the standard (not to mention my personal criteria ;D) is a lot harder than I thought.

Dani said:
I honestly haven't seen a pup with that pointy of a head in a long time...seems very suspect to me.

I'd recommend looking elsewhere.
I knew it! I've been reading the conformation standard over and over while looking at different pictures of labs everywhere trying to hone myself in looking for a lab.

MarlansMum said:
I agree with Dani. I am certainly no expert, but that pup doesn't look very healthy or fully labbish to me. Not that you shouldn't adopt him, but I would ask lots of questions.
Here are a couple more pictures of the same pup see here and here. I have my doubts about the pup's health but do lab pups have big flappy ears?

jzgrlduff said:
Is his head as pointy as it appears in the pics? He does look awfully thin to me. Do you have a link to the breeders site that we can look at?
It's a bit pointy and that's where I'm confused, should some labs possess a bit of a pointy muzzle? No, the breeder doesn't have a website. He also told me he's gonna hold off breeding medium to large dog breeds and switching to smaller ones for the meantime.

gabbys mom said:
I took another look at the picture. I'm not really sure= your picture is very, very difficult to actually see anything in- but if the stomach is as distended as it appears in the pic, I'd be concerned.
Sorry about that. The pup was being so hyper when he was let out of the cage he couldn't sit still for a moment. He was running everywhere and jumping up on the kid. The stomach was as distended compared to his littermates who were a bit on the slim side. It looked more like a "beer belly" and I'm not sure there is cause for alarm since he showed me their vet certificates with their shots and their being dewormed. They were three months which I guess is the start of the award stage? I'm just guessing that's why I couldn't make a decision right there and then.

Thanks everyone for your replies and advice, I can now put my doubts and fears to rest. I'm still looking at other labs available so I guess I'll just have to inform him that I won't be taking this one.
 

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The names in red and green colors on the reg certificate (signifying the titled ancestors) goes back as far as the grandparents but there were no medical certifications as the breeder said that those titles on the certificate were enough assurances that I would be getting a good pup.

******

Just a thought (I copied the above part of what you wrote)....in looking for a puppy, if a breeder has health clearances on the parents of a puppy (hips, eyes, etc), they'll have those papers to show you. When you buy a puppy, you should be given a copy of those along with the puppy's pedigree, AKC registration papers, and any other paperwork the breeder has for the puppy.
 

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Dani said:
I honestly haven't seen a pup with that pointy of a head in a long time...seems very suspect to me.

I'd recommend looking elsewhere.
I am sorry to butt in. Dani has been around more dogs than I and will know better.

Kassa had a pointed head and came from one of the most respected breeders in N.Z. and Australia. Some times when they look sad they hang their ears which makes the point look more prounounced.

If you aren't sure then maybe this is telling you to look elsewhere. A good breeder will have all the paper work there.

I can't find the pic of Kassa that looked like that one.
Kass is on the right.


Edited to add. I didn't want to get a dog. I went to have a look and fell in love with Kassas mother. A few moments later Kassa. I think if the dog is right for you, you will know it without any doubts.
 

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So the grandparents have titles, but not the parents? That means the present owner hasn't spent any time "proving" the worth of his breeding stock. And ALL breeding dogs must have hips, elbows, hearts and eyes certified with a central certification agency like OFA, CERF or OVC - you need more than "my vet says they're healthy". Ask to see the certification papers or get the numbers to check online.

he was in it just because breeding was just a business for him. I
He also told me he's gonna hold off breeding medium to large dog breeds and switching to smaller ones for the meantime
and this is a deal breaker for me - sounds like a budding puppy mill.

What area are you in? Your local labrador club will have a list of ethical breeders
 

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Don't take offense to this, but your "breeder" is full of red flags. RUN away from him.

Everything you said that the breeder said is crazy.

1. Labs are a medium sized breed by definition. Look at the breed standard on the akc.org page. Your breeder wants to breed small ones? WTF?
2. Pointy heads are not in the standard.
3. Short hair is always part of the standard.
4. Prior to breeding a dog, one should get all sorts of health clearances and be willing to produce them. Do you know how much hip surgery costs? And how frequent it is in labs? My dog is from a backyard breeder - which is sounds like this chump is - and I'm considering the hip surgery for her. It is 2500 per hip. If you don't get hip clearances, be prepared to spend that and much more.
Read this (questions to ask when buying a puppy: http://www.lab-retriever.net/board/showthread.php?t=64608 )
if the breeder evades, push harder.
5. Breeding should never be a business. If you think the person is even breaking even or a hint of making money, walk away from the person. Send a PM to Labby (or check out www.kelrobin.com and read some of her articles) for an example of a quality breeder.
6. My pup was not anywhere as hyper as the one you describe. If it's that hyper at that young of an age- consider multiplying that and then think about adding that to your household.

I'm not trying to be excessively negative, but I think that you'd end up spending much more time, money and effort buying a puppy from a backyard breeder than waiting and buying from a quality breeder. Spend some time and get caught up on the breed standard, etc.
 

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From the last two pictures you posted, those ears do NOT look a Labs. They are long and hound-like. Lab ears are like the ones you see in most peoples signatures -- triangular.

I would run a mile from this "breeder". There are plenty of quality, reputable breeders out there and none of them are in it for a profit. I'm sure if you post your location someone can help you find a proper breeder. The other alternative is rescue.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I'm located here in the Philippines. There are a lot of well known breeders around but none of their bitches are in season yet. At least none of the those specializing in yellow labs. Thanks for all your replies and advices, I guess I'll just have to wait it out some more.

Djc1249, a lot of the puppy sellers here usually provide papers like the ones you mentioned above (mostly certifications from the local canine governing body, the Philippine Canine Club, Inc.) except for the health clearances for the puppy's parents or the puppy himself. It's not a popular practice because of the prohibitive price to have those dogs checked up for hereditary diseases, etc. and because a lot of buyers aren't looking for one. They'll get it as long as it looks healthy on the get go.

Thanks, kassabella. The large and long ears are a lot suspicious right now and I personally prefer the medium to short snout on a puppy. I've already made up my mind to look elsewhere.

gabbys mom, I don't think you're being excessively negative. Thanks for the advice. ;D

Thanks also kaytris and again, Trickster. You've all been very helpful in dealing with this lab first timer's doubts. ;D
 

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My puppy came from a backyard breeder (before I knew better) and unlike some of the pictures you have shown, he actually DID look like the breed standard. Both parents, although a little larger than the standard, were there and were good examples of the labrador breed standard. However, around a day after I got him, his eyes started really watering and he was blinking a lot. When I took him to the vet, he diagnosed him with entropion, and we have been through 2 surgeries that have been moderately successful. His eyes do not look perfect, and it has cost me over $500 so far just for those two surgeries. This does not include the cost to actually purchase him, neutering, shots, fecals, etc. I do not know what else they will want to do, if anything, but I am prepared to pay because I realize how ignorant I was when I got him. I also have NO guarantee on his hips, elbows, eyes, nothing. If I could go back and do it again, I would DEFINITELY look around a lot more and be much more selective. Even if I were to pay over $1000 (which I wouldn't have dreamed of before), I would probably be about what I'm at now after the vet bills I've had for Riley. Please think hard before going out and buying a dog you don't feel 100% sure of. Even though I love my pup with all my heart, I know buying him only encouraged the "breeder" to breed again and produce more puppies who will likely have problems.
 
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