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First time buying a Labrador - Need Advice

aleksi
June 21st, 2012, 04:57 AM
Hi. This is my first post on this forum. I have decided on getting a Chocolate Labrador. As a first time owner, I just want to get some advice and tips from the more experienced owners.

I found the pups on KIJIJI [ http://vancouver.kijiji.ca/c-pets-dogs-puppies-for-sale-PUPPIES-American-Chocolate-Labrador-Retriever-Chocolate-Lab-W0QQAdIdZ377247955 ]. The owner said that his pups are pure bred and CKC registered, but i don't think he's a registered breeder. Does he need to be a registered breeder for his pups to be registered?

I'm planning to drop by to take a look at the pups. Is there anything i should look out for or ask the owner?

Lastly, how much does a puppy generally cost in the first year?


Thanks in advance,

Alex

LavenderRott
June 21st, 2012, 06:11 AM
Hip and elbow dysplasia are common in labradors and I would want both parents to be OFA certified for both hips and elbows. I would ask to see certificates.

Honestly, my standards for breeders are rather high. If I was buying a purebred puppy (of any breed) I would want to see titles on the parents - a Championship on the front end of the name and an obedience title or two at the end. This shows that the dog is "put together" properly (it really isn't just some kind of beauty show) and has the temperament to do the job that the breed was intended to do. I would also want to see testing for genetic issues done - as mentioned above. You are paying a lot for a puppy - it is only fair that you get a healthy dog that is temperamentally solid.

I don't know about Canada but in the U.S. - the only "registered" breeders are those licensed by the USDA. These are the breeders who pump out hundreds of puppies a year and are not concerned about the health of the puppies but the amount of money that they can put in the bank.

There are 30,000 labrador retrievers listed on Petfinder this morning. Most of those listed are safe with rescue groups and there are thousands of dogs in kill shelters that don't make this list. If you don't want to go through the trouble of finding a well bred dog, please consider either checking Petfinder or your local shelter. As labradors are one of the most popular breeds in North America, I am sure you can find a lovely puppy.

Barkingdog
June 21st, 2012, 06:05 PM
Hip and elbow dysplasia are common in labradors and I would want both parents to be OFA certified for both hips and elbows. I would ask to see certificates.

Honestly, my standards for breeders are rather high. If I was buying a purebred puppy (of any breed) I would want to see titles on the parents - a Championship on the front end of the name and an obedience title or two at the end. This shows that the dog is "put together" properly (it really isn't just some kind of beauty show) and has the temperament to do the job that the breed was intended to do. I would also want to see testing for genetic issues done - as mentioned above. You are paying a lot for a puppy - it is only fair that you get a healthy dog that is temperamentally solid.

I don't know about Canada but in the U.S. - the only "registered" breeders are those licensed by the USDA. These are the breeders who pump out hundreds of puppies a year and are not concerned about the health of the puppies but the amount of money that they can put in the bank.

There are 30,000 labrador retrievers listed on Petfinder this morning. Most of those listed are safe with rescue groups and there are thousands of dogs in kill shelters that don't make this list. If you don't want to go through the trouble of finding a well bred dog, please consider either checking Petfinder or your local shelter. As labradors are one of the most popular breeds in North America, I am sure you can find a lovely puppy.

I would want to see both parents and talk to some other people that brought a puppy from the breeder. I agree it would be great if the OP adopted a shelter dog or puppy.

Loki Love
June 21st, 2012, 06:48 PM
It's very very rare to see a reputable breeder posting ads on places like kijiji. I would skip this 'breeder'. If you are serious about purchasing a dog, then please support those breeders that are trying to do right by the breed.

Barkingdog
June 22nd, 2012, 01:11 AM
It's very very rare to see a reputable breeder posting ads on places like kijiji. I would skip this 'breeder'. If you are serious about purchasing a dog, then please support those breeders that are trying to do right by the breed.

I know Labs are used a lot as service dogs and sometime after they go through all the training they do not pass the test to be a working dog. But they made great pets. I got my hearing dog from NEADS and they sometime have dogs that been all trained and need a good home to be be someone pet. And sometime the owner of a service dog will dies and be given up.
I fond this web site that is old but it is so sad! http://www.dogchannel.com/dog-adoption/article_16950.aspx

Longblades
June 22nd, 2012, 07:46 AM
OK, going to hit you with lots and lots. :) I have a Lab, my second.

First. Being registered with the CKC is NO guarantee of good, reputable breeding.

Labs are the most popular breed in N. America for about 17 years running. Thus lots of BYB have jumped on the bandwagon and you can find some terrible, terrible breeding. YES, a BYB dog can be CKC registered and purebred and still be a poorly bred dog.

I'd be very wary of Kijiji ads. Sometimes a breeder will keep the one pup they want for themselves and have a potential purchaser drop out and have puppies to advertise. It can happen, but it is rare.

Like any breed Labs have their health problems. The absolute bare minimum you want to see in clearances is hips and elbow and you should ask to see and take copies of the sire and dam certificates. Better would be to get clearances on hips, elbows, eyes, heart, CNM and EIC. Again you should see and ask for copis of the certificates.

Next check out the health guarantee. The bare minimum for most is two years. Most now will refund your money and not demand the puppy back. You will have to provide Veterinary documentation to support any health claims. A better guarantee will be for more like 4 years.

Ideally the breeder will be "proving" their dogs in some kind of competitive venue. Conformation, obedience, agility, hunt tests, field trials, there are others. Be aware that a field bred Lab will not likely adhere to the standard and will not likely compete in conformation but most likely in hunt tests or field trials.

You should know the difference between a field bred Lab (also called American) and a bench bred Lab (also called English and show).

You should know what the standard is. http://www.labradorownersclub.com/lab_standards.php This whole website has information that will help you learn more about Labs.

This site is good too: http://www.eolba.com/intro.html

Ideally you will see a 5 year pedigree. A good breeder often will choose your puppy for you, especially if you are new to dogs. Personalities and temperament are better determined by the breeder, who spends more time with the puppies than you will in a brief visit. A good breeder will have as many questions for you about your lifestyle and how you intend to accommodate the puppy as you will for them.

Prices can vary widely by location. My puppy was $1300 4.5 years ago from a breeder who is active in conformation, obedience, the Labrador parent club and other competitive venues. Prices were similar at other breeders in the same area.

YES, visit the kennel. Probably you can tell if a kennel is clean and well run whether you know anything about dogs. Clean is clean. Neat and tidy doesn't vary much. :) One tip, breeders with puppies on the ground are mostly careful of not allowing disease into their area. Don't be put off if you are asked to make an appointment.

I think I'm going to stop now and let you do some research. Feel free to ask back about anything. I will try to help and we do have a new member here who is a Lab breeder who might pop in to help.

If you do not follow through on research please, at least, do not buy from a BYB. Go to a shelter or rescue where you will likely find lots of Labs, even puppies. Please don't support a BYB.

Longblades
June 22nd, 2012, 08:04 AM
Holy Crap. There's a lot going on at the phone number in that ad. Puppies for sale, Land rovers, apartments, other tools.

Longblades
June 22nd, 2012, 10:32 AM
Came back to add:

Looks like I ran down the CKC a bit and that was not my intention. The CKC is merely the organization that maintains the registry for all purebred dogs. If the dog is a breed recognized by the CKC it is ILLEGAL to claim it is purebred if it is not registered with the CKC.

The CKC does have some good tips that might help you in your puppy search: http://www.ckc.ca/en/Default.aspx?tabid=110

However it is the breed's parent club that determines the standard, ie. what the dog is supposed to look like, how it should behave and other crtieria pertinent to the breed.

Barkingdog
June 22nd, 2012, 12:11 PM
OK, going to hit you with lots and lots. :) I have a Lab, my second.

First. Being registered with the CKC is NO guarantee of good, reputable breeding.

Labs are the most popular breed in N. America for about 17 years running. Thus lots of BYB have jumped on the bandwagon and you can find some terrible, terrible breeding. YES, a BYB dog can be CKC registered and purebred and still be a poorly bred dog.

I'd be very wary of Kijiji ads. Sometimes a breeder will keep the one pup they want for themselves and have a potential purchaser drop out and have puppies to advertise. It can happen, but it is rare.

Like any breed Labs have their health problems. The absolute bare minimum you want to see in clearances is hips and elbow and you should ask to see and take copies of the sire and dam certificates. Better would be to get clearances on hips, elbows, eyes, heart, CNM and EIC. Again you should see and ask for copis of the certificates.

Next check out the health guarantee. The bare minimum for most is two years. Most now will refund your money and not demand the puppy back. You will have to provide Veterinary documentation to support any health claims. A better guarantee will be for more like 4 years.

Ideally the breeder will be "proving" their dogs in some kind of competitive venue. Conformation, obedience, agility, hunt tests, field trials, there are others. Be aware that a field bred Lab will not likely adhere to the standard and will not likely compete in conformation but most likely in hunt tests or field trials.

You should know the difference between a field bred Lab (also called American) and a bench bred Lab (also called English and show).

You should know what the standard is. http://www.labradorownersclub.com/lab_standards.php This whole website has information that will help you learn more about Labs.

This site is good too: http://www.eolba.com/intro.html

Ideally you will see a 5 year pedigree. A good breeder often will choose your puppy for you, especially if you are new to dogs. Personalities and temperament are better determined by the breeder, who spends more time with the puppies than you will in a brief visit. A good breeder will have as many questions for you about your lifestyle and how you intend to accommodate the puppy as you will for them.

Prices can vary widely by location. My puppy was $1300 4.5 years ago from a breeder who is active in conformation, obedience, the Labrador parent club and other competitive venues. Prices were similar at other breeders in the same area.

YES, visit the kennel. Probably you can tell if a kennel is clean and well run whether you know anything about dogs. Clean is clean. Neat and tidy doesn't vary much. :) One tip, breeders with puppies on the ground are mostly careful of not allowing disease into their area. Don't be put off if you are asked to make an appointment.

I think I'm going to stop now and let you do some research. Feel free to ask back about anything. I will try to help and we do have a new member here who is a Lab breeder who might pop in to help.

If you do not follow through on research please, at least, do not buy from a BYB. Go to a shelter or rescue where you will likely find lots of Labs, even puppies. Please don't support a BYB.

Sometime a puppy may not be from the same litter , it could come another person puppy and you would never know. I had heard of people doing this and I think it really is wrong as the buyer is tricked into thinking they had met the puppy's mother and they had not.

Choochi
June 22nd, 2012, 01:05 PM
Longblades gave you some excellent advice.

Do consider rescue if you're just looking for a pet, there are TONS of labs of all colours including puppies and young adults so even if you want a puppy you should be able to find one through rescue. Rescue dogs don't automatically have problems, some are just victims of bad circumstances. There are lots of wonderful rescue dogs that are trained and have perfect temperaments and are just missing a home.

If you still prefer to go with a breeder, please do choose a responsible breeder who cares about the breed and does not mindlessly produce dogs. Those dogs run the risk of being sick, having poor temperaments, ending up in rescue, and only contribute to the problem of homeless pets. Don't support that cycle. A puppy from a good breeder will cost you the same as one from most crappy breeders so there is absolutely no advantage in choosing a crappier breeder. A puppy from a crappier breeder can in fact cost you lots more in the long run once all the health problems surface and the heart ache associated with having to put down your dog when he is 2yrs old because of how sick he is never worth saving a couple hundred bux on the initial purchase price. The initial purchase price of a dog is a drop in the bucket of what it will cost you in the long run to feed, vet, and take care of that dog. It should not be a consideration. Unfortunately people buy from these crappy breeders and BYB because they rush into making the decision and don't spend nearly enough time researching this purchase. Another tip, don't go visit any breeders with puppies for sale until you have done enough research and have picked the breeder based on your findings not the fact that they have puppies available. People are hopelessly useless at making rational decisions once they are holding a puppy in their hands. Don't go to see puppies until you have done your research on that given breeder and are prepared to make that decision. Even then, if for any reason you get a weird gut feeling, or some thing doesn't feel 100% right, no matter how cute the puppy may seem (all puppies are cute! absolutely all of them! without exception! there is not a puppy in the world that you will not fall in love with and think he's the perfect "one")... walk away. You can always come back the next day if you think you made an error, but most of the time when you get that feeling, it's for a very good reason even if you don't immediately realize it.

Do take time researching, it is well worth it and can save you lots of heart aches in the future. Some people research and look for the right breeder for months, even years, but the ultimate decision is well worth the wait. This dog will be with you for another 12 years or so, spending a few extra months to find the perfect puppy is a priceless investment in your future together.

Don't worry too much about the dog being CKC or AKC registered. It means nothing when it comes to the quality of the dog or the breeder. Puppy mills sell CKC registered dogs. It is nothing more then a registry that keeps track of parental lines.

You want both parents to be titled, and health tested for the numerous genetic diseases that this breed is susceptible to (Longblade's list). The breeder will be able to provide a 5 generation (or more) pedigree but you don't need to worry too much about that. Until you become extremely familiar with a breed and various lines and pedigrees, it's just a meaningless list of names. One thing you can look for in a pedigree is that at least a majority of the dogs have some form of a title. Health clearances will not be listed on a pedigree, you will need to ask for them and it is not a bad idea to check those for not just the parents but the other dogs behind them as well. You might not be able to see the certificates, but do ask. Some diseases can skip generations, etc... I always prefer to see that a number of dogs behind the pup have been properly health screened, and titled, not just the parents.

The parents should also be at a minimum 2yrs old, preferably older, as that is the min age when dogs are able to be screened for some of these tests. That's because some of these diseases don't show any signs until the dog matures. You should be able to meet the mom, you might not be able to meet the dad if he is owned by another breeder some where far away. If that is the case, try to find out as much about the dad as you can and contact the breeder who owns him. If the breeder you're buying the pups from does own both mom and dad, you should meet both of them and keep in mind the pups will turn out like either or both of them so if for any reason you don't like either of the parents (behaviour traits can be genetic) , don't buy the pup.

Labs from working/hunting/field lines will be extremely different from show line labs. They will often look different, be differently built, and their temperaments and energy levels can be extremely different. Evaluate yourself realistically and know what you want in your dog. Do you want a dog that will be bouncing off the walls and needs to spend at least a couple hours a day running or do you just want a lab who will go for a nice stroll with you and lie by your feet at home.

Don't look for breeders with puppies. Look for a good breeder and you will get an excellent puppy as a result. A good breeder does not have puppies available for sale around the clock (that's a puppy mill). The might breed once or twice per year and when they do they often will already have a list of buyers waiting for a pup. Even if they do have a litter on the ground, based on what kind of dog you want they might recommend a puppy from a different upcoming breeding. Don't be offended. They are trying to match the best dog for you and only have your best interest in mind. THAT is the kind of breeder you want to find. Think of it more as shopping around for the right breeding, the right combination of parents, not shopping for a puppy. Actually, you should be shopping for a combination of a good breeder and a good breeding, that's how you end up with the perfect puppy with the perfect support system.

Once you think you have found a couple breeders you like, do check references. Talk to people who have purchased pups from them and ask them if they are still happy with the dog and the support the breeder gives. Has any thing gone wrong, if so how was it resolved, has the puppy grown up into the sort of adult they were told they would. A good breeder will be happy to give you references. A good breeder will also ask you many questions and will take great care where they place their puppies. Expect to sign a puppy buyer contract which states all of the health guarantees a well as any stipulations on how the pup will be raised, that s/he will be neutered and at what age, and that if for any reason you can no longer keep the dog he should go back to the breeder (like I said, good breeders care about the puppies they sell for their entire life, not just until the cheque clears).

LavenderRott
June 22nd, 2012, 01:33 PM
No matter how you look at it - registration papers are the FIRST thing you need to look for. A breeder can't show a dog in ANY venue without proof that the dog is a purebred. That proof is registration papers.

Having said that - registration papers are kind of like your car's title. It tells you what kind of car you own but makes no promise as to the condition of that car.

Longblades
June 22nd, 2012, 02:20 PM
No matter how you look at it - registration papers are the FIRST thing you need to look for. A breeder can't show a dog in ANY venue without proof that the dog is a purebred. That proof is registration papers.

Having said that - registration papers are kind of like your car's title. It tells you what kind of car you own but makes no promise as to the condition of that car.Well and succinctly put. Since the dog searched for is a Labrador registration is a MUST. It won't be a purebred, legally, without CKC papers. Which, by the way, must be provided to the purchaser within six months of obtaining the puppy and that is the breeder's responsibility. Dogs can be shown in several venues but only CKC registered dogs can play in CKC sports and most reputable breeders in will choose CKC sports for their proving grounds.

Maybe I'll add too, it is not legal to charge for the CKC papers, they must be provided by the breeder, who does the registration. Something different in the U.S. is the limited registration through the AKC but in Canada there is no such thing. Anywhere, U.S. or Canada, you may find a non-breeding clause or a neutering clause in your contract.

Getting overwhelmed yet? :) It can be like learning a new language when you are new at it.

Barkingdog
June 22nd, 2012, 04:34 PM
No matter how you look at it - registration papers are the FIRST thing you need to look for. A breeder can't show a dog in ANY venue without proof that the dog is a purebred. That proof is registration papers.

Having said that - registration papers are kind of like your car's title. It tells you what kind of car you own but makes no promise as to the condition of that car.

registration papers does not always guaranteed the puppy is from the litter. You need to find a responsible breeder.

Longblades
June 22nd, 2012, 04:49 PM
registration papers does not always guaranteed the puppy is from the litter. You need to find a responsible breeder.

Well no, but it's a start, as LavenderRott said. If the puppies are tattooed it's easier to tell than if they are chipped. At only 5 weeks old the puppies may not have tattoos or chips yet and almost definitely won't be registered yet. But the parents will be. Many breeders allow the buyer to pick their own registered name so hold off on registering a litter till all the pups are sold and the owners have submitted their name choices. Mine does that, it's so much fun picking out names. :)

aleksi, another website you might like to check out is this very good one dedicated to Labrador Retrievers: http://www.lab-retriever.net/board/

Barkingdog
June 23rd, 2012, 02:08 PM
Well no, but it's a start, as LavenderRott said. If the puppies are tattooed it's easier to tell than if they are chipped. At only 5 weeks old the puppies may not have http://www.petco.com/product/111729/Petmate-Kennel-Cab-Fashion-Blue-Portable-Kennel-for-Pets.aspxor chips yet and almost definitely won't be registered yet. But the parents will be. Many breeders allow the buyer to pick their own registered name so hold off on registering a litter till all the pups are sold and the owners have submitted their name choices. Mine does that, it's so much fun picking out names. :)

aleksi, another website you might like to check out is this very good one dedicated to Labrador Retrievers: http://www.lab-retriever.net/board/

I was told the dogs used to get tattoos for ID on their ears but it was a bad idea as dogs ears where getting cut off when they where stolen. So I hope the tattoos are not the puppies ears.

LavenderRott
June 23rd, 2012, 03:01 PM
I was told the dogs used to get tattoos for ID on their ears but it was a bad idea as dogs ears where getting cut off when they where stolen. So I hope the tattoos are not the puppies ears.

Puppies are usually tattooed on the inner thigh.

Barkingdog
June 23rd, 2012, 05:14 PM
Puppies are usually tattooed on the inner thigh.

When I got my hearing dog I was told the dogs where tattooed on their ears but they stopped doing as dogs where getting stolen a lot because they where so well trained. The dogs ears where being cut off! :( The service dogs got microchip instead. Poor puppies , that must hurt.

LavenderRott
June 23rd, 2012, 05:38 PM
When I got my hearing dog I was told the dogs where tattooed on their ears but they stopped doing as dogs where getting stolen a lot because they where so well trained. The dogs ears where being cut off! :( The service dogs got microchip instead. Poor puppies , that must hurt.

Getting my tattoo hurt a lot less than getting my tubes tied. ;)

aleksi
June 25th, 2012, 03:09 AM
Hip and elbow dysplasia are common in labradors and I would want both parents to be OFA certified for both hips and elbows. I would ask to see certificates.

Honestly, my standards for breeders are rather high. If I was buying a purebred puppy (of any breed) I would want to see titles on the parents - a Championship on the front end of the name and an obedience title or two at the end. This shows that the dog is "put together" properly (it really isn't just some kind of beauty show) and has the temperament to do the job that the breed was intended to do. I would also want to see testing for genetic issues done - as mentioned above. You are paying a lot for a puppy - it is only fair that you get a healthy dog that is temperamentally solid.

I don't know about Canada but in the U.S. - the only "registered" breeders are those licensed by the USDA. These are the breeders who pump out hundreds of puppies a year and are not concerned about the health of the puppies but the amount of money that they can put in the bank.

There are 30,000 labrador retrievers listed on Petfinder this morning. Most of those listed are safe with rescue groups and there are thousands of dogs in kill shelters that don't make this list. If you don't want to go through the trouble of finding a well bred dog, please consider either checking Petfinder or your local shelter. As labradors are one of the most popular breeds in North America, I am sure you can find a lovely puppy.

Yes, I did try and look it up on Petfinder. Unfortunately, there is none around where I live. Also, I have no experience with dogs; do you think it’s a good idea for me to adopt a dog from my local SPCA? I’m just afraid I may not be able to handle the dog temperament.

aleksi
June 25th, 2012, 03:11 AM
OK, going to hit you with lots and lots. :) I have a Lab, my second.

First. Being registered with the CKC is NO guarantee of good, reputable breeding.

Labs are the most popular breed in N. America for about 17 years running. Thus lots of BYB have jumped on the bandwagon and you can find some terrible, terrible breeding. YES, a BYB dog can be CKC registered and purebred and still be a poorly bred dog.

I'd be very wary of Kijiji ads. Sometimes a breeder will keep the one pup they want for themselves and have a potential purchaser drop out and have puppies to advertise. It can happen, but it is rare.

Like any breed Labs have their health problems. The absolute bare minimum you want to see in clearances is hips and elbow and you should ask to see and take copies of the sire and dam certificates. Better would be to get clearances on hips, elbows, eyes, heart, CNM and EIC. Again you should see and ask for copis of the certificates.

Next check out the health guarantee. The bare minimum for most is two years. Most now will refund your money and not demand the puppy back. You will have to provide Veterinary documentation to support any health claims. A better guarantee will be for more like 4 years.

Ideally the breeder will be "proving" their dogs in some kind of competitive venue. Conformation, obedience, agility, hunt tests, field trials, there are others. Be aware that a field bred Lab will not likely adhere to the standard and will not likely compete in conformation but most likely in hunt tests or field trials.

You should know the difference between a field bred Lab (also called American) and a bench bred Lab (also called English and show).

You should know what the standard is. http://www.labradorownersclub.com/lab_standards.php This whole website has information that will help you learn more about Labs.

This site is good too: http://www.eolba.com/intro.html

Ideally you will see a 5 year pedigree. A good breeder often will choose your puppy for you, especially if you are new to dogs. Personalities and temperament are better determined by the breeder, who spends more time with the puppies than you will in a brief visit. A good breeder will have as many questions for you about your lifestyle and how you intend to accommodate the puppy as you will for them.

Prices can vary widely by location. My puppy was $1300 4.5 years ago from a breeder who is active in conformation, obedience, the Labrador parent club and other competitive venues. Prices were similar at other breeders in the same area.

YES, visit the kennel. Probably you can tell if a kennel is clean and well run whether you know anything about dogs. Clean is clean. Neat and tidy doesn't vary much. :) One tip, breeders with puppies on the ground are mostly careful of not allowing disease into their area. Don't be put off if you are asked to make an appointment.

I think I'm going to stop now and let you do some research. Feel free to ask back about anything. I will try to help and we do have a new member here who is a Lab breeder who might pop in to help.

If you do not follow through on research please, at least, do not buy from a BYB. Go to a shelter or rescue where you will likely find lots of Labs, even puppies. Please don't support a BYB.

Thank you for all the information and the wonderful links. They are very helpful and informative.

I turned down the breeder yesterday because he wasnít able to health guarantee their pups. The breeder said that they're not running a puppy farm so he couldnít provide me with a replacement guarantee.

I took your advice and did some research. It made me realized how unprepared I am. I think I really need to take it slow and do a lot more research before I can even think about getting a pup. The only problem is, when I see the puppies, I just want to get them right away. ><

By the way, is your lab a field bred or bench bred? And also, I heard that some Labradors give out a strong odor. Have you ever had a problem like that with your lab?

aleksi
June 25th, 2012, 03:19 AM
Longblades gave you some excellent advice.

Do consider rescue if you're just looking for a pet, there are TONS of labs of all colours including puppies and young adults so even if you want a puppy you should be able to find one through rescue. Rescue dogs don't automatically have problems, some are just victims of bad circumstances. There are lots of wonderful rescue dogs that are trained and have perfect temperaments and are just missing a home.

If you still prefer to go with a breeder, please do choose a responsible breeder who cares about the breed and does not mindlessly produce dogs. Those dogs run the risk of being sick, having poor temperaments, ending up in rescue, and only contribute to the problem of homeless pets. Don't support that cycle. A puppy from a good breeder will cost you the same as one from most crappy breeders so there is absolutely no advantage in choosing a crappier breeder. A puppy from a crappier breeder can in fact cost you lots more in the long run once all the health problems surface and the heart ache associated with having to put down your dog when he is 2yrs old because of how sick he is never worth saving a couple hundred bux on the initial purchase price. The initial purchase price of a dog is a drop in the bucket of what it will cost you in the long run to feed, vet, and take care of that dog. It should not be a consideration. Unfortunately people buy from these crappy breeders and BYB because they rush into making the decision and don't spend nearly enough time researching this purchase. Another tip, don't go visit any breeders with puppies for sale until you have done enough research and have picked the breeder based on your findings not the fact that they have puppies available. People are hopelessly useless at making rational decisions once they are holding a puppy in their hands. Don't go to see puppies until you have done your research on that given breeder and are prepared to make that decision. Even then, if for any reason you get a weird gut feeling, or some thing doesn't feel 100% right, no matter how cute the puppy may seem (all puppies are cute! absolutely all of them! without exception! there is not a puppy in the world that you will not fall in love with and think he's the perfect "one")... walk away. You can always come back the next day if you think you made an error, but most of the time when you get that feeling, it's for a very good reason even if you don't immediately realize it.

Do take time researching, it is well worth it and can save you lots of heart aches in the future. Some people research and look for the right breeder for months, even years, but the ultimate decision is well worth the wait. This dog will be with you for another 12 years or so, spending a few extra months to find the perfect puppy is a priceless investment in your future together.

Don't worry too much about the dog being CKC or AKC registered. It means nothing when it comes to the quality of the dog or the breeder. Puppy mills sell CKC registered dogs. It is nothing more then a registry that keeps track of parental lines.

You want both parents to be titled, and health tested for the numerous genetic diseases that this breed is susceptible to (Longblade's list). The breeder will be able to provide a 5 generation (or more) pedigree but you don't need to worry too much about that. Until you become extremely familiar with a breed and various lines and pedigrees, it's just a meaningless list of names. One thing you can look for in a pedigree is that at least a majority of the dogs have some form of a title. Health clearances will not be listed on a pedigree, you will need to ask for them and it is not a bad idea to check those for not just the parents but the other dogs behind them as well. You might not be able to see the certificates, but do ask. Some diseases can skip generations, etc... I always prefer to see that a number of dogs behind the pup have been properly health screened, and titled, not just the parents.

The parents should also be at a minimum 2yrs old, preferably older, as that is the min age when dogs are able to be screened for some of these tests. That's because some of these diseases don't show any signs until the dog matures. You should be able to meet the mom, you might not be able to meet the dad if he is owned by another breeder some where far away. If that is the case, try to find out as much about the dad as you can and contact the breeder who owns him. If the breeder you're buying the pups from does own both mom and dad, you should meet both of them and keep in mind the pups will turn out like either or both of them so if for any reason you don't like either of the parents (behaviour traits can be genetic) , don't buy the pup.

Labs from working/hunting/field lines will be extremely different from show line labs. They will often look different, be differently built, and their temperaments and energy levels can be extremely different. Evaluate yourself realistically and know what you want in your dog. Do you want a dog that will be bouncing off the walls and needs to spend at least a couple hours a day running or do you just want a lab who will go for a nice stroll with you and lie by your feet at home.

Don't look for breeders with puppies. Look for a good breeder and you will get an excellent puppy as a result. A good breeder does not have puppies available for sale around the clock (that's a puppy mill). The might breed once or twice per year and when they do they often will already have a list of buyers waiting for a pup. Even if they do have a litter on the ground, based on what kind of dog you want they might recommend a puppy from a different upcoming breeding. Don't be offended. They are trying to match the best dog for you and only have your best interest in mind. THAT is the kind of breeder you want to find. Think of it more as shopping around for the right breeding, the right combination of parents, not shopping for a puppy. Actually, you should be shopping for a combination of a good breeder and a good breeding, that's how you end up with the perfect puppy with the perfect support system.

Once you think you have found a couple breeders you like, do check references. Talk to people who have purchased pups from them and ask them if they are still happy with the dog and the support the breeder gives. Has any thing gone wrong, if so how was it resolved, has the puppy grown up into the sort of adult they were told they would. A good breeder will be happy to give you references. A good breeder will also ask you many questions and will take great care where they place their puppies. Expect to sign a puppy buyer contract which states all of the health guarantees a well as any stipulations on how the pup will be raised, that s/he will be neutered and at what age, and that if for any reason you can no longer keep the dog he should go back to the breeder (like I said, good breeders care about the puppies they sell for their entire life, not just until the cheque clears).

Yes, thank you Choochi. Iím so glad you taught some sense into me. I admit I was a bit impulsive when I saw the pups on the ad and I called the breeder right away. Luckily, I turned him down the last minute because like you said, finding a good breeder is the key of getting a good pup. The problem for people like me, who never own a dog, is that we have no idea where to look for pups except in a pet store or sites like kijiji. But donít worry, I will take your advice and try to find a good breeder. Looks like there is going to be a lot of research for me to do.

Oh one last thing, I came across two breeder websites. They seem to be good and responsible breeders. Have you heard of them?

http://www.whitevelvetlabradors.com/
http://westernlabradors.multiply.com/

LavenderRott
June 25th, 2012, 06:17 AM
The first site gives me no information that would cause me to give them a second look. Honestly - I see more reasons not to buy a puppy from them.

First off - they only have 1 dog with any kind of titles. They make no mention of any kind of health testing done. If you go to the "Purchase details" page, they ask you no questions at all, just give you the option of how to pay for a puppy.

The second site offers literally no information on their dogs what so ever.

As this is an open forum, I am not going to speculate as to whether or not these breeders are ethical. I will say that, if I were looking for a breeder, I would be looking for a breeder like this: http://www.esmondrott.com/

If you look - you will see that there are pages and pages and pages talking about the accomplishments of their personal dogs and their offspring. Health tests done on each dog are listed with results. There is no page where you can "order" a puppy and I can tell you that you must develop a relationship with this breeder before they will sell you a puppy. That is a very good thing because your breeder should be the FIRST person you turn to if you have any questions about development, behavior, health issues (once diagnosed by a vet) or just to cry to when you are worn out with puppy antics.

I realize that you aren't interested in a rottweiler (and that is fine) but since that is "my" breed, it was easy for me to put my fingers on an excellent breeder's website to show you for an example. I hope that you can see the difference between the websites.

LavenderRott
June 25th, 2012, 06:21 AM
Yes, I did try and look it up on Petfinder. Unfortunately, there is none around where I live. Also, I have no experience with dogs; do you think itís a good idea for me to adopt a dog from my local SPCA? Iím just afraid I may not be able to handle the dog temperament.

Honestly - I would trust a rescue's temperament over the temperament of a poorly bred dog from a backyard breeder. Rescues test temperaments (as does the local SPCA) where as a backyard breeder, looking to make money off of their puppies, is more likely to keep any concerning behavior quiet.

Longblades
June 25th, 2012, 07:58 AM
Thank you for all the information and the wonderful links. They are very helpful and informative.

I turned down the breeder yesterday because he wasnít able to health guarantee their pups. The breeder said that they're not running a puppy farm so he couldnít provide me with a replacement guarantee.

I took your advice and did some research. It made me realized how unprepared I am. I think I really need to take it slow and do a lot more research before I can even think about getting a pup. The only problem is, when I see the puppies, I just want to get them right away. ><

By the way, is your lab a field bred or bench bred? And also, I heard that some Labradors give out a strong odor. Have you ever had a problem like that with your lab?

I'm so glad you are back. :) I was afraid maybe we'd overwhelmed you. YES, should have warned you, DON'T look at the puppies. LOL, they are all cute, well bred or not.

My boy is bench bred. Generally field bred Labs are high energy dogs and might be a bit too demanding in their exercise requirements for some. Bench Labs tend to be a little more low key but behind the breeding of both is a working dog meant to hunt all day so both usually need lots of mental stimulation and exercise. There are always exceptions to generalities and a good breeder of field dogs can pick out the low key member of a litter for a low key owner. My boy is the exception to bench breeding being a high energy dog and more like field breeding in his zeal.

All dogs smell like dog. :) Some breeds with exceptionally oily coats may have a bit more of this odour. Labradors are water dogs but should not have any more doggy odour than most other breeds. My own dog smells sweet after a run through tall grasses and stinks after a wallow in a black oozy puddle he is fond of. A session with the garden hose is all it takes to clean him off and remove the stink.

I am not thrilled with either of those websites. To add to LavenderRott's comments:

Wow someone at the White Velvet site is a good photographer.

Unfortunately they seem to dwell on the word and colour "white." Labs may sometimes look white but no reputable breeder calls them anything but yellow. The only accepted colours for Labs are Black, Yellow and Chocolate. Makes me wonder if "lemon" is accepted for the new breed they say they are going into.

I do have to add, good breeders are not necessarily good website operators. The website is a very basic tool for searching. A couple of very well regarded breeders near me don't even have websites. However those two links you provided seem to have a way more space dedicated on how to give them money and not enough on the acutal dogs.

There are specialty Labrador shows coming up in Surrey and Maple Ridge B.C. If these are within driving distance of you it would be an excellent opportunity to see bench bred dogs and meet some breeder. http://www.canuckdogs.com/index.php?PageKey=f26933f4-6fbb-102d-a31e-4ebaba77265a&RegionKey=e4c2f4a1-0b66-11df-b8b7-8ac0277f09ae&Type=2 if the link doesn't work google Canuck Dogs and you can search yourself for shows. Labs may be in other shows too, I just picked specialties to be sure there would be Labs.

Yes, if temperament is critical to you then an adult rescue dog might fit the bill. Breeders sometimes have older dogs and most breeders I talked to do rescue as well, on a small scale. Rescues vary just as breeders do. Not all temperament test their dogs so don't think that route will be any more of a guarantee of a good fit for you.

BYB are not all evil in regard to how they care for their dog. Many, many are loving owners who will do anything for their dog. The problem is they unwittingly perpetuate faults and problems by crossing untested and unproven dogs. They can be elders in your church or the mayor of your town. Good people who simply don't know what they are doing. They are not easy to spot.

If you go on the Lab forum site I gave you folks there will sometimes PM you with the names of reputable breeders. Off hand I'm not sure if we have any breeder members from B.C. there but I think there are some from Oregon. And breeders travel far to show and prove their dogs so can be known to other breeders across a big area.


I'm so glad you are still with us. It can seem a bit of a daunting task. Thanks for sticking with us. You will be a great dog owner, I can just tell. :)

Choochi
June 25th, 2012, 09:28 AM
Having said that - registration papers are kind of like your car's title. It tells you what kind of car you own but makes no promise as to the condition of that car.

That has got to be the best comparisons I have heard to date!

Dog Dancer
June 25th, 2012, 11:53 AM
I'd like to add something to the mix a little bit late. Don't rule out searching for a dog show to go to. At a dog show you can meet breeders and see their animals. You can also get a lot of information at booths, maybe purchase a book or two with listings. I have a lab X, we adopted her from the SPCA almost 12 years ago. She doesn't smell at all by the way :D. She is the sweetest girl, and I wouldn't trade her for the world. There are so many lab x dogs in rescue and the spca, keep looking you will find one. Not that long ago our local city pound had a litter of chocolate labs born on site. So glad you didn't get scared away by all the info (there has been lots and all of it good), and so glad it has helped you to "see the light!" A puppy shouldn't be a spur of the moment decision as it is a 10 - 15 year commitment.

Barkingdog
June 25th, 2012, 12:21 PM
Yes, I did try and look it up on Petfinder. Unfortunately, there is none around where I live. Also, I have no experience with dogs; do you think it’s a good idea for me to adopt a dog from my local SPCA? I’m just afraid I may not be able to handle the dog temperament.
Will you be bring your new puppy or dog to a trainer? If you're maybe you could have a trainer go with you to the SPCA and they could help find the right dog for you.

mastifflover
June 27th, 2012, 07:45 AM
I am so glad to see that you are taking this seriously. Your getting some great info here. I have a suggestion as well you may consider. Maybe a breeder has a dog they are retiring and they are looking for a good forever home. The bonus being they are trained and getting a loving home. Forget Craigs List and Kijiji reputable breeders never advertise on these sites. Good Luck

Barkingdog
June 27th, 2012, 12:04 PM
I am so glad to see that you are taking this seriously. Your getting some great info here. I have a suggestion as well you may consider. Maybe a breeder has a dog they are retiring and they are looking for a good forever home. The bonus being they are trained and getting a loving home. Forget Craigs List and Kijiji reputable breeders never advertise on these sites. Good Luck

Someone has a real handsome male Germain Shepherd that was retired from breeding on this forum. I agree reputable breeders would not used Craigs List and Kijiji . I would check the shelter everyday , dogs are given when their owner dies and no one else in the famliy want them. Some shelters will let you know when a pet is being given up if you asked the shelter to call you.