HELP FINDING A WELL BRED PUPPY


Puppy mills can now put a pretty face on their breeding practices thanks to the Internet.
It can be hard to know if you are working with a responsible Breeder.

*ALL PUPPIES ARE ADORABLE - EVEN BADLY BRED ONES*
Meet the Breeder before the puppies arrive.  Pay attention to the adults as they are a good
indication of what your puppy will become.  


*FIND YOUR BREEDER - CLOSE YOUR EYES AND TAKE A DOG*
That adage was in the first book I read on the Labrador. It was written by James Lamb Free
and I've never forgotten it.  While it seems a little drastic - it really is true.  When you go looking for a yellow this or a chocolate that, it's usually what you find.  The Breeder is everything.

*WHAT GOOD BREEDERS DO:
* Obtain all relevant health clearances on a breeding and provide copies to you.
* Belong to an AKC Labrador Club or All Breed Club.
* Compete in some area of the sport of dogs.
* Put pedigrees on their website or provide one to you upon request.
* Screen their buyers and NEVER sell through third parties.
* Educate you on the care and needs of the breed.
* Take a puppy back throughout its life and/or help re-home if needed.
* Keep their property clean, well maintained and safe for their dogs.
* Produce puppies with generations of health cleared and champion quality ancestors.
* Produce puppies with good structure and type.
*  Produce puppies with kind and willing temperaments.
* Produce puppies that are easily housebroken from being kept clean. 
* Socialize their puppies so they will quickly adapt to your home and lifestyle.


*AKC REGISTRATION OF ITSELF DOES NOT IMPLY QUALITY*
Puppy Mills use AKC registration and so do Backyard Breeders.  Look for AKC Champion
Breeders which means they a have produced Show or Field Champions.

*AMERICAN OR ENGLISH*
These household words were coined by Puppy Mills and Backyard Breeders in an attempt to say,
"We have the same dogs as show breeders."  They do not and calling them 'English' doesn't
change that.  Dogs born in the US and registered to the 'American' Kennel Club are
'American' bred.  'English' Labradors are born and registered in the UK.  Show Champions - no
matter where they were born - are typical Labradors and many earn their championships here and in Europe.  There is ONLY ONE Labrador Retriever and they
should all look similar and instantly recognizable. Labradors are either well bred or they are not. 

*I JUST WANT A PET*
Why should I care if my puppy comes from a Champion breeder?  Championships are award by virtue of a dog's structure and type and those traits translate into a healthier dog.  A Labradors that is built right, bends and flexes and exercises with much less effort than a poorly structured one which are more prone to suffer ligament tears and soft tissue damage which results in long term treatment for arthritis. Everything from the coat, the shape of a Lab's head to his eye color, when bred correctly prevents problems for a Labrador.  Dog show are not just about pretty faces.

*AKC CHAMPIONSHIPS MATTER*
Obtaining one is expensive and difficult and indicates that the dog has been
measured against a Standard. It indicates the Breeder is committed to producing proper type and good structure. AKC Champion  titles are written before a dog's name and the more a puppy has behind him the better.  Non-competitive Performance Titles are written after a dog's name.

*READ THE PEDIGREE*
To learn more about what the LETTERS in a pedigree stand for, click here.

*KNOW WHAT DISEASE CLEARANCES ARE AVAILABLE*
 For information on Labrador medical problems visit the Canine Health Information Center http://caninehealthinfo.org/

*COST OF A PUPPY*
You can expect to pay $2,500.00 or more for a puppy from a good Breeder. 
They have invested thousands measuring their dog's merits with outside opinions so that
a 'yard stick' has been applied to the dogs they choose to breed.  They invest in
diagnostic screening, fund research through their dog clubs and use breeding
practices that are safer for both the sire and dam but have added considerable expense
to the production of a litter. 

I have estimated that the cost of producing a litter and raising it until it goes home to
be equal to 2 puppies.  A well bred puppy has cost the Breeder thousands to produce. 
Breeders who do none of the above charge nearly the same and get it because they have
have a cash and carry pup ready when you are.  I
f you do not want, or cannot afford to
invest in a well bred puppy, consider rescue.  Purchasing from puppy mills and backyard
breeders rewards irresponsible breeding and ultimately harms the dogs we all love.

*ALLOW YOURSELF TIME*
Well bred puppies are spoken for when they are 'in the oven' or very soon after birth.
 

*THE PITFALLS*

*THE WRONG DOG IN THE RIGHT COLOR IS STILL THE WRONG DOG*
Labradors, although an ideal family pet, vary in dominance, prey drive and pack drive.
A puppy should fit your lifestyle and your ability to train - it is what creates the bond.
The color and sex of your puppy is second to all other characteristics. 
Trust your breeder to match you with the ideal puppy.

*BOTH DOGS ON PREMISE*
This is a red flag for me. It's a phrase typically used by Backyard Breeders trying to assure
buyers they will be getting a 'known' product. Actually 62 dogs send genetic material to a puppy. 
It is why pedigrees are so important. The primary duty of the American Kennel Club is to be the
guardian of those pedigrees. So while good breeders occasionally use their own males as sires,  
'Both dogs on premise' can mean that the same two dogs are bred over and over again at no cost
to the Breeder. Quality Breeders most often go to a non-owned stud dog at considerable cost for genetic diversity.  

*SILVER BUYERS BEWARE!*
 Labradors come in three colors only,
Black, Yellow or Chocolate. 
Information on Silver Labradors can be found on the Labrador Retriever Club website.  These Breeders' claims that the color is naturally produced in Labradors is being proven false as Champion breeders test for the 'silver' gene and prove our pedigrees DO NOT contain the Weimaraner dilute.  


*DESIGNER DOGS*
Labradors have been crossed with other breeds by service organizations hoping to improve the percentage of puppies who go on to serve people with varying disabilities.  The Labradoodle was a result of that experiment and the crossbreeding was eventually stopped because neither health nor performance was improved.  The mixed breeds' traits could not be relied upon and the percentage of  puppies becoming successful service dogs went down. 


  This is a decision you will live with for the next 12-16 years.  Take your time and don't settle.
Remember, the harder you work at it the luckier you will be!

 

 

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