Show vs working Lab

(19 Posts)
PinotPony Mon 10-Jun-19 21:57:40

I'm currently looking for a KC reg yellow male Lab puppy. Found a breeder on Pets4homes who is expecting a litter in July. Pedigree for sire and dam looks good - lots of FT CH - and hip/elbow/eyes all fine.

We went to meet the mum and dad this weekend and I was quite surprised how small they both were. I know that working dogs are a lot leaner but they looked more like whippets than Labs! They are kept outside in a kennel and used as part of a picking up team at shooting drives. Both dogs were friendly and looked well. He had 3 generations of bitches. I asked how they were with kids but the owner doesn't have any kids. He didn't ask any questions about us.

Price tag is £1,000. Pup will be chipped and registered but not vaccinated (so we can register with own vet and use same vaccination brand??)

I asked him to send me pics of previous litters and contact details for previous buyers but all I've had is a text with bank details for the £100 deposit.

The owner seemed genuine enough - very "country" - and he has lots of dogs but something doesn't feel right. I'm starting to think I'd prefer a chunkier boy from a family home. With lots of handling and socialising rather than being out in a kennel.

Am I overthinking things? I'm sure we would train the puppy to be a loving member of our family... Nurture vs nature and all that. Plus I feel obliged to pay the deposit now as we've been out to see them! How can I politely get out of it?!

OP’s posts: |
TheVanguardSix Mon 10-Jun-19 22:03:03

Just pay the deposit and contact him to let him know you've changed your mind about dog ownership. You're going to give it some more thought.
If it doesn't feel right, it doesn't feel right.

BuildingQuote Mon 10-Jun-19 22:05:05

I don’t think you need to pay the deposit actually , I would just be really apologetic and explain. It’s a big decision choosing the right dog after all.

YippeeKayakOtherBuckets Mon 10-Jun-19 22:11:08

It sounds remarkably similar to the set up we got our boy from. All the bitches were tiny (for labs) and they said the sire was as well. Several generations of dogs for shooting, real proper aga and wellies people.

Anyway. Our doggo is a year old now, nearly 40kg (!) and is as soft as shite and a bit of a twat. He’s quite needy and needs a LOT of exercise. He’s very much not small.

We wanted a dog that had been bred for obedience etc and he’s certainly that but he’s also always looking for something to do. I think show labs are meant to be a bit slower and calmer? I don’t regret our boy for a second but you need to be prepared to walk for miles every day and do lots of training games at home or you’ll have no home left 😂

BorderlineExperimental Tue 11-Jun-19 01:03:47

You're absolutely not obliged to pay a deposit just because you've been to visit, it's perfectly fine to say "Thanks, but no thanks." and leave it at that.

You're definitely not overthinking things, it really does pay to do the legwork and the right breeder to maximise your chances of having a healthy and good tempered dog who is the right match for your family.

This is quite a good little guide to finding a breeder and there's a list of questions to ask breeders to go with it as well. I'd also recommend reading this guide to interviewing prospective puppy buyers. Obviously its aimed at breeders but it will give you an idea of what you should expect from them when you make contact or go visit. The fact the breeder you visited asked no questions at all is a huge red flag and really should be an immediate deal breaker.

As well as checking health test results (there's a full list of those currently recommended by the KC here) make sure you check the inbreeding coefficients of any litters you're interested in. This article explains what the COI is and why it's so important.

adaline Tue 11-Jun-19 05:56:17

£1000 is a huge amount for a Labrador pup- why on earth is he charging so much?

eurochick Tue 11-Jun-19 06:03:50

Don't pay the deposit if you are not going to buy a pup! Just say you are thinking about it and leave it.


AstroKate Tue 11-Jun-19 06:03:52

Some really good links from @BorderlineExperimental : we used similar questions for breeders etc when buying our lab.

If it doesn't feel right then I'd walk away. And I agree with pp on price. Our boy is 4 but I can't believe prices have increased so much!

We had full transparency, reputable breeder, pedigree, KC reg... the works and he was £550.

However he also lives a very different life to his parents (there is a FB group for litter owners). Parents are proper working labs albeit live indoors and our lab is the laziest ever and doesn't even bat an eyelid at squirrels. So I do agree nature/nurture-they get used to whatever is familiar to them through their key years with you.

CatkinToadflax Tue 11-Jun-19 10:45:33

£1,000 is a lot....our yellow lab girl was £750 just over 3 years ago. This bloke sounds a little odd to me - I don't think I'd be comfortable with the dogs being in kennels rather the family home, no children to get used to, and the chap not sending you the info you asked for. If you don't feel totally comfortable then just walk away - and I'd see no need to pay a deposit.

Re size, some labs are smaller than others - ours has weighed 24kg for the past couple of years and shows no sign of growing any more. She's a lazy madam and people often assume she's still a puppy because of her size, but she's in great health and is the most wonderful, loving dog.

Knowivedonewrong Tue 11-Jun-19 10:51:52

My Black lab bitch is a working dog.
She's quite small compared to other labs. Totally bonkers but she's amazing.

Whitney168 Tue 11-Jun-19 11:01:00

Vaccination thing entirely normal (and in fact would be my preference, many vets will want to start course again if pup has had one jab). £1,000 seems a fair price for a fully health tested and well reared pup.

I think you just have a no frills breeder, and perhaps if a working type Labrador is what you want all would be fine as health tests seem to be OK - although I can't see you getting much advice/support in the future.

HOWEVER - a working type Labrador is a very different proposition to a show type in temperament as well as looks, so it depends on your set up as to whether this will suit you. You will need to use mental exercise/training to keep the mind occupied while they are too young for any extensive exercise, and then expect quite large exercise needs when the dog is fully grown. Is this really what you want?

(And yes, often they look very different too - no harm in choosing what you prefer to look at, as long as you ensure that hip/elbow/eye tests are all good.)

twinkletoedelephant Tue 11-Jun-19 11:02:47

Ddog came from a breeder of working dogs he's 4th generation gun dog... was seen with mum aunt and nan, he had the biggest paws i had seen on a pup smile at 6 months he's all legs at 22kg
There are loads of show labs on the park near us he is about the same height as them they are full grown but is very much leaner.
He is proving to be very trainable, i am hoping he will become a PAT dog in time.
He is very kind and patient with our asd dc's. Would love to be zble to take him to nursing home's/ schools to share the lab love smile

Whitney168 Tue 11-Jun-19 11:03:24

Oh, and no, you absolutely don't pay a deposit just because you've viewed the pups. If it is not for you, politely say that you don't feel such a strong working pedigree is right for you/time is not right/whatever, thank him and go on your way.

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Tue 11-Jun-19 12:57:30

You don't need to pay a deposit after just visiting.

He's charging a grand a puppy because he's got puppies from health tested parents with recent field trial winners in the family: you'd pay less for a puppy with parents who aren't trialled. But if he's not responding to your requests for contact details if owners of precious pups, I'd be a bit meh. I'm still FB friends with our 2 yr old's breeder and he still clearly keeps an eye on her from his likes and comments. He works his dogs so this is not just a work/ pet split.

Working labs are a different ball game from show line labs. Both sorts are generally good tempered, obliging dogs, but a working line one will need more brain work. If you put the training time in, you will reap great rewards, but you need to be prepared for that extra oomph.

LizzyELane Tue 11-Jun-19 13:39:50

I have a five year old yellow lab from a working background and wouldn't swap her for a 'show' lab in a million years. She is small, slim and very attractive, she has none of the chunkiness of a show lab but is also in no way shaped like a whippet, I get told often by strangers that she's gorgeous and many mistake her for a puppy. If you have the space at home for a big, heavy show lab that's fine but a working lab is more the size of a small border collie and more manageable. Unless you train them to be gun dogs none of that aspect of their genetic background develops. Mine is nervous of loud bangs. She is gentle, loyal and very trainable, although occasionally let's me down by jumping up and being too friendly! Has a 30 minute walk on weekdays, being content at home the rest of the time. A lot of show labs grow into a huge barrell of heavy muscle that is pretty scary if it gets excited around other dogs and runs into you. She cost £800 5 years ago, £1000 does seem a bit steep.

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Tue 11-Jun-19 17:35:25

Just spotted my typos.
*Of owners of precious pups

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Tue 11-Jun-19 17:36:09

Oh bloody autocorrupt!!
Stupid sodding phone!

Butternutsqoosh Tue 11-Jun-19 17:43:18

We have two black labs the first a 4 year old male is huge, very strong with a huge head (part of a rare line I'm told - DHs dogs not mine!) he is a good 45kg mum was a show dog dad was a working dog. He is so soft and not a great worker but our 1 year old female is much smaller and almost terrier like in her mannerisms and you have never met a more clever dog! You can tell she is bred to work and has an excellent pedigree too - he was £450 and she was £1000. Make sure you are 100% about the dog and don't pay the deposit if you aren't having it! We dismissed a few dogs before settling on ours

PinotPony Tue 11-Jun-19 23:01:03

Many thanks for the excellent advice. I texted the breeder and thanked him for his time but we had decided not to proceed and wished him the best of luck with the litter. He sent a brief "no problem" reply.

I've seen these lovely dogs nearby so making some enquiries. smile

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