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Want a Lab - where to start!?(15 Posts)
Am in the UK (South East)- DH and I have been discussing maybe getting a lab some time this year. But I literally have no idea where to start. Any tips on finding a breeder? Things to look out for with breeders? Or should we consider rescuing etc.? Want to also get as clued up as poss to bring up a lab puppy.
Have a look at rescuing, there are so many fantastic dogs out there looking for homes.
Definitely a puppy?
You could join the (long) waiting list for guide dogs who haven't quite made the grade. They will still be beautifully trained and socialised, and still young. Just beyond puppyhood (which might be a plus point, as lab puppies can be quite exuberant)
First of all: do you want show-line or field-line? They are virtually different breeds.
Show-line dogs tend to be stockier and IME more placid (I am sure there are exceptions).
Field-line are much more driven and active: they want to work, they love to be trained, they will need copious amounts of exercise: great if you're up for canicross or gundog training...
Look at images and perhaps videos of the two types to get some idea. Then having decided which variety would suit you best, check out breeders via the breed club or via ChampDogs. Take a look at the recommended health tests, especially for hip dysplasia (though the breed average has iirc improved massively over the past 20 years or so).
If you get as far as looking at a litter, check the co-efficient of inbreeding (you can do this via Mate Select on the Kennel Club website if you have the registered names of sire and dam). Ideally you want a COI under 5%, and the lower the better. A high COI will predispose a dog towards various health issues; a low COI isn't a guarantee of good health, but it ups your chances.
There was a very helpful thread on here some months ago about what makes a good breeder. I'll see if I can find the link for you.
Don’t want to be negative but my friend got a reject guide dog (sorry if that’s not the right term!) last year and I know she really regrets it. He is lovely but very very hard work - they need a lot of stimulation and exercise for a start and only a few months after having him he starting limping. He had a big problem with his hip and needed a large operation. It cost something like £15k - luckily she had taken out a high insurance policy that covered the cost but having to then look after him while he recuperated was a toll. It hasn’t been the experience they imagined so far!
It’s just something to really think about.
Don't go for working parents - you need a pet breeder, not a gundog owner/gamekeeper. I've got a working cocker spaniel, came from several generations of pet owners but his hunting drive is still so so strong. A friend has got one from a gamekeeper (to keep as a pet) and she's literally pulling her hair out. And it's cruel on the dog to be kept as a pet.
Also, be really careful with hip scoring. We had a chocolate lab, we rescued her but she'd come from a puppy farm. By the age of 7 she was riddled with arthritis and it was heartbreaking. We had lots of vet bills for painkillers, cartrophen injections every 6 months but I was so proud to get her to the grand old age of 13 before her quality of life went downhill.
Labs are amazing dogs to have, I adored ours and she was far less daily maintenance than the two spaniels I now have . She never had to go on a lead, she just followed us on a walk or was 6 steps ahead. She let the kids dress her up; she was their listener for reading, and she used to lie on guard at the top of the landing when they'd all gone to bed. I still miss her.
Why do you want a Labrador?
I know they're always touted as "the ideal family pet" but I have never met a calm Labrador under the age of about five that wasn't seriously overweight OR exceptionally well trained as a gun dog.
Personally I wouldn't recommend them.
Guide Dog rehoming criteria is really quite strict, due to the way they are trained. They prefer you never to leave them alone (think the max mentioned is 2 hours?) and frown on day care or a dog walker.
Look for Labrador Rescue [your area] and contact them if you want rescue.
As above, Show tend to be stockier and more placid, Working are leggier and more active (as a general rule, not 100%true for every dog).
Do you like vacuuming, because you’ll be doing a lot
They are a dream of a dog if trained correctly and given the exercise and attention they need.
We had a Working Chocolate girl until late last year and she was an absolute star. ❤️
Here you go
It was an interesting thread and covered a lot of ground.
Mine is mix of working and show lines was bred by game keeper wanting new dog tp bring on .gran is show lines as he wanted more stocky pups . Good hip and Elbow scores
Lots of interview to make sure was right home as knew need lot of input .lot of breeders was put of by fact I am in wheelchair but he was willing to meet me and listen
Am fortunate he is very placid but we do cover 15 miles or so a day plus do obedience and mind stuff at home
Very easy to train but like all labs need watch their weight.Can even recall from deer etc he will just watch
Shoukd add my boy is 5 now but right from start was placid not to much of a land shark either .We did 1-1 training, Then classes right from a pup
Aware he is unusual in nature as lot of other labs we meet are loons
have never met a calm Labrador under the age of about five that wasn't seriously overweight OR exceptionally well trained as a gun dog.
You never met my boy then. We got him through Labrador Rescue South East when he was 2/3 and he was the calmest dog I've ever met. Even the two local gamekeepers commented on how placid he was. He also wasn't overweight.
Have two labradors, thoroughly recommend them, they are adorable.
We've had quite a few labs over the years. Black dogs are generally the calmest. Red ones are totally mad and the yellow bitch was a wonderful dog but extremely hard work.
Working dogs in my experience have fewer health issues as no one breeds from working dogs that have issues as it affects the ability to work and generally people will keep a pup themselves. Ive not had behaviour issues with working ones but they do get plenty of exercise and can run free.
Make sure they are hip scored and pick a pup you like. Not the most timid and not the biggest greediest pup. Don't let the breeder issue you with one. A family that just have a little very occasionally is a good way to get a pup.
They make great family pets as they are bomb proof although they do occasionally knock toddlers over. We have never allowed dogs upstairs or on sofas. They are very food oriented but that helps training.
Agree with StCharlotte - you need look no further than here - https://www.labrador-rescue.org.uk/dogs.html
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