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Hi, We are at the early stages of looking to buy our first family dog. After research we have settled on a Labrador (good with children, family dog, active) We live in a village setting with plenty of outside space and as a family really enjoy being outdoors and active, I enjoy running. I have a five year old daughter who I am eager to have a companion in our new addition and teach the responsibilities of having a pet. I am a little nervous about where to search and what I should be looking out for, currently looking on pets at home site any experience purchasing on this site ? Should I take my little girl on first visit? Any good questions to ask? How can I recognise a illegitimate breeder?
sorry lots of questions but realise big commitment and want to make sure I get it right. Thank you so much for advise x
 

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Personally I would not entertain anything on the Pets4Homes site. It's always difficult to know where to look when you do not know people. I would suggest looking on the Champdogs web site, or maybe The KC site. But even then ask questions, particularly about health tests, and be prepared to walk away if you dont get the answers you should.
 

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Hi John, thanks for advice but can I ask why you feel pets4home shouldn’t be a option Vs KC site or Champdogs. I don’t to mean to question your judgment rather understand reasoning as they seem similar and have KC registered dogs on the site? And able to ask questions on those health test you’ve recommended? Thanks for input John.
 

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I wont answer that because I dont want to be sued. Making negative recommendations can be a risky business.

Health tests.

Hip scores are usually written as two numbers such as 3/5. The first number is the right hip and the second the left, the lower the better. I would not want to see a total score, (both sides added together) of much worse than 10, and not a big difference in the two scores.

Elbow score, Only 0 is acceptable. Anything else is a fail.

BVA Eye test, clear and must be current. (Eyes should be tested yearly, because just like ours, they can change with time.)

DNA tests. I would want to see at least one parent clear for PRCD_PRA, Centronuclear Myopathy, and Exercise Induced Collapse. Thats the minimum. On top of that it would be nice to see a clear result for HNPK and SD2 Dwarfism. (DNA testing is a once in a lifetime test.)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I wont answer that because I dont want to be sued. Making negative recommendations can be a risky business.

Health tests.

Hip scores are usually written as two numbers such as 3/5. The first number is the right hip and the second the left, the lower the better. I would not want to see a total score, (both sides added together) of much worse than 10, and not a big difference in the two scores.

Elbow score, Only 0 is acceptable. Anything else is a fail.

BVA Eye test, clear and must be current. (Eyes should be tested yearly, because just like ours, they can change with time.)

DNA tests. I would want to see at least one parent clear for PRCD_PRA, Centronuclear Myopathy, and Exercise Induced Collapse. Thats the minimum. On top of that it would be nice to see a clear result for HNPK and SD2 Dwarfism. (DNA testing is a once in a lifetime test.)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you John, really appreciate the advice you have taken the time to give me I will certainly ask these questions. Thank you
 

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Champdogs is one of the better places to look, but where it says 'health tested' against the dogs, it doesn't meant the health test results are good, it just means they have been tested. They have also now started a priority service (funny how it came in earlier this year) so that you pay extra to see litter details first. I personally wouldn't want to fund anything that could be construed as profiteering.

The Kennel club website at the minute is a shambles, they have just changed it over and the old website was by far better. How on earth people are supposed to use it to find a good breeder right now I have no idea I'm afraid.

Also, with it being the run up to Christmas, and the wrong sort of breeders gearing up to supply that particular demand, it is going to be a real job to try and weed out the good, the bad and the puppy farmers I'm afraid. I would advise waiting a few months before starting a search in earnest, and in the meantime research the health tests, and what sort of lines you prefer, working, show, or a bit of dual purpose etc.

As for Pets4homes, without saying anything litigious, it's a website you pay to advertise on, so anyone can advertise and put anything on there. Just as an example, I've seen colours for Labradors listed on there as golden, toffee, cream etc, the three register able colours are black, yellow or chocolate/liver, so you see how easy it is to put things on an advert on there that simply aren't correct.
 

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Another thing, labradors may seem to be the perfect family dog, but they don’t come that way! It takes time and hard, hard work to get the perfect family dog. If you’re not prepared to put in the time for training, socializing, educating...forget it. Many reputable breeders wouldn’t place a puppy with a family with small kids either.
 

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Hi, I’m not an expert in any way at all having our first lab puppy. As Maddie says they are enormous work.
Magnus is now 15wks old, he can be quite bitey although is getting better. There have been times that we’ve doubted ourselves and that’s 2 adults who have had dogs previously. He is incredibly naughty, so far this week he has, stolen a cigarette from a passerbys hand, stolen the remote, my craft bag (to the back garden), the coasters from a table, food from the worktop. It’s partly our fault (well not the worktop), we must be more mindful and tidier, but you’d need to keep that in mind with a small child.
He is a fantastic dog, super smart and great fun but he takes a lot of our time and a lot of work. Just something to consider, I’m not being negative!
 

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JannieMac, So true! I doubt there are many people who at some time have not thought that they have made the biggest mistake of their lives. For the first 6 months you have time for very little other than supervise your pup. But get through that and you are left with 12.5 years or so of pure joy. But make no mistake, the first bit is HARD WORK!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Champdogs is one of the better places to look, but where it says 'health tested' against the dogs, it doesn't meant the health test results are good, it just means they have been tested. They have also now started a priority service (funny how it came in earlier this year) so that you pay extra to see litter details first. I personally wouldn't want to fund anything that could be construed as profiteering.

The Kennel club website at the minute is a shambles, they have just changed it over and the old website was by far better. How on earth people are supposed to use it to find a good breeder right now I have no idea I'm afraid.

Also, with it being the run up to Christmas, and the wrong sort of breeders gearing up to supply that particular demand, it is going to be a real job to try and weed out the good, the bad and the puppy farmers I'm afraid. I would advise waiting a few months before starting a search in earnest, and in the meantime research the health tests, and what sort of lines you prefer, working, show, or a bit of dual purpose etc.

As for Pets4homes, without saying anything litigious, it's a website you pay to advertise on, so anyone can advertise and put anything on there. Just as an example, I've seen colours for Labradors listed on there as golden, toffee, cream etc, the three register able colours are black, yellow or chocolate/liver, so you see how easy it is to put things on an advert on there that simply aren't correct.
Thank you for this information, very interesting.
 

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Another thing, labradors may seem to be the perfect family dog, but they don’t come that way! It takes time and hard, hard work to get the perfect family dog. If you’re not prepared to put in the time for training, socializing, educating...forget it. Many reputable breeders wouldn’t place a puppy with a family with small kids either.
Thank you for this info, believe me we are not going into this lightly. It has been a year of ensuring we are ready and right home for a dog. My sister has two German Sheppards and my partners parents Springer Spaniels so have a little insight into what it takes. Very good advice about leaving a few months till after Christmas Thank you hadn’t thought about this aspect. Thank you
 

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Hi, I’m not an expert in any way at all having our first lab puppy. As Maddie says they are enormous work.
Magnus is now 15wks old, he can be quite bitey although is getting better. There have been times that we’ve doubted ourselves and that’s 2 adults who have had dogs previously. He is incredibly naughty, so far this week he has, stolen a cigarette from a passerbys hand, stolen the remote, my craft bag (to the back garden), the coasters from a table, food from the worktop. It’s partly our fault (well not the worktop), we must be more mindful and tidier, but you’d need to keep that in mind with a small child.
He is a fantastic dog, super smart and great fun but he takes a lot of our time and a lot of work. Just something to consider, I’m not being negative!
I don’t think you are being negative in the slightest I really appreciate everyone’s advise it’s why I asked the question. It’s good to put all the pros and cons into perspective to realistically make the right decision for both us and pup.
 

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JannieMac, So true! I doubt there are many people who at some time have not thought that they have made the biggest mistake of their lives. For the first 6 months you have time for very little other than supervise your pup. But get through that and you are left with 12.5 years or so of pure joy. But make no mistake, the first bit is HARD WORK!
I’m up to 25 months of hard work with Freddie and 17 months with Pops and it’s still hard. Probably my fault for having two so close in age. Fred is just, only just beginning to calm down.

Fred and Pops are my 5th and 6th Labrador and I wouldn’t class myself as a novice owner. They’re exhausting. 🤣🤣

Oh and multiple craft bags, remote controls, rosettes , earrings...you name it.
 

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I'm only on my fourth (home bred) although I've had a few rescues inbetween, and yes, Branta is challenging, but she has her moments. She loves to retrieve, even things she knows she shouldn't have, so as long as I get her to bring them to me first, they remain intact. She lives to please so as long as I'm there she loves to do things that get her the reward of praise. Yes, they are hard work but they are very rewarding characters at the same time, definitely worth it if you have the time.
 
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