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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello!

My husband and I have been hunting for a Labrador pup for a few months now (we live on the Wirral).

We initially found a wonderful small breeder who hadn’t put her prices up in the name of Covid, but sadly the bitch was only pregnant with one pup which the breeder was going to keep - £1500.

We then found another small breeder who promised us a pup, and then I received an email yesterday saying he had promised too many and we don’t have one (fuming, and devastated) - £1500

My husband and I had already arranged 7 weeks of annual leave between us with the pup so we are fairly tied to pups born around now to be ready around mid-late June. We have found a litter (a breeder who a friend of my mother’s has used and seems legit), who would be ready around the time needed. However, they are asking for £2400 (increase of £500 since last year) and a £500 deposit before we have even met the puppy.

Two of the red flags we had wanted to avoid!!

Any advice? Are deposits before seeing the puppy a huge no? I get that they don’t want time wasters, but it seems a lot of money before we have even set eyes on the pup.

It’s SUCH a minefield at the moment!

Thanks in advance.
 

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To me it's not a huge no no, though it would raise alarm bells.

But you dont mention health checks. I would demand both sire and dam hip scored, both having total scores of less than 12, and both sides (Right and left hip) pretty even, so 6/6 or 7/5 maximum for each dog would me my maximum. (Remember 0/0 is perfect) Also both having elbow scores of 0. A clear BVA eye certificate for both. I would then want to see at least one of the dogs with clear BVA tests for PRA, CNM and EIC. These are very serious conditions and if not tested for then my advice is to walk away. The price is dear enough without letting yourself in for a lifetime of vet bills! Slightly less important but desirable are DNA clear tests for SD2 dwarfism and HNPK.
 

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I have paid a deposit, in fact I have paid in full for a puppy before even seeing them in person. But, I knew the breeder very well, I’d been following the progress of the litter from conception to birth and afterwards, and had been promised pick of the litter. I paid, picked my puppy and brought her home on the same day.

I wouldn’t do it with anyone I didn’t know personally unless the breeder came highly recommended by trusted friends.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you very much both!! It’s definitely not how we would choose to be doing this as we really wanted to find a small reputable breeder but it’s just not working out that way.

The health scores for mum/dad are great and hit those criteria John so at least that’s something. And my Mum’s friend is certainly happy with her pup and they seem to have great reviews - just seems alien to part with that much money before even seeing them.

Thank you very much again for taking the time to reply!
 

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A lot of breeders (myself included, and I don't have any litters planned any time soon) won't take a deposit as you have really then entered into a contract, and it can be difficult then if circumstances change. I've seen it a few times where breeders have stated a deposit is non-refundable, and refused to give money back, until the prospective puppy buyers take action, this has been where the breeder has changed their mind, not the prospective puppy buyers. The lockdown situation has been awful, so many breeders profiteering, prices may have been a bit low for a well bred companion, but I regularly see litters well over what I think is an acceptable price for a puppy, particularly given the lack of thought put into a lot of litters, breeders using their own stud dog because it's convenient and free, not because they are the best match for their bitch; using a stud dog to get a particular colour above other considerations, and so on.

It's not easy to say whether you should or shouldn't go with this litter, things have changed so much, I'd be more worried about the right homes than a deposit. What I will say is when I bought my very first puppy, sadly no longer with me although I had her for over 14 years, I asked a bunch of advertisers on a website I didn't know wasn't that good, and I accidentally put a digit wrong. I did get a breeder get in touch with me, she didn't have a litter but was planning one and was sorry I'd been let down with another litter, so offered to put me down for a puppy from her litter. Looking back I learned such a lot, and it was a wonderful experience being part of the whole process right from the bitch becoming pregnant, to pups being born, and finally bringing home my girl.

Finding a good breeder is just about spending lots of time talking to people, if you know what colour and 'type' (show, working etc) you want then take it from there, Champdogs and the KC website are the best to look through, but both are still full of those who don't do enough research as breeders, it is a case of sifting through a lot of adverts I'm afraid. I was very, very lucky with my first puppy as I hadn't got a clue about the health testing or anything, and have learned such a lot since then, it is an absolute minefield, but there are plenty of people willing to chat and help give you any pointers and/or information.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you very much for your thoughtful reply.

We decided against the litter in the end, we don’t want to pay over the odds and it didn’t sit right with us. Would probably be different if we knew the breeder well but we don’t. Will keep looking and wait for the right breeder and litter.

Thanks all!
 
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