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Is it possible for you to recommend a breeder? I’ve read the threads re the questions to ask. (Thanks to Beloved’s advice of reading ‘stickies’. The only two places I know of are the Kennel Club and Champdogs. I prefer Champdogs as it gives you the test scores and a little bit about the labs including a link to their website on some occasions. I live in the Midlands but I don’t mind travelling anywhere really, to view and then pick up the chosen pup. Any advice would be very welcome.
 

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Will I be okay as a first time lab mum?

I’m afraid I do have another burning question. For several years I’ve been looking forward to the day I pick up my lab puppy. I’ve read a few books and recently, since I joined LF I’ve most of the stickies and loads of the other threads with interest but with also a little worry that I’ll be taking on too much with a lab as a first dog. I know I’d have support from the forum and there are a choice of puppy classes to go to in Leicestershire and groups that walk with dogs. Maybe little lab and I could attend back to back courses until I feel reassured I’m okay. Maybe I could ask the vet (who I’ve already introduced myself to although I don’t retire for another 4 ½ months) if there is an elderly lab owner who would appreciate or who wouldn’t mind me walking her/his dog on a regular basis in exchange for becoming a sort of mentor. I feel that sounds a bit cheeky but if it is an experienced, perhaps lonely older person, they might like that idea. I really do want to get a labrador and am excited when I get email updates from Champdogs to see the new litters. I am hoping I’ll find sufficient support to make a good job of being a reasonable or even a good lab mum. Any advice again would be extremely welcome.
 

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When are you looking to add your pup? And do you have any preference for *type*, show/working bred, colour, sex etc? That will help with any recommendations, although keep an eye on your inbox as open recommendations are not allowed.
 

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I was very lucky when I got my first labrador and got lots of support from the breeder, even down to joining a local dog training club where I met a few other labrador owners. I was given lots of help and encouragement from a lovely lady who owned the most fantastic yellow lab girl.
Getting a pup from a good breeder, going to training classes and talking to people with dogs all really help. Labradors are quite a forgiving breed and fairly easy going so you can't really go that wrong. The first few months are hard work and you can think why on earth did I get this little crocodile, but given time and patience you end up with a lovely best friend. The effort put in at the beginning is so worthwhile. All I can suggest is read, read and read getting as many tips as you can. This forum is great if you are worried or have any problems, big or small. Just post a question and there's always someone who's been in the same situation and can give advice.
 

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Hi, I think you are certainly doing your homework right especially as this will be your first dog.

I got my first lab when I retired [not my first ever dog though, as we have always had dogs since kids were small], one thing I did find quite soon after she came is her energy levels were greater than previous dogs we had lived with, having said that it was manageable most of the time and improved with training.

It does sound like you are really looking forward to the training so I am sure you will have a great time and experience as they are lovely dogs with huge characters :D .

Like you I looked at champ dogs and kennel club for information, then I kept seeing and hearing about a particular stud that kept popping up and really liked the sound of him, with a little detective work I found out who the breeder was and rang them, she was very helpful and from there I found a litter sired by my chosen stud.

You will no doubt realise by now there are some nice little pupsters produced by breeders that use this forum, so if you do a little research you are sure to work out who they are :wink: . Then if it was me I would maybe look at their web site and give them a ring I am sure they could help point you in the right direction.

June
 

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My friend got her lab at the same time as me. It was her first ever dog. I tried to prepare her - but he was a bigger shock to her than her first child!

This not to put you off - my friend adores Zaba and he's a lovely, friendly, happy boy.

Just be prepared for a few months exhaustion and hard work, especially the first few weeks! But you will be surprised just how much you fall in love with him/her.

Tatze and Zaba came from different breeders, both on Champdogs.

Here they are now - best pals, full of fun :)



 

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62 year old lab owner

Hi, I live in Leicester and own a choc lab named Lottie she will be 2 in March. I am looking forward to adding to our family in the summer and have been looking on champdogs for months you have to do your homework and then its not 100% certain that your bungle of joy is going to be HD and ED free. Diane
 

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Thank you all so much. I feel a little more reassured that I should be able to manage with the support that’s out there and stand a good chance of getting thro’ the adolescence phase which seems the most testing time. I’m not sure which type I prefer, show or working. I need to read up further about the differences as so far they both seem to have so much to offer. I want a yellow (definitely) boy (preferably). I retire at Easter so my little lab is about to be conceived – well if I’m lucky enough not to have to wait. I have thought about getting a rescue dog. That’s still an option but I really do want a baby. Thanks again for all the advice.
 

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If you've been reading LF, chances are you have also read a lot of stuff about picking the right puppy for you. If it helps, here's my experience:

Ten years ago, I wanted a dog and I did a ton of research regarding breeds. I was stuck between Labrador, Golden Retriever and Rottweiler, but because my mom was afraid of dogs I decided against a Rottie and looked for Labrador and Golden breeders. After talking with a couple on the phone, only a Golden Retriever breeder asked me to come to her place and talk in person. She had a couple of questions, like how active my family and I were, how much time we could spend with the dog and a couple of other questions that right now I can't remember. There was a good vibe and we even saw the puppies and the dame.

When we came back to get my puppy, they were running around in the garden. My brain was literally overwhelmed and I still don't know exactly what happened, only that the breeder took one of the puppies and said "this is your girl" and that was it. After a while, I found out that she picked the least active of the puppies because she thought we couldn't handle an active Golden and now I think she was right.

Picking my Dante was a different deal. I told the breeder I know what I want and that I already have experience with dogs and my girlfriend and I picked the most active puppy of the bunch. He's an awesome dog but he's also a handful especially since I live in a flat and the closest park is 15 minutes away.

So, here's my advice:

Find a couple of breeders, hopefully in your area. Talk with them, find out more about them. Good breeders will also ask you a couple of questions and good breeders are people who love dogs and love finding great homes for their puppies. I would also advise against buying a working/field/gundog Labrador because they will have a really high level of energy, that is unless you have the time and there are Labrador clubs in your area that might help -- I truly believe that raising a working dog is a wonderful experience if you train him right, although more experience people might know a whole lot more than I do. Also, if this is your first puppy, ask the breeder for help. They know the sire and the dame and the puppies and probably they had a lot of experience with other people getting their first puppy.
 

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Diane don't discount the exbreeding girly rescues, I promise you they are so rewarding and will repay being rescued twofold, especially if you see one that has not been having pupsters for too many years.

I agree a well bred pup is great to have and nurture to adulthood but a lot harder work than a gorgeous young breeding bitch :wink: .

You do not always have to have an existing dog to help them on their way if they are not too damaged, they are quick to learn and very well behaved :lol:

June
 

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Diana3 said:
Thank you all so much. I feel a little more reassured that I should be able to manage with the support that’s out there and stand a good chance of getting thro’ the adolescence phase which seems the most testing time. I’m not sure which type I prefer, show or working. I need to read up further about the differences as so far they both seem to have so much to offer. I want a yellow (definitely) boy (preferably). I retire at Easter so my little lab is about to be conceived – well if I’m lucky enough not to have to wait. I have thought about getting a rescue dog. That’s still an option but I really do want a baby. Thanks again for all the advice.
I have a working type, her sire's line in particularly a field trial line. She's full of drive, this can make her quite a handful at times but she's very biddable so she wants to please. She's a lovely girl, and is quite soft in nature. I take her to gundog classes as she much loves to retrieve and I want to get her to a high obedience level. I'd like to be able to compete with her in the future. She's slightly built, although has filled out recently (2 years old) and in my opinion is a really nice looking dog. Her exercise requirements are surprisingly low - she is fine with one 30 minute walk a day (although normally gets more). She's really quiet in the house, doesn't bark apart from if she's playing with our JRT or if she needs the toilet at night.



I'm sure someone will write a small bit of info about their show bred and multi purpose Labs.
Di's probably the best person to talk to as she has working, show and multi purpose Labs so has experience with them all!

ETA: Health tests are very important. You should be looking for pups with parents with the following tests:
- Hip score below 14, preferably reasonably even e.g 4/4 rather than 7/1
- Elbow score of 0
- Eyes clear
- and at least one parent clear of PRA

- I'd also like CNM test done persoanally.
 
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but with also a little worry that I’ll be taking on too much with a lab as a first dog.
The first thing you need to know is there are Labs and there are LABS. Not all Labs are made equal and I'd say they are probably about as diverse a breed as you'll find. They vary from the huge, blunder-bus, plonker variety, to the finely built, biddable, sensitive variety and every variation in between. So you need to get to know which sort the breeder is breeding.

I have seen a good few people (and some of them fit, young things) Over Dogged with a Lab, simply because they have chosen the wrong sort for them. I've seen the more heavily built Labs pull/knock over full grown men. I see one retired couple regularly, who BOTH have to hang onto their Lab's lead, when he wants to take off after another dog....and often it looks like they are fighting a losing battle. They can be Big, Strong dogs. However, the smaller types, although often more active, can be much easier to handle, simply because they tend to be more eager to please and less weighty.

As for the teenage phase, I can't honestly say my Labs have ever presented me with a big challenge at this age, but maybe that's because I always go for Girls and the smaller, more sensitive, active, biddable types, and these suit me. I think if you get a dog who suits your lifestyle and personality, this goes a hell of a long way to having very few problems.

So I'd think long and hard about the sort of dog you feel you could live with and handle, then start asking breeders lots of questions.
 
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