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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,
We`re going to see a litter of black Labradors today. The sire is a stud dog from an assured breeder (hips 3/2) but the dam hasn`t been scored. However, she had a litter in August 2020 and the seller has kept one of the pups which has since been scored at 1/2.
Details are below. Just looking for some reassurance that I`m covering every base.
Any thoughts and advice would be appreciated.
Thanks,
James

Full Pedigree Kennel Club Labrador retrievers | Mauchline | Pets4Homes


 

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Looking at the pedigree, with all the American trials dogs in it, this could be a very high drive dog. Is that what you are looking for? By and large Americans tend to train differently to us in the UK so their dogs have developed into a type which responds best to that style of handling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi John, we’ve just been to see the litter and chosen a wee pup. When you say a high drive dog, do you mean energy wise? If so that’s exactly what we were wanting. I suppose it will depend on how we train him so hopefully we’ll make a good job of it. Any tips are welcomed. Fundamentally we wanted a healthy wee pup and I’m hopeful, with the parents pedigree/hip scores etc, we’ve found just that.
 

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. Fundamentally we wanted a healthy wee pup and I’m hopeful, with the parents pedigree/hip scores etc, we’ve found just that.
Unfortunately, if the dam isn't health tested then that's not the case. I certainly wouldn't even consider paying £1500 for a pup where one of the parents wasn't health tested. There are hundreds of litters around at the moment, the majority of them from working lines so you can pick and chose and most definitely need to pick one from a litter where BOTH parents are health tested.
 
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Fergal 17/06/11 Choc Lab & Rodney 28/05/21 Black Lab - Family pets
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Did you check their EBV scores on the KC website? As the dam is not scored herself, I’d definitely want to know & investigate this.

From what I can see, she scores 22.02 & sire scores 4.65 for hips making their pups EBV 26.67 (added together). From the KC blurb… EBV Breeding advice: Ideally breeders should use dogs that that have an EBV which is lower than average (i.e. a minus number) and preferably with a confidence rating of at least 60%. The confidence ratings are also lower than this, probably due to no data from the USA side.

From my limited knowledge & having had a Lab previously with hip issues, this combined would really concern me. I’d be looking for the EBV to be a minus figure to get a less than average chance of hereditary hip issues or as close to zero as possible. I’d be thinking, ‘the breeder would (should) know the EBV score & has bred from the dam before, so why not hip score her? Or health test? Why breed from her when her EBV is fairly high?’ I don’t know, there are possibly good reasons for this…?

Maybe any breeders & people with much more experience than me can give their thoughts on these EBV scores & if it would concern you? Others have mentioned the lack of health tests.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you all for your posts on this. I`ve asked the seller why the Dam hasn`t been DNA tested at all, and they have replied advising that, in order for the puppy to be affected, both parents need to carry the gene and that`s why they have used an Assured KC Breeders Stud Dog who is completely clear in his DNA tests.
I have no idea if this is correct or not but any feedback from yourselves and the rest of the community would go a long way. We have not placed a deposit on the puppy as full payment is made when/if we pick him up.
 

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No hip or elbow scores as an absolute minimum on BOTH parents and I’d walk away. The breeder is correct when talking about dna testing. An untested dog mated to a fully tested dog in theory could only produce a carrier not an affected at worst but the fact they haven’t even bothered to do ANY tests, let alone the very minimum of hips and elbow is a huge red flag to me. As for an assured breeder letting their dog be used on a totally untested bitch. Walk away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
No hip or elbow scores as an absolute minimum on BOTH parents and I’d walk away. The breeder is correct when talking about dna testing. An untested dog mated to a fully tested dog in theory could only produce a carrier not an affected at worst but the fact they haven’t even bothered to do ANY tests, let alone the very minimum of hips and elbow is a huge red flag to me. As for an assured breeder letting their dog be used on a totally untested bitch. Walk away.
Thanks Maddie, we’ve done exactly that and withdrawn from the sale.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I should perhaps have started another thread for this. However, we are viewing another litter tonight. Sire is the same stud dog as the one we viewed yesterday would you believe! Hips are 3/2. Dam has a hip score of 3/7 , 0/0 elbows and both are DNA clear. Are the Dams hip scores ok?
 

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I think you need to take a step back and do a lot of research before booking to look at any litters if I'm honest, and that's not meant to sound nasty in any way, it's just the majority of puppy buyers aren't aware of all the pit falls out there.

OK, so the stud dog from the link above has no record of hip scores or elbow grades on the UK KC website, and the estimated breeding value for his hips is 22.02, which is pretty poor.

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Hip scores and elbow grades would show below 'Screening schemes' (JohnW may have more information but I can't see why they wouldn't show up on the UK KC website as they appear to be shown in the UK format for results)

I can't read the image on the advert where his hip scores are stated, but I would want to see the original documentation from the vet/BVA and I would be asking why this result isn't recorded on the KC website, same for his elbow grades.

The litter that matches the bitch's hip scores you've given for the next one you want to have a look at, although she has been hip scored and has an elbow grade of 0, her EBV for hips is at 0.014, so just into the 'not good' side of the value.

The problem is if you keep flicking through adverts you will just jump from one litter to the next looking at whether the health test results are there, if not, is what is there adequate, and eventually you will probably just go for a litter where you think it's 'ok'. It is in actual fact really, really hard to find a nicely bred litter from a breeder who you feel you can trust, and even then it doesn't always work out, I've seen so many times over the years where people think they've finally found a good breeder, and then find out they haven't been told everything, or that perhaps they've even been lied to.

I know it's not what you have asked, but I would step back, look at the sort of dog you like and therefore the type of puppy you want, and take it from there. Breed clubs are good places to also contact to go along and actually see the dogs and get to know the owners and have a chat with them before even talking about litters. I helped out at working tests and field trials over 2021 and it has really been a brilliant experience, my own dogs aren't working/FT bred at all but it gave me a really good look at the different types of working/FT bred dogs out there, and actually seeing how they work, their characters and the different conformation.

One of the nicest things I've found in bringing in a puppy is being involved from the very beginning, so before the litter is even conceived. If you can get yourself onto a waiting list that way, it is the most rewarding experience.

Kenaiteen Soft Shadow goes back on the sire's side to strong UK FT lines, and on the dam's side to a mixture of show and FT lines. Although she has hip scores and elbow grades she has no DNA tests in place, which simply means none of the pups can be affected for the conditions the stud dog has tested clear for. However, I will add the proviso there that many breeders take advantage of bundles of health tests from companies which test for many more conditions, ok, so they aren't a huge problem within the breed, but if any came back as carrier or affected then you would know. There is talk of recommending the DNA test for macular corneal dystrophy in the not too distant future, which shows up on some bundles of tests already, just as an example.

Also, according to the KC website neither has a current, clear BVA eye certificate, ie within the past 12 months.

I know you stated what you're looking for is a healthy puppy, but there is so much more to just the health tests behind the parents in this, there is knowledge of the grandparents, great grandparents and as much information as the breeder can glean. There are many more problems that aren't recorded on the KC website that could crop up, and a good breeder would be honest and open about any problems within their lines, as well as showing you the official health test results. Just as an example of this, the BVA eye certificate, although done annually, does not guarantee that the dog will never develop any of the conditions that are tested for, which is why it's done annually to keep checking to see if any have developed. So if a popular stud dog develops hereditary cataracts, there is the possibility this will already have been passed on, and if that dog is in the pedigree of a litter of pups you're looking at, firstly would the breeder even have researched and know about the problem, and if they did, would they tell you. That's the sort of breeder you need to be looking for.

Apologies for the long essay, hope it makes sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for taking the time to write such an interesting and informative piece.
I understand what you’re saying regarding taking a step back. However, there’s risk in just about everything we do and this breeder is local and experienced. Therefore, we may just go for it. I know the purists will look down on this but there you go.
Thanks again.
 

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Thanks for taking the time to write such an interesting and informative piece.
I understand what you’re saying regarding taking a step back. However, there’s risk in just about everything we do and this breeder is local and experienced. Therefore, we may just go for it. I know the purists will look down on this but there you go.
Thanks again.
Unfortunately the breeder being local and experienced doesn't give any guarantees, quite the opposite it would seem, in this case. There are a number of dyed in the wool breeders who didn't do the necessary health tests in the past and because they've been able to sell their puppies, see no reason to start doing them now. As for the risks we take in life, when it comes to buying a puppy why not stack the odds in your favour from the start by making sure the health tests are in place. You've been given a lot of helpful advice, the choice as to whether to ignore it is all yours. I know that when we get the urge to get a pup it's hard to be patient but it's better to wait an extra few weeks and get the right puppy than rush into it and end up regretting your choice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The health tests are all there. An assured KC breeder has since looked it over and given it the thumbs up. Everyone has an opinion, and thanks for sharing yours.
 

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The health tests are all there. An assured KC breeder has since looked it over and given it the thumbs up. Everyone has an opinion, and thanks for sharing yours.
The KC assured breeder scheme is no guarantee of anything except they have paid to be a member, and they meet some standards.
 

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@Jazzmac it maybe is hard to tick every single box. But health wise, you can get a degree of comfort from the basic checks & considerably lower the odds of your pup having issues.

Here are the Scores for the Sire from the KC health check
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His EBV hip score as @Tarimoor says is 22.02 which is poor. It’s also a low confidence score of 49.06%, so in reality it could actually be higher. Elbows are a good score. You can see above that where it says score, it says N/A. That is also where his hip/elbow scores should be.

He has sired loads of litters in 2021 so maybe it’s an admin error that his scores aren’t there? But you need to see some proof as to why his scores are not there as they should be & that EBV is worrying. Combine that with a dam without any hip scores (first litter) &/or a poor EBV for hips & the pups have a high chance of inheriting issues.

The Dam for this second litter, DNA clear so that’s a plus. Her hip scores are not great but ok at 3/7 (10) This score would be my personal cut off IF I liked everything else. But this score alone doesn’t tell you everything, you really want to know her EBV as that shows what is hereditary. She could be the best of a bad bunch, or quite the opposite & come from a line of great hip scores. If her EBV is high however, I would walk away because as I said above this would give the pups an even higher EBV than the Sire which = higher risk of hip issues, a higher than average risk. Poor odds.

I would urge you not to just look local, check some litters that aren’t local & see what steps breeders have taken to ensure as far as possible that the pups will be healthy. As a bare minimum you want one (usually the stud) to be DNA clear, full in date health tests (look how many litters he has sired, no excuse), hip & elbow scores (elbows always 0) from both & low EBV (a minus). Ideally though both will have clear DNA & up to date health tests.

All you need are their KC names & you can check this for yourself on the link I put in your first post, KC health checker.

Doing these checks you can avoid a litter with a higher risk. It really is worth it to lower those odds.

I was in a vicious circle when looking for my latest addition, I saw so many litters advertised but there were many red flags when I looked into them & so many unscrupulous breeders cashing in on the demand that I just couldn’t make that leap of faith.

I then found an ‘Upcoming Litter Announcement’ 60 miles away. I did the checks on Sire & Dam. I liked what I saw so made contact & I asked loads of supplementary questions, not just about health but temperament, previous litters, reasons for breeding, how she chose the stud dog etc. The breeder loved that I quizzed her about things. She asked me loads of questions too which I also liked because she wasn’t just interested in the cheque. She wanted to know that I knew about the breed & about the life he would have with us. I personally think this is also really important.

I made the short list & there was lots of communication up to the litter being born. I got to see their progress from the moment they were born & see little characters developing & had lots of contact. It was so worth it to see the love, care & attention put into the litter & the peace of mind it gave me when I brought Rodney home.

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I guess I’m saying don’t rush it, there are always litters & with a bit of time & research you will find many that tick all the boxes you prioritise & not just a few. Being involved earlier in the process is something I would thoroughly recommend. Good luck 🍀🐾
 

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His EBV hip score as @Tarimoor says is 22.02 which is poor. It’s also a low confidence score of 49.06%, so in reality it could actually be higher. Elbows are a good score. You can see above that where it says score, it says N/A. That is also where his hip/elbow scores should be.

He has sired loads of litters in 2021 so maybe it’s an admin error that his scores aren’t there? But you need to see some proof as to why his scores are not there as they should be & that EBV is worrying. Combine that with a dam without any hip scores (first litter) &/or a poor EBV for hips & the pups have a high chance of inheriting issues.
Just to be clear, the EBV isn't an actual health test result, the advert previously linked to shows hips and elbows in the same way they are presented in the UK, so the question is has he been health tested at all, if he has then the UK KC haven't got his records so is it with another KC such as the ANKC. Now there is a programme ongoing to monitor the results between the ANKC and the UK KC because with Covid a lot of people chose to send plates to Australia where they were being processed faster, and some touted were getting better results. I've seen both good and bad, ie the same/worse results as the UK BVA hip scoring/elbow grading scheme. Anyway, the hip scores and elbow grades do not show for the dog, whether or not an ABS member has verified them is neither here nor there unless the OP has seen proof of the health tests themselves.
 

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Sorry saying EBV score was wrong, I should have said his hip EBV is high. Though not a health test, it’s an important metric to consider. The more I read about EBV the more strongly I feel about it. I couldn’t read the paperwork on the advert as when I zoomed in it was too blurry. If one of those are hip & elbow scores, it would confuse me as to why they aren’t on his KC records with everything else like the DNA & BVA eye screening.

I’m unclear though as to what health tests he is missing? He is DNA clear on KC & his BVA eye test is unaffected. It is just over a year old (Nov 20) but I do understand these should be done annually. Aside from this, if the OP is still reading, what health tests are missing?
 

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it would confuse me as to why they aren’t on his KC records with everything else like the DNA & BVA eye screening.
Since Covid struck both the KC and the BVA have all but stopped working. They really has been disgraceful. One BVA eye test panellist told me that it is taking UP TO A YEAR to get eye test results on a dog's record. (I wont say his name, but another panellist told me that this did not matter because the breeder would have the pass results. I told him that it did matter because If I could not see the health results I would not even be contacting the breeder.) But as to hip and elbow scores the situation is not much better. Because of this quite a few breeders have been sending the ex-rays to Australia for evaluating, because they are on the ball and use the same scheme as here in the UK. But of course the UK KC does not record Australian results so they do not appear on the KC records of the dog. As Tarimoor said, there are moves afoot by the UK Labrador Breed Council, plus the councils of other breeds to get the KC to record these results. Will it happen? If you want my opinion NO! The BVA guard their health tests with an iron fist. It is worth big money to them and I dont see them passing that over to another organisation. I was against scoring in another country from day one, it smacks of chasing whoever gives the best score. But whatever, that is what is happening and could well be what has happened here.
 
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