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Hi, I'm new here and just starting to do some research.
We're experienced dog owners and have almost always had dogs in our lives but we are not ready for a puppy yet, and won't be for around 18mo. After initial research I'm feeling a little unsure about how best to proceed, so wanted to ask some (probably silly!) questions.

When the time comes we will be looking for a pup from working field trial lines but due to a heartbreaking experience with a dog from another breed a couple of years ago it's of great importance that we get one from fully tested parents. As far as I can see from online research there are just a handful of breeders that consistently test for everything (hips, elbows, eyes, CNM and EIC).

Does anyone know how long the typical waiting lists / times are for such breeders? If we want a pup in 18mo, should we be contact breeders now, or will they be uninterested and we should wait until a few months before we're ready?

Some of the breeders that seem to have dogs that would suit us say that they don't sell pups to families with young children, but there's no clarification as to what age ranges that means. It's also going to further limit our choices of breeders, as our youngest will be 4 when we expect to be ready to bring a puppy into our lives. Is this likely to be a big problem for us?

We believe that we'll be able to offer a puppy a loving, busy, happy family home with experienced, consistent owners when the time comes but are feeling a bit discouraged about how difficult it might be to find the right breeder and the right pup.
 

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I would contact a few breeders that you are interested in. Have a chat to see if they have future litter plans and maybe get a chance to learn more or meet the dogs they have.

I contacted Finns breeder before the litter was due and did the same with the next breeder (altho that litter didn't happen) but I wanted to get my early interest noted and met the dogs in questions.

There are a lot of breeders out there that health test. So keep looking. :)

As for the young child thing, I know some people put that but will accept families as homes but weeds out the serious and non serious buyers. You are experienced dog owners not first timers and you are putting a lot of thought in to the matter and any decent breeder should recognise that :)

Good luck
 

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Do contact breeders as they do have waiting lists and plan a long way ahead. And No you do not sound silly, you just want to get it right and a good breeder will appreciate that. As regards children you will just have to speak to the breeders and above all be honest.
 

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Fully tested field line crop up from time to time.........Harley is a Black Lab, KC Registered, Field line. Both parents are pets but Dad works and competes too. Decent pedigree, came with parental health test results for Hips, (Dad 0/0 !), Elbows, Optigen PRA and CNM. (Owners of stud & bitch members here but not recent posters).

I know of a top name working kennel breeder that were selling work/field line pup's without all parental test results. Not to say there were issues with the dogs. Despite all this, no dog comes with a 100% future health guarantee.

Our dog from working/field line is a pet only, (gets physical and mental stimulation). He is perhaps slightly sharper than some show lines I have met but not of unsound temperament, (makes himself heard when strangers call but not nervous edgy or manic). The term sharp often used to describe an uneasy dog but in context here I simply mean mean he is owner/handler focused, alert and does not foolishly bounce up happily to every human he meets, (I hope that makes sense). He has plenty of drive, (yesterday over 2 hrs off leash, keenly retrieving a good third of that on land & water). He has an off switch too. Currently laying on couch with head on daughters lap dozing - prior to that happily chilled alone in his open door crate. If he gets less exercise some days he does not pester us despite being kept relatively fit & us balancing out exercise...Obviously whether Field or Show line - an overfed &/or under exercised dog can pile on pounds.

Some breeders of field/work lines may be reluctant to sell to a pet only household. I suspect a lot of dogs change hands amongst those that work them and know others that do........Some will exchange hands when older and have come on. Many don't hit the internet. Some in working circles are happy with verbal lineage assurances when parental test results might not be comprehensive.

I like the leaner more athletic look and character of the field lines but there are plenty of decent show line dogs. I personally have some concerns re the physical appearance and shape of some show lineage - plenty of others do not. A good show line may be an easier family member for a 1st time owner. There can certainly be benefits of having a bit of both show and working/field in the pedigree.

Finally nature has a lot to do with a dog's temperament but nurture is a factor too....Owners/handlers can get more out of their dogs from what they put in or develop, (or not as the case maybe).
 
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