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Discussion Starter #1
Hello-
My husband & I are now retired & looking to give a loving home to a black lab puppy. We live in West Sussex & are keen to find a good / reputable breeder- would be grateful if any advisors could point us in the right direction . Have contacted a number of KC registered breeders with no luck so far. Thank you
 

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Be very careful at the moment. Because of the virus lockdown health tests such as hip and elbow scoring is on hold and even eye testing is almost impossible to source. (We have had to cancel the eye testing I organise.) The KC has recommended not breeding at this time, so the puppy farmers have rushed in to fill the void, often with vastly inflated prices. It really is a case of "Let the buyer beware!"
 

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Be very careful at the moment. Because of the virus lockdown health tests such as hip and elbow scoring is on hold and even eye testing is almost impossible to source. (We have had to cancel the eye testing I organise.) The KC has recommended not breeding at this time, so the puppy farmers have rushed in to fill the void, often with vastly inflated prices. It really is a case of "Let the buyer beware!"
Thank you for this John- I’m finding it near impossible to find a lab at mo. Puppies born are snapped up quickly & waiting lists are long. Have waited til retired to become a puppy owner so very much looking forward to the experience but will heed your warnings!
 

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You will almost certainly have to wait. Often the way to go is to look at stud dogs you like the look of, and get in touch with the owner. They will know what bitches their dog has recently services, and also what bitches intend coming to him in the near future, allowing you to contact breeders before the pups are born, or even before they have been conceived! It's lovely watching vids of the puppies in the nest. It's normal these days for a breeder to ask for a deposit, usually once the pups are born. This is to avoid "Time wasters." Of course, breeders have no idea of how many pups there will be, or even how many of each sex. So it's always possible that there will not be enough. So there is no guarantee that it will work out, but it's often the best way. I knew Amy's sire very well and his owner phoned me one morning to tell me she had a bice bitch in for mating. so I got in my car and met the bitch on the day of mating. With Chloe I knew both sire and dam and had my name on a pup 3 to 4 months before mating. But I have the advantage in that I'm quite well known, so that does help.
 

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You will almost certainly have to wait. Often the way to go is to look at stud dogs you like the look of, and get in touch with the owner. They will know what bitches their dog has recently services, and also what bitches intend coming to him in the near future, allowing you to contact breeders before the pups are born, or even before they have been conceived! It's lovely watching vids of the puppies in the nest. It's normal these days for a breeder to ask for a deposit, usually once the pups are born. This is to avoid "Time wasters." Of course, breeders have no idea of how many pups there will be, or even how many of each sex. So it's always possible that there will not be enough. So there is no guarantee that it will work out, but it's often the best way. I knew Amy's sire very well and his owner phoned me one morning to tell me she had a bice bitch in for mating. so I got in my car and met the bitch on the day of mating. With Chloe I knew both sire and dam and had my name on a pup 3 to 4 months before mating. But I have the advantage in that I'm quite well known, so that does help.
Thank you John- really appreciate you taking the time to give such good advice & pointers. Will carry on ploughing through lab handbook - so much to learn!
 

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If you look at the stud dog section of champdogs, and see whether there's a dog there that you like, it might be worthwhile contacting the owner to see whether they have got any visiting bitches in the pipeline, and if they could put you in touch. I imagine most of this will be post lockdown now though, as the majority of breeders have put their plans on hold, but this is a way of getting on a waiting list before pups are even conceived.

As regards a deposit, I personally wouldn't want to go down that route, once a deposit is taken you are sort of in agreement, and if, for any reason, you decide you don't want that puppy, or the other way round, then it makes things awkward. I know a lot of breeders insist on this, so it may be that you can't get out of it, but do be aware of the pros and cons.
 

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Thank you Tarimoor- good advice. I think I do need to find a way to get on someone’s waiting list as many pups seem to be spoken for even before birth!
 

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Thank you Tarimoor- good advice. I think I do need to find a way to get on someone’s waiting list as many pups seem to be spoken for even before birth!
Just to try and show how difficult it is at the minute, amongst other people I've pointed towards Champdogs to look on there, two people have got in touch with me that have been badly let down by breeders, one has lost a deposit for no reason, and both are now having to start again to try and get on a waiting list for a nicely bred puppy. Both breeders involved are members of the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme, so it just goes to show you really have research, research and then research some more and don't take anything for granted.
 

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Trouble is, the more you know, the less you trust. It's so much more complicated these days. In the far off days when I started, many years before home computers, let alone the internet, there was no advice. You looked at the pets adverts in the local paper, because that WAS the only adverts. There were no health tests, they were many years further on down the road. Hip scoring was the first test to be in general use and that was in the early 1970's, and I had my first dog in 1955. Eye testing did start earlier, but originally that was only for Irish Setters, to try to get a handle on night blindness. Actually it was in the early 1970's that puppy farmers really started to get established, and that was when puppy buying started to get more complicated.
 

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It’s been a long time since I’ve sought out a breeder and had to put my name down and wait. My first came from a home breeder who advertised in a free paper but had done all the tests, the second was from a breeder I’d been following for some time, she had a bitch puppy available, last one unsold after the rest of the litter had long gone, my third came from a friend, as did my fourth. My fifth and six came from the breeder of my second. I didn’t decide to take either until several weeks after the pups were born and both were spur of the moment acquisitions. I had followed their progress from conception to birth though. Mind you, that breeder would never have let me have them if she didn’t know me already. Once you start to get to know people in the breed, you’ll find it far easier to acquire a pup. Bit different for me because I show two of my pups (I’m not planning to breed) so I’ve got to know breeders. I’ve already got my eyes on a Spanish breeder for my next in a few years and have expressed an interest in a future mating.

In normal times I’d say try to get to some shows and chat with exhibitors. It might also be worth contacting breed clubs too.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the input Maddie- we would like a fairly laid back dog so I’ve heard that the English (show) labs might fit the bill better rather than the American ( field) lab. that sounds more energetic.What has been your experience of these different types?
 

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I have three English show bred, from old fashioned lines, and they are all different characters. Two are fairly laid back, I'm hoping the youngest mellows, but she's certainly not mellow right now at 10 months of age, she can leap as high as my shoulders and at feeding time she pogos just like that until she gets her portion of raw food. She's also absolutely retrieve mad, which is no bad thing as I will work her, but she's as fast as a flat coated retriever, and is really bright. I'm not sure what an American field Labrador is, there are field trial/working bred English Labradors, the show type, and a whole load of pet bred that vary hugely in shape and size. But there's no one exact type, some show bred dogs are really switched on, and some working types are laid back, and then there's everything inbetween.
 

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Thanks for the input Maddie- we would like a fairly laid back dog so I’ve heard that the English (show) labs might fit the bill better rather than the American ( field) lab. that sounds more energetic.What has been your experience of these different types?
Put this “English” and “American” description aside, especially when contacting British based breeders. In the UK they would generally be referred to as show and field.

From my experience, if you’re looking for a family pet that isn’t totally driven and hyper, then go for a more show bred dog. However NOTHING Is guaranteed! I have always had what the Brits would refer to as show bred dogs but one of my latest is absolutely hyper, on the go, in to everything, independent. Man, he’s exhausting. It’s like having a toddler around all the time. I’d say I wasn’t exactly an inexperienced dog owner (he’s my 6th labrador and my 8th dog and I currently have 5 labradors at home). However, the one thing I have made him do is appreciate down time. He is coming up for 2 years old but he has a nap every day at about 3pm for at least 2 hours, in his crate. He is gradually calming down but has been hard work. He is my first boy. I’ve always had girls bad they’ve all been laid back, far more so than him.

Whatever, I’m a firm believer in nurture. Masses of frantic exercise will inevitably lead to a dog that craves lots of exercise. If you enjoy that’s then fine, but I don’t have the greatest mobility so I simply can’t do that. My dogs are shown so they have to have good muscle but I’d be the first to admit they aren’t in working condition.

You will find that everyone has their own opinion though 🤣🤣
 

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Anybody in the UK who knows Labradors will tell you there is no such think as English or American Labradors, this is an Americanism with no actual basis in fact.. Labradors are a UK dog, they all started as a breed here, with the UK KC being the first KC to accept them as a breed, and to release a breed standard. America recognised the breed over 10 years later.

The history of the breed is lost in the mists of time, but with the advent of knowledge of DNA a few things are becoming clearer. The breed was established in the Newfoundland/Nova Scotia, the dogs having arrived there with Portuguese fishermen. The name was originally thought to have been taken from the area. But there is now a school of thought which believes that the name was actually a bastardisation of the job they did, "Labour dogs".

As I said, DNA has helped us to understand them and certainly the breed is linked to a very old breed from Portugal, the Castro Laboreiro. If you google the breed you cant help being struck with the similarities.

But things did not end there. Some dogs were imported into this country, initially it was believed by Colonel Hawker, and with their strong retrieving instinct fitting them into the roll of Wildfowling dogs, on the mud flats around Poole harbour. The gamekeepers dog of choice in those days was the Flatcoated Retriever, and the early Labrador, having a few shortcomings, a hard mouth being one, was interbred with Flatcoats in an effort to overcome these shortcomings. (I can ever tell you the names of some of the Flatcoats which went into the creation of the modern Labrador.) So the Labrador we have today is not the dog which was originally imported into the country. Hence my saying, it is a UK breed, not an American breed, not a Canadian breed, but a UK breed.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Put this “English” and “American” description aside, especially when contacting British based breeders. In the UK they would generally be referred to as show and field.

From my experience, if you’re looking for a family pet that isn’t totally driven and hyper, then go for a more show bred dog. However NOTHING Is guaranteed! I have always had what the Brits would refer to as show bred dogs but one of my latest is absolutely hyper, on the go, in to everything, independent. Man, he’s exhausting. It’s like having a toddler around all the time. I’d say I wasn’t exactly an inexperienced dog owner (he’s my 6th labrador and my 8th dog and I currently have 5 labradors at home). However, the one thing I have made him do is appreciate down time. He is coming up for 2 years old but he has a nap every day at about 3pm for at least 2 hours, in his crate. He is gradually calming down but has been hard work. He is my first boy. I’ve always had girls bad they’ve all been laid back, far more so than him.

Whatever, I’m a firm believer in nurture. Masses of frantic exercise will inevitably lead to a dog that craves lots of exercise. If you enjoy that’s then fine, but I don’t have the greatest mobility so I simply can’t do that. My dogs are shown so they have to have good muscle but I’d be the first to admit they aren’t in working condition.

You will find that everyone has their own opinion though 🤣🤣
Thanks Maddie- this is such a useful forum. Great to get feedback as need guidance. At our time of life this could be our one & only chance for the whole lab experience but want to do it right. Thank you:)
 

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Anybody in the UK who knows Labradors will tell you there is no such think as English or American Labradors, this is an Americanism with no actual basis in fact.. Labradors are a UK dog, they all started as a breed here, with the UK KC being the first KC to accept them as a breed, and to release a breed standard. America recognised the breed over 10 years later.

The history of the breed is lost in the mists of time, but with the advent of knowledge of DNA a few things are becoming clearer. The breed was established in the Newfoundland/Nova Scotia, the dogs having arrived there with Portuguese fishermen. The name was originally thought to have been taken from the area. But there is now a school of thought which believes that the name was actually a bastardisation of the job they did, "Labour dogs".

As I said, DNA has helped us to understand them and certainly the breed is linked to a very old breed from Portugal, the Castro Laboreiro. If you google the breed you cant help being struck with the similarities.

But things did not end there. Some dogs were imported into this country, initially it was believed by Colonel Hawker, and with their strong retrieving instinct fitting them into the roll of Wildfowling dogs, on the mud flats around Poole harbour. The gamekeepers dog of choice in those days was the Flatcoated Retriever, and the early Labrador, having a few shortcomings, a hard mouth being one, was interbred with Flatcoats in an effort to overcome these shortcomings. (I can ever tell you the names of some of the Flatcoats which went into the creation of the modern Labrador.) So the Labrador we have today is not the dog which was originally imported into the country. Hence my saying, it is a UK breed, not an American breed, not a Canadian breed, but a UK breed.
Interesting thanksJohn
 

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There are so many variations of how the different retriever breeds came about, and I've read a few accounts. I can attest that my flat coat has a really gentle mouth, but then so have my Labradors, except that my 10 month old likes to personalise her toys! My oldest girl now, will come into the garden with me and my chickens, and not bother them, but tries to find any eggs. My other retrievers would try to retrieve the chooks, so they're not allowed in!
 
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