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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi. We are looking to get a lab but want to make sure we get the right dog for us and want to make sure we are the right owner for the dog.

Except for appearance, would anyone say there are major differences in energy level/training difficulty/any other areas?

If so, can you provide details?

update I should have also said, this is for a pet, will not be 'shown' or 'working'

Thanks

Steven
 

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That's a bit like saying do you like apples against pears, there are so many variations in show and working Labradors, the same as a granny smith isn't the same as a russet, and a conference isn't the same as a sweet william. You get some show Labradors that are very substantial, to those who are a more moderate frame, some are worked, some aren't, and for working Labradors you will get differences in size, shape, temperament etc. My advice would be to have a good look at the type that pleases you, within those groups, research thoroughly about the temperament and contact breeders, including stud dog owners to have a chat with them about what their dogs are like.
The other side of the research is health tests, I don't know if you have any knowledge about this, but both parents should have hip scores around or below the breed median, elbow grades of 0 and a current, clear BVA eye certificate (within the past 12 months). And one parent should be clear, or both parents tested so no pups are affected status for PRA, CNM, EIC, HNPK and SD2.
 

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Think about this for a minute. Show dogs are selected for appearance and conformation to the breed standard with little or no thought given to working ability. Working dogs are selected for ability with little or no thought given about looks. The above statement is basically true, although some show people like to also work their dogs and some working people like a reasonable looking dog. This is where the dual purpose dog comes in, but I have to say, in this day of specialisation a dual purpose dog is unlikely to ever become either a show champion or field trials champion.

Training is often easier with a work bred dog, but some can be very driven, 100mph dogs, often cleverer than their owners. A dangerous combination. Some show bred dogs can be as thick as two short planks!

So, if you intend working, or if your thoughts are with showing, then your choice is easy. In days gone by many, if not most big kennels both worked and showed their dogs. Ballyduff, Rookwood, Lawnwoods, Timspring and the like, but these days there are few big kennels, and still fewer who both work and show. Yes there are a few who still uphold the tradition, but unless you know them they are hard to find. Today is the day of the hobby breeder, and few hobby breeders have either the time or inclination to do both. The old time big kennels made their living breeding, so had time to spend training, where today's hobby breeder is normally holding down a full time job, so time is at a premium. I have shown all sorts of dogs, in size from min Poodles to Pointers and Flatcoated Retrievers, but never my own dogs because showing never really interested me. My interest has always been on the working side. But that's just my personal interest.

So there you are. Nobody can tell you which way to go, it's simply too personal. :)
 

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update I should have also said, this is for a pet, will not be 'shown' or 'working'
Hi Steve,

My dogs are pets, but I dabble with show and working, as do a lot of those who just work their dogs, ie they are also companion animals. The most important role any dog can perform, whether or not they compete at anything else, is that of a companion, it's how they have evolved with us. So really, what has been said still stands, it's entirely up to your preference, some of the less driven working Labradors make great pets, that also love to do something (go on walks, retrieve things), and it's exactly the same for some of the show lines, they love to retrieve and go on walks as well as be companions.

Also, the same goes for temperament and health tests, anyone who wants a pet, surely wants the happiest, healthiest pet with a sound temperament, rather than one where it's a gamble as the parents haven't had health tests, because the pups will be 'just a pet' - not your words I know, but something a lot of people do say when they are looking for a puppy, and I have to ask what is so belittling about being a pet that some people think it's fitting of that phrase. So don't let any breeder fob you off with that excuse for not health testing, as I know some breeders do try and use that tack.

So its really down to the looks that you prefer, and also colour. There are less of the brown variety out there, whether working or show, so if you want one of that particular colour, then you need to get onto a waiting list well in advance. In any case, you need to get onto a waiting list well in advance, I've waited for pups before they were born, and also got lucky in the case of someone dropping out from having a pup from a lovely litter in the past. Have a look on Champdogs and also be prepared to travel for the right puppy, good breeders will have a waiting list, with some people waiting a year or two for the right pup.
 

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Thanks Tarimoor! We've decided to not be influenced by 'type' and just go for puppies which have good health checked parents with good characteristics.. And, of course, which one steals our heart!
 

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If you need any help at all please do just ask, it can be a minefield looking for a puppy, so I'm happy to help with any knowledge I have, which isn't much but it's there if you want it.
 

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If you need any help at all please do just ask, it can be a minefield looking for a puppy, so I'm happy to help with any knowledge I have, which isn't much but it's there if you want it.
Ah that's great! Thanks so much! I think the difficult bit at the minute is finding available/soon to be available pups. They are like gold dust at the minute!!
 

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You won't find any for right now, but you may find someone planning a litter for the future, and that's what you need to be looking for. Any available puppy right now is 99% going to be from someone who can't sell it for whatever reason, no health tests etc, or who is churning out so many pups they have a regular supply. Word of mouth tends to sell a lot of pups well before they are advertised, if they need to be at all xx
 

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Hi everyone,
My husband and I are looking for a Labrador puppy and starting to research breeders. Some of the show lines we have looked at seem to look far too stocky but some working lines seem very leggy and not much like a Labrador in appearance. Is there such a thing as a mix of both?! If so, does anyone have any recommendations of where to look? Champ dogs has a filter for this but seems to bring up show lines still. Any advice would be gratefully received!
 

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You just have to keep looking through to find the 'type' of dog you like, keep noting kennel names down that you like, and look at the pedigrees and see what lines keep cropping up that you prefer the type of. I have medium built 'dual purpose' Labradors, in that I have a dabble at showing and working them, a few years ago people would have said there's no such thing, but there has been a resurgence of interest in working from the side of those who also show.

I would also suggest, if there's an event any time soon like Discover Dogs, or a larger dog show such as a Championship Show, that you try and get along and actually see the dogs, as it's not always easy to tell from a photograph, and what might look really stocky, isn't quite as stocky when you see them in the flesh. The photo is to show a dog that has passed both conformation and ability tests, this is over in Germany, where they assess both ability and against the breed standard, before you are then allowed to register any pups with their KC.

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My dogs work, for three reasons. 1/ They love it, 2/ I love it, and 3/ I then have acres of private land where I can walk with my dogs whenever I want. But they are pets and companions first. The photo below "May" not be the way you imagine a working Labrador, but it's the norm for mine.

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