We received this REALLY cool email the other day from one of our beloved clients, Dani Alba, about her girl, Kodi. Kodi has been through it all with Dani, and has shown since day one that she has a keen sense of awareness and intuition that is truly amazing. I got chills when I read […]
- Outstanding puppies that are family and house-raised
- Flawless, low-key temperament
- Selectively bred with careful genetic screening
- And...what many other lab breeders can't claim...
- EIC Clearance (cleared for Exercise Induced Collapse)
- OFA Certified Clearance: hips, elbows, and heart
- Optigen tested to eliminate genetic eye defects, including PRA found in labs
- CERF tested to eliminate genetic eye defects (retinal folds, cataracts, etc.)
Choosing to add a Labrador puppy to your home is a huge and rewarding decision. Choosing which breeder to go to is an incredibly important part of this decision. And choosing which puppy to take home… Well, now I’m sure at least half of you are feeling overwhelmed. This last weekend we had a litter […]
What questions should I be asking my breeder? How do I get the breeder to return my phone call? What should I NOT be saying to the breeder? How does a breeder decide who gets a puppy? If you’ve asked yourself some of these questions or are wondering what the appropriate way to speak to […]
Fleas, ticks, and internal parasites are one of the many enemies you sign up for when being a pet owner. There are multiple flea and tick preventatives out there, but as always here, we like to try a holistic approach if available… Diatomaceous Earth is a product that has various properties… from flea and tick […]
So you’re shopping for a new puppy, and you’re scouring over countless websites of breeders listing the various health clearances that they test for in their dogs… and you see a flurry of letters and abbreviations, including PRA. What is PRA? PRA stands for Progressive Retinal Atrophy. This is a disease that is unfortunately common […]
We had so much fun at the Labrador Retriever Club of the Potomac show this year!! And we are especially proud of our chocolate puppies who did so well!!!!! Sterling (Endless Mt Shines Like Sterling) took first in his class under Giuseppe Masia, and he was the youngest!!! At only 6 months, […]
Have you ever witnessed your dog dragging his tush along your clean Persian rug and thought, “why????” and “Nooo!!!!” all at the same time?? Before you assume that they’re trying to embarrass you… there are actually a couple common reasons for this behavior. Anal Gland Woes Anal glands are on either side of a dog’s […]
Trying to walk a dog that is pulling you all over the place can be very frustrating, and can leave you with a pretty sore shoulder by the end of it… Or sore palms from trying to grip the leash! Ouch! Leash training is best trained from the beginning, as a puppy. However, some acquire their […]
Is your lab a constant barker?? Do they bark at everything from the sun to their own foot??? Barking is a natural reflex in dogs, but, there are ways to curb excessive barking. And some people don’t even realize that they are in fact reinforcing their lab’s barking habits!! Barking is a natural instinct for […]
How to Choose a Labrador
(Hint: it's more about choosing a reputable breeder than a "puppy"!)
1. Find a breeder that breeds not just for "color", but for genetic soundness, good temperament, and conformation to breed standard. If not, you may end up with an aggressive or hyper temperament, or a dog that succumbs to premature death. All pups are cute...but what kind of dog will you end up spending 15 years with???
Just because a dog has "papers" or is "AKC registered" does not make it a good dog. This merely means the dog’s parents are in the AKC registry (the AKC does not police QUALITY, they are only a registry!), ...anybody can put two dogs together who have AKC registration, but they can be horrible specimens of a labrador! Hint: if all a newspaper ad can say is "shots, wormed..." that’s pretty pitiful if that’s all you can say about your pups!
2. Unless you are going to be doing high- stress, professional field trial competition, look for a lab with "English" bloodlines. American Field lines are a little different in temperament. The American field dogs can be hyper, high-strung, and do not always make the best indoor pets. Not ALL American labs are like this. But in "general" you may see this difference. If you are looking to do high stress field trial competition, a field lab may be what you want. But for a real laid back, "fireside" lab that sits at your feet, you may find the English labs a little more close to that description. The English labs are mild, sweet, quiet dogs which still maintain a playful attitude and have the natural retriever instinct, but these labs are sure to be good companion dogs that you can absolutely trust and enjoy in any circumstance. The English labs are also a little different in build than the field labs. (see our article on our "about labradors" page of this site)
3. Don’t buy the lab that is "closest in distance", or "the cheapest in the newspaper"...this is the WORST criteria to determine the quality of Labrador you will have to live with for 12-15 years! Choose a breeder who has been breeding labs to improve the breed, who is selecting excellent breeding stock, and who is doing CERF and OFA clearances (hips/eyes). If you call a "breeder", ask, "what was your purpose in breeding this litter?" If they say, "to get chocolates, or "to let our kids enjoy the experience", or because they "love their dog" (commonly called "hobby breeders)"...these are poor excuses. If you ask if their dogs are OFA and CERF and they say "huh?????" HANG UP!!!! Or if they just say "yeah", ask "what was the hip rating on the sire of dam of this litter?" Remember...even if you are just looking for a "pet" you don’t need to give up a good temperament and genetic soundness for the possibility of a poor temperament and a crippled or blind lab in the first year (literally!) Who wants to fall in love with a new family companion, just to have the heartbreak of death, serious illness, or premature euthanasia because of poor attention paid to the breeding of the dog? The extra $100-200 is worth it in the end...you’ll pile up hundreds or thousands of dollars in vet bills if you "skimp" on your initial investment of the "right dog"!
4. Ask if the pup comes with a health guarantee and what this includes. Most "hobby breeders" who have lower priced dogs will not do this, thus, the price is lower. Plus, they are not investing in testing for genetic clearances or investing in the most excellent of breeding stock. The breeder should be doing health clearances for hips and elbows (OFA), eyes (CERF, Optigen, AVCO), heart clearance, NARC clearance, and EIC (exercise induced collapse) clearance. If they say "what is that???" or "my vet says my dogs is fine" or "my pups never had problems" hang up...its just excuses, or they don't want to know if their dogs carry these problems, or they are cutting corners ($$$) and not doing these clearances.
Be prepared to be "entertained" by the evasive answers most breeders will give you! Have fun!!!