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Thread: Choosing a lab pup

  1. #1

    Choosing a lab pup

    Hi, I will be hopefully getting a new lab pup in the next month or so, I was wondering what to look for when choosing a pup, I have always left it to my girlfriend in the past but as this is my first lab I wanted to be a bit more informed when looking at pups. Also if anyone knows or has a litter that will be ready in the near future please pm me.


  2. #2
    There is a question with a million different answers and views on the subject. Off the top of my head there is no hard and fast rule but my advice is go with what takes your liking but you want to be looking to buy from a reputable breeder or someone you trust or have been recommended. Ideally want to see both sire and dam but you don't really need to see the sire if it's all above board and you know who it is and where he was from. (Clearly you need to see dam though) You could maybe look at other dogs that have come from that particular pairing in the past or at least from the each parent if possible. Some say pick the boldest others say pick the quietest others say pick the one who sits somewhere in between. I was told the best one to pick is if you have all the puppies together and you move them away the one the dam goes to collect first is the favourite and a good one to go for... There is some sort of logic there I suppose but again it's another opinion. How productive the breeder is helps with a choice of litter in respect of have the pups started being socialised? Have the vets been around and are they registered with them. Are they good around children and are they being kept in a clean and tidy area that's suitable etc etc. Are they KC registered, my personal opinion sits on the pro KC side and I want my dogs to be so I can trace linage and look into health checks and other tests that are required from KC. There is a formality and a sort of standard set when it comes with KC but that said just because they aren't doesn't mean they are unhealthy with dodgy genetics (can get that with KC registered dogs and that's well documented), some people and breeders are anti KC and can argue it well and I wouldn't say they are wrong but it's just my opinion.

    But if your happy and comfortable with the dogs, breeder and setting then pick the one you want.. You want a loud bold pup pick that one, you want a quiet one then go with that. Worth noting that the shy scared of everything pup can be as much trouble as the loud brash one.

    I guarantee that all that said someone else will come along and say what a load of rubbish pick this one because of a, b and c. I also see I haven't really answered the question but at least maybe some food for thought. Of course you could always let your other half choose!

  3. #3
    There was a chap called, I think, Rowland Hill who lived/lives around Tavistock. Hugely respected in the Lab world he advised me on who was rearing labs in and around Devon. I got my lab following his advice . Sadly the old boy is no longer here but he was good!.
    I'm sure someone around Tavvy would know if Rowland or others connected with him are still around.

  4. #4
    Find a breeder that you like and has similar views on life as you, and with dogs that you can get on with. It helps if you know them or have friends who know them etc. Look at the parents and spend some time. Do they have a nature that you like and are they biddable and well trained. As for the pups, just play with them and the right pup will soon find you. It is a game of chance, but I do think that your own characteristics etc soon imprint on the dog, and the old saying dogs are like their owners has merit.

  5. #5
    Generally there are two types of Labrador. The quiet, amiable, laid back ones (probably not so much from working stock, or partly from such stock) and the working ones who are lean, mean, working machines. And those in between, of course. I've had both. My present dog is full of energy, is hard to handle when I go shooting, but is a great worker. He doesn't, for example like sitting at a peg. Much prefer to be picking up or in the beating line, hunting. A previous one was really laid back. Loved sitting at the peg and was happy if he got the odd simple retrieve at the end of a drive.

    So the thing to do is, if possible, see both parents and see what their temperaments are like. But of course it's a Labrador, so if it's a part time working dog that's also a pet, don't worry. All of them will make perfect pets, be endlessly patient with children and be as loyal and affectionate as anything. As for which one in the litter you pick, remember that they will only be a few weeks old and their characters will not be fully developed. I'd say not to go for the most forward one, nor the most backward. Look for a middle of the litter one that is alert though and, not unimportant, just the one you like the look of. Good luck.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomm View Post
    Hi, I will be hopefully getting a new lab pup in the next month or so, I was wondering what to look for when choosing a pup, I have always left it to my girlfriend in the past but as this is my first lab I wanted to be a bit more informed when looking at pups. Also if anyone knows or has a litter that will be ready in the near future please pm me.

    A lot of bad breeding has resulted in health issues. The first thing I would be looking for would be the hip score of the parent dogs.

  7. #7
    And eye test to try to stop passing on the PRA gene

  8. #8
    One reliable way is to contact the secretary of your local gundog club (Easy to look up via the kennel club website or by asking around). You will end up with a trainable, athletic, heath tested and non gun shy dog. After that, 90% of what you end up with as 24 months will be down to your training. The character of an 8 week pup can change massively over time with so many variables that its almost impossible to pick the best one out of a litter at 8 weeks. Even the professionals who breed their own litters often bring on a couple of the litter then let one go later in its life as a part trained dog as they can't make up their minds!

  9. #9
    Try looking up Magaret Allen she is/was a pro trainer down there but breeds proper old fashioned chunky labs and not these whippet FT types some imes bred nowadays. She's wrote a couple of books on training and used to do bits for ST,

    Like others have said there is no real right or wrng rule for chosing a pup. 1st to come to u, 1st to retrieve something u've thrown etc, end of day 20mins later it could be a different pup that responds 1st depending on there sleep cycle.

    Personally i'm not over;y bothered if KC registered as long as u know the pedigree (wouldn't buy a dog u never knew the pedigree)
    If buying from someone i know and know the dogs bred and are proper working dogs i would buy a pup with no health checks, if someone has owned generations of that line and worked them hard with no hip problems. Must admit never heard off any 1 local having hip problems with a local bred dog

    prob more important to get the right lines then all the pups should be fairly good, if purely for a working dog i'd not want to many FTCH's in the recent history and i like my labs old school with a proper coat so doesnae sit shivering like some modern 1's do and a decent otter tail

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