It is hard to find a new Labrador puppy. But it is worth trying if you want one. Many owners have been successful in finding a healthy dog from a bad breeder. In this article, we will learn Everything Before Buying a Labrador Retriever.
But how do you know if a breeder is good or bad? And what are some things to look for when buying a Labrador puppy?
This Labrador buyer’s guide will tell you how to buy a Labrador. They are friendly dogs, and this guide will tell you all about them.
How to Use This Labrador Buying Guide
This is a long guide. It has many sections with lots of information. Below, you can find a table of contents so that you can skip to the area you want to read.
History of the Labrador Dogs
The Labrador dog is a breed that started with Newfoundland. Some people say they come from fisherman’s dogs, but now many people believe that they come from Newfoundland.
Richard Wolters wrote a detailed history of the Labrador Retriever in 1981. During his research, Richard found out that there were no native dogs in Newfoundland when the first settlers arrived.
The majority of the early settlers to Newfoundland were rugged fishermen and hunters from Devon in the South West of England. Wolters believes that when they came to Newfoundland from England, they brought their hunting dogs with them.
These dogs, with their oily coats, were called the St John’s Water-Dog. It’s an ancestor to the Labrador and Newfoundland breeds of dog.
The St. John’s Water Dog
The first people to come to Newfoundland were the British. A long time ago, before people arrived, they forbid everyone from coming. The British wanted the fish so much that they didn’t want anyone else to take it away.
People tried to settle on the island, but they were not allowed. So instead, they went hunting and fishing in the wild. That is how they survived. They would breed from the most intelligent and muscular dogs to make a new dog good at land and in water.
St John’s would help fishermen get nets and lines back. They were trained to retrieve them underwater. St John’s helped Newfoundland people a lot with fishing.
The First Labradors
The St. John’s Water Dog was brought to the United Kingdom by people who wanted to breed them and show them. Three men helped with this: kennels, aristocrats, and breeders.
James Edward Harris
This man was the 2nd Earl of Malmesbury. He had a lot of time to do sports because he was not at parliament. One of his favorite things to do was shoot animals with guns, so he brought in some dogs that were good at shooting.
Walter Scott & John Scott
The development of the Labrador Retriever started with two people: Walter Scott and Lord John Scott. The first Labrador Retrievers came from St. John’s Water Dogs, which were from Newfoundland. Walter Scott, the 5th Duke of Buccleuch, and his brother Lord John Scott created their kennel in Scotland around 1835.
The dogs that the brothers brought to the UK were Jock, Nell, and Brandy. Brandy was named after when he jumped into the water to get a hat belonging to one crew member. He has been rescued, but then he got his name.
The first time a Labrador Retriever was photographed was in 1856. This dog is Nell. She has white areas on her muzzle and paws, which are not desirable now.
The Labrador Name
We are not sure why the St. John Dog and Labrador names were used interchangeably during this time. The most likely reason is that the dogs came from Newfoundland, often called “Labrador.”
The Establishment of the Labrador Breed
James Edward Harris, the Scott brothers, and other people were essential in making the Labrador. But it was not until a man named William Scott met with James Howard Harris that the Labrador became really popular. They met when they were shooting.
James Howard Harris gave two male retrievers to William Scott as a gift. He mated them with the female dogs at his father’s kennel. The puppies from this meeting led to the development and establishment of the modern Labrador breed we know and love today.
Labradors were all black until 1892. Then, in 1892, two brown dogs were born. In 1899, a yellow dog was taken to a different family. However, it was not until the 1930s that chocolate Labs became popular in the United Kingdom.
The Labrador’s Popularity Grows
A man who had a dog and another man’s dog got them to mate. The Labrador dogs became popular in England because they were good at hunting and shooting.
While there are records of Labradors in 1903, it wasn’t until the Labrador Retriever was recognized by the Kennel Club in England that people started to take notice. The Labrador Club was then set up with help from Lord Knutsford and Lady Lorna, Countess Howe.
Labradors in America
Labradors were first registered in 1917, but it wasn’t until the late 1920s that they became famous. This was because of an article written by the AKC in 1928 called “Meet the Labrador Retriever.” By 1931, there were a Labrador Retriever Club and field trials for Labradors in America.
The Labrador Retriever became more popular in America. They were the most popular dog for a long time. Now, they are still the most popular dog today.
Labradors are good pets. They are friendly to kids and animals. Their origins are in hunting and fishing, but they are now more famous as family pets. They are also used for guide dogs, police dogs, search and rescue dogs, etc.
Labrador Retrievers are medium-large dogs, with males weighing 29 to 36 kg (65 to 80 lb) and females 25 to 32 kg (55 – 70 lb). The height of Labradors is not constant; it depends on where you get the information.
- American Kennel Club (AKC) – The height for a female is 57 to 62 cm, and the height for a female is 55 to 60 cm.
- The Kennel Club (KC) – The height for men is between 56 and 57 cm. The height for women is between 55 and 56 cm.
- Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) – For males, measure from the top of their head to the floor. For females, step from their head to the bottom.
Labrador Retrievers have short, dense, but not wiry coats. They are also a little dry and oily, so the dog does not get cold when in water.
Head, Body & Jaws
Labrador Retrievers have a broad head and brown or hazel eyes. They have black around their eyes. Labrador Retrievers’ ears are above their eyes and hang down close to the head.
A labrador’s mouth should have strong jaws and a muzzle of medium length.
The body of a cat should be muscular and powerful. The tail should be very thick at the base, then tapering off to a point at the end. The tail should also be medium length.
What About Labrador Colours?
According to the American Kennel Club, there are three primary colors that Labradors come in:
There are three primary colors. Some other colors are not officially recognized. These colors include the following:
The dogs with the colors Silver, Charcoal, and Champagne are not recognized. As a result, these dogs are becoming rare.
Buying a Labrador Retriever
In the following sections, we will be looking at what you need to know about buying a Labrador Retriever and how to get one with good health.
Budgeting for a Labrador
Before you get a Labrador Retriever, think about your budget. You need to buy the dog, but you also need to pay for food and vet bills. If you don’t have enough money for that, do not get a Lab.
When you buy a Labrador Retriever, it depends on where you live, which breeder you buy from, and how much demand there is.
To find out how much you need to spend on a good Labrador, we recommend that you find some excellent breeders and ask them how much they charge for a puppy.
The Ongoing Costs of a Labrador in Your Home
This is the cost of owning a dog. The cost of food, tips to vets, toys, and more all add up quickly. In addition, if you have a dog that gets sick, you might have to pay for the treatment forever.
Is It Worth Paying for a Labrador’s Health Insurance?
This is a tricky question. We didn’t have health insurance for the first Labrador, and it may have been better for us (there were some high costs, but in the end, we would have spent more money on insurance).
We have two dogs, but for one of them, the health insurance is really worth it. Unfortunately, he had to go to the vet for nearly $10,000. Luckily that cost was covered by the insurance plan.
If you want to save money, we suggest that you dedicate some of the money you would have spent on insurance for emergencies. Then, try to keep it a little each week/month and not touch it unless an emergency happens.
Making Sure You Have Enough Time
Labrador dogs cost a lot of money. They also take up a lot of time. If you cannot spend enough time with friends and family, you should not buy a Labrador dog.
The most time-consuming part about a Labrador will happen when they are a puppy. They need to be cared for and trained. A young Labrador needs to go to the toilet every 2 or 3 hours, so make sure someone is there all the time who can care for them.
You need to take your Labrador out for walks every day, feed them, play with them, and more.
If you do not have enough time to take care of your dog, you can ask someone else. For example, you can request a friend or relative or take them to “doggy daycare” when they are older.
Will a Labrador Suit Your Lifestyle?
If you like sleeping in on the weekends, traveling a lot, or being away from home, you might not want to buy a Labrador. They need lots of love and care. Also, you have to clean them regularly, and they may always smell like dogs. That is fine for some people, but not everyone likes that smell.
If you are not sure if you can train your dog, you should not get a Labrador. A poorly trained puppy can be a problem for people. If you cannot go for walks every day or are not strong enough to deal with a boisterous puppy, then you should look at another breed.
Is a Labrador Right for Your Family?
If you are a family with kids and expect another one, it can be hard to have a new puppy. Labs are excellent pets for families, but they can be like having a toddler.
It is hard to keep a Labrador puppy safe from your toddler. You need to train both of them not to get too excited around each other, but this doesn’t mean you should stop. Owning a Labrador takes lots of work!
Making Sure You Have the Right Amount of Space
Labradors need space to move about and play. If you put your Lab in a small room all day, they will probably be sad because they cannot run around.
Labradors need a lot of room to move. Dogs who want to run and play all day will need more space than dogs who like to sit in the lounge and watch TV. If you have an active dog, they will need more space.
Dogs need to run and play in the garden. They can’t escape. If you don’t have a garden, take your dog for a walk when it is not raining, when it’s dry outside.
Choosing Between a Male or Female
There are two types of Labrador, female or male. Males tend to be more muscular and a little bigger than females.
Female Labradors have two heat cycles per year. Therefore, they will act differently and shed more fur during the time they are in heat.
Male and female dogs can be different. They are usually the same, but sometimes they act differently. For example, male dogs are more dominant and high-spirited, but this is not always true. In addition, male Labradors often roam if they are not supervised or on a property that is not fenced in.
Neutering females are more expensive than neutering males. In addition, females who are not spayed can get an illness called pyometra, which is very bad.
You need to pick between a male or female Labrador. Unfortunately, you can’t always find both, so you need to pick one.
Choosing the Right Type and Color
There is no difference between intelligence or personality between different colors of Labradors. However, chocolate Labs were found to have a higher risk of health-related problems than black or yellow Labs. Chocolate Labradors also tend to live shorter lives than black or yellow Labs.
The other two colors lived around 12.7 years, but chocolate Labradors only lived for 10.7 years. So that is a lot less than the different colors.
Some of the differences in health may be because more chocolate Labs come from people who had them for themselves. This means they had more dogs, which means there are more dogs with problems.
If you buy a dog from a good breeder, it will probably be just as healthy as if it were yellow or black. So it doesn’t matter what color the dog is.
What about the colors that aren’t standard?
Some Labradors are changing colors, and they are becoming more popular. This is great, but you may have to go to a breeder who is not so reputable. Also, if you get one of these colors, it can’t be entered in some competitions because the kennel club doesn’t recognize it.
If you find a good breeder who can produce these colors, you should get a healthy dog. You just need to research the breeder before.
Is there more than one kind of Lab?
Labradors come in two different types. One type is English Labradors that come from the British bred stock. They are heavier and bulkier than American Labradors, which are taller and lankier when they are born.
Labradors are two types of dogs. American Labs like to go outside and play. English Labs want to stay inside.
Is it healthier to be an English or American Labrador?
Labradors are dogs. They live for 10-12 years. Both English and American Labradors can be plump.
What Labrador Should I Choose?
You need to know what kind of dog you want. For example, do you want a more active dog, or maybe one that is calmer?
American and English Labs are different. American Labs tend to be more active, while English labs are the opposite. But it is not always the case that you will get an active American Lab or a lazy one. So pick the dog who seems best suited for your family.
Finding a Labrador Breeder
A lousy breeder can lead to health problems for your dog. If you are looking for a good breeder, you might want to check with the Labrador club in your area. These people know about dog breeding and may be able to help you find a good one or show you where they can get one for you.
You can look at a list of countries to find out if the breeder you want is there. A reputable breeder will be on this list. For example, here is a Breeder Finder for American buyers.
Most breeders will also have a Facebook or other social media page. You can learn more about the breeder and their dogs from this. The breeder might also have a website that you can look up. They might post pictures and videos of their dogs on these social media pages and websites, too.
Get in touch with some breeders.
It is a good idea to call different breeders. Ask them about what they do, like how much it costs, and if you can get a puppy soon. Then, tell the breeder that you want a Labrador and tell them your needs (like color or gender).
You can ask a breeder a few questions about their dogs. They might have plans for future litters of puppies.
- Do you have any puppies now, or are there going to be more soon?
- How many dogs do you breed from?
- What are the parents like?
- Do you sometimes bring in new Labradors from other countries to mix them with the ones here?
- What colors do you want to happen in the next litter?
If you want a Labrador puppy, it is essential to remember those good breeders will have all of their puppies taken before they are born. Search through your list of breeders and contact as many as you can. You will have another list of breeders that have puppies now or in the future.
Using a Stud to Look for a Good Litter
Another way to find a good Labrador puppy is to find a good stud. If you like how the stud looks, you can find out which females he mated with. Responsible breeders will show photos of their stud or let you meet him.
If your dog dad was mated with a female from a less-known breeder, you need to do homework on the family. It is just as essential to make sure that the mother is from good stock as well.
What to Look for When Hiring a Female Dog Breeder?
As we wrote just above, you need to ask lots of questions. Below are some things that a good breeder will have and/or do:
- Check their breeding stock regularly to ensure that they are in good health.
- Take good care of their pets.
- Puppies are often sold to specific people, which means you’ll have to look for another buyer if they don’t meet your standards. They may even conduct interviews with potential buyers.
- Have a strong understanding of dogs and the Labrador breed.
- You’re always welcome to ask me anything.
- I’m happy to answer any questions about our services or products as long as you need them.
- Introduce you to all of the pups in their litter/litter, as well as the mother and father (if applicable)
- Diverse breeding stock is a combination of parents from different backgrounds.
- Check to see if their puppies are getting enough human interaction.
What Constitutes a Terrible Breeder?
Bad breeders are not as good ones. So here is what they don’t do:
- The breeder hasn’t or doesn’t conduct health screenings on their breeding cattle.
- They don’t ask you or your family any personal questions.
- The breeder has a lot of litters each year (some excellent breeders will have a few litters in a year if they have many Labs to mate with, but this is usually an indication that the breeder isn’t very serious).
- A pet store purchases the pups from the breeder.
- They can’t tell you where they got their breeding stock from.
- Breeding stock isn’t from a wide range of sources.
- The breeder won’t let you see the parents, particularly the mother.
- They have a variety of canines from many breeds.
- The puppies are filthy or live in a dirty environment.
- The breeder will meet you somewhere neutral from the puppy’s environment.
- Puppies are overweight or underweight.
- The breeder won’t give you any information on the veterinarian.
- The breeder requests that you bring the puppy home sooner than usual (before 8 weeks old)
- When you just want one puppy, the breeder attempts to sell you several puppies.
- The breeder claims that the dogs are registered with the local/national kennel club. Still, they can’t produce any documentation to support this.
Temperament, Health & Ability
Once you find some excellent puppies, make sure you check three things:
Temperament and personality
Labradors are usually friendly dogs. But you need to be careful with a puppy or a litter that you want to buy because they might be too strong for you.
How do I Know If My Dog Has the Right Temperament?
You may not know how your puppy will be like. But you can tell by looking at the parents. Of course, you and your family play a significant role in how they’ll behave. Still, their temperament and some things about them come from their mother and father.
You need to meet the mother of a puppy before you buy it. If you can’t, find someone who knows the dog and says they are friendly.
Purchasing a working dog is slightly different than buying a pet. It depends on the work the dog will do and if they have a good personality/temperament.
Diseases passed on from parents can be a big problem for all dog breeds, including Labradors. So, before you buy a puppy, make sure that the parent dogs are in good shape and healthy. Ask to see certificates and medical records and check them carefully. If the breeder cannot give you any of these things, Good breeders should provide you with information on the following:
- Hip scoring
- Elbow scoring
- Eye condition/scan
- DNA test for Exercise Induced Collapse
- DNA test for dilute coat gene
- DNA test for Centronuclear Myopathy and prcd-PRA (optional)
- Heart exam (optional)
Labrador puppies whose parents and ancestors were good at a particular activity, like trails/agility, are more likely to be good at the same thing. So, for example, if you want a puppy to compete in trails/agility, make sure your breeder has dogs who were successful in the past.
Choosing a Labrador Puppy
Once you have chosen a good breeder and puppies, it is time to select your Labrador puppy. Of course, the best ones will be booked first, but sometimes all puppies are in good condition.
Before you buy the puppy, make sure it is in good shape. The dog should not be overly aggressive or shy. When you have purchased the new Labrador puppy, take it to your vet too.