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Lea Jayne

Seeking advice - selecting Labrador puppies

19 posts in this topic

Hi,

I’m looking for some advice on behalf of my parents (in their 60s) who have not had a dog before (and neither have I).

After several months considering their situation and various breeds they have settled on a Chocolate Labrador Retriever puppy. There’s a possibility Dad may want to train him/her as an assistance dog in the future. Dad is very active and there are other family members who will take the dog out for exercise and play. My folks have a cat. They are attracted to the gentle temperament of labs.

They are in contact with two breeders and each has supplied pedigree info, hip/elbow scores etc. We would love to get some advice on which set of parents is likely to have produced the more physically and genetically ‘robust’ puppies.

Option 1:

Sire is 2 years old. Hips 3/3; elbows 0/0; eyes clear. He has the same ‘great-grandfather’ on his mother’s and his father’s side.

Dame is 4 years old. Hips 4/4; elbows 0/0; eyes clear. She has the same ‘great-grandfather’ and the same ‘great-grandmother’ on both the mother’s and father’s side.

Option 2:

Sire is 4 years old. Hips 2/4; elbows 0/2. Carrier (one copy of variant detected): exercise induced collapse. He has the same ‘great-grandfather’ on his mother’s and father’s side.

Dame is 3 years old. Hips 2/2; elbows 0/0. Her parents have no ancestors in common in the past three generations.

 

I’ve read that dogs with elbow scores of Grade 2 or 3 ideally should not be bred, so would this be the main deciding factor and a reason to go with Option 1 over Option 2?

Are balanced hip and elbow scores preferable to unbalanced scores even if unbalanced scores are lower?

Do the parents’ hip and elbow scores ‘compound’ so that their puppies are likely to have higher scores than their parents, or would the puppies be the same as one or other of the parents? I understand that environment is also a factor and I may be putting undue emphasis on these questions.

Finally, are we focused on the most important factors for the puppies likely health or is there something else we should be looking at? The puppies from both sets of parents appear to be responsibly cared for and well loved.

We’re grateful for any input. Thanks heaps in advance!

Lea

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Welcome to DOL . 

You are obviously doing some good research :) 
please don't forget TEMPERAMENT . 
Are these dogs show dogs/working dogs/pet dogs ? 
are they registered with the states Canine Body ?
How are puppies brought up ? Are they inside/outside....what early work do the puppies  get from the breeder ? 
Are your folks aware that labs shed 26 hrs a day ? 
The "gentle temperament" your parents have noticed is mostly the result of an awful lot of training ;) Young labs  can be very boisterous, destructive and needing quite a bit of work. 
Have a look at these labrador breeders on facebook, and see the work which goes into their pups .... that will give you an idea of what some folks do . 
 

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Dogsfevr   

It’s not that simple ,no one can tell you which may produce healthier because that requires a crystal ball ,requires knowing what the scores are back in the pedigrees & in the perfect world what scores siblings have

What are the results for EIC and PRA

A breeder when doing a mating factors in all the health results plus the actual dogs themselves and then decides what the potential outcomes may be  & why that breeding to there best of there knowledge may produce XYZ outcome.

 

 

Labs aren’t gentle without diligent owners ,there boisterous,there powerful,they dig,they swim in water bowls they aren’t born trained or sensible and if there wanting an assistance dog then that should factor even more as to what drive and qualities they need.and whether the breeder is able to see potential in a pup baring in mind the potential may be seen in a different colour littermate .
We board many Labs all have wonderful natures but the degree of owner effort is amazingly noticeable.WE have boarded 2 males whose owners never addressed leads manners early despite being told too ,both have had dislocated shoulders (humans).
Generally the ones who aren't diligent as pups seem to believe they will be great by 12 months because there breed for a purpose (smack head).
 

 

Keep in mind the failure rate in guide/assistance dogs is higher than people understand as many simply presume a Lab or similar breed was just born to do the job ,it’s not so the pass rate is low in ticking all the boxes .

Edited by Dogsfevr
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ish   

If I was going to consider the second option, I would want to know the elbow scores of a few generations behind the sire AND if he had any offspring with elbow scores. Generally speaking, elbow issues are more often clinical than hip issues - for example a great number of dogs with less than ideal hips don’t show symptoms where as most dogs with elbow issues suffer from it 

(there are exceptions to this of course, I have a dog with UAP in one elbow who is totally sound for now)

 

 

Edited by ish
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1. Unless you intend to breed, being a carrier of EIC is not a problem at all. 

2. Hips and elbows matter, but they aren't the primary concern.  IMO they are overrated because they have clear numerical values.  Plenty of dogs with 2 elbows or hip scores of 8 or more live to a ripe old age without any sign of arthritis. 

3. Other health factors need to be asked about.  Allergies? Epilepsy? Heart disease? Cancer? Ask what health problems have showed up in the bloodlines.  If they say none, run.  They are lying. Ask about longevity, and what ancestors have died from, or suffer from, at what ages. 

4. As Pers says, temperament is extremely important. Ask the breeders what they consider 'good temperament'. 

5. I half disagree with Dogsfevr about gentleness. I'm not a skilled dog trainer at all and I'm pretty lax about training.  I've owned 20+ Labs, mostly bitches (I was a breeder).  Not one was a fighter or food aggressive or fear aggressive. All had stable temperament. Virtually all were friendly to people and most dogs...even when bitches were on season or had baby pups. I also ran a boarding kennel for 5 years.  With Labs, it was rare to have any behavior problems other than digging, rowdy puppy stuff, and overeating.  I say half disagree because, yes, Labs can be naughty, and if you accidentally train a pup, say, to think chase is a fun game, you can end up with a dog that chases and frightens small children. 

True, the failure rate is high for Guide Dog training... but that's not surprising given what is expected of guide dogs... starting from a young age.  

Edited by sandgrubber
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Dogsfevr   
9 minutes ago, sandgrubber said:

1. Unless you intend to breed, being a carrier of EIC is not a problem at all. 

 

Um if the person has breed two carriers yes it is an issue ,if they have not tested the carrier status it is an issue
It has nothing to do with planning to breed  but asking if they have tested for it .
 

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Hi Persephone :)

Thanks for your reply and the link to Tapua breeders.

What’s the best way to find out about temperament? Should we meet the sire and/or dame and spend time with the pups? Can we generally trust that the breeder will accurately describe the puppies’ and parents’ personalities?

Option 1: sire is a show dog and dame, I believe, is a pet/used for breeding. Owner of the sire is registered but the owner of the dame has not been confirmed as registered (although they have a registration number on all their papers). Puppies are currently being vaccinated and won’t leave their mother until they are 8 weeks old. I believe they are being raised inside and not allowed to do any crazy jumping/sliding that could affect their skeletal development etc.

Option 2: sire and dame both live on a farm with a group of other adult labs where the focus is apparently not dog breeding but raising cattle. Puppies have large grassed enclosure and go for walks when they’re “old enough”—they “come with papers, vet checked, vaccinated, wormed, microchipped and a take home puppy pack.”

Haha! Dad and Mum ARE aware that shedding is ‘alarming’, but not that is occurs 26 hrs/day!

Thanks again—we now have more things to consider :D

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Thanks, ish

What you say expands on what we've been reading and thinking about re. elbows

 

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29 minutes ago, sandgrubber said:

Other health factors need to be asked about.  Allergies? Epilepsy? Heart disease? Cancer? Ask what health problems have showed up in the bloodlines.  If they say none, run.  They are lying. Ask about longevity, and what ancestors have died from, or suffer from, at what ages. 

YES!!! 
Also check for ear problems in the family ..eyes (entropion/ectropion) 

Check on their follow-up after you have your pup. Are they happy to help with pup?
Do they take back a pup found to have serious problems  detected at your "Hi, vet, I've just bought a new puppy - we need a comprehensive checkup please" appointment ?
Are they able to give GOOD advice on diet/behaviour etc , do you think ? 

 

17 minutes ago, Lea Jayne said:

I believe they are being raised inside and not allowed to do any crazy jumping/sliding that could affect their skeletal development etc.

I do hope they are allowed to run outside/experience different smells/ textures/levels/obstacles etc ....this helps their brain develop :) Sliding is more common indoors on smooth polished floors :( and jumping more common on & off furniture.

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2 minutes ago, persephone said:

I do hope they are allowed to run outside/experience different smells/ textures/levels/obstacles etc ....this helps their brain develop :) Sliding is more common indoors on smooth polished floors :( and jumping more common on & off furniture.

Actually I did see photos of them in the grass eating leaves :D We're going to visit those puppies on Sunday and will hopefully get answers to some of the important questions raised here!

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Rebanne   

one thing I would say is, as first time dog owners, you would want one of the more laid back pups.  All those hip and elbow scores are fine except for the elbow with 2.  I personally would not be happy with that. However you can have perfect scores and still end up with a pup with a problem. I would want proof that the dam put to the EIC dog is clear of that disease. DOG forgiveme for saying this but registration papers are less important then full copies of all health testing and what sort of support the breeders will give you. You could also look up the lab club for your state and see what other health test they recommend be done. There are also two other places you could check here.

https://www.dolforums.com.au/topic/170329-labrador-retriever/?page=13&tab=comments#comment-6954506

 

https://www.dolforums.com.au/topic/108730-those-crazy-labradors/?page=1493&tab=comments#comment-6924661

 

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1 hour ago, Dogsfevr said:

Um if the person has breed two carriers yes it is an issue ,if they have not tested the carrier status it is an issue
It has nothing to do with planning to breed  but asking if they have tested for it 

The OP mentioned only one carrier. 

I'm old enough to remember the days when genetic testing for EIC first came out.  Many Lab breeders were surprised to find they had affected dogs, although they had never seen an episode of collapse, even in working retrievers. (Read the Wikipedia article on EIC... it isn't a good thing, but it only affects strenuous exercise and it's not progressive. I'd much rather have a pet with EIC than serious allergies or a nasty temperament). 

Personally, I would pay more attention to testing for PRA than EIC. 

 

Btw, If you want a dog with greater potential for assistance work, ask around to find breeders (and dogs and bitches) favored by assistance trainers.  I haven't kept up with this.  There are many many Lab breeders to choose from. 

Edited by sandgrubber
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1 hour ago, sandgrubber said:

Btw, If you want a dog with greater potential for assistance work, ask around to find breeders (and dogs and bitches) favored by assistance trainers. 

Yes.

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Dogsfevr   

Also if there asking a larger price for chocolate colour run fast 

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Lhok   

One of the most important factors if you are wanting an assistance dog in the future is looking for a dog that comes mostly from proven lines for that work. Its not a 100% foolproof but it does help. 

Next you will be wanting to outline what tasks the dog will be needing to do, and start training for those tasks from the moment the dog comes home, good assistance dogs are hard to come by and most aren't a pet first and then eventually turn into an assistance dog after awhile ( yes some have but they are the exception not the rule) so if you are wanting a pet dog first and then an assistance dog later your dog might not make the cut and wash out. 

If you are going down that route its probably best to talk to a trainer that has proven they can task train an assistance dog before you get your pup especially if you are new to dog ownership.

--Lhok

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One thing to bear in mind is that a healthy, show standard lab, will have a good chance of growing to be ginormous and also retaining a lot of their instinctual drive. So you will likely have a lovely natured dog who is eager to assist with anything, but who will also have been very mouthy when young and always very strong. A lot of minor injuries can come from your puppy in the course of them calmly interacting with you in a freakishly well-behaved manner. You will also have to cater training around that growing body and be prepared to forgo an activity or training session because they’re catching up on some growing sleep, that sort of thing. They are the most beautiful, intelligent and fun dogs to have, but I would really recommend double checking the level of “active” you all can commit to, and more in a daily living type of way.  “Dad lifts and has good balance, and thick skin” is possibly a better criteria :) If the assistance dog training is an important goal i’d ask specifically for a pup the breeder feels would likely be suited to that type of work, otherwise you may wind up training for a dog sport instead. 

 

 

 

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