As Trish said, a responsible breeders pup would not be found in a pet shop
There must be a responsible breeder somewhere near you. Go through the
proper steps to 1) find a breeder 2) do a little research on the breed,
breeder and line of dogs 3) get in touch with a breeder and let them know
what you are looking for 4) don't rush it ... take your time and be sure you
want a puppy and what you want in a puppy/dog (they aren't puppies long,
they become big dogs pretty quick). If that breeder doesn't have any pups
available, they most likely will be able to point you in the direction of a
breeder that does or will in the future (I'd question if they didn't help
Would it be wise to get the pet shop dog? Somebody probably will and
hopefully it'll get a good home ... and a few days later the pet shop will
get another puppy mill dog.
I wouldn't get it! To many unknowns and it'll only promote more of the
When reading a pedigree on a prospective puppy be sure to look for the
The "parents" and "grandparents", at least, on both sides should have both
OFA (hips and elbows) and CERF (eyes) ratings. Labs are prone to genetic hip
and elbow problems that irresponsible breeders don't x-ray for or may breed
a poorly rated dog anyway. On a pedigree, it looks like this: OFA60E,
E=excellent and 60 is how many months old the dog was at the time of
testing. The more current the test, the better as HD (hip displaysia) can
take time to develop. You don't want to see a sire who is 5 that was last
certified at 2 years old. The test should only be 1 or 2 years old, you want
to see excellent, good or, at worst, fair.
OFA's website will let you put in the parent's registration number or name
to get the scores.
CERF rates eyes. Labs are also prone to genetic eye problems that
irresponsible breeders will overlook (if they even bother to test) and breed
anyway. CERF is pass/fail if you see CERF60 that means the dog passed and
that certification occurred when the dog was 60 months (5 years) old.
The CERF website will let you look up whether a dog has been tested and when
the last test occurred but will not give you the results.
Both these tests should be current (one or two years old at the most).
Breeders out to make a buck usually don't do these tests as they are
expensive, or only do them once at 2 years or so. So if you don't see OFA
and CERF all over the pedigree or if you do see ratings but they are all
old, chances are you are not dealing with a good breeder. Puppies from bad
breeders may very well develop expensive and painful hip and eye problems in
the future, so be careful when finding your pup.
A great website that will show you what else to look for on a pedigree:
After all that rambling (sorry) check the AKC website, search under any or
all of the club types for an all breed/Labrador club in your area; they will
be able to recommend a good breeder. Also ask local vets, they may be
familiar with breeders in your area.
> The "parents" and "grandparents", at least, on both sides should have both
> OFA (hips and elbows) and CERF (eyes) ratings.
> Both these tests should be current (one or two years old at the most).
> Breeders out to make a buck usually don't do these tests as they are
> expensive, or only do them once at 2 years or so. So if you don't see OFA
> and CERF all over the pedigree or if you do see ratings but they are all
> old, chances are you are not dealing with a good breeder. Puppies from bad
> breeders may very well develop expensive and painful hip and eye problems in
> the future, so be careful when finding your pup.
Not only that, but it's now known that keeping track of
sibling hip status is more important than the precise rating
a dog gets--so too much focus on the individual dog's hips
may be misleading.
Regarding eyes, CERF certification is only current for one
year. Realistically speaking, however, once a dog is well
past the age of onset for all of the known hereditary eye
problems covered by the CERF exam, there's no new information
to be gained by further testing.
The down side to all of this health testing is that it tends
to make people think that if their *** (breeders have ***es)
passes all of the tests, she is of breeding quality. In fact
there are a lot of other aspects to the dog, in particular
temperament, intelligence, and trainability, as well as being
recognizable as a Lab, which are important to the owner. Titles
such as FC, AFC, MH, CH, CDX, UD etc. imply that dogs in the
pedigree were owned by people who were involved in training and
showing or competing with their Labs and might be presumed to
be discriminating about some of the other aspects which make
a Lab a Lab.
To further complicate matters, some dogs who are certified for
hips and eyes are not shown as such on AKC paperwork!