This group is essentially defuct.... so my opinion may be the only one
you get. I am not a Lab owner, but I am an obedience instructor, so
"know" lots of Labs. Lovely dogs. (I prefer to live with terriers.)
Inquire at local vet clinics to see if any of them have clients who
breed for show or hunting, or who show, field trial, or show in
obedience. Most of the front desk gals know such things. Ask for
assistance in reaching these folks.... like the clinic conacting them to
call you.... OR find an obedience school that offers Competition
Obedience training (front desk gals often know these schools).... they
will have students who have Good Quality Labs and can point you to
ethical breeders of Good Quality dogs.
Fall is a big season for dog shows and obedience trials. Go to
www.akc.org and click into Events.... then it's by date and state. Get
yourself to one of these events.
There are essentially two types of Labs. Those bred for "field"....
hunting and field trials. These dogs usually are extremely high energy
and need MUCH exercise, are a bit longer legged, and slightly lighter
build. The "show" or "English" Lab is heavier set, and somewhat less
wired for energy, but still a very active dog. I have a friend with 3
"show" Labs who "does it all" with her dogs.... conformation ("Show"),
obedience/rally, agility, field (Hunt Tests... she's not a hunter
herself).... so don't think the show dogs are dead-heads.
You want a breeder who assures that both parents are from sound lines,
have OFA good or excellent hips, clear shoulders and elbows, clear
patellas (all important orthopedic joint issues), CERF clear eye exams,
plus are willing to discuss these and other health issues within the
breed with you. If they breed for field dogs, you want to see hard
evidence of dogs of their breeding that have titles from Hunt Tests show
up (JH, SH, MH) behind most dogs in the pedigree, and some field trial
titles as well.... maybe some obedience and agility, as well. From
"show" lines, look for CH (champion) or even GCH (new AKC title for the
best of the champions) titles, and obedience and agility titles, and
Hunt Test titles are a bonus. The breeder should have the mother of a
litter, but will have copies of the sire's paperwork, such as health
tests and titles, as well as his pedigree, usually will have photos
and/or videos, if that dog is owned by someone else.
If you approach an obedience school, they may have contact information
for good area breeders whose dogs they know, if they don't currently
happen to have Labs in their advanced classes.
Puppies for Dummies, AND Dog Training for Dummies are outstanding home
references, written for those who have minimal or long outdated
experience with puppies and dogs. They use sound, modern, and effective
methods and are easy for the owner to use. Both are written by
instructors who are well known and respected in the dog world, and who
are also "trainers of trainers"; they teach top obedience instructors
and top obedience competitors. They've forgotten more than I'll ever
DO plan on attending a Puppy Kindergarden Class (usual name) starting
while your puppy is well under 4 months old. THEN, polish off with a
good basic obedience class starting anywhere between 4 and 12 months of
age (older is fine, too, but this will help you get through the "***age
stage").... and if you're having a grand time, go on to competition
obedience and rally, agility, tracking, field, therapy pet work.....
whatever activity floats your boat and your dog enjoys. There's also
fly-ball, dock diving, freestyle obedience (obedience/dancing set to
music), search and rescue, a new one called nose work, and probably some
I've forgotten to list. You will meet lots of great people and dogs,
have a phenomenal bond with your dog, a dog that is highly responsive to
you and a great companion. Plus you'll learn tons about dogs and
people! And working and training is great fun.