This is Sharda again for another Labrador Retriever newsletter.
If you have made the decision that a Labrador dog or a puppy is the best choice of a pet for you and your family, your next decision is where to buy Labradors?
There are a wide range of options to consider when determining where to get your dog or puppy.
Depending on the type of Labrador that you would like (if you want to use the dog for breeding or showing or not), and how long you are willing to wait for a dog or puppy will probably influence which option is best for you.
A rescue shelter is a good option to get an adult Labrador that is going to be a companion animal for you and your family. Usually the shelter will allow you to spend some time with the dogs that they have for adoption and purchase, and this will give you time to check on their temperament and behavior.
Often shelters will agree to take the animal back if it does not adjust to your home or family. Many of the adult dogs from the shelter are already trained, and this can be an asset when you do not want to go through the training process.
When getting a Labrador from a shelter, be sure to check the following:
- Ask for any information available about the dog.
- Make sure the animal has had a complete check-up and that the vaccinations are up to date.
- Ask if the dog has any behavioral issues or other concerns such as eating or barking.
- Does the dog appear healthy and energetic?
- Will the rescue shelter allow you to spend time with the dog prior to taking it home?
- What is the policy on spaying or neutering the animal?
- Can you return the dog if, for some reason, the adoption does not work out as planned?
Drawback to rescue shelter dogs
There are some drawbacks to getting a Labrador from a shelter:
- The dog may have learned bad or negative behaviors and will have to be re-trained.
- You have limited choice over the breeding, size and gender of the dogs available.
- You have little information on their lineage or medical history.
- Shelters are more likely to have adult Labradors than puppies.
- Most animals will have to be neutered before leaving the shelter, or you will have to agree to neuter or spay the animal.
Pet stores usually offer both purebred and non-purebred puppies. Usually a pet store does not sell full grown dogs as they have limited space. It is possible to order a specific breed of puppy through a pet store, and you can usually indicate the color and gender that you would prefer.
There are, however, a couple of major concerns when buying a Labrador puppy at a pet store. The first concern is that most reputable breeders will not sell to pet stores, so often the purebred puppies offered are from “puppy mills”.
These puppy mills are kennels that simply breed dogs to produce large quantities of saleable puppies, rather than trying to selectively breed to specifications and positive attributes of the breed.
Often these purebred puppies will not be show quality, and the buyer will not learn of this until they attempt to register or show the dog. Unless you are familiar with the top lines of the breed, it is difficult to know a good quality purebred from a poor quality or line.
The second concern is that there may only be one puppy of a breed to choose from. This limits your ability to compare the puppy with littermates or other puppies of the same breed. Puppies in pet stores are also stressed, as they are away from their home environment.
They may be exposed to different pet diseases, and will need a thorough vet examination as soon as possible after purchase.
While probably the most expensive choice, buying from a Labrador breeder is generally the best option if you want a purebred puppy from a reputable line. Most breeders offer a guarantee of health, as well as detailed information on the breed.
A breeder will often interview you as a potential owner, and may even want to come and visit your home before agreeing to sell a puppy.
Most Labrador breeders encourage you to come and see the litter several times before choosing the puppy that is right for you. They will often provide recommendations on food, veterinarians in the area, trainers, problematic issues with the breed, as well as other points of interest.
Most breeders will also discuss issues with spaying or neutering the pets, unless it is agreed upon that the puppy will be a show dog or future breeding stock.
Before visiting a Labrador breeder, it is important to ask for information on the line of dogs that they are breeding, as well as any relevant health information on the parents. Do some research both on the breed and on the line the puppies are bred from.
Calling other kennels that are breeding the same type of dogs or contacting the breed association may be helpful.
Getting this information prior to visiting the breeder is essential as it is all too easy to get caught up in the excitement of getting a new puppy.
Make sure that the Kennel Club in your country or location recognizes the breeder. Ask for information on shows or events that the breeder has participated in and where his/her dogs have been entered. If the breeder is unable or unwilling to provide this information, it may be wise to consider trying another breeder.
Be aware that puppies from championship lines may be difficult to purchase and you may have to wait for a puppy. Good breeders will not produce litter after litter; rather they will breed their dogs based on the health and well being of the female.
Purchasing a puppy from a Labrador breeder is the option that allows you to know the temperament and lineage of the parent dogs, as well as the medical background of the puppy. It also insures that you will get a quality animal that can be shown or bred if desired.
I hope you learned a lot from today’s Labrador Retriever Newsletter.