September 20th •
Labrador Retrievers are the most popular dog breed in the country. Because of the breed’s popularity, many unethical breeders have popped up, selling Labs at low prices. Although these offers may seem tempting, they often come at the cost of the dog’s health.
Puppy mills and backyard breeders try to raise as many dogs as they can, caring little for the health of their puppies. This often leads to overcrowded and dirty conditions, and can increase the risk for genetic diseases.
Here are some questions you should ask every Labrador breeder before you bring a puppy home.
When you talk to a breeder, make sure you know where all of their dogs come from. If you cannot track the source of their Labs, this could be a sign that they’re being bought from puppy mills or backyard breeders.
You should also ask about the Lab puppy’s parents, including where they came from and any health issues they’ve had. In many cases, you can see pictures of the parents as well.
Before bringing any Lab puppy home, you need to make sure that they’ve had a vet checkup. Disreputable breeders will try to sell you puppies with known health problems, hiding them from you until it’s too late.
Ask the breeder for the most recent vet report, as well as any immunization records. If the puppy has had any health issues, discuss them with the breeder.
Breeder certification is not a guarantee that you’re getting a good dog. But it can give you a bit more peace of mind by lowering the risk that the puppy was born in unclean conditions.
Ask the breeder if they have been certified by the USDA, and if they belong to any Lab breed organizations.
Most breeders will handle a few of the vaccines needed by your Lab. However, you’ll likely need to complete their immunization once you bring them home.
Make sure that the breeder provides full vaccine records for any Lab you are interested in adopting. If they do not have records or are unwilling to provide them, you should look for a different breeder.
Many breeders offer health guarantees on their puppies. If anything goes wrong within a certain amount of time, the breeder will offer a refund on any fees you paid, or offer to cover a portion of the medical expenses.
These health guarantees often come with a lot of exceptions, so make sure you know the details before agreeing to take a Lab home.
Labs are naturally social and friendly dogs that love to play. But they still need plenty of early socialization to learn the right way to interact with others.
Speak to the breeder about how the dog was raised. Were they kept with other dogs of the same age? Did they spend time around people and other animals?
Labs that have not been socialized will be more likely to have behavioral problems down the road, so try to socialize your dog as much as possible once you bring them home.
There are quite a few Lab breeders out there. Some do it because they love the breed, and want to raise happy, healthy dogs. Others are simply in it for money.
Ask the breeder about their background, including how much time they have spent breeding Labs. Also ask them if they work with any other breeds.
You should try to find a breeder who’s clearly passionate about their puppies, and who values their wellbeing.
Although getting a Lab is fairly straightforward, you’ll often have to sign some paperwork so that you can take over legal ownership of the dog. Ask the breeder if the Lab has been registered yet. If not, speak to them about how to complete the process.
When dealing with any breeder, honesty is crucial. You need to make sure that they are upfront throughout the process and not hiding anything.
Ask for pictures of any Labs that you are interested in. With a reputable breeder, this request should not be a problem. If they say no, they may not actually have the Labs that they’re showing you on their website.
If you live nearby, you should also ask to visit and see the Labs before you bring them home. This gives you a better idea of how they were raised.
Many breeders protect their heritage lines by making you sign a contract stating that you will have your Lab spayed or neutered.
Ask about any contract that you are expected to sign, as well as all of the conditions you’ll have to follow.
Looking for the perfect Labrador Retriever? Then head over to our puppy finder. At Uptown Puppies, we work with some of the best Lab breeders and companies in the business.
We only work with breeders who follow strict ethical standards. That means you’ll never get a dog from a puppy mill or backyard breeder.