FAQ

Questions and Answers
(click on question to expand)

Q1. My English Lab is about 1 1/2 years old. We didn't have him fixed because we wanted to Stud him, so we could one, get one of his pups (a friend for him) two, bring more and more lab's into the world. He is the best looking lab I've ever seen, the kind...est, and his big head really stops them in there tracks.

Do you have some information about people in the area that are looking for Stud services, basically how should I start?[1]

A1. Answer pending.

Q2. Hello, I have a male yellow lab that is registered in the AKC. I have thought about getting a female and raising puppies. I wanted to get a chocolate female just because I have always wanted one, but I was told the other day that is two different colore...d labs are bred that the puppies can't be registered. I was also told that they could be registered but that they couldn't be showed because they would be disqualified. Could you please briefly explain to me the requriements for breeding labs. Thanks[2]

A2. First ask yourself, "Why do I want to raise puppies?" And be honest with the answer.

Money?
No breeder who gives a litter of pups the proper care ever makes money, no matter how many pups are in the litter.

You love Labs and the pups are so cute?
Fair enough,but will you think that when you are up at 6 in the morning cleaning up the urine and poop that 6 or 8 pups have deposited overnight? Or will they be that cute as you write the check to the vet for their wormings and innoculations? Will you still think they are cute when after 10, 12 or 14 wks. you still have 2 or 3 pups available (over and above what you decided to keep for yourself?) and the phone has stopped ringing?

Have you had your yellow male's hips and elbows x-rayed and certified by OFA to be free of hip and elbow dysplasia? Have you had, and will you continue to have, his eyes examined yearly by a Board certified veterinary ophthalmologist to be sure he is free of hereditary eye problems?

Have you trained him for any sort of competition.....conformation, obedience, hunting-retriever tests.....shown him to prove he has qualities that are worthy of passing on to the next generation?

Have you read the standard for the breed? (see www.thelabradorclub.com)

Are you aware that the practice of breeding a yellow Labrador to a chocolate Labrador is avoided because it can produce a dog lacking in pigment (a disqualifying fault in the standard for the breed...along with 4 other points)?

Will you give a meaningful health guarantee on your puppies....and be prepared to back it should the pup be affected with a genetic problem?

Are you prepared to responsible for the lifetime well being of those pups you will produce? Will you be their for them when their new owners call one day and, for whatever reason, can no longer keep the dog and seek your help?

Learning to be a responsible breeder, even for only one litter, takes a lot of education....about the breed, about the genetics (color and health) of the breed, about general canine health and about raising and training dogs in general.

I would suggest you read several important books:

Reaching For The Stars by Mary Roslin-Williams
The Complete Labrador Retriever by Helen Warwick
The Versatile Labrador Retriever by Nancy Martin

These 3 books could be classified as "bibles" for the person considering getting involved in the Labrador retriever breed.

I would then visit websites of shelters and Labrador retriever rescue organizations to see how many unfortunate Labradors are in need of homes.....and then decide if you really want to be responsible for adding to the population of the (unfortunately)number 1 breed in the US.

If you still feel this is the road you want to take, I would advise you join several Labrador related lists.

Q3. I recently purchased an AKC black Lab. The pup has a bit of white on him. His chest has a thin white shaped tee, his chin has a white dot, and on his rear paws a little white shows between the toes. I have always understood that a lab should not have... white marks but when I asked the breeder he thought nothing of it. I really like the pup and have no intention to get rid of him. I would just like to know what I have. Can you help to clarify this for me?[3]

A3. These are called "mismarks" because ideally a black dog is solid black. In reality, white spots are not unusual (the spot on the chest is allowed by the Standard, and many dogs have white between the toes or under the feet) in the breed. Take a look at some known mismarks at http://www.woodhavenlabs.com/mismarks.html. Good luck with your pup.

Q4. I am getting ready to purchase a puppy, they are all yellow/golden, but 2 have a liver nose, I was curious if this was rare?[4]

A4. Answer pending.

Q5. I have an eight week old puppy I just acquired. This is not my first lab, but I have forgotten some things. She weighs almost 16 lbs. Is that large for an eight week old puppy? I seem to remember my last one being around 10 or 12 lbs at eight weeks o...ld. I have enclosed a pic of her.

8 week old puppy[5]

A5. Answer pending.

Q6. I recently purchased a Labrador Retriever puppy who is now four months old. The "breeder" sold us this dog with the promise that we would recieve papers (limited registration). We have now had our dog for 2 months and have not recieved any papers. We have ...contacted our breeder several times and feel she was dishonest and has no intention of providing any paperwork. Is there any course of action which we can take against this breeder. We paid $500 for the dog. We love the dog with or without AKC registration, but we feel we were taken.[6]

A6. We are very sorry to hear of your difficulties obtaining registration papers on your Labrador Retriever puppy.

While the Labrador Retriever Club, Inc. is the parent club for the breed, we are not a registration organization.

You should have received from the breeder, at time of sale, an application for individual registration. If you did, fill it out and send it, with the appropriate fee to the Kennel Club at the address given on the application.

If you did not receive such an application then you should do the following:

If your puppy was represented as AKC registered, contact AKC, the American Kennel Club, Inc. All necessary contact information can be found on their website, www.akc.org.

If your puppy was represented as UKC registered, contact UKC, the United Kennel Club. Contact information can be found on their website, www.ukcdogs.com.

There are newer registries in addition to the two mentioned. If your pup is represented as registerable with one of the newer registries, try doing a search for the website of whichever organization the breeder used to register your pup's litter.

Have copies of your puppies litter registration number, date of birth, name and registration number of the sire and dam (if provided), name and address of the breeder from whom you purchased the pup and the sales contract.

We hope this information will help you clear up this matter quickly. Sorry we cannot be of further assistence.

Q7. I saw some Labra-doodles on a television show, and I am seeking info on the breeding of these beautiful animals. Any info that you can share will be greatly appreciated.[7]

A7. The Labradoodle is a cross-bred dog, the result of using the Labrador retriever and the Standard variety of Poodle.

It is not a purebred, it is not recognized by any kennel club registries.

Crossbreeding of the Labrador retriever is not encouraged by the Labrador Retriever Club, Inc.

Q8. Hi, I am looking for info regarding the labrador color. I know they primarily come in 3 colors, black, yellow and chocolate, but recently I saw one that was chocolate and yellow. Is that common? I've never seen r even heard about that. Does that h...ave anything to do with inbreeding? I appreciate any info you can send me on this.[8]

A8. The Labrador retriever is a solid colored dog, either black, shades of yellow or chocolate, with small white spots on the chest allowed.

On rare occasion the pairing of two purebred Labradors will produce a mismarked puppy. The mismarks may be black dogs with tan points, yellows with black spots, chocolates with tan points, brindles (grey, tan and white mixed, known as splash) even dogs marked in two colors much like the pinto horse.

These mismarkings represent throwbacks in the genetic color pattern. It has little to do with how closely related the parents are (inbreeding or linebreeding).

The Labrador retriever, and virtually every other recognized purebred breed, of today is the result of carefully selected use, by those who developed the breed, of other breeds many, many years ago to refine and strengthen specific traits breeders wanted.

While unwanted traits, such as color, associated with the non-Labrador used in such refining have been supressed by years of careful breeding, on occasion they do come through when both parents carry the gene for the same trait. Many books written about the Labrador retriever discuss these color anomolies.

While these color mismarks bar the affected Labrador retriever from competition in the conformation shows, they in no way affect the dog's value as a competitor in other venues, or as a companion and working retriever.

Q9. I do not know if there are breeders available with Red Labrador Retrievers (I assume there is someone somewhere) and I was wondering if you may have any information on this subject. I did try searching the AKC website and I may not be looking in the rig...ht place but I have not been able to come up with any information. I would prefer not to just pick a breeder that we know nothing about and was hoping I can get some info from here.[9]

A9. The color to which you refer is commonly known as "fox red". It is a variant shade of the yellow Labrador retriever.

Most knowledgeable, experienced breeders know of the color. Few breed specifically for it because color is only cosmetic and most breeders consider physical structure, good health, temperament and working ability primary goals when planning a breeding.

Consult the Breeders Directory on the LRC website (www.thelabradorclub.com). Look specifically for breeders who breed yellow Labradors. They would be your most direct link to the fox red you seek.

Good luck in your search.

Q10. My family and I are looking to get a dog in the near future. I'm really interested in Labrador Retrievers, but the only problem is it would have to be alone for about 6 hours a day (5 days per week) when school starts up again. I heard that puppies don't d...o well when left alone for several hours a day. Is their anyway that we could still get one. Is there any special training techniques? Thank you so much for your help.[10]

A10. In today's world many families are away from home for part of the day. They still get puppies and raise them successfully. You can do the same.

Get off to a good start. Buy a puppy from a reputable, knowledgeable breeder who will help you plan to puppy-proof your home, planning the best way to keep your puppy safe during the times it must be alone. This can involve purchasing a crate or what is called an x-pen. Or it can be help in selecting a specific room which can be gated off and made safe for the pup and be easy to clean when accidents happen.

Be prepared to give your puppy first priority when it come to time and attention when you get up in the morning, get home from work or school. Realize that everything else can wait for your attention, a puppy cannot.

Your local book shop or library will have books dealing with modern day puppy raising. Take the time to scan through several books and pick the one which seems to apply best to your situation and what you expect from your puppy.

There are several excellent internet lists dedicated to the Labrador retriever. On those lists owners and breeders are more than willing to share their experience with "newbies". So browse the internet and do some lurking on these lists.

A knowledgeable breeder can also refer you to local obedience classes which will put you in contact with trainers and students who can also give you suggestions and support.

Done the correct way, raising a pup, even if you can't be there 24/7, can be done.

Q11. I am trying to get some info related to which makes for the better hunting dog a male or female lab, good or bad qualities? Any help is greatly appreciated.[11]

A11. What makes a good hunting dog are qualities that have little to do with gender. Either dog or bitch can possess the inborn instinct and desire to retrieve, love of water, soft mouth, stable temperament and trainability. Find the puppy that has those characteristics and gender really won't matter.

Gender may come into consideration when you think of what you prefer to hunt. If you are primarily a goose hunter, you may prefer a male simply because of differences in size and strength, versus a female. If you hunt waterfowl in areas of moving water, again, you may gravitate toward the male for strength and stamina.

If you hunt land birds or hunt waterfowl at pond/lake sites, gender is a matter of the qualities of the individual Labrador and the preference of the hunter.

The only negative that would be constant is if the bitch is unspayed. Then you have the problem of the bitch coming into heat at the most inopportune time. If the bitch is spayed, that factor becomes immaterial.

Sorry the answer cannot be more definite - male or female. Seek out a breeder with good reputation for producing quality hunting retrievers and the breeder will guide you to the best pup.

Q12. I have recently acquired a AKC registered black female lab puppy. Upon initial examination and giving her a look over she seems to be in excellent health. She has a solid build to her and excellent muscle tone. However I noticed when pulling down he bottom... eyelids that they looked red. She has some discharge but it does not seem to be excessive. I was wondering it this was just a trait of the Black Labs, to have red under there lower eyelids. The upper area of her eyes is normal. Her eyes are clear and show all the signs of healthy eyes. She is very active and energetic as healthy puppies are. My concern as stated above is partly due to the fact that we what to use her as a breeding dame. I want to make sure that she is in top condition before we mate her when she gets in season. I know that most true Black Labs have heavy pigmentation in their nose and jowls. I am just not sure if the area under their lower eyelids is heavy in pigment too. Please let me know any information that you can. I am fairly inexperienced with this particular breed, however have been a dog handler for many years. Thank you for you information and your time.[12]

A12. You may want to have your veterinarian or a veterinary ophthalmologist check your pup's eyes.

The conjunctiva (inner surface of the eyelid) should be a healthy pink in color. Redness and discharge could indicate infection or irritation which might be due to an inherited condition of the eyelid.

The condition of the eye cannot be determined by just looking at them. Conditions which would affect plans to breed, i.e. retinal folds, juvenile cataracts, even entropian and ectropian eyelids, are not readily noticeable to the layman.

As for the condition being caused by "heavy pigmentation".....no. Pigmentation is merely the presence or absence of color around the outer durface of the eyelids, the nose and the lips.

Besides eyes, there are other conditions that must be examined for before even thinking of breeding your puppy. At 2 years of age, she should have her elbows and hips certified free of dysplasia. "Solid build and muscle tone" while admirable are not the qualities to stake a breeding on.

Q13. I'm going to be a first-time mom to a lab. I'd like to a puppy that's going to be as mild mannered as possible. Should I get a female or a male? I've heard that males are more affectionate, but aren't they more aggressive?[13]

A13. Congratulations on your impending dog ownership.

The Labrador retriever is well known for its even, good temper. Aggression is a word which should never be associated with the Labrador, regardless of gender. The Labrador retriever is one of the few breeds in which gender does not dictate personality and temper.

Manners and behavior are traits which you as the owner will instill in the dog from the day you bring your puppy home. While most Labradors at maturity are mild mannered, as puppies they can be as mischievous as any pup of any other breed.

The breeder from whom you purchase your puppy will help you find the right pup, based on what you describe as your "perfect Labrador".

When you visit a breeder, ask to meet the dam (mother) of the litter from which you may be selecting a pup. Chances are the sire (father) of the litter lives elsewhere, therefore be unavailable, but do ask to meet other adult Labradors the breeder owns. This will give you a good idea of the temperament the breeder seeks to put into the litters produced.

Please remember the Labrador retriever is a breed developed and still bred to preserve the desires and instincts of a working retriever. As young dogs, they are active and need attention, interactive activity for exercise (retrieving thrown balls, bumpers, etc.) and most important, they need training. They are intelligent and that intelligence can get them into trouble if they are not given the attention and training.

Work with a breeder whose adult dogs you admire. Chances are, given a proper upbringing, the puppy you select will reflect the characteristics of its mature relatives and become just the Labrador you want.

Q14. We have a 5 year old male lab that we are interested in breeding. He is very healthy and seems to be excellent in confirmation. Mostly, we would love to pass along his wonderful temperament. We have one concern. We have sometimes wondered (even since ...he was a puppy) that he may be nearsighted. We would plan to have him certified for his hips and eyes before we would breed him, but did not really know exactly what the eye check looks for. Does it check vision, or just for disease? He is an active field dog and does not seem to have trouble when hunting, but seems to often to rely heavily on sound and smell. He sometimes barks at people he knows well until they get closer to him or say something to him. When throwing a ball in the yard, he often does not follow it in the air, but rather tries to anticipate where it will go. We just think he is nearsighted, and would be hesitant to breed him if this were true, but wonder how or if they test for that. Also, If all tests came back normal, How does one go about finding a female to breed a male to? Most places are the other way around.
If you have any tips or suggestions it would be appreciated.[14]

A14. The fact that you are hesitant about breeding your Labrador because you suspect there may be an eye problem has, in a roundabout way has answered your question.

Your Labrador should be examined by a board certified veterinary ophthalmologist. The ophthalmologist will examine the structure of the eye, using various types of "lamps" and lenses. By evaluating the condition of the eye, the vet can diagnose various problems that may be present. Dogs cannot read eye charts but there are other tests that the veterinarians have devised that can demonstrate the dogs visual acuity or lack thereof.

Your veterinarian can refer you to a board certified veterinary ophthalmologist or you can locate on in your area by clicking on www.purdue.edu/~yshen/doctor.html.

As for finding a bitch to breed to your dog, for that you have to rely on the judgment of others. In the world of livestock breeding, including purebred dogs, it is the owner of the female (know as the breeder) who seeks out and contracts with the owner of the male for a breeding. Here your dog may lose out.

Owners of quality females, and why would you breed your Lab to anything less, seek out males who by virtue of the titles they have earned or the high quality pups they have sired, have proven themselves to be, in the judgement of the breeders, superior specimens of the breed.

Remember that should he be bred, your Labrador will pass on not just his good points but also his failings. Are you sure you want your dog remembered or blamed for the condition of his offspring?

Q15. I'd appreciate your input about my vet's suggestion to shave my yellow lab (Flyer) to reduce shedding and keep him cool in our Las Vegas heat. I've heard from other sources that there is a danger of heat stroke, sunburn, or regrowth not coming back as ...original. I appreciate the reduced shedding, but only want to continue this if it's not putting Flyer at risk.[15]

A15. Unless there is a skin infection, surgery or injury that dictates otherwise, the coat of a Labrador retriever should never be shaved! If anything, shaving will put your dog in greater danger from sun and temperature. Do not do it.

The coat is the Labrador's protection against weather, both heat and cold, and in your part of the country, sun. Dogs do get skin cancer, they need protection, just as we humans do, from strong sun. The coat provides that.

Shaving will not reduce shedding. It will merely make the hair shed much smaller and much more difficult to remove from fabrics.

The dense coat (when dry) acts as the Labrador's insulation, much like insulation works in a house.

The best way to fight heat is to keep the dog in a cool area during the heat of the day (indoors preferably), provide the dog with plenty of fresh, cool water and not allow over exertion which raises the body's temperature which is what usually causes heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Q16. I'd like to choose a vet before I take a puppy home. How can I tell if a vet is trustworthy and right for me?[16]

A16. Picking a veterinarian is much the same as picking your family physician.

First, ask friends and neighbors who have pets which vet(s) they go to. Ask if the vet allows the owner to stay with the dog while examinations and treatment are provided. Ask how they feel they are treated by the vet.

Visit the vetereinary facilities recommended to you. Walk into the waiting area. Take a deep breath.....does it smell clean? Does it look clean and well maintained. Is informational material available for the pet owner? These are usually pamphlets provided by nutritional and pharmaceutical companies that manufacture pet related products. Observe how the office staff interact with people as they come in for their appointments. If asked, explain why you are there. Evaluate the reaction.

It may be worth the extra money to make an appt. to meet the vet(s).

You should certainly make an appointment for a "well puppy visit" within 48 hrs. of bringing your new puppy home. Watch how the vet handles the pup. Does s/he make small talk to the pup as he examines? Doe s/he take the time to let the pup "get acquainted" before trying to examine? Are you comfortable with the way s/he handles the pup and communicates with you?

If you find the vet does not live up to your expectation (don't make them too high), don't hesitate to find another vet.

Q17. We just got a yellow lab puppy about 3 weeks ago. She is now 11 weeks old. We were very concerned about hip dysplasia and we spoke to the breeder about it. He was pretty sure this litter was okay. Beside getting an x-ray is there any obvious signs? Her ...walk is not so straight where her front is straight and her back end is to the side. Is this a sign?[17]

A17. Congratulations on your new puppy.

We can appreciate your concern that your puppy be as healthy and sound as possible.
Puppies at 11 weeks are in the beginning stages of growth that will take her to almost full size in the relatively short time of 8 months or so.

Puppies grow not in one piece but in stages. One day their rear end is higher than their front. The next it is the other way round. The following week they look as if they have all leg and little body and so on.

It is hard to imagine that a young puppy whose body is changing daily could ever hope to move smoothly with all legs going in proper alignment. It rarely happens.

No one can predict whether or not your puppy will have hip dysplasia. The best we can advise is to wait until she is 9-10 months of age and have preliminary hip and elbow x-rays taken and submitted to OFA for assessment. You could also have her examined under the PennHip system at as young as 4 mos. to assess her chances of being dysplastic. Speak to your veterinarian and follow his/her advice.

If your puppy's parents were both OFA certified free of hip and elbow dysplasia, that will improve the odds that your puppy will be just fine. Your breeder should be able to provide you with copies of the certifications on the parents.

Meanwhile, feed your pup a good quality food, keep her weight gain suitable to her growth, do not over exercise her nor give her supplements, unless directed to do so by your veterinarian for medical reasons.

The majority of gangly puppies grow up to be healthy, strong adults. Keep that in mind as you enjoy her puppyhood.

Q18. There is a black lab in our neighborhood that we feel is being neglected. The dog lives in a cage in his backyard.

What is the ethical procedure for approaching the owner? We don't know the owner. Would it be animal control, lab rescue in the area...? Not sure which way to turn, but we don't want the owner to know who turned him in.

Again, we are not sure of the situation, but it doesn't look good to us.

Any information or suggestions you have would be helpful.[18]

A18. Our best advice is not to approach the owner as a private citizen but rather use your town or county Animal Control agency.

If indeed the owner of this Labrador retriever is in violation of animal welfare laws in your county and the dog is removed from the premises and sheltered, only after the owner loses or gives up rights to the dog, will Rescue be able to step in. At least this would be the process in most jurisdictions.

We sincerely hope this situation is resolved in the best interests of the Labrador retriever.

Q19. We have a 9 month old purebred yellow lab. We would like to breed her in another year or two. When will she go into heat for the first time?[19]

A19. A Labrador retriever bitch can have her first heat as early as 6 mos. of age, as late as 2 yrs. of age or at any time inbetween. After the first heat, cycles can occur as often as every 4 mos. or as infrequently as every 9 mos.

We encourage you to be sure she has the necessary health certifications (hips, elbows and eyes at the very least) prior to breeding her.

Q20. I live in Ontario, Canada. If possible, could you please tell me if there is a breeder of either Black, Blonde or Brown labs in our area or close surrounding areas?[20]

A20. The Labrador Retriever Club, Inc. is a member club of the American Kennel Club. At the moment we have no Canadian breeders listed with our Breeder's Directory.

We suggest you contact either the Labrador Retriever Club of Canada at their website, www.labrador-canada.com/ or the Labrador Owner's Club, whose membership is concentrated in the eastern area of Canada. The LOC website is at www.labradorowners.com.

Just a point of information, in the world of Labradors, the 3 colors are referred to as Black, Yellow and Chocolate

Q21. I have a 5 month old Chocolate Labrador pure breed, and she is getting alot of what I would call grey hair, most of it seems to be in her tail but there is some along her back, they are quite coarse and the ones on the back fall out quickly, but the ha...ir in the tail does not. I am curious to know what would cause this, or if this is a serious problem.[21]

A21. Though the Labrador Retriever is known as a dog of solid color, occasional odd patches or splashes of color do appear at the age your chocolate Labrador is now. Not being able to see the coat, we cannot tell you with certainty what the cause is except to say it is most probably not a medical or health condition.

White or gray hair is often more coarse than the usual black, yellow or chocolate coat in which it appears. If this white hair is in the top or outer coat of your pup, it could be the hair of the puppy coat dying off just prior to shedding. It could be the formation of splashing in the coat and might be permanent. Many solid colored Labradors have areas of "stray" white hairs in their coat. If the white is appearing in the softer, undercoat, it might well be a permanent coloring that will only show when you pup sheds. It is unusual, but not unheard of, for the undercoat to be of different shades, even different colors then that of the top coat.

In any case, it is certainly no indication that your Labrador is anything but a purebred Labrador retriever. Time will tell best what will be the permanent coloring of the adult coat. Whatever the reason, it is genetic in origin.

Q22. I was wondering if someone could help me trace a labrador pedigree. We have a copy of his pedigree but it only goes back three gererations. I was wondering if anyone could help me go back another two generations in the pedigree. I have the registration ...numbers of the dogs that I need traced.[22]

A22. The Labrador Retriever Club, Inc. is the parent club of the breed in the United States. However, LRC, Inc. is not a registry nor the keeper of the stud book. Those duties fall to the American Kennel Club, Inc. www.akc.org.

The AKC does charge for certified pedigrees. A less expensive method for finding pedigree information would be to join one of the Labrador retriever-oriented lists such as are hosted by yahoogroups.com. Once signed on, you can post an inquiry.

Q23. I was hoping someone could help me answer on what the coloration is on my puppy ? He has hazel eyes, a pinkish nose and his lips and under his eyes is pink. Is he what someone refered to as a Dudley or is he considered fox-red. I have been trying to resear...ch this but just keep getting more confused.

Yellow NBP[23]

A23. Your Labrador retriever pup appears to be dark yellow with Dudley pigment. There is some possibility he may be fox red (a variant of yellow) but it is difficult to determine fox red from dark yellow in most photographs save those taken by a professional. Fox reds do have pigment which is an extremely dark brown, so dark it is difficult to differentiate from black.

In any case, the Dudley pigment does disqualify him from competing in the conformation ring but has no effect on his entering other events such as Hunting Retriever tests, obedience trials and Agility. It certainly has no effect on his ability to become everything else a Labrador retriever should be and surely has no effect on your love for him.

We hope you have many happy years with your new Labrador retriever, regardless of his color.

Q24. I have a one year old Chocolate fem lab. She is a great dog IF she's not around my kids (boys 5 & 3). We raised labs when I was a kid but I have NEVER known a lab to act the way she does around them. She nips (often breaking the skin slightly), she act...s jealous, she bully's them and ambushes them as they run by. Mostly she bites (nips) on the hand or on the back of the foot. I'm concerned. The last thing she did was knock my 3 year old half way down our stairs in an effort to beat him down stairs and out the door.[24]

A24. Your problem is not uncommon in families with young children and a puppy.

Your puppy/young dog is treating your children as members of its "litter".

The solution is threefold.

  1. Puppies/dogs and children should never be allowed to interact unsupervised.
  2. The children should be taught how to behave around a pup or dog. They should be taught not to run, flail their arms or legs, not to get down onto the floor or ground with the animal and not to screech as children are wont to do. All those activities excite the dog and Labradors, being retrievers, do tend to get in there and get mouthy.
  3. The puppy should be obedience trained, usually by taking it to a reputable training class. You should also have a crate where the dog can go and be in quiet if the children are playing in the house. If a crate is not available, a room, such as the kitchen, should be gated off so the dog and children do not interfere with each other to such a degree as to produce the unacceptable behavior. Outdoors, if you have a private yard, there should be an area fenced off (no more than 10 x 10' is necessary) where the dog can be safely out of the way when the children are outside playing. Needless to say the area should have shade and the dog should have access to water and shelter.
It is not too late to correct the situation but it will take discipline, a commitment of time and consistent demand for certain behaviors and correction if those behaviors are not forthcoming from either dog or children.

Q25. What is necessary for your lab to be ranked in Obedience and Agility, and is there a way to find this list?[25]

A25. In order to be ranked in AKC obedience and agility one must compete at AKC trials.
Rankings are published in several sources.
Front and Finish, the national publication, does all-breed rankings and dividing the breeds by group.
Labrador Quarterly publishes rankings of Labrador Retrievers.
Other breeds have their publication sources.

Q26. We have had two Labs. Both have been smaller dogs compared to some Labs I've seen. Another owner of a Lab explained that there are two types. One type being the smaller, a "field" Lab. The larger Lab being a "show" Lab. Could you please explain the di...fference?[26]

A26. What is the difference between a "field" style and "show" style? Breeder/owner preference for performance ability within a given venue.

The breed has one standard (to read, click on: Breed Standard). World-wide, the basic standard is the same.

The breed was developed in Great Britain. Depending on the area in which the original kennels were located, the Labrador was developed for the terrain/weather in which it worked. On this continent, the original imports reflected those English dogs.

Until the 1970's there was little difference between the Labrador seen in the show and the Labrador seen in the field. Then in England, the offspring of one black dog caught everyone's eye in the showring. This dog was prepotent for a particular style and judges and conformation breeders liked it. In a short time, dogs and bitches of that style were imported onto this continent and his influence was quickly and forever felt.

In the field, the Labrador reigns supreme. His retrieving ability is unsurpassed. Breeders whose interests lie in field work, naturally stress ability when they plan breedings. The dogs best at passing on that ability had structure that while perhaps closer to the original dual dogs, was sometimes leggier, less substantial than the original dog.

Whether looking at a "field" dog or a "show" dog, one realizes that both ends of the spectrum have departed from the "moderate" Labrador. Interestingly, one can still find both styles within the same litter, be it a "show-bred" or a "field-bred" litter. To many conformation breeders, the less substantial become "companion quality" and to the field breeder, the more substantial, along with the less driven also become "companion quality". Then the companion buyer decides to breed their Labrador and the rest helps explain the wide variety of style.

While it is easy to describe the Labrador as a 2-style dog, it is more complicated than that. In England, there are the field and show dogs but their field dogs do differ from our field dogs and our showdogs differ in what you see at the Specialty shows and what you see at the all-round shows.

This, I think, is why the Labrador is as popular as it is. Aside from its working abilities, its intelligence, good nature and general good health, there is a style to fit virtually anyone's preference.

Q27. We have recently purchased kayaks and would like to include our lab in the fun. Unlike the canoe, you can't put him in the boat with you. We are thinking about buying him a pfd so that he can come with, and not worry about how long we stay out. I am wond...ering if you know of anyone who has one, or can recommend a site where I can research them?[27]

A27. While the Labrador is a premier water dog, it is not a good idea to think of the dog being in water, even assisted by a pfd, for more than a few minutes at a time. Retrievers actually spend most of the time on shore, waiting for the birds to be downed, then swim only enough to retrieve those birds.

Dogs in water swim but, even with a pfd, they do not understand the concept of "floating". Swimming builds body heat. In the hunting situation, this helps keep the dog warm as hunting is usually done in late autumn or early winter months. At any other time of the year, excessive water activity can put the dog in danger of heat exhaustion. The dog can only dissipate heat by panting or through its foot pads. Humans are cooled by water activity, dogs are heated by it.

The coat of the Labrador is such that it is supposed to keep water away from the skin, as well as cold and hot air. Long periods in water will soak the coat, the water will get to the skin. Because the coat is insulation, as it dries, any water on the skin can be trapped and eventually create "hot spots", ugly raw sores which require some medical attention.

Even if you are kayaking a small river and the dog is running on land, either you will have to stop often, or, again, the dog will exhaust himself. Also don't forget your lack of control should the dog find itself in a threatening situation.

We suggest that while kayaking, your Labrador stay at home to greet you with enthusiasm on your safe return. Then take the Labrador down to the water and throw bumpers for him to enjoy retrieving.

Q28. I have a yellow Lab that I rescued from the pound about 3 years ago. She is approx 7 years old and very loving. I do not know her past life, but she has broken my gate, fence, etc. numerous times and has gotten out only to hurt her paws by scratching ...at the surfaces. Thankfully my neighbors know her and have contacted me when she gets out. I have constantly been fixing the areas to keep her in, only to have her get out again. I do not know what I can do to keep her in. It seems that any fireworks put her over the edge. I have gotten doggie downers to calm her. She is great with my cat and loves people. She has a little trouble with other big dogs, so I keep her at a distance.

Do you have any suggestions. I do not want her to keep hurting herself and getting out and getting hit by a car.[28]

A28. We applaud you for taking a Labrador out of a shelter and providing a loving home for her. Unfortunately, as you have discovered, sometimes issues we don't expect come with the dog. Your dog appears to suffer what is termed "separation anxiety."

This forum is not equipped to deal with such a problem. It requires someone who can observe and interact with the dog and talk one on one with you regarding suggested remedies.

Ask your veterinarian or at the shelter if they can refer you to an Animal Behaviorist. They may try to connect you with an obedience instructor but that person is not qualified sufficiently to deal with such a problem. Really, this problem is not a question of obedience, it is a question of the dog's mental health.

You might try consulting with Tufts Veterinary hospital's animal behaviorists. This can be done through Petfax. For information on use of Petfax, go to: http://www.tufts.edu/vet/petfax/.

We are sorry we cannot do more to help.

Q29. I am very curious about the statement on your website regarding members not being able to use a CH before their dog's names unless they have a WC.

The AKC doesn't recognize the WC and does allow the use of the CH before the dog's name if the requirem...ents are met.[29]

A29. The requirement for LRC members to put a WC on their CH. Labradors was put in the Constitution and By-laws back in the days when the Labrador was primarily exhibited in field trials and was meant to encourage those that participated in conformation shows to not neglect the working aspects of the breed in their breeding programs. True, the LRC, Inc. could not enforce the requirement, it still cannot, but members of the club lived up to the spirit of the rule, despite of its having no 'teeth'.

You will please note that Article VI, Sect. 1 says " shall also receive a Working Certificate or the equivilant as defined in the article ." Section 2 goes on to define the rquirement for a Working Certificate. In today's world of conformation exhibiting, with the advent of Hunting Retriever tests, NAHRA tests and the huge popularity of the breed fostering competition among breeders, many conformation breeders have recognized the advantage of proving the working ability of their stock. Certainly the Junior Hunting title or the NAHRA started title fulfill the requirement of Section 1.

So, in effect, LRC members, as well as non-members who, attain the AKC working titles on their dogs are following the spirit of Article VI.

Q30. How do you housetrain a 10 week old yellow labrador puppy? We take her outside every 20 to 30 minutes, and she does both jobs, we bring her in and about ten minutes later she pees or poops in the house. Could you please let us know what to do or if we are... doing something wrong.[30]

A30. A puppy needs to go out when first waking in the morning, after each meal, sleep period and the very last thing before overnight.

You should not, at 10 wks. of age, be giving the pup free rein of the home. Most successful house training is done either by gating off one small room, such as the kitchen, where the pup can be watched carefully for signs she is about to eliminate; or the use of a crate. Dogs like their nests clean. A crate is a dog's "room". They try very hard to avoid soiling their room.

The FAQ page is not geared to give advice about ongoing training such as house training. We suggest you visit your local book store and select a book on dog training, which includes house-training. Two books you might look at are: Labrador Retrievers for Dummies and Good Owners, Great Dogs by Brian Kilcommons.

Both books focus on raising a pup from the beginning and give helpful hints, not only to avoid mistakes but correct them.

Q31. I'll just ask if the labs from insert breeder here labs located in insert location here is good, because I'm looking for a good responsible breeder.[31]

A31. Congratulations on your efforts to connect with a responsible, experienced breeder of Labrador Retrievers.

Insert breeder here may be listed in our Breeder's Directory.
or
Insert breeder here is not listed in our Breeder's Directory.

The Labrador Retriever Club, Inc. does not "rate" breeders, nor recommend one breeder over others.

Finding a breeder from whom to purchase a pup is as personal as finding a family physician. Visit the breeder, see the dogs they produce. You and the breeder must make the decision as to whether or not there is to be a breeder-owner relationship

Q32. I have a male lab (yellow) and want to stud him out with no luck so far any suggestions?[32]

A32. In the world of animal breeding, it is the owner of the female who has the options of choosing the male to which the female is to be bred. There are literally hundreds of well-bred, titled Labradors available for the choosing.

Have you had your yellow male's hips and elbows x-rayed and certified by OFA to be free of hip and elbow dysplasia? Have you had, and will you continue to have, his eyes examined yearly by a Board certified veterinary ophthalmologist to be sure he is free of hereditary eye problems and is certified by CERF?

Have you trained him for any sort of competition.....conformation, obedience, hunting-retriever tests.....shown him to prove he has qualities that are worthy of passing on to the next generation? Has he gained any titles proving he is the equal of other superior Labrador retriever males who are standing at stud? Have his achievements been advertised in Labrador retriever oriented publications?

All these are the minimum perequisites for standing a dog at stud. No breeder (owner of the female) will choose a dog which fails to have these minimum requirements.

Have you read the standard for the breed? (see the Breed Standard). Looking with a cold, calculating eye, does your male fit the standard for the breed?

If you can answer yes to all the queries, then all you can do is sit back and wait for the phone to ring.

Q33. Sirs, I have misplaced the registration papers on my yellow Labrador dog. I would like another copy, please as I am going to breed with him.[33]

A33. This matter can only be handled by the Registrations Department of the American Kennel Club, Inc. Visit the AKC website at www.akc.org. Click on Registrations. You will find further information, addresses and telephone numbers to help you.

Q34. Do labs get along with cats and other dogs? What if you if you raised a kitten and a lab puppy together?[34]

A34. Well bred, properly socialized Labrador Retriever pups and adults learn to get on very well with a whole variety of other animals. Many breeders of Labradors have other breeds of dogs in their homes as well as cats and caged birds. Many Labrador owners have domesticated farm animals....horses, sheep, chickens and yes, even ducks and geese on their property. Introduced early, on a leash, and trained by the owner, Labradors quickly learn to live and let live with other species.

Q35. Are there types of labs that are less boxy than others? My sister has an AKC registered golden lab but her head and frame isn't as boxy as some labs I've seen. Someone told me there are 2 types of labs, boxy or more sleek.[35]

A35. Yes, there are variations of body and head style within the breed.
Your sister's yellow Labrador retriever has inherited a particular head and body structure from Labradors that make up her pedigree.

There are many well-bred Labradors who possess more or less substance of body, depending on their genetic background and the purpose for which their forebearers were bred.

Q36. I am just wondering if you know anything about a type of lab called a Loffenhuv? My mother rescued a lab last week and her papers have her down as a lorder.[36]

A36. How nice of your mother to open her heart and her home to a dog in need.
We suggest your mother contact the rescue organization and ask them if this designation, "loffenhuv" is their shorthand for some facts about this particular dog.

The Labrador retriever's breed name is Labrador retriever and nothing more. Some Labradors may be talked about using the name of the kennel that bred or owned them, i.e. "Oh yes, he is a Squeegie Labrador", indicating the dog was bred or owned by Sqeegie kennels. But, factually, a Labrador retriever is a Labrador retriever.

Q37. I have talked to several different breeders in my area and have not been getting the same answers from them all. Therefore I wanted to ask you. Here are a few of the questions that I would like cleared up if you can please.
  1. Should the la...b pups have the Dew Claws removed prior to my purchase ? If so, why is this important ?
  2. At what age should the breeder stop breeding the Dam?
  3. Should two Choc Labs be bred together? Ive been told NO and also that it didnt matter. What is the correct answer here?
  4. When looking at the parents, will the male pups more likely resemble the Sire, and female pups more like the Dam?
  5. Should the newborns be kept INdoors?
  6. I recently visited a lab breeder in my area and the pups ( 4 weeks ) had ticks all over them , water bowls were filthy, keeping area was scattered with trash, and the mother was 14 yrs old ( per her papers ) ..... your comment to this situation?
[37]

A37. We will answer your queries in the order you posed them.
  1. Removal of dewclaws is the choice of the individual breeder. Many breeders believe that so long as the dewclaw is small and tight to the leg, they should be left on. Many take them off as a matter of course, citing elimination of a source of possible future injury. Each side has good reasons why they do one or the other.
  2. If the breeder is registering his litters with the American Kennel Club, Inc., the AKC will not grant registration for a litter whose dam was over 12 years old at the time of mating (see www.akc.org - Rules Applying to Registration, Chapter 3, Section 5). Most reputable breeders will not breed a bitch who is beyond her 9th birthday. Breeding a bitch at any time in her reproductive years is considered only after a thorough evaluation of her general health, condition and quality of offspring she may have produced as the result of past breedings.
  3. There is nothing wrong with breeding chocolate to chocolate. Many breeders do it but believe that every few generations an infusion of genes from a black (either a genetically dominant black or black carrying for chocolate) keeps the chocolate color rich and deep. The one breeding combination that most breeders of chocolate-coated Labradors prefer to avoid is chocolate to yellow.
  4. Not necessarily. Many long time breeders believe that the pups in the litter will more often resemble their four grandparents, rather than their two parents. While males pups generally will look masculine and female pups look feminine, their features may not be that of the parent or grandparent of the same gender. And there are a few pups who will mature into what breeders refer to as "doggy bitches" or "bitchy dogs". Dealing with a breeder of long experience more than likely will afford you the chance to see not only the dam of the litter, perhaps also a granddam or sire or grandsire. Certainly many breeders will have photographs of many of the litter's forebearers available for you to see.
  5. Depending on the weather conditions, puppies should be kept well sheltered, where air temperature can be controlled and exposure to insects avoided, for the well being of the pups and their dam. Most reputable, knowledgeable breeders do keep pups indoors until at least 4 weeks of age, again depending on weather conditions. Even then, access to the outdoors is periodic during the day. Pups are usually brought indoors for the night hours. "Indoors" refers to either a room in or adjoining the home, set aside for the purpose of housing the pups and their dam or an area within a kennel building with controlled indoor/outdoor access.
  6. We will not comment on specific situations. Suffice it to say any reliable source of information or instruction regarding the purchase of puppies advises the buyer to select puppies which come from accomodations that are maintained in a sanitary manner; that the pups appear well-socialized; that the puppies be clean and healthy looking without discharge from nose, ears or eyes; no signs of diarrhea or other dirt on the skin or coat or any visible signs either on the body or activity or lack thereof, that their health is/could be compromised; that the breeder provide proof of up to date wormings and innoculations and examination prior to sale by a licensed veterinarian. As for the age of the bitch....if indeed that is her true age, the pups will not be AKC registered (see #2)
The Labrador Retriever Club, Inc., is the single organization officially recognized by the American Kennel Club as the national parent club of the Labrador Retriever. The Labrador Retriever Club, Inc., was incorporated in October 1931, in the state of New York, and is not affiliated with any other association titled or claiming to be the National Labrador Retriever Club.