Breeding Your Labrador?

Breeding quality Labrador Retrievers is a costly and time-consuming undertaking if done properly. Responsible breeders plan litters carefully to maintain standards and achieve improvement. You should become informed on the various medical conditions, appropriate health clearances, and the Official Standard for the breed before deciding to breed your Labrador. You should also evaluate your dog's temperament and trainability.

Breeding a Male

Normally, breeders do not offer bitches to be bred to unproven stud dogs. Breeders look for stud dogs with titles that reflect their accomplishments. Breeders have a choice of stud dogs from anywhere in the U.S., or the world, thanks to the advent of chilled and frozen semen. Responsible breeders will require health exam clearances appropriate for the breed.

Breeding a male for the following reasons is inappropriate:
•  “For the ‘good’ of the dog”
•  Trying to duplicate your dog without recommended health clearances, and temperament and trainability evaluations
•  For financial reasons

Breeding a Bitch
Please remember that breeding a bitch always presents a risk to her that could lead to serious health issues or even an untimely death.

Breeding a bitch for the following reasons is inappropriate:
•  “For the ‘good’ of the bitch”
•  To educate children on live birth
•  For financial reasons

Before opting to breed your Labrador, you should visit the following websites for important information on hereditary medical conditions that affect Labrador Retrievers and the proper clearances for both parents prior to breeding. At a minimum, responsible breeders will screen all of their breeding stock for these conditions.

These organizations have tests breeders use for screening:

•  Orthopedic Foundation For Animals (OFFA), evaluation and certification of hips and elbows. The dog must have x-rays taken by a veterinarian of its hip and elbow joints. The x-rays are taken according to OFA protocol and submitted to OFA for evaluation.

•  Companion Animal Eye Registry (CAER) issues registration numbers for the results of eye examinations performed by a veterinary ophthalmologist accredited by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmology. The examination must be done within one year of any breeding. Owners of breeding bitches and stud dogs should continue to have an
annual CERF exam for late onset hereditary eye disease. The CEAR database is maintained by the OFFA.

•  Optigen, assesses the genetic predisposition for Progressive Retinal Atrophy, a genetic condition which will render a dog blind. This is a DNA test to determine if the dog is genetically clears, a carrier, or potentially affected with PRA. This is a blood test that many breeders use as part of their screening process. Blood can be drawn, prepared and shipped by your veterinarian according to Optigen protocol.