Purebred Lab puppies – Are we helping or hurting the Labrador Retriever breed?

Do I want a puppy or a full grown Lab?

The recent protest by PETA during the Wesminster dog show highlights a serious concern among dog owners. By using dog breeders, what are we doing to our pets?

The PETA argument suggests that by buying pets from breeders, rather than adopting from shelters, many pets are unnecessarily euthanized every year. Another argument, such as the one made in this BBC documentary (http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=44215931) suggests that by buying pets from breeders, we are encouraging breeds to develop traits that are unhealthy for them, or even potentially fatal.

Of course, we love our Labrador Retrievers, but how can we make sure that we’re making the best decision when it comes to buying a Lab puppy, Vs. rescuing a fully grown Lab? Well, for starters, many people should realize that adopting a lab may not always be in the best interests of the dog. They should also consider that buying a puppy from an unethical breeder will only encourage unethical behavior. You are not ‘saving’ dogs by buying them from petshops or puppy mills, you are only encouraging bad business practices. So how do we know what is best? Well, there are a few guidelines that may serve as a starting point:

It’s best to buy from a reputable Lab breeder if:

  • You have another grown dog that may not get along with a rescue dog. Puppies can socialize more easily.
  • You have small children in your home, or children that come to visit
  • You don’t have the experience to deal with pre-existing issues or problems

However, if these conditions don’t apply to you, a rescue lab may be more appropriate. Look into rescuing if:

  • You don’t have other pets or children
  • You are prepared to love an older dog

Lab and her pup

Choosing a ‘reputable’ breeder can be very hard. Some show dogs may sire hundreds of litters of puppies during their lifetime. The best way to get an idea of the possible health and personality of a puppy is to look at both parents (who should not be related). If a breeder is willing to let you meet one or both parents, then you can get a good idea of potential congenital problems. If a breeder will not discuss lineage with you, then it’s a big red flag. Also, if the health of your dog is your primary concern, be sure you’re aware of your puppy’s history going back at least a couple of generations.

Also be sure that all dogs the breeder owns are in good health. It’s a good indicatory that your new family addition will be, too.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Lsmith says:

    Really interesting post, I think they are a lot of great reasons to buy from lab puppy breeders if you’d rather have a purebred puppy than one from a shelter. If you buy from a breeder, you can get very specific with what color, gender, age, etc you want from your puppy which is a huge benefit to most people.

  2. Lori says:

    We got a 9 week-old black lab that someone had bought for his sister for Christmas, only to discover that she was allergic to her. She is an adorable puppy, growing quickly (has already doubled her weight in 5 weeks) and is really smart. We had full intentions of getting a registered pup from a friend who is a breeder, until we found our Chloe.

  3. admin says:

    Congratulations on your new addition. The first year is the most challenging, but you can’t resist a puppy. Just make sure that you puppy gets exercise daily. A bored dog can be a destructive dog. My labs are now 2 and 4 years old, and have added so much to our lives.

    I noticed that you wrote from Canada. We will be posting an article on protecting your lab from winter weather in the next day or so.

    Thanks for logging onto our website and congratulations again.