How To Adopt a Labrador Puppy from Ashstone Kennels
Puppy Sales Agreement and Guarantee
The Best Time To Adopt A Pet
Your New Labrador Retriever
Shipping Labrador Retriever
Coat Colour Inheritance Chart
|Ashstone's Crystal Animation||Can. Ch. Ashstone's Buck At Lab Lodge|
~ Nancy E. Holmes
You should expect to put both time and effort into your search for your Labrador Retriever. Remember, this dog will be a member of your family for up to 15 years--it is worth waiting for the right one. Think of the time you spend buying a car and, remember, it stays in the garage. Put at least that much time into buying the dog that will live in your home, play with your children, possibly sleep on your bed.
Begin by educating yourself about the breedand make sure it is the one for you. Go to Ashstone's Bookstore for our recommendations on books about Labrador Retrievers.
Even if you want a family pet, go to local dog shows to see and interact with many Labradors to get an idea of what you like. The CKC web site lists shows & trial events
Visit the CKC web site to gather information about dog ownership.
Next, decide if you want a puppy or an adult.
Every breeder should have a breed standard on hand and they should be able to point out major, minor and disqualifying faults.
They should be aware of the major breed problems. Every breed has some. These are problems that occur in the breed with more or less frequency that all decent breeders try to eradicate. Labradors have problems with Hip Dysplasia (CHD), Elbow Dysplasia, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and to a lesser extent Epilepsy and Heart Disease.
The breeder should know their own pedigrees well. They should know the faults their own lines may carry. All lines have some faults. They should be willing to put in writing what they will do if your puppy develops any of these problems.
Ask for proof of any testing the breeder has claimed to have done. Ask to see the OFA papers to prove their dogs have been x-rayed free of Hip Dysplasia AND Elbow Dysplasia. If they do not have the OFA rating, they should still have proof from a veterinarian that their dogs have been x-rayed and found free of CHD and ED. Be aware that a majority of vets do not know what dysplastic hips actually look like on x-ray. What they may feel looks normal, the OFA would consider dysplastic. If they cannot produce these papers, (on both parents), do not buy the puppy. Do not be taken in with lines such as "my dog has never limped" or "my vet said it was unnecessary". If a breeder claims to never have bred a problem, either they haven't been breeding very long or are stretching the truth. EVERY breeder will produce a problem sooner or later, no matter how careful you are in planning a litter.
Also ask to see all certification that the parents have been checked within the last 12 months for PRA. A regular veterinarian cannot check for this, it must be done by a Canine Ophthalmologist (dog eye doctor). These veterinarians usually have the initials ACVO (American College of Veterinary Opthalmology) somewhere after their name. Again, if they cannot produce these papers (on both parents), do not buy the puppy. Breeding stock must be checked yearly for their eyes. Again, beware of excuses.
Ask for references such as past puppy buyers, other breeders, trainers, vets, breed club affiliations, etc. Then follow up on the references.
Beware of the hard sell breeder or the one who appears too willing to part with their puppies. Decisions to sell a puppy should not be made based on telephone conversations alone. A reputable breeder will be keen on interviewing you.
Breeders should provide some sort of written instructions on caring for your new puppy. Most will give you 48-72 hours to have the puppy checked by your own vet and if necessary return or exchange the pup.
Puppies should not be released to their new homes before 7 weeks of age and should have had their first set of vaccinations (Parvo/Distemper). If the puppy is older, vaccinations should be completely up to date.
To protect your rights, ensure that the sales contract indicates the breed of dog, that is is pure-bred and eligible for registration by the American Kennel Club, Canadian Kennel Club, United Kennel Club or which other registry the breeder is claiming.
Ask to see the contract/guarantee before you leave a deposit or purchase the puppy. Some guarantees/contracts give the puppy buyer the run-around and don't actually cover anything. Some make the puppy buyer put down/euthanize the dog before the breeder will pay off on even a case of mild dysplasia. READ THE CONTRACT THOROUGHLY
Ask to see the dam (mother) and the sire as well if he is on the premises. Beware of the breeder who either doesn't allow you to see the dam or says the dam is not there. This person might not be the actual breeder but someone who buys whole litters for resale.
Be aware that AKC/CKC/UKC registration (or any other registry) does not mean quality. It only means that your dog is a pure-bred. Remember, "Pet Quality" puppies should be considered as just that! Even litters from very well bred parents usually contain only a few "show or breeding" quality puppies. The rest of the litter, sold as pets can well supply the pet-buying public without any lessening of the breed standards, providing that the buyers realize that, while pure-bred, these individuals are not breeding stock. You might not be able to tell the difference between a "show or breeding quality" and a "pet
quality" dog, but there are differences. Your pet will still be a delightful companion, but it might have some minor "fault" not desirable in a breeding animal. Spayed and neutered dogs make better family companions and their chances for some cancers are lessened. In fact most reputable breeders will insist that pets be sold on a spay/neuter contract or on a limited registration.