Question about yellow labs

carmen_grower_2007May 31, 2008

We hurriedly put a deposit on a yellow lab puppy and am now having reservations. The pups were 4 weeks old and I just got a glance at the mother. The dad was beautiful but the mother didn't look like a full bred lab even though they claim both dogs are AKC registered and we will get 'papers' with the pup.

They want the pups out of there at 6 weeks which I feel is early. Will they be properly socialized by that time? She is already starting to wean them. Is it normal for the pups to have blue eyes? Do they change like a baby's?

Questions, questions. We have never had a pure bred dog before and I know nothing about the whole registration thing.

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I believe you should look back on a few generations. They should have the parents' and grandparents' papers?

I don't think puppy's eyes change color like kittens do. Chocolate labs have hazel eyes.

More important than what they look like is their disposition and health. You want to make sure there is no dysplasia in the genes.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 9:42AM
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Puppies at 6 weeks will do just fine without there mother. Labs like all purebred dogs have an AKC standard, however many "purebred" dogs that I have seen do not fit this standard. But still turn out to be great dogs! If it is very important to you to have a Lab that looks like the "standard" Lab then you might want to ask for your deposit back, or just take your chances. Yellow labs should not have blue eyes according to the AKC standards, but I do not know if they change as they get older. However there are many traits that sometimes show up that are not desirable or accepted by the AKC. An example is the White German Shepard Dog, AKC does not accept this color as a GSD color for the show ring but will still issue AKC papers to this color. The dog is still a purebred dog, it is just not an accepted color. Many people like the White GSD and will breed to get it. In some countries the White GSD is a separate breed. Responsible breeders generally will not continue breeding dogs that produce unwanted traits, like blue eyes when that breed should not have blue eyes. Labs have been over bred for many years, and to many people have not been selective about what dogs they breed. So you can have a Yellow Lab with blue eyes, it is still a purebred dog, but it does not have the AKC standard traits. This however does not say that the dog that you are getting is a purebred dog, you might want to go back and talk to the owner a little more and check out the mother better. Also remember many female dogs have a more feminine appearance than a male will so female Labs and male Labs will sometimes look different.

The AKC papers that you will receive are very simple as long as you can read what is on the paper you can fill it out.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 11:06AM
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I love labs, I've had a black lab, but they have been so inbred at this time due to their popularity, I think you might be better off getting a mixed pup, with some lab in it, but a mixture. Our lab had every problem known to labs, epilepsy, cancer, etc., and it was heartbreaking to see. She had papers, but that doesn't mean they are well nor carefully bred.

Now we have a mixed dog, who is beautiful, good natured and so far very healthy. No papers but obviously not inbred as she is so mixed.

I just believe you will have fewer health problems with a mixed dog, and as you are having second thoughts about this situation, I thought I'd throw in my thoughts.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 12:52PM
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You need to make sure that both parents have been tested for hip and elbow displasia (done by x-ray) and any other diseases that are common in the breed. This dog will be with your family for (hopefully!) over 10 years so it's not something you want to rush into. On top of the testing you also want to know about their temperament, if the breeder keeps track of puppies once they go into their new homes so they know about any health or temperament issues that develop (and hopefully share that info with you).

In my opinion, 6 weeks is too young to send them away. There are many crucial things that puppies learn from their siblings and mother, including bite inhibition and polite doggie behaviour. In addition to this the breeder should be socializing them with new people (little, big, young, old, quiet, noisy), they should be in the house and exposed to all the regular things (vacuum cleaners, microwaves beeping, movies with loud noises, etc), walk on different types of surfaces, etc. Puppies learn SO MUCH in their early days and a good breeder will do all these things and more. If you don't already know about this stuff, call and find out.

Of course once the puppy comes home to you, the job to continue socializing them is passed to you, but you can never make up for the early days so it's crucial that they give them a good start.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 1:21PM
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A responsible breeder should not be selling the pups before the age of 8 weeks; the first 8 weeks are important both in socialization with the mother and with the other puppies, as Olga has stated. My father generally doesn't sell his puppies before 10 weeks, because it's difficult to tell before that age which pups will be good show dogs, and which are to be sold as pets.

Very young puppies, when they are first born may have blue eyes, as is common amongst many mammals, but it should quickly fade. If the puppies are already 4 weeks old, and still have blue eyes, I would be concerned -- that seems like a sign that they may have been poorly bred.

AKC papers are relatively easy to get by backyard breeders if they've managed to get two purebreds themselves. That does not mean that this is a responsible breeder that knows what they are doing. I could go out and get my hands on two purebred labs, and set up shop as a "breeder" -- it doesn't mean that I know what I'm doing, or that its in the best interests of the breed, or the individual dogs.

Everyone in this thread has already given you good advice -- make sure that the parents have been tested for hip dysplasia and other genetic defects common to the breed. This is an absolute MUST by breeders who work with certain breeds, and labs are one of those breeds -- if you go to the breeder, and they have not done this, then you know that you are working with a backyard breeder, not a responsible hobby breeder -- run away fast.

There are several websites out there that give good advice on what you should be seeing and dealing with when buying a puppy -- look these over, and if you're seeing certain red flags as relates to your breeder, then I'd start asking some serious questions, and if she isn't cutting it, then back out of the deal.

HOW TO FIND A QUALITY PUPPY AND REPUTABLE BREEDER This one is very good -- follows the same guidelines that my father (a breeder) does.

Buying a dog? Beware of Breeder Take a look at the 10 signs of a good breeder

Buying a puppy Annoying website design, but has good info if you click through the pages

Good Breeder Checklist From the Humane Society

Hope this info helps!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 5:11PM
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Thank you all. I have learned so much in the last couple of days and we are simply walking away from our deposit. After doing just a little research, we realized those puppies were extremely small and lethargic compared to others of the same age that we are seeing. That was enough right there to turn us off.

Thanks again. We will find our pup eventually.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 5:30PM
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Best of luck with your puppy search Carmen. A dog can bring you so much joy if it's stable (in temperament) and healthy, and so much sorrow and vet bills if it's not. It's really worth the time to find a good one.

Personally I have chosen to adopt rescue dogs, which brings it's own set of challenges and rewards. :)

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 10:46PM
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Wow, I am astonished (in a good way) that you were willing to admit that this was a mistake and walk away from your deposit. I think that takes a lot of heartfelt reflection and courage.

Perhaps you should ask yourself the following questions (they have no right or wrong answers, only your own preferences):

1. What type of dog do we want? This is partly about breed, but also partly about what you want to do with the dog. Do you want a ball-retrieving fool? an agility dog? very obedient? low-key or high energy? is shedding a concern? how much time do you have to devote to the dog/puppy? how much exercise can you realistically give the dog? Etc. There are questionnaires online that ask these sorts of questions and suggest appropriate breeds for your lifestyle, you might find them helpful.

2. Once you've figured out the type of dog you want, is it important to you that it be purebred and AKC registered? Is so, why? There are people who will argue for and against the purebred dogs, you should research it and decide for yourself if its important.

2a. Is it important to you to get a puppy or would an older dog be acceptable?

3. If you decide it is not important to have a purebred dog, then consider the sources - shelters, want ads, etc.

4. If it is important, would you consider breed-specific rescue?

5. If you decide you want a purebred puppy, then you need to research breeders to find one that is careful to breed for health and temperament as well as the breed-specific traits. There are breed clubs and other resources that can help you identify careful, caring breeders.

6. A good breeder will research YOU as thoroughly as you research him/her. They want to be certain their puppies are going to good homes, so they will ask a gazillion questions and might insist on a home visit (rescue groups may do the same).

Good luck with your search for the perfect puppy! I think you're very smart to be careful with your choice.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 11:26AM
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We are looking at the Labrador Retriever because we have checked out the breed and find it meets our needs. This will be the first time we have ever had a pure-bred dog. All others were shelter dogs and our latest wonderful companion of 16 years died two years ago.

We want a puppy only because we have two barn cats that are not going to be happy trying to live with an animal larger than they are. Also, we want to be the 'trainer' from the beginning in the dog's life. Another thought here is that it seems that shelter dogs today cost as much as many pure-breds. I feel this is very unfortunate since there are so many that need to be adopted. (Much like trying to adopt a baby. The cost involved makes it impossible for people who just can't afford it but would make great parents.)

We realize there are no guarantees whether the dog is pure-bred or mixed and this time around we will take our chances with a Lab.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 12:53PM
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Good luck with the hunt Carmen, I'm sure you'll find the right puppy with time. :) It sounds like the puppy will be a very lucky one indeed to go home with you.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 5:39PM
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You may want to look into a lab rescue group. Tons of labs out there looking for good homes.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 11:12AM
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Yes we did look at the 'tons of labs out there'. We weren't impressed because we didn't ever really know the background of the dogs. Also, we are retired and living on a fixed income. These rescue dogs cost more than a puppy that we can train and take our chances.

My daughter got a rescue Huskey that had been returned three times. Yes, she took it in. Now you might think that was a good thing, but I think the dog should have been euthanized after the first return. I just hope it won't hurt one of my grand-daughters. It is a very scary dog.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 12:50PM
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I won't comment on breeder vs. shelter/rescue. There are good and bad of both, as I'm sure you understand after your above experience with a not-so-responsible breeder and your boservations of your daughter's husky. I'm glad to see you walked away and hope you take this time to research what constitutes a responsible, ethical breeder with quality dogs. Just having "papers" ain't it!
However, I don't understand how a rescue/shelter dog can cost more than a puppy from a reputable breeder. A quality Lab from a responsible breeder will cost between $400 - $600. Puppy shots and spay/neuter will be at least another $200. Lab rescue generally has a $200-$300 adoption fee, depending on the age of the dog. Shelters are much less, generally $75-$150. The dog will have been vetted, spayed/neutered and started on heartworm and flea/tick preventative.
Rescue dogs are infinitely trainable and you have the advantage of NOT needing to wait for puppy to grow up to see his personality. I have nothing against breeders and own both purebred dogs from reputable breeders Australian Shepherd and Kuvasz) and purebred dogs (Kuvasz and border collie) as well as mixed breeds (Kuvasz/Pyr and lab/GSD)obtained from rescue. I guarantee you wouldn't be able to tell who came from where, except for the shepherd mix, who does look like a mutt, but acts like a champion.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 2:43PM
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Dogs tend to live in the now and the "background" isn't always that important for most dogs.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 2:46PM
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I'm surprised you are looking for a dog at all, if you really don't have your own health insurance and can't afford vet care as your other post suggests.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 4:08PM
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I think that a purebred puppy that's cheaper than a shelter dog probably comes from a seriously shady breeder or one that isn't doing the required health testing, etc.

Or perhaps you're looking at one of those "boutique" rescue groups? Although by the time you pay for the spay/neuter, vet checks, vaccines, etc. you'll probably end up in the same place, money wise. To give you an example, our female came from a pound and she only cost us $90, while our male came from a breed rescue and cost around $300. However the male was vetted (neutered, dental, vaccines, worming) while the female needed vaccines, to be spayed, a couple of vet visits (initial checkup and surgery follow-up). I believe in the end the $90 dog cost us more.

I know some folks are not interested in adopting non-puppy dogs. However, I personally believe that it is the safer way to go. When adopting an adolescent or adult dog you can plainly see their characteristics, aggression issues, etc. In a puppy you can't, and many can be passed off as "puppy behaviour" (biting, hiding behind your legs, etc). And yet many aggression and fear issues are genetic and "training them right" cannot overcome these. To me adult dogs are a known quantity, if you will.

FWIW, my two dogs were adopted at age 8 months and 5.5 years old and both are sweetie pies. I'm sorry that your daughter had such a bad experience - those kinds of dogs should NOT be adopted out (certainly not to a family with kids!) and give all rescue dogs a bad name. :(

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 4:49PM
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You said on another forum that you want a Redbone Coonhound.

On yet another you said I wouldn't pay for a pure-breed dog when I can get a wonderful mutt at the shelter.

A lot of people, myself included, tried to help you find a dog that would fit your lifestyle. Now we find out that you can't afford a vet, you allow your cats to roam to be food for the coyotes, and you contradict yourself as to purebreds vs. mutts and breed of dog. What's the story here?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 2:27PM
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As a yellow lab owner I just have to pipe in and say that, although wonderful, friendly, intelligent and loyal, most labs are a bit of a handful and require LOTS of exercise and training, just to be minimally well-behaved. They also eat anything and everything as pups, so I have vet insurance. We love our dog to bits, and he keeps us in shape with all the exercise, but it's been quite a lot of work, time, and effort, and yes, money. Although we have a big fenced yard, he doesnt just go out and run around by himself. I would say labs are not for everyone.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 3:05PM
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To prairie-love: First and foremost, you seem to have a rather unhealthy interest in my life. Hmmmm.

I never said I could not afford a vet and if one is necessary other than the regular yearly visit, we use them. We first did research on a Redbone Coonhound and realized that it was not the dog for us. After looking at the local shelters and realizing that we need a puppy (to socialize with the cats from the beginning) we find we might as well get a pure-bred dog. I have never had one before and have had great luck in my long life with shelter dogs. Now, however, the shelter/rescue dogs are too close to the price of a pure-bred and we like the attributes of a lab. Someone mentioned in another post that perhaps we couldn't train a very active dog like a lab. We we can train anything that comes to live with us.

As far as the cats go, we love them very much and they were altered as kittens. They are indoor/outdoor cats and we live on 58 acres. I never felt a cat was really content to stay indoors all the time - just not in their nature IMHO. Please people, this is the way we feel about cats ---- you won't change my mind on this one.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 5:29PM
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My "unhealthy interest" comes from the fact that someone else called you a troll on another thread. That makes me feel very taken advantage of for taking the time to write a thoughtful response to your initial query. To find out whether or not you are a troll, I searched some of your previous posts. I don't believe that you are a troll, but I do think that you came to this forum with a naive view if you think that people will agree with your approach to your cats. The issue about affording a vet comes from your other thread.

I'm sorry I took the unappreciated time to respond to this thread and I will not be posting on this one again.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 6:05PM
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