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    1. #1
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      pmsmith2032's Avatar
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      Looking for a New Lab Puppy next Spring/Summer

      I posted back in February looking for a lab puppy in May/June. After doing some further research my wife and I decided to wait another year (seems a lot of litters were already spoken for). So now I am starting to look for May/June 2018 (my wife is a school teacher and will be home for the summer). We are located in northern Illinois and would like to keep search to Midwest. Is around $1,000 a good price point. The dog will be primarily a family pet with a few hunting trips a year. Thanks!

    2. #2
      Chief Pooper Scooper
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      Plan on at least $1500 for a well bred lab.
      Jen & Tickle!
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    4. #3
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      I would look at your local breed club. They can help you out.

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    6. #4
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      I agree w/ Jen C on the minimum. Actually in my parts, most are now $1600- 1800 as a base price and $1000 will only get you a BYB (backyard bred-- none or minimal health clearances). Better to invest your $ upfront w/ a decent breeder imo.
      And yes, get on board now w/ your search. It's nothing for most of us to receive 5-7 inquiries per week on average and yet for someone like me (I only breed in the fall/ winter) so hopefully you can imagine what a nightmare it really is for the breeders too.
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    8. #5
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      Thanks all. I really appreciate the help. I guess I am a bit confused as to what constitutes a good breeder and what exactly I should be looking for. To me, titles, show awards and pedigrees don't mean much as we will not be breeding, competing or showing this lab. I do understand though that these titles, show awards and pedigrees are an indicator as to the future health, temperament and hunting ability of the puppies, but how much so? So I guess what I'm struggling with is what exactly should I be looking for and asking potential breeders when looking for a great family pet and occasional hunter? Do I really need to spend $1,500+ for such a dog or am I paying for the pup's pedigree?

      We currently have an 11 year old chocolate lab. I think we paid around $400 for her and she has been the best dog I could imagine to have our kids grow up with. She doesn't have a mean bone in her body and has been a part of our family for years. That being said, she does have bad hips (I knew from the time she was little and I noticed she "bunny hopped" when she ran). She has been on Glucosamine for years and still gets around okay but it is a struggle for her. She also has never been much of a hunter (would follow around behind me when I use to take her pheasant hunting). Would I trade her for another dog if we had to do it again....NO. But I would like to lesson the chances of health issues and find a bit of a better hunter in our next dog.

      By the way, I did find the site for our local Labrador club, Winnebago Labrador Retriever Club, and sent emails out to the breeders they have listed.

      Thanks again!

    9. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by pmsmith2032 View Post
      Thanks all. I really appreciate the help. I guess I am a bit confused as to what constitutes a good breeder and what exactly I should be looking for. To me, titles, show awards and pedigrees don't mean much as we will not be breeding, competing or showing this lab. I do understand though that these titles, show awards and pedigrees are an indicator as to the future health, temperament and hunting ability of the puppies, but how much so? So I guess what I'm struggling with is what exactly should I be looking for and asking potential breeders when looking for a great family pet and occasional hunter? Do I really need to spend $1,500+ for such a dog or am I paying for the pup's pedigree?

      We currently have an 11 year old chocolate lab. I think we paid around $400 for her and she has been the best dog I could imagine to have our kids grow up with. She doesn't have a mean bone in her body and has been a part of our family for years. That being said, she does have bad hips (I knew from the time she was little and I noticed she "bunny hopped" when she ran). She has been on Glucosamine for years and still gets around okay but it is a struggle for her. She also has never been much of a hunter (would follow around behind me when I use to take her pheasant hunting). Would I trade her for another dog if we had to do it again....NO. But I would like to lesson the chances of health issues and find a bit of a better hunter in our next dog.

      By the way, I did find the site for our local Labrador club, Winnebago Labrador Retriever Club, and sent emails out to the breeders they have listed.

      Thanks again!
      Pmsmith,
      Would ye buy a Mercedes Benz from some stranger ye met on the street dirt cheap knowing that it would be highly likely ye would be facing massive repair bills in just a matter o' a short time?
      The few hundreds o' dollars to get a Labrador Retriever pup from a reputable breeder that has sires and dams with well documented health clearances established and at your request may be fully reviewed is money wisely and well spent. The total money spent for the purchase of a quality bred pup is a minute fraction of what will be spent in the course o' the dog's lifetime when one considers providing quality food, veterinary care, training related expenses, shelter, etc., etc. Don't be pennywise and pound foolish in your consideration of costs related to the purchase price of a quality bred pup.

      Aligns yeself with a Labrador Club and pick the brains o' the members ye meet with regards to reputable breeders and their selective breeding programs. Above all, DO YOUR HOMEWORK prior to making a poor choice based on a snap decision and a "bargain basement price" that will likely cause you heartache and financial concerns down the road. As well, consider the lack of ethics of any breeder that does not do proper health clearances and brings substandard pups into this world solely for profit, pups that will likely suffer with genetic maladies that could have well been prevented via selective breeding practices.

      Good luck with your search and I hope this helps ye make wise decisions. Ye are already moving in the right direction by reaching out to those with more experience in this regard. Good on ye for that Mate.

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      Irishwhistler
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    11. #7
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      Hopefully you'll receive plenty of good info on what makes a breeder reputable. At minimum, each parent dog needs to have hips/elbows/eyes/EIC clearances AND be proven in some venue (conformation, companion events, field events, etc). This stacks the deck in your favor at getting a sound dog, in body and temperament.

      I did want to chime in about the cost of a well bred lab. I know costs are rising in many parts of the country and I know I plan to spend a good chunk of $$ on my next dog. BUT...there are a lot of lab litters being bred in the Midwest that would definitely check all the boxes if you are looking for a well bred, healthy, happy family dog for right around $1,000. A LOT of litters in the Midwest.

      The Winnebago club should be super helpful for you - if not, we can get you hooked up with someone in your area. But if you do your homework, you can definitely get a well bred dog with all the above clearances + some for $1,000 in the Midwest.

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    13. #8
      Senior Dog
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      Quote Originally Posted by pmsmith2032 View Post
      Thanks all. I really appreciate the help. I guess I am a bit confused as to what constitutes a good breeder and what exactly I should be looking for. To me, titles, show awards and pedigrees don't mean much as we will not be breeding, competing or showing this lab. I do understand though that these titles, show awards and pedigrees are an indicator as to the future health, temperament and hunting ability of the puppies, but how much so? So I guess what I'm struggling with is what exactly should I be looking for and asking potential breeders when looking for a great family pet and occasional hunter? Do I really need to spend $1,500+ for such a dog or am I paying for the pup's pedigree?

      We currently have an 11 year old chocolate lab. I think we paid around $400 for her and she has been the best dog I could imagine to have our kids grow up with. She doesn't have a mean bone in her body and has been a part of our family for years. That being said, she does have bad hips (I knew from the time she was little and I noticed she "bunny hopped" when she ran). She has been on Glucosamine for years and still gets around okay but it is a struggle for her. She also has never been much of a hunter (would follow around behind me when I use to take her pheasant hunting). Would I trade her for another dog if we had to do it again....NO. But I would like to lesson the chances of health issues and find a bit of a better hunter in our next dog.

      By the way, I did find the site for our local Labrador club, Winnebago Labrador Retriever Club, and sent emails out to the breeders they have listed.

      Thanks again!
      The short answer is that yes, you do need to spend the money for a dog that is most likely to act like a Labrador (biddable, friendly, birdy), look like a Labrador, and have the best chance at being free of heritable diseases/conditions. All the tests, awards, competition, pedigree study, has huge influences on the puppies produced.

      I tell people to budget $1500-$2000. Are there breeders who focus on health, temperament, performance who sell for $1000? Sure. I personally have people in my circle who belong to my same Labrador club who charge $1000 in California for their dogs. One of these women has been in the breed for several decades and is a well-regarded AKC judge of not only Labs but several other sporting breeds. This is the price point that works for her. However, $1500-$2000 is a very justifiable price for a puppy once you factor in the costs of breeding, health testing, and competing with your dogs. Pet people often reach out to my club saying they don't care about show results or pedigrees, but in truth you do, because you are saying you want a healthy dog that acts/hunts like a Labrador.

      Anyone can say that the dogs in their breeding program are worthy of being bred and are good examples of the breed. By competing with your dogs in whatever venue(s) you choose, you are getting feedback from independent 3rd parties that provide a puppy buyer with further assurances that you aren't just kennel blind to your dogs' faults and that they are indeed able hunting dogs and/or conform to the standard of what the breed should be. Presumably if someone is looking for a Labrador it's because they want the dog that is described in the standard -- kind eyes, a powerful head and jaws for retrieving birds of all sizes, friendly, biddable, medium-sized, an able retriever in water and on land, with a double coat to work in harsh conditions; an otter tail to serve as a rudder when it swims. The person producing this dog is most likely someone who is competing with their breeding stock, belongs to a Lab club (to network and keep abreast of current health and breed issues), and doing above and beyond the recommended health tests. That person is keeping back a puppy or two (or more) for their own program, so they are most invested in producing a healthy dog. The person who is just breeding pets to sell them all to pet people who hunt occasionally and charging a couple hundred is not as likely to be invested in their dogs or doing the best by the breed in general.

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    15. #9
      Senior Dog
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      I agree with the rest on importance of a reputable, experienced breeder, health clearances, someone who actually does something with their dogs, etc. Price-wise, you may be able to find a really nice dog for $1,000, especially in your area. Keep in mind that some of the worst breeders on the planet sell dogs for quite a bit of money but they have good websites so seem "safe" and "upscale" and some people assume more $$$ equals higher quality so don't bother to do their research. You have to set your limits, of course, but find out what the average price is first. Many breed clubs have a puppy person who volunteers to talk to people who contact the club directly. They can answer your questions such as price in the area (a range), what to look for and even make suggestions on which breeder might have dogs that would fit your lifestyle.

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    17. #10
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      Thanks for all the great responses. I will clarify and say I have no issue spending more than $1,000 for a new pup. I just don't want to spend more than I need to get the dog we want. Actually I had set a budget of $1,000 to $1,300 before I started looking.

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