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    1. #1
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      Darth_kahuna's Avatar
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      new to breeding labs

      As part of my farm I'm going to breed labs in 2018. I've owned adult rescued labs my whole life & worked for 10yrs @ a fox hunting club tending the fox hounds. I have extensive knowledge breeding & whelping to senior dog care & everything in between.
      I love labs & love gun hunting/ training retrieving infinantly more than horseback hunting & training scent detection so I've decided to breed labs. I do have some questions for experienced breeders out there.
      1. How do lab puppies do w temp regulation during the summer? We suspended summer breeding of our hounds bc it was too difficult to keep Aug. puppies cool in Georgia. Same issues w lab puppies?
      2. In the days after whelping do bitches tend to aggressively protect pups? I know all dogs are individual but Georgia bloodhounds have (imo) a higher propensity to be over protective in those first weeks than their English/ Irish/ American hound counterparts. Are lab mothers more chill/ aggressive or is it highly individual?
      3. I've heard that labs have a propensity to whelp more "runts" per litter than the avg bitch of other breeds. Any truth fill this?

      Thanks for your help, guys.

    2. #2
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      Hopefully you've also looked into health clearances
      Canine Health Information Center: CHIC Information

      Regarding temperature issues: isn't the temperature in the home regulated to be comfortable? I assume if it's ok for humans it's ok for puppies?

      There are a few members here who are breeders that may be able to help. 95% of the members are just pet owners.

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    4. #3
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      1. I raise my puppies in the house, so they are in the same temps me and my other dogs are in, so it never really mattered if they were summer or winter puppies. Where do you plan to raise yours?
      2. Lab mommas should be happy that there are people around. They may not necessarily care for other dogs around, but mine never did. I would recommend spending time with some lab breeders and their dogs before you start breeding so you can see this for yourself.
      3. I have no idea where you got your information about labs and runts. Again, maybe you need to spend some time with other lab breeders to see their litters first hand to see pups, pup sizes and if there are any "runts". There will always be a small pup as there is always a large pup.

      I would recommend getting a local mentor to work with you. Sounds like your interest is hunting, so unless you currently hunt with a Labrador and know what to breed for, you'll need mentor to help pave the way for you. Not all dogs will be born with the drive. You'll need plans for evaluation. And since Labradors are one the most overbred breed in the USA, what are your plans for health testing parents? Have you made yourself 100% aware of the problems that affect Labradors and why these tests are done? Or are you just going to blindly use some of the testing companies panels that cover tests that most Labrador breeders never use?

      Typically those who breed reputably have been involved with the dogs a number of the years, working with them in the field or a variety of competitive venues, fall in love with the breed, and plan to be a life-long steward of the breed, which eventually leads to breeding one's own dogs. For example, I only breed when I am ready to add a new puppy to my household for showing purposes. It's really not meant to be a business.
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    6. #4
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      Labradors are a great versatile breed, and a lot of fun, thats why I am so passionate about them as a breed. Like Jen, I have been breeding about 10 years and have been heavily involved in Labradors since 2002. Labrador Retrievers are vastly different than hound breeds, in looks, temperament and work ethics, and working style.


      Rescue Labradors are going to behave much differently than purpose bred Labradors from someone that breeds for Conformation, Performance, Field and any other competitions and therapy, service capacities. So make sure you work with someone that breeds for the activity you want to pursue, that breeds responsibly, (health testing, competes with their dogs, pays attention to temperament, etc... etc... etc...) Be aware that someone that has a successful breeding program will not sell a full registration puppy to someone for breeding purposes, until they have proven themselves trustworthy of a nice puppy to start with. (Also no one wants to buy a purebred puppy that isn't AKC registrable, or they would go the rescue route so you will need Full reg on your breeding dogs.) That usually involves joining breed clubs, volunteering at events, meeting breeders, and working hard with a mentor. Just knowing a lot about whelping and puppy care will not be enough, although that will help you later.




      My Labradors live in the house with me, I have kennels, and they are kennel trained, but they aren't out there a lot, Labradors are people dogs, and need to be inside with their people, or in a controlled (temperature, clean, dry, safe) kennel environment. If acclimated they do OK in hot and cold temperatures to work, but most people work them early in the day and put them up when it is too hot. My puppies carry a lot of coat, and complain loudly if they are too warm, and towel covered ice bottles, fans and AC work to help them stay comfortable as babies. I raise them in the house, so they are exposed to all the household noises and see a lot of us. Remember, 90% or more of the puppies you produce will go to pet homes, so early socialization and careful rearing prepares them for that.


      Again, temperament is very important, and if one of my bitches were aggressive with me while they have puppies, I would spay her and place all the puppies in pet homes. I do provide them privacy, and time to bond with their puppies, but I handle them daily from whelping on, and let them choose how soon my other dogs can visit her and the babies.


      True runts are sickly puppies, that don't thrive, I don't think I have ever have had a runt. Like Jen said there is always a smaller puppy or a biggest puppy in a littler, and they all seem to grow to their potential height and weight range at adulthood.


      I cannot stress enough the health testing that needs to be done before breeding, Final OFA hips and elbows cannot be done until after they are two years old, and it is a rare Labrador that is ready to whelp and raise a litter at age two anyways. I usually wait until they are more mentally mature closer to age 3 before breeding. Other health testing, both DNA tests, and eye exams, cardiac echo, OFA's etc... are not inexpensive, breeding correctly is also very very expensive, and not a money making venture at all. I had a singleton puppy last year, that cost me over $5,000 after stud fee, breeding related expenses (progesterone timing, TCI x's 2, c section, (my c sections are Expensive!!!) extensive care for the puppy) that eventually didn't survive. My mentor taught me to have at least $5,000 to $10,000 in savings for emergencies.


      If we haven't scared you away, we do need more passionate people in the dog fancy to help preserve and protect our breed. This is where an excellent mentor that has integrity, passion, and devotion to Labradors comes in to guide you. Best of luck!

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    8. #5
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      I'm not a breeder by any means. Jen and Shelley have given you some great info. I did hear something from our breeder though regarding runts... and what was explained to us (and how they do their breeding in regards to this) is they only let their pairs lock up about 2-3 times within the same amount of days. This keeps the puppies at around the same gestation (is this the right word?) thus limiting the size/development difference between puppies when born. They said that a "runt" or significantly smaller puppies are basically a kind of premature puppy. They may have been conceived significantly than the other puppies therefore not getting the same amount of development before being born.

      I might be talking complete nonsense and that may not be true at all. All I know is that the litter our pup was from definitely did not have a big size difference. They were all big, healthy puppies all around the same size. Definitely no clear "runt." Our breeder was a very small hobby breeder but he did have some veterinary experience. *Shrug* Idk?

      Those with more breeding experience/knowledge... is there any truth to that?
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    9. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by jenfarm View Post
      I'm not a breeder by any means. Jen and Shelley have given you some great info. I did hear something from our breeder though regarding runts... and what was explained to us (and how they do their breeding in regards to this) is they only let their pairs lock up about 2-3 times within the same amount of days. This keeps the puppies at around the same gestation (is this the right word?) thus limiting the size/development difference between puppies when born. They said that a "runt" or significantly smaller puppies are basically a kind of premature puppy. They may have been conceived significantly than the other puppies therefore not getting the same amount of development before being born.

      I might be talking complete nonsense and that may not be true at all. All I know is that the litter our pup was from definitely did not have a big size difference. They were all big, healthy puppies all around the same size. Definitely no clear "runt." Our breeder was a very small hobby breeder but he did have some veterinary experience. *Shrug* Idk?

      Those with more breeding experience/knowledge... is there any truth to that?
      This is 100% completely false.

      Eggs are ovulated, and take 24-48 hours to "mature" to be able to be fertilized by the semen, after that they float around until about day 16 to 20, when they implant into the wall of the uterus and grow. The cells divide to a certain point then stop, before implantation, so all puppies are the exact same 'gestational' age at whelping. We time whelping due dates from when the progesterone level gets to a certain number, and count from there, not ever dates of breeding. :-)

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    11. #7
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      Shelley's bred more than me, and I always have more to learn, I thought it was a bit different....so....I don't know.

      A friend used our boy Jagger, we did one breeding, she conceived 7, 2 were still born. They were all approx. the same size, give or take a few ounces.

    12. #8
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      The variable in puppy size is more reliant on uterine 'real estate', there are better places to implant than others. The ones that implant in the best places, get the best blood supply and nutrition, and hence are bigger.

      Canine pregnancy is 100% hormone dependent, progesterone rises, gets to a certain point, 63 days (+/- 1 day) later the progesterone drops and puppies are born. This cycle happens whether they were bred or not, (false pregnancies happen this way) one of the reason Dr Hutch recommends breeding back to back, since the bitch and her uterus go through the same ravages of progesterone and estrogen every cycle. This is highly debated in the breeding world BTW. LOL

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    14. #9
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      My newborns are all in the 14-20 ounce range, so pretty consistent in size, although I had a 6 oz puppy once. He was perfectly healthy (so not a runt) just small, by 8 weeks old he was all caught up. We think he was high up in one of the uterine horns, and was born into my litter of 12, so he just had bad real estate and was pushed way up there.

    15. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by Shelley View Post
      This is 100% completely false.

      Eggs are ovulated, and take 24-48 hours to "mature" to be able to be fertilized by the semen, after that they float around until about day 16 to 20, when they implant into the wall of the uterus and grow. The cells divide to a certain point then stop, before implantation, so all puppies are the exact same 'gestational' age at whelping. We time whelping due dates from when the progesterone level gets to a certain number, and count from there, not ever dates of breeding. :-)
      Yep, I know nothing. LOL. Thanks for the clarification and info.

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