Choosing a Puppy

Labrador Retrievers generally live 10 - 15 years, so buying and raising a Labrador puppy is a big commitment.  It should not be an impulse purchase based on seeing a cute puppy or wanting a present for Christmas time.  In fact most breeders recommend even if you do get a puppy at Christmas time, to pick him up after Christmas day where the household will be in more of a routine and less chaotic.

When you're speaking to the breeder ask if it's possible to meet the parents (Sire and Dam) of the litter. If the father of the dogs isn't present then ask for the name of the breeders who own him so you can learn about the temperament and health of their pups.

Ask out how old the parents are and if they're less than 2 years of age then it's likely you are dealing with a puppy farm of some kind. It also means that you can't get copies of their OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) or CERF (Canine Eye Registry Foundation) documentation, because they're too young to have received it. On that note it's important that you do request both OFA and CERF documentation for any Lab Retriever puppy you're considering.

Always ask how often the mother (dam) has been bred. Most breeders feel a dog should not have puppies more often than every 18 months - 2 years, for optimum health of both mother and puppies.

Find out how much human interaction the puppies have had.  Puppies that have been taken out of the "dog area", held, petted and loved regularly are generally calmer and more likely to bond with you.

Does the puppy seem healthy, alert and active?  Watch how the puppies interact with each other. An active, playful pup is very desirable, but not one that is overly rough or dominating with his or her litter-mates.

Do a general visual health check of each puppy. They should be nice and round - not fat, and certainly not skinny

If something feels either wrong or too good to be true then walk away - never ignore your gut instincts when choosing any pup.