Labs are specifically bred to have their laid back temperament. They are eager to please. They are highly tolerant, which means that when the young child is pulling on the dogs ears, it is much less likely to snap. They make excellent family guard type dogs as their size alone is often enough to make strangers wary. Yet the likely hood of them attacking is slim to none, though many do show fierce loyalty when members of their own family are threatened.
What does all this mean? It means that the Lab is as close as possible to being the ideal dog. What this means is that Labs are worth a lot. And so begins the problem. In recent years the price of a good Lab has risen along with everything else, but what opportunists see as "a quick way to make a buck" is spoiling the breed.
When you start looking for a Lab to purchase you will quickly see that the price from a reputable breeder is $1000 - $3000 for a puppy. What you will also see if you look in your local paper is a lot of ads advertising "purebred labs" for less than half of what the reputable breeder charges. What is happening with the breed is that indiscriminate people are buying two dogs that are sold as purebreds - the parents may or may not be papered. Then they are breeding these two dogs for the sole purpose of making money with them and selling them as purebred Labs. Because their ultimate goal is to make money they are taking shortcuts to cut costs. The first place the consumer sees this is in registration. The pups are offered for a cheaper price because they are unregistered.
The second place this shows up visibly to the purchaser is identification. Pups can be offered at a cheaper price because they are not tattooed or microchipped.
The third place this shows up, and the most heartbreaking is in physical defects. Because Labs are large breed dogs, they have a tendency toward hip dysplasia. Hip Dysplasia is a conformation defect in any large breed dog. It comes from breeding dogs that are not conformationally sound. To avoid this, a reputable breeder will have the breeding pair X-rayed at 2 years of age or older and will only breed those with a good or excellent hip rating. This is an expensive one time procedure which obviously must be reflected in the price of the pups. The more non-x-rayed dogs that are getting bred, the more likely that this problem will turn up in that cheap puppy you are thinking of buying.
This is just one health problem that shows up, the heartbreaking thing is that it usually only shows up when the dog is about 2. Anyone that has gone through that realizes that the extra money they would have spent for a quality pup would have been well worth the investment.
So if you are seriously considering buying a Lab Puppy, first realize that they do take a lot of time and effort the first two - three years. Second only buy from someone who is responsible enough to have the breeding pair's hips, elbows and eyes certified.
• Registration may not be important to you in that you have no intention of doing anything with the dog other than having it as a companion, but registration papers are part of your ticket to seeing that the dog you purchase is a true Lab, and they are an indication that the breeder is responsible.
• Tattooing or Microchipping may not be important to you - but Labs are the #1 stolen breed also. Due to their eager, friendly nature they are easy to entice into vehicles by strangers. Your tattoo/microchip on your pup is your proof of ownership as well as a way to find your dog if it is ever lost.
• You may be willing to take the chance on buying a cheap dog that it might not have health problems, but if you've had a Lab pup before, you know how much goes into its training. Also, the more disreputable breeders there are - the higher the odds that you are buying a ticking health bomb. Just check your paper or kijiji and see how many non-registered pups there are for sale.
Whether you choose to buy a Antlermeadow pup or from someone else, I urge you to look at more than just the dollar figure when you choose.