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I've been working on finding a good lab breeder for about a year now. I live in NC (in the US) and since the breed is so popular I've been looking at just NC breeders- that being said, SC and VA are probably about as close as the other end of NC, so I'd be open to expanding my search to those states as well.

one thing I've come came across- from my 2+ hours of scouring the OFA database, why does it seem like very few labs are CHIC? Are the breeders just not publishing their results to the online database? I thought that to be CHIC you only had to have hips, elbows, and eyes... yet when I put a lot of the dams from breeder websites into the OFA search, nothing comes up...even though the breeder states that they've had the tests. Am I missing something?

this whole CHIC/ not being able to find their OFA stats on the website just has me confused, especially since its been multiple breeders that I cant find stats for.

Things that are definitely important to me: Good or excellent OFA hips for both parents and all grandparents- I would consider a fair beyond those generations. CERF every year, Normal elbows, preferrably EIC clear but since I'm not breeding, carrier would be okay as long as the breeder is being responsible about it. Of course I have more health concerns, but those are the main ones.

Below are some of the breeders I haven't yet weeded out- please take a look at them and maybe someone will find some positive or negative things that I've missed!

http://www.docksidelabs.com/
http://elhidlabs.com/
http://www.fortunelabradors.com/
http://www.graycroft.com/
http://grassrootslabs.com/
http://www.popwaylabs.com/
http://www.panthercreek.net/
 

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Before I look at the breeders, I don't think you have to publish your results. So if someone says they test, but the results aren't published . . . well, I'd wonder what rating they got.

ETA: Wow, english type labs look very . . . st. bernardy, almost.

ETA: Show labs are kept so fat! Personally, I liked Fortune Labradors and Dockside Labs the best. I don't think any of these kennels are obviously bad, nothing pinged my BYB radar. Popway Labs and Elhid Labs share dogs back and forth, so if there's something someone doesn't like about one, don't choose the other.
 

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Wow, yeah, fat. Hey, I guess my grandpa's Lab was in show condition! And I just thought he got too many Milkbones, silly me. And their heads look like my Rott's. I guess show Labs really are almost a different breed than field Labs.

I've never been able to find a specific dog on the OFA website. I'll find a breeder's website, pick a name, put it in the search box on offa, and nothing! So idk if I'm doing it wrong or if it's just hard to do.
 

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I've never had issues finding the dogs I'm looking for on OFA. I don't know if you can choose to have things listed or not though
 

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There are very few "reputable" Labrador breeders whom I could support with my money because of how overweight they keep their dogs for the show ring. I see no reason for putting your dog into poor body condition just to get some wins.

The panther creek appear to be the healthiest of the bunch and they do a little field work with their dogs.

As to why not many have CHIC, it could be that like in Aussies, eye tests are not required to be sent in to get a rating. So a lot of times they simply don't send in the results to the registry which is why they don't get the CHIC number.
 

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Before I look at the breeders, I don't think you have to publish your results. So if someone says they test, but the results aren't published . . . well, I'd wonder what rating they got.

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With OFA (hips and elbows) you send the xrays in order to get an evaluation/rating. So, if you have OFA clear hips, that should show on their website. (If you got it done by PennHip - a different process - it won't show up on the OFA site unless you also sent the xrays to OFA.)

With eyes, everything you need to know is on the original paperwork. You can send it in, and it will make you show up on the website (and get you a CHIC), but it doesn't give you any extra information about your dog's eyes. I suppose I must have been a backyard breeder, but I never sent CERF evaluations in. I did make sure puppy buyers had a copy of the OFA certificates on the parents, AND copies of the original CERF paperwork for the parents AND the puppies' first eye exam (at 7 weeks)
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Weird!! I never even thought about the weight thing, but I'm glad everyone mentioned it because I had never noticed. I'm not "against" the more field type labs, and being in NC that would definitely be the easier one to find- but I do know those dogs tend to be much more energetic, because they're being bred to work. As I'm a pet owner and don't hunt (still excited to take the dog swimming, to the beach, on hikes, ect. so its not that I won't exercise them!) but I think that the more "show" typey ones might be a better fit for me because of this.

There are very few "reputable" Labrador breeders whom I could support with my money because of how overweight they keep their dogs for the show ring. I see no reason for putting your dog into poor body condition just to get some wins.
Where would you personally go? I'm currently fostering for one of the assistance dog foundations and love my current lab x golden, and they do have their own closed breeding program.... If you were looking for a lab, would you find waiting for one of the dogs dismissed from that program to be a better option? They don't release puppies, so I'd have to wait for an older dog who was deemed unfit for the program.

All of our other dogs are mutts and have all come from a rescue and I've fostered for about 8 yrs.... but I've wanted a "real" purebred dog for YEARS and finally feel ready for it. I still feel sort of guilty about getting one from a breeder which is why I'm trying to go the most "ethical" route possible.

EDIT: http://retrieverman.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/bramshaw-ben.jpg Don't they still look pretty similar to this (circa 1933) ? Or do I just have my rose colored glasses on (honestly asking!!)
 

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As I'm a pet owner and don't hunt (still excited to take the dog swimming, to the beach, on hikes, ect. so its not that I won't exercise them!) but I think that the more "show" typey ones might be a better fit for me because of this
I don't see any reason you couldn't provide plenty of exercise for a lab of any sort.

this is strictly an observation since I'm not in the market for a purebred right now....
A trainer I know was boarding some show labs in order to take them to several shows. While the labs were with her, they lost noticeable weight and their owner FREAKED out that the labs were being mistreated/starved etc. In my opinion, the labs looked way better after the weight was lost and none of them were unhealthily skinny by any means. They went from pudgy to athletic looking
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I don't see any reason you couldn't provide plenty of exercise for a lab of any sort.
I'm more worried about the puppy stage when their joints are still developing. Running beside a bike (our hyper GSP's favorite activity) is out for at least 18 months, as is jogging with me. Walks alone won't do it, and I don't know if I'll be able to take the puppy swimming EVERY day. Throw in some training, soft retrieving (not hard running after a ball on concrete), swimming 3-4x weekly.... am I just being stupid?

I cant even count the number of foster puppies I've had. But they were just that- fosters, that all got adopted by 12-16 weeks. I've only raised one dog from a puppy (our others were adult rescues) and he was in training to be a service dog until 18 months, so no shortage of outings and stimulation there.

I just dont want to set myself up for failure.
 

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I don't see any reason you couldn't provide plenty of exercise for a lab of any sort.
I dunno, I know a couple of field labs with extremely high exercise needs (keep in mind, my perspective is that of a BC owner). I wouldn't own one if I didn't hunt on a regular basis. I'd also want the potential owner of field lab to be young, healthy, and enjoy very strenuous exercise.
 

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I'm more worried about the puppy stage when their joints are still developing. Running beside a bike (our hyper GSP's favorite activity) is out for at least 18 months, as is jogging with me. Walks alone won't do it, and I don't know if I'll be able to take the puppy swimming EVERY day. Throw in some training, soft retrieving (not hard running after a ball on concrete), swimming 3-4x weekly.... am I just being stupid?
I don`t have much to add about picking a breeder, but my English style lab is a few days shy of 9 months, and that much exercise would kill her! haha! If I take her hiking for an hour or so in the morning and throw in some training in the afternoon, she`s good to go. She has enough energy to play, but if I get busy doing other things, she falls asleep.

As far as show vs field, I chose show because I preferred the look of the dogs all together (I love boxy heads) and the lower energy requirements fit my lifestyle.
 

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This is like a laundry list of my pet peeves about looking for a purebred dog. As far as I can tell, there is no good reason for a breeder to keep their results off the OFA website (unless those results are just for a prelim, and the real results are forthcoming). If someone is getting the tests and their results are what they say they are, why not publish them? Choosing not to publish them means you have to email/fax copies of all that paperwork to anyone who inquires, if you want to be responsible. So why wouldn't a good, honest breeder choose the much easier route of just making the results public? I can't think of a single good reason. Only bad ones.

The bench/field split in some breeds is so annoying. In some breeds I just don't want a conformation-bred dog because -- and I know this is controversial -- I think breeding for conformation often winds up compromising health, temperament, and appearance. I know a lot of people here disagree. Conversely, like you, I think a dog bred for work is too much dog for my lifestyle. Labs are a great example. I really like labs, and I really want to do therapy work. But I will probably never get a lab unless it's an adult rescue or rehome.

ETA: And why not just have links to the OFA pages on the website and save people the trouble of trying to find them through a search?
 

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I've been working on finding a good lab breeder for about a year now. I live in NC (in the US) and since the breed is so popular I've been looking at just NC breeders- that being said, SC and VA are probably about as close as the other end of NC, so I'd be open to expanding my search to those states as well.

one thing I've come came across- from my 2+ hours of scouring the OFA database, why does it seem like very few labs are CHIC? Are the breeders just not publishing their results to the online database? I thought that to be CHIC you only had to have hips, elbows, and eyes... yet when I put a lot of the dams from breeder websites into the OFA search, nothing comes up...even though the breeder states that they've had the tests. Am I missing something?

this whole CHIC/ not being able to find their OFA stats on the website just has me confused, especially since its been multiple breeders that I cant find stats for.

Things that are definitely important to me: Good or excellent OFA hips for both parents and all grandparents- I would consider a fair beyond those generations. CERF every year, Normal elbows, preferrably EIC clear but since I'm not breeding, carrier would be okay as long as the breeder is being responsible about it. Of course I have more health concerns, but those are the main ones.

Below are some of the breeders I haven't yet weeded out- please take a look at them and maybe someone will find some positive or negative things that I've missed!

http://www.docksidelabs.com/
http://elhidlabs.com/
http://www.fortunelabradors.com/
http://www.graycroft.com/
http://grassrootslabs.com/
http://www.popwaylabs.com/
http://www.panthercreek.net/
You looking for a field bred or show bred dog?
 

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This is like a laundry list of my pet peeves about looking for a purebred dog. As far as I can tell, there is no good reason for a breeder to keep their results off the OFA website (unless those results are just for a prelim, and the real results are forthcoming). If someone is getting the tests and their results are what they say they are, why not publish them? Choosing not to publish them means you have to email/fax copies of all that paperwork to anyone who inquires, if you want to be responsible. So why wouldn't a good, honest breeder choose the much easier route of just making the results public? I can't think of a single good reason. Only bad ones.
Oh, golly yeah. It's SO much more expensive and troublesome to scan and email an eye check to someone than to pay to have it listed (with no extra details) on the OFA site (not). The fact is, the original paperwork may list issues that are not considered a drop dead "don't breed" in your particular breed (but may be concerning) The OFA listing does not.
 

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Oh, golly yeah. It's SO much more expensive and troublesome to scan and email an eye check to someone than to pay to have it listed (with no extra details) on the OFA site (not). The fact is, the original paperwork may list issues that are not considered a drop dead "don't breed" in your particular breed (but may be concerning) The OFA listing does not.
1. Pawzk, how much more does it cost someone to make the OFA registered results visible to the public instead of hidden? I've never heard of this extra fee, and it's not listed on the fees page.

2. Are you saying that breeders prefer to send people individual copies of all their health testing paperwork for all their dogs, every time they are asked, simply in the interest of TOTAL disclosure, above and beyond what the OFA website lists?
 

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There are very few "reputable" Labrador breeders whom I could support with my money because of how overweight they keep their dogs for the show ring. I see no reason for putting your dog into poor body condition just to get some wins.
Not all do. If you do your search carefully you will find very healthy dogs in the show rings.

That being said.

I have a field bred lab and a field/bench bred lab. My field bred lab(Tank) has a MUCH higher prey drive than Bentley. I like the looks of both. no matter if you go with a field bred lab or a bench bred lab they BOTH need a lot of exercise. No dog should be running by a bike before 18 months anyway. A lab should have at-least 2 hours of leash walking and an hour of off-leash running at the minimum. You dont have to take a field bred lab swimming everyday(I dont and my dog is happy with it) Heck my field bred lab doesn't even really swim he wades in the shallow end of the lake/pond. It depends on the dog,really. You can also find bench/show bred labs out in the field. It isn't that un-common. Also a breed doesn't have to post there ratings. If someone wants to know, the breeder should have no problem scanning over a copy of the scores there dog got. You could also ask just to see the original one the breeder got when you visit them!
 

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1.2. Are you saying that breeders prefer to send people individual copies of all their health testing paperwork for all their dogs, every time they are asked, simply in the interest of TOTAL disclosure, above and beyond what the OFA website lists?
I can only say what I did. And they could check the OFA site for hips and elbows. If they were a serious prospect, I could send them a copy of my CERF exams. If that wasn't sufficient, they could go elsewhere.
 

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1. Pawzk, how much more does it cost someone to make the OFA registered results visible to the public instead of hidden? I've never heard of this extra fee, and it's not listed on the fees page.

2. Are you saying that breeders prefer to send people individual copies of all their health testing paperwork for all their dogs, every time they are asked, simply in the interest of TOTAL disclosure, above and beyond what the OFA website lists?
If I am asked I am most certainly willing to send all of my dogs health testing results to a person who is interested in a future puppy. I also plan to have printed copies of the Dam and Sires health test results in a folder to send home with my puppy buyers.
 

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Not all do. If you do your search carefully you will find very healthy dogs in the show rings.
Do you know any off hand you could link me too? I don't know where I would start looking honestly, I don't know Lab lines like I know my own breeds lines.
 

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There are very few "reputable" Labrador breeders whom I could support with my money because of how overweight they keep their dogs for the show ring. I see no reason for putting your dog into poor body condition just to get some wins.

The panther creek appear to be the healthiest of the bunch and they do a little field work with their dogs.

As to why not many have CHIC, it could be that like in Aussies, eye tests are not required to be sent in to get a rating. So a lot of times they simply don't send in the results to the registry which is why they don't get the CHIC number.
My vet and I, as well as Jack's breeder and I, have had discussions about this. One of the major problems with confirmation showing is the 'body condition' many judges want is overweight - period, end of, even for working breeds who wouldn't be able to work at those weights. Jack ultimately stopped just shy of his GrCH because she got sick of trying to bulk up a dog who was active and moderated his food intake to keep himself at a HEALTHY weight.
 
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