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How to find my dog a girlfriend...

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  • How to find my dog a girlfriend...

    I have a 3 y-o registered black lab. He comes from good locally-known hunting bloodlines. He's a beautiful dog, has good retrieving skills, and best of all - he's like a living, breathing stuffed animal. Best temperament I've ever seen.

    I'd like to breed him for a litter. There are at least 5 folks right now that would buy a puppy just because it was this dog's offspring. He's not a proven hunter, he's not a show dog, so I know that it might be tough to market the puppies, but most of the litter is basically already sold.

    I would love to find another AKC registered lab to breed him to. It doesn't need to have awesome bloodlines or anything, just good retrieving/hunting skills and the blockier build.

    How on earth would one go about finding a mate for a dog without accolades? I would even consider buying a puppy to raise for the purpose - bf needs a hunter, and this dog needs a companion because we're gone most of the day @ work and he gets a little needy - but I'm not having luck finding ones that won't be sold with limited registration. I would prefer to find him a mate that someone else owns and buy one of those puppies to be his companion though.

    Any thoughts would be welcome... we're not on a time schedule or anything, but my mom really wants one of the puppies and her dog is starting to get old, so she's asking me to really think about it.


  • #2
    I'll bite...


    If you want to do the right thing, neuter your dog (for his sake) and suggest any interested persons contact their local lab rescue.

    As awesome as your dog sounds, labs can have large litters and every single one of those puppies take the place from a dog that is homeless.

    Unless your dog has proved himself as worthy to be bred as a working dog or in the conformation ring, he should not be bred. There are a BAZILLION nice tempered good looking labs in shelters and rescues.

    If you love your dog, give him the best shot at a long and healthy life and neuter him.

    I spent five years at our local Humane Society and I swear it scars you for life. There were tons of really nice labs (a favorite breed of mine) that were good looking and well behaved that didn't get a home.


    • #3
      Well, most people back paddle in record speed once the pupsters are on the ground ready to go.

      You know all the cons about breeding yet another lab, no need to regurgitate any of that.

      ANYHOW. contact the breeder of your dog. He might have a bitch that complements your dog, or knows of somebody who does. Especially hunting lines. Whatever you do do not put an add on GL and the likes, you would not want the offspring in 99% of the offers...make sure the female is health checked with Xrays of the hips etc. As I recall, pick of the litter is common for stud fees but I am not sure how the price pans out the other way.

      Consider there is always a ton that can (and will) go wrong, your best option might just be to return to the breeder and see if he has a sibling or other relative for sale. So no matter how you go about it, the breeder should be your first stop.


      • #4
        Sorry, but I have to agree with Alice. Go to Dogsindanger.com...lots of labs on there about to be euthanized.

        I think anyone that thinks about breeding dogs for the purpose of a pet needs to volunteer for a few months in a high kill shelter.


        • #5
          Your dog may be the best dog in the world in your eyes and those of friendly people you know.
          BUT, until your dog has proven in competition that he has inherited the right genes to pass who he is on, you are playing russian roulette with what you will have in the puppies.
          When you don't train and compete, you don't know if your dog will break down when asked to perform, or become hard to handle.
          A pet dog cruises thru life, but you don't know what you have in that dog until you train it and compete and compare with other dogs doing the same.

          Have you x-rayed hips and elbows and what are the OFA scores?
          Have you tested for all the diseases labs carry we can test for today?
          Will you request that the female you may bred to have also been tested?
          No one with a good, tested female would breed to a male without a record.

          It takes good breeders years to learn what crosses are the best to get offspring sound of body and mind and they generally have learned by training and competing with their dogs what is really good breeding and have mentors that help.

          Your dog, even if to you is the best and prettiest dog in the world, in the eyes of an experienced breeder may be lacking more than you know, for a breeding animal.

          Those people that want puppies, direct them to good breeders for one, you don't have to provide any more dogs to the huge amounts we already have around.
          We are euthanizing millions of dogs a year in the USA, many of them labs, they are the number 1 bred in our animal control shelter.

          Don't be part of the problem, be part of the solution, neuter your dog.

          If you insist in breeding, go find a good lab breeder and ask them what they think of your dog and why and go from that.


          • #6
            I saw no mention of tests for heritable disease....you'll want to do x-rays for hips and elbows, and submit to OFA for a rating on each.... and have your lab's eyes checked by a board-certified ophthalmologist for the eye diseases which are common in labs.
            The female you breed to should also have the same done....to breed without these tests being done would be irresponsible, and the chances of producing puppies with problems is significantly increased.


            • #7
              If you don't already know the answers to your questions, then continuing on with you plans would make you just one more backyard breeder statistic. Google "backyard breeder". I'm sorry... You just have no valid reasons for breeding.


              • Original Poster

                My dog has not been tested for the heritable diseases or had his joints tested, but both his parents had eyes, hips, and elbows certified. After speaking to my vet upon a cursory exam, he doesn't think there's any reason to believe my dog wouldn't pass certification. I plan to make certain before breeding.

                About a year ago ran into his breeder who said he was one of the nicest looking dogs he's ever bred. We mentioned breeding him, but didn't talk much in depth about it. I'll definitely approach him first - thanks for that advice!

                I realize we have more dogs than we need. I've gone the rescue dog route before. In fact, this dog is the first non-rescue I've ever had, and he's been the best dog I've ever had. I would clone him if I believed in that sort of thing. I don't plan to breed if nobody thinks he's nice enough to have his genes carried on. I haven't done a ton of research. I'm not really sure where to start, which is why I came here asking for advice.

                I know the reasons not to breed. They're the same as for horses. But I hardly see how it's being "part of the problem" to create a nice litter of 5-10 puppies and provide them with homes. That's like telling people that they shouldn't have kids of their own because there are a ton of kids out there in foster homes that they could adopt.


                • #9
                  No support here for breeding your dog. Like others have suggested, plenty of labs and lab mixes in the shelters from folks wanting to breed "just one litter" so "I can have a puppy of out him/her". Volunteer at a kill shelter to go get those labs and lab mixes out of their kennels and walk them to the "room" and look in their eyes as they die. Realize that those puppies you want to breed have a more than an even chance of taking that very same walk. I have just spent $300 on a dog some nice person dumped out at my house to have him neutered, tested for HW and internal parasites, vaccinated, bathed, nails cut back and cauterized, and for Frontline so I REALLY am not supportive any pets being bred no matter how wonderful and nice they are. Sorry. Oh and BTW, he is looking for a forever home, but he can also stay here if need be. Get your dog neutered and enjoy him. If you want another dog, go bail one out of the shelter. Or heck, I'll send you my new rescue boy.


                  • #10
                    A good breeder will sell their promising puppies to show homes or other breeders, that will show first before deciding what they have in a dog.
                    The rest, a good breeder sells with a spay/neuter contract.

                    That you didn't have such already tells me that your breeder seems not to have been following good breeder practices.

                    In our dog club, for over 30 years now, we give lessons to the public and we get to see all kinds of dogs come thru and you would not believe how many come with dogs not neutered or spayed and happily ask about breeding their pride and joy.

                    Well, it is their dogs, they own them and can do as they wish, it is not up to us to tell them what to do, but if it comes in the conversation, they get "the talk" and are told to go by the animal control shelter and look at all those dogs out there and then decide if they still think their dog needs to reproduce.

                    I say the same to you, volunteer at your local animal control shelter for even one afternoon a month.
                    Ours keeps dogs only for three days and they are euthanized, from 30 to 100 a day.
                    I would definitely not breed and definitely not a pet dog, no matter how pretty it is.

                    That is why I was saying that today, no matter how many reasons you invent to breed your dog, if you do, you are part of the problem.
                    Now, that may be ok with you, that is your prerrogative.

                    With horses, at least we can slaughter the excess and use them as one more renewable resource.
                    With dogs, we just send them to the landfill.


                    • #11
                      well, seeing that the OP comes from hunting lines, the breeders seem to handle things a bit different.

                      Do test the dog first for all these things. Because his parents were free of all these ailments does not give you a guarantee your pup is free of them, too. A greater chance, but not certainty.

                      When I first got my Dalmatian, I was thinking about breeding her (no doubt, dollar signs in my eyes, bad, I know) and I was going about it the 'horseman way' having her evaluated by a breeder etc looking for strong and weak points, but then reality set in, that no matter what DH would not let go of the pups (that there were 2 world record litters born at the time with 15 and 16 pups did not make me sleep any easier) so I eventually decided against breeding.

                      I don't think producing a sound dog is really that bad, but dammit, Labs are like sand on the beach, really and too many scrupuless people have made a killing producing bad ones (pun inevidable)

                      But I am saying it again: do not count, DO NOT, on having homes for these pups. Now, as long as they are a cute fantasy, people say yes, and when it comes down to it, they are nowhere to be found. I am not sure how large litters can get with Labs, but do not think 15 pups is out of the question.


                      • #12
                        Im sorry but I DO NOT agree with the "must be a winner in the AKC conformation ring" first belief. As far as Im concerned the AKC show ring has become the canine match the AQHA Halter ring! The dogs that are winning are extremes of the breed, many carry serious genetic defects and disease and many breeds not unlike AQHA Halter have taken their looks and MOVEMENT to extremes.

                        I would rather seen a great WORKING dog, that excels at the job is was origionally created for bred than many of AKC ring champions. A Collie that can work sheep all day or a WORKING GSD will look extremely different than whats "winnning in the show ring". I think top quality WORKING dogs are a far BETTER representative to their breeds than most of the ring dogs. If the Lab in question is a true hunting and retrieving Lab is a truly top notch WORKING dog with no serious genetic defects then I see no problem with the potential breeding to another TOP notch WORKING Lab to produce high quality working pups. The "conformation show ring" is not end all and be all of "breeding quality". In my book PERFORMANCE trumps AKC Conformation any day, but that just me.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by RougeEmpire View Post
                          Im sorry but I DO NOT agree with the "must be a winner in the AKC conformation ring" first belief. As far as Im concerned the AKC show ring has become the canine match the AQHA Halter ring! The dogs that are winning are extremes of the breed, many carry serious genetic defects and disease and many breeds not unlike AQHA Halter have taken their looks and MOVEMENT to extremes.

                          I would rather seen a great WORKING dog, that excels at the job is was origionally created for bred than many of AKC ring champions. A Collie that can work sheep all day or a WORKING GSD will look extremely different than whats "winnning in the show ring". I think top quality WORKING dogs are a far BETTER representative to their breeds than most of the ring dogs. If the Lab in question is a true hunting and retrieving Lab is a truly top notch WORKING dog with no serious genetic defects then I see no problem with the potential breeding to another TOP notch WORKING Lab to produce high quality working pups. The "conformation show ring" is not end all and be all of "breeding quality". In my book PERFORMANCE trumps AKC Conformation any day, but that just me.
                          I agree with this. I grew up with a fantastic lab and considered getting another lab earlier this year. Sane labs with a good working background are not as easy to find as you might think. I would check clearances before you breed, but just because the dog doesn't have a show record doesn't mean that it's an automatic throw out for breeding. Just commit to being responsible for ALL the pups that may come in one litter...

                          *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*


                          • #14
                            Before you breed your dog, you could ask for cash deposits. That will let you know if they are serious or not. If they're not willing to fork over $100 before breeding, they're not serious. If you don't get deposits for at least 8 puppies, don't breed.


                            • #15
                              Labs are, sadly, a dime a dozen in shelters -- including ours.

                              BLACK labs are even harder to place than yellows or chocolates, and black labs from hunting lines (lots more energy to burn!) are harder still. If they don't find a working home (most homes are not) they just bounce off the walls and drive everybody nuts. These are the dogs that wind up in shelters.

                              If you persist in breeding your dog (which I hope you don't) please be willing to serve as a resource to the homes that purchase your puppies to ensure that the dogs are socialized and trained, and make it very clear that if anything should happen (divorce, moving, allergies, etc) that you would be willing to take back a puppy. That's what good breeders do.


                              • #16
                                Regardless of whether you are talking working or show lines, breeding is a big responsibility. The health tests are (in my opinion) important. It is also important to know a lot about the lines of the breed in order to pick a match that will produce quality dogs - no matter how good the dog being bred is. In my opinion, this type of familiarity and study comes from people who are really involved in the dog world - whether in the conformation ring, or a dog sport or in working dog trials.
                                Finding appropriate homes for the puppies is another consideration. I see so many people purchasing puppies because they see adult, well-trained dogs of the breed that they like. When they realize how much work a puppy takes, they want out. Just a few months ago, a friend purchased a puppy, but after just a few weeks he realized that he worked too much. He took the puppy back to the breeder. Are you willing to take the puppies back if, for whatever reason, the new home doesn't work out? Are you set up to be able to do that?
                                There are a lot of black labs. A few years ago, at a dog show, a long-time breeder told me that she no longer breeds because it was expensive and there were just so many good puppies out there. I have found that to be true. You seem to really like your current dog, and it sounds like he is a lovely animal. However, it also sounds like you are not super-involved in a dog "activity" (which, basically, sounds like myself). If you have a preference for labs, I would advise you to find a good breeder and purchase a puppy when you are ready for a second. Unfortunately, even if you breed your dog, you won't get a puppy just like the one you have now. I wish there was a way to do that! However, I have found that each one is its own little individual and I fall in love with all of them. A puppy of the same breed will be different - but the "lab" qualities you love will be there.


                                • #17
                                  Sorry, I also don't agree with this.

                                  I also have a 2 year old male lab who is spectacular looking. He is by the Biggest winning labrador in history and has a pedigree full of hunting and conformation titles. I chose to neuter him, even though the breeder (A great friend of mine gave me breeding rights with my registration) She was Pissed i didn't freeze his semen first, Oh well.

                                  You may have bought your puppy on a limited registration. You should check that out first. If your puppies can't be registered the value of them will drop tremendously. Most "good" breeders will only sell dogs on a limited registration, and only co-own dogs they feel are quality enough to reproduce. But mostly the breeders keep those for themselves to improve thier lines, or will sell them to people that are known and proven Labrador breeders that are active in the breed.

                                  Why are you breeding? You have to be brutally honest with yourself about this. Is it for a buck? My friend says by the time she does all the OFA, eye, heart, DNA, Showing, breeding, ultrasounding, C-sections, Puppy shots and registration, she needs to have 5 puppies to sell (not counting what she keeps from the littler) before she makes any profit.

                                  Are you breeding him Because you love this dog so much you want a puppy from him? or do you really want to improve the breed. You also need to be honest with yourself about the quality dog you have. There is no such thing as a perfect dog, and labrador people are among the most picky I have ever known. If it's not his coat, it's his eye pigment, tail carriage, movement, expression, head, angles, bone etc. the list goes on and on.

                                  My guess is that anyone who has a quality bitch isn't going to breed to your dog because there are already so many great proven stud dogs out there.

                                  Good luck with whatever you do, I am just suggesting you really do your homework on this one.


                                  • #18
                                    I agree with almost everything said in this thread and especially with everything Bluey said. You only know what a stud will throw after trying. We do CERF, BAER, SA320 with Bile Acid blood panels, OFA hips and patellas, and anything else that comes up like 3 genetic tests just discovered last week-our swabs are already sent in, plus understand conformation in detail-taught AKC Judges Education Breed Seminars for 6 years, and of course select for details like teeth and bite on all our breeding dogs.. We have bred 5 generations that have this health testing and records on all the puppies produced. People have all sorts of things to say against AKC Championships, including us, but we still think putting a Championship on a dog is something that should be done by breeders.

                                    Then there is potty training the puppies starting at 3 1/2 weeks and finding the best homes for them and handholding the new owners through a lot of things, along with everything else.

                                    We also offer a lifetime guarantee against congenital health problems and will buy a dog back for any reason anytime. In fact Pam is flying to Michigan this week to get a dog that needs to be rehomed and is going to a home in Florida. Being a "responsible breeder" means being responsible for the puppies you put on the ground, not just health testing etc.

                                    Breeding a dog or horse because it's a "sweetie" is the reason us breeders are looked down on by the masses. Classified ads are full of these puppies.
                                    Last edited by Tom King; Nov. 4, 2009, 09:20 AM.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by evans36 View Post
                                      I'd like to breed him for a litter. There are at least 5 folks right now that would buy a puppy just because it was this dog's offspring. He's not a proven hunter, he's not a show dog, so I know that it might be tough to market the puppies, but most of the litter is basically already sold.
                                      Unless you have 12 pups, which is entirely possible.

                                      I didn't read all the replies, but the reality is AKC registered doesn't mean anything. The world is full of AKC registered dogs...it's not hard, they only have to be born of registered parents. Who may or may not actually be a good representation of the breed.

                                      If you really want to breed your dog, then you must prove that he's more than just a "great guy." "Great guys" are easy to find. Titled "great guys"...maybe not as much, although frankly, they are not all that hard to fine either. Go to a dog show and ask around.

                                      If he will not be able to get an AKC conformation title OR a hunting title [OR BOTH!] then he is not breeding material. That is what BREED means....any dog can be "knocked up" or sire a litter. But only a dog that meets the breed standards should be bred. That is WHY a lab looks like a lab, and not a black pit bull with a longer tail.

                                      We have an AKC Ch. Brittany and he sired 3 litters back into his breeder's program. But we ended up no longer allowing his breeding when his breeder stopped putting titles on his dogs. (And his breeder bred NICE dogs, but still...NICE isn't good enough.) Most owners of good bitches won't entertain breeding opportunities unless your dog is titled. Sorry.


                                      • #20
                                        Your first step is to contact the breeder you purchased the dog from. Next, if you want any reputable breeder to want to breed to your male or sell you a female for that purpose you need to title your dog in either conformation or performance test. And not just an AKC Jr Hunter title. You would need at least AKC Sr Hunter, a Jr Hunter title is too common. There's also NSTRA. Just coming from good hunting lines isn't good enough, this needs to be proven. Your male should be in the top 10% of his breed to be considered worthy of breeding in addition to pre-breeding screenings.

                                        Even if his parents passed their screenings, it's really no guarantee that he'll pass his. I've had one of my own that I spayed after her hips weren't up to snuff, both parents have fabulous hips. For your breed, in addition to OFA (though preferably PennHip for the hips) screening of hips and elbows, you would need a CERF (eye exam), thyroid screening, and at least two DNA tests for Centronuclear Myopathy Disease, and Exercise Induced Collapse. You would also need to test for Brucellosis prior to breeding. Cost for these vary a bit by region. CERF is the cheapest part at $50. Hip and elbow screening is likely to run you around $500. The Thyroid test another $150. The DNA testing another $130. Add in the Brucellosis test and we're up to about $900. Once you include the training and competing needed to have him be a desireable stud, you're going to be at $1500 to $2000. Rather expensive way to get a companion for your boy if you simply want a puppy in return for stud service. And yes, all of what I listed above would be required to attract a quality girlfriend.

                                        Now double this and include purchase price of another dog if you want a female of your own to breed with. And, if you own the bitch a C-section if needed is ball-park $1500. If all goes well, you're still looking at around $300 for veterinary care. Plus a whole lot of extra food.

                                        Now, I will admit to breeding dogs. The people I sell dogs to are buying dogs because they don't want a shelter animal. Hunters want purpose bred GSP's. Corgi owners want corgis and we breed with an eye to AKC performance. I will even admit to doing slightly better than breaking even, but that is only because I am a veterinarian. If I actually paid for the veterinary care involved in breeding top dogs (surgical insemination with closely timed fresh chilled) I'd be way in the hole. I ball-parked the retail price/investment for getting the first corgi litter on the ground at around $4800.
                                        Last edited by Marshfield; Nov. 3, 2009, 08:25 PM. Reason: Additional infor