Puppy FACS 2
Looking for a Puppy Hints
1.First of all, don't look for a puppy for a special date. The best puppy for you is probably not ready when you want it. The breeders that always have pups are not the best places to go for a healthy puppy. Smaller breeders have less pups so they can manage the litters properly. Looking for a puppy on your timeline is one step below impulse buying. If a breeder promises you everything you want, plus asks for a $500 non-refundable deposit, Don't shop with emotions. looking for a puppy that will look like your old dog. You should make sure you pay attention to all the health certs first and not just pictures. Do your research! I will explain below how and where to look.
2. Make sure parents and individuals have OFA numbers for Hips AND Elbows, as elbows are starting to be a problem in field dogs. You can verify these numbers online at www.ofa.org and now study the parents, grandparents, siblings and offspring. Hips should be done for a number of generations, but the parents may only have Elbow numbers. If there is no OFA number for Hips recorded, then the dog probably does not have one. If you are told the dog is "Prelimed", ask for a copy of the report signed by the vet on his official office form unless the prelimb is on OFA. If there is no report, I would question the x-rays. A new listing "is clear of all Genetic diseases". There is no such thing. Or clear of Genetic disease but they are not on OFA or Elbows are not done. Minimum should be OFA Hips and elbows, Eyes or CERF, CNM, & EIC. There are lots more but this is accepted by the Labrador Retriever Club.
3. If the breeder lists the pair only by call names and not registered names with health certs, ask for the full name to verify on OFA or ask for a copy of the health certs. This is very common. Beware of the call name only. Also, beware of Silvers and Dilutes mixed in. Most of my Chocolates are tested and Dilute Free. We only breed the the 3 colors the Labrador Retriever Club and AKC stand behind, Black, Yellow and Chocolate. Call names often go along with lying about certs.
4. CNM (Centronuclear Myopathy-a muscular myopathy) and EIC (Exercise Induced Collapse) are devastating inherited diseases for Labradors. The CNM DNA test is available and we send swabs to France for the test. EIC testing has become available in August 2008 at the University of Minnesota and a vet must obtain the same. These tests are not inexpensive but responsible breeders perform them. If one parent is clear in the breeding, the same for both conditions, the puppies will be normal and healthy but may be a carrier. If a carrier puppy is bred to another carrier puppy, 25% of the puppies in that litter can be affected. This is why many breeders are issuing Limited Registrations so these diseases are tested for before breeding. If the breeder has no idea what these conditions are move on or you could buy an affected puppy. The aim of this testing is not to produce an affected pup. An affected CNM puppy will become evident by 4-6 months. The puppy will want to retrieve but will fall over and his back leg muscles will not look right. An affected EIC puppy may befome evident between 6 months and 3 years. The usual way it presents is during excitement (throwing bumpers, pheasant hunting) or stress, the back legs will give out on the dog but he will be awake and still want to go. In about 20 minutes he will recover and be normal. Some of these dogs can be hunted when the owners learn to recognize the attack coming on but some can die if it goes too far or drown if they are in water. Many breeders send the EIC result to OFA. If they do not, a breeder should be able to issue you a copy of the EIC results from U of M. If you request a copy and the breeder doesn't send it MOVE ON. Here is a fact that came to my attention, if an EIC result is advertised with a number, verify it on the OFA website. Carriers and Clears get a number if sent into OFA-Affecteds do not. The number will have CAR at the end of the number if a carrier. The CAR could be left off and appear to be Clear. Verify it on the OFA website.
Erin's Edge will not produce EIC affected pups, but pups will not be tested to be clear or carriers. A carrier is a healthy dog. The EIC only comes into play if you are going to breed. Buyers that are interested in breeding must test for hips, elbows, eyes, and EIC before breeding and all EIC carriers must be bred to clears only!. Erin's Edge does not breed to CNM carriers so pups will be clear by parentage.
If the litter you are looking at does not have one EIC clear parent (Exercise Induced Collapse) or if the breeder doesn't even know what EIC even is, you risk getting a puppy that will collapse during hunting or even when excited.
5. Ask for the written guarantee, read it and understand it BEFORE YOU BUY. Many breeders will replace a pup only if you euthanize it or return it to them. Some breeders only have occasional pups so ask them what they will do if they don't have any pups for replacements to honor the guarantee. Some breeders will return part of your money. Some breeders do not guarantee against mild dysplasia. Severe dysplasia is uncommon, although not rare, by 2 years, but mild dysplasia is more common. Make sure the guarantee covers all dysplasia for 26 months.
6. A good field pedigree has 10-14 FC's in a 4 generation pedigree, has FC's on all sides of the pedigree, and titled dogs in the 1st and 2nd generations. An NFC or NAFC is the top dog that year at the National Open or Amateur. A "C" prefix, such CFC denotes a Canadian FC. A CH is a show or conformation champion and is not a field championship. Hunt test titles are not championships as the dogs are graded against a standard and do not compete against each other, but they are a good measure of hunting ability and show the dog is trainable if a SH or MH is accomplished. The Derby is a stake for dogs under the age of 2 that awards points and not titles, although Derby Champ for the year is a great accomplishment. However, don't fall for the 20 HOF and 40 FC's in the pedigree hoping you won't look for the lack of health certs or a weak pedigree up front with a big price for the back pedigree that counts very little.
7. Linebreeding in a pedigree will intensify the characteristics of that dog repeated in the pedigree. Linebreeding is not bad, but the breeder must have knowledge about the health and temperament of the dog and know if it is "clean" for genetic defects that could compromise the quality of life of the offspring. Doubling up on genes can make a uniform litter, but it can also be disaster if unwanted recessives are doubled up. NO dog is free of genetic defects, and each dog probably carries an estimated 7-10 recessive genes that when combined, can cause minor to severe defects. Defects passed by breeding to known carriers usually shows up in 2 to 3 generations when novice and BYB breeders start putting dogs together without knowing the history of dogs in the pedigree. Linebreeding at 4 generations or more is usually too far back to be of significance. There are lines of dogs being linebred that I would not buy.
8. A Limited registration allows you to compete in any AKC event, other than conformation, such as hunt test, flyball, obedience, agility, CGC, etc. You may NOT breed with a limited registration. The breeder is the only person that can convert a Limited to a Full registration BEFORE the dog is bred. If you are taking a limited registration on one of my pups, I require the $50-$100 difference in buying price plus OFA hips and elbows, and an Eye Clearance to be performed. If your dog is bred with a limited registration on purpose, I will not agree to convert the limited registration to full.
9. Having both parents on the premises should not be an important criteria for choosing a puppy. The use of outside stud dogs is often necessary to better a breeding program. Some of my own females live with their own family and when they are done nursing they go home.
10. Although AKC papers are no indication of the quality of the puppy, avoid other US registries. As AKC has required DNA on frequent sires and raised fees, new registries have been popping up with no requirements other than paying a fee to register even a mixed breed dog.
11. If you are told the parents eagerly fetch a tennis ball or a retriever trainer dummy, that is not indicative of hunting instinct, birdiness, or the ability to be trained for field competition. If someone tells you their lines have NO genetic defects move on. It's impossible. Every dog carries multiple recessive genes that carry genetic defects. As a breeder I look on the OFA website and analyze the pedigrees and OFA ratings but hip dysplasia is a polygenic defect which means multiple genes are involved with a threshold affect. That's why OFA excellent to OFA excellent can produce a dysplastic pup, and that's why you need a breeder that stands behind their hip guarantee. We can't always anticipate how the genes will line up and maybe the pair will be a bad nick and shouldn't be repeated.
12. Purchasing a puppy should be a family decision and not done on impulse. The adults should BOTH want the puppy and participate in its training. This means if Dad wants a pup and Mom is overwhelmed with children or babies, wait unless Dad will accept full responsibility for the care of the puppy. The puppy should be prepared for, and cared for properly. The purchase price of the puppy can end up being very small compared to veterinary bills that accumulate from buying on impulse from a mall store, newspaper, or back yard breeder. Most reputable breeders frown on Christmas pups as gifts because many end up in shelters and rescue when the work starts in raising a puppy. Also, Christmas pups suffer because there is too much commotion in the house at that time and going to their new homes may be the most stressful time in their lives. Plan for your dog and look for the best dog to suit your needs rather than making a quick decision, because that dog becomes your responsibility for the next 10-15 years.
13. Please be realistic about getting a puppy if you have small children. Although you may think they are ready for responsible pet ownership, if they move quickly, erratically, scream a lot, and suddenly wake the puppy from a nap, they may scare the puppy and cause behavior problems. Please wait until your children are more mature. Older children and their friends should be forbidden to tease the dog and be taught to leave him alone when he is in his crate and wants a time-out. Supervision may be necessary with visiting children. Even a puppy with a good temperament has limitations with misbehaving children. Don't come and expect small children to pick out your puppy. This is an adult decision.
14. Field, Show, British, English, American. It gets real confusing. Basically, there is a huge split between field Labs and show Labs on how they look and function. At one time, prior to the late 60's, field and show dogs looked similar and British field and show Labs looked similar. The first Labradors in Newfoundland were described as similar to our field Labs today. Form follows Function. The show Labs changed dramatically in the late 1960's when Sandylands Labradors from England were brought over and bred, and subsequently U.K. show judges were brought over to judge them. BIS CH Shamrock Acres Light Brigade (Briggs) had 12 BIS wins. Since the introduction of the Sandylands Mark & Midas to the scene, Labs are hard pressed to even get a group placement. Brigg's grandfather was Ch. Whygin Poppitt whose grandson 1966,1969 NFC Whygin Cork's Coot sired FC/AFC Trumarc's Raider from which the top field Labradors of all time come from, Honcho, Zip Code, Raiders Piper Cub etc. Show people claim the dogs follow the standard but even to the casual observer, they are overdone and heavy. They are referred to as English Labs, or English type Labs. British Labs are field Labradors from the U.K. American Labs originally descended from British Labs, but have been in the U.S. for many years. Field trials are much different in the U.K. than here and our field dogs have evolved to highly intellectual, magnificent athletes.
15. I often hear people say "they are just looking for a pet and not a show dog" so they don't want to spend much. My advice then is look into a rescue dog. The same care and medical certifications go into a dog purchased for competition or a pet. The money you spend on a pet with a reputable breeder will pay off with a healthier dog and fewer vet bills. Although some people luck out with a nice pet from a backyard breeder, remember, many don't and look for a reputable breeder next time. People selling inferior stock rely on impulse purchases. You may have your dog for 10-15 years, and saving a few hundred dollars on the purchase price may look like nothing over the course of the dogs' life.
16. If a website has no names or addresses there is a reason they don't want to be found. If the only contact information is an email, especially yahoo or hotmail, I would be wary. A good breeder wants to showcase their dogs and not hide. Also, beware of the breeder that promises too much, lets pups go before 7 weeks, does not do vet checks or vaccinations, feeds a cheap food, or makes you sign a contract to feed a certain food. (if you don't feed it and have problems they won't honor their guarantee.)
17. The Internet has useful information, but just because it's on the Internet doesn't make it true. Many long time breeders will answer questions, but they won't answer 25 question lists taken off internet sites. Also, many long time breeders will not give out names of people as references because they get many calls for pups and have to protect the privacy of their clients. Remember, every puppy mill can provide names which will give raving references about their pups but they may be friends and relatives. The best reference is another breeder's recommendation or a vet that sees the breeders puppies for health exams.
18. The problem with concentrating on the dynamics of the litter looking for aggression and shyness is that the puppy may change once he leaves the litter and are on their own. Buy from a breeder that watches the pups, but beware of one that thinks they can form a complete personality analysis on a 7 week old puppy because personalities change and they don't know from inexperience. Pick the litter and breeder then take some feathers along. Be aware that puppies play hard, sleep hard, and sleep in the midday when it is warm. If they are all acting like duds, go with the breeder recommendation. Often, they are very close and then stick your hand in rule works well.
19. " I am often asked if the puppy will be hyper, and I then ask are your children hyper? If they say yes, I then tell them that their dog will be hyper too. I remind them that pups are like their children - they come to live with you, you don't go to live with them and they must obey the house rules." (quoted from Cleo Watson, long time breeder). If your children do not listen to you it is a reflection on your parenting skills and possibly your ability to raise a puppy properly.
20. Number one question from people is size. How big are the parents? What size will the pup be? The genetic make-up of a dog is also influenced by genetics of the dog behind the parents. Would you expect 10 children born of the same parents to be exactly the same in height and body? Can you predict the outcome of a 6'4" man and a 5'2" woman accurately? Well, neither can breeders. We can guess but I have seen it all: a smaller sire producing a small pup that grows into a pup 25# bigger than the sire; a repeat breeding having smaller adult dogs in the 2nd breeding, pups from smaller parents growing up to be large adults. All we can do is take an educated guess. You can design the exact car you want but you can't design a dog so please don't ask the breeder to find your designer dog as far as looks and personality. It would be nice but we don't have crystal balls.
21. Colors-especially breeders that breed only for White Labs, Silver Labs, Red or Fox Red Labs, Cream, Champagne, Butterscotch or whatever, be very careful as Labs bred only for a particular color probably have glaring health or temperament problems. If you are looking for one if these colors, buy from a breeder that occadionally has them but breeds for the whole dog. This also can include Pointing Labs, Miniature Labs, or Giant Labs over 100#. We now have a DNA test for Dilute (Silver). Many of the breeders are doing these tests.
22. Don't expect your field Lab puppy to be laid back and trained out of the box. You must set aside time to let them run and train them to be good citizens. If you come home from work and just want to eat and veg out in front of the TV, don't get a Lab. Excerpt from the article "The most misunderstood dogs in America" By Steve Dale. http://usaweekend.com/06_issues/061105/061105animalsmart.html A look at five breeds often left abandoned. Their worst offense? Their human owners never should have bought them. For some dogs, their only crimes are unrealistic expectations. As a result, they're misunderstood, and some are downright hated. Some breeds have such a bad rep that they need a press agent. Others have such idealistic "Lassie" images that it's nearly impossible to live up to them. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that 6 million to 8 million dogs and cats are relinquished to shelters annually, and about half of those are euthanized. We don't know which breeds are relinquished most often, but when I asked four dog experts which five breeds they think are most often abandoned, their picks were unanimous and mirrored my own hunches. "My dream is that people would choose the right dog to match their lifestyles," says Ian Dunbar, founder of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. "Then, once you have that dog, understand what you're dealing with," adds Ledy VanKavage, senior director at the ASPCA. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen enough, and it leads to this list.
23. PRA (progressive blindness) is usually not apparent by ACVO exam until 3-5 years or more and is rare in field dogs and more common in bench dogs. A guarantee against PRA until 2 years is kind of a non-guarantee. Retinal dysplasia is more common in field dogs and can be ruled out at 6 weeks. PUPPY folds that disappear (as opposed to true retinal folds) have finally been proven to not cause hereditary retinal dysplasia. There are also DNA tests for RD now. Cataracts can be inherited or acquired (as from trauma). Only juvenile and inherited cataracts are a concern for breeding.
24. If a breeder promises you the exact puppy you want THAT's MARKETING. If a breeder says they know the exact temperament of the puppy at 4 or 5 weeks THAT's MARKETING. We try and place the pups with the buyers as closely as possible, but pups change and a lot depends on what training the pups get after they leave.
25. The Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) issues a CHIC number for the testing of Hips, Elbows, Eyes, EIC and CNM as the significant conditions found in the Labrador and should be done on a breeding Labrador (at this time). If the parents of a puppy are certified not to Carry the CNM gene, the puppies don't need to be tested. There are Genetic testing companies that are now doing panels with testing where the disease is either extremely rare or may not be even found in Labradors. Breeders are advertising they guarantee against these diseases. This does not make these pups twice as valuable or is against all genetic defects, it just means these are the conditions available to be tested in the current panel. More will come. That's MARKETING. If a responsible breeder encounters a rare disease in a pup they bred that will greatly alter the life of the dog, they will usually compensate the owner. In the future there will be hundreds of DNA tests for dogs. That does not mean every dog has to be tested for each disease.
26. While many people recommend you visit the breeder, many legitimate breeders, such as myself, no longer allow visitations after being warned by the State Inspector, the AKC Inspector, and my own Veterinarian, of Parvo and other communicable diseases that visitors bring by going kennel to kennel. I am not going to risk my dogs to sell a puppy. I have a large amount of repeat, satisfied clients that come back. I understand people wanting to visit, but I have been lied to so many times I just refuse. I have pictures on my website of where the pups are whelped and grow up, which are all in the house. The litter box should have absorbant bedding changed frequently and not just a few shreds of newspaper in a swimming pool. Pups should have comfortable sleeping areas and toys when they are out of the whelping box. Raised wire cages where droppings go through lead to hard to train puppies that do not seek to go outside but just go where they are. I post unsolicited pictures and testimonials from past buyers on my facebook page and those are my references. There is only one company that is insuring in-home breeders now, and I am not willing to risk losing my insurance for someone to bring their child over to interact with my dogs. They know me, and they don't know you, so they will not act the same. If you need to visit and interact with the parents, look elsewhere.
Labradors (and Lab mixes). People expect Labs to be perfectly trained, like the service Labs who team with the visually or physically impaired. "Here's the reality: They were bred to work under difficult conditions and have the drive to swim through ice to get that bird," says Patricia McConnell, author of "For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend." That's not to say with training and time they don't settle down, but they're not the instant soup people expect. "The expectations are so high, it's difficult to live up to," VanKavage says. "They're great dogs for a fairly active family, but not for elderly Aunt Tilda," Bradley adds. "And because Labs are large, they can easily learn to drag Aunt Tilda down the street." Golden retrievers can have the same problems.
References: The NEWS pages are comprised of unsolicited pictures and emails from puppy owners which I prefer than listing puppy references and contact information on the Internet. These pictures are now on Facebook as my website is getting too big. I can provide professional references, such as other breeders, trainers, and veterinarians, which I feel are more meaningful, and can provide puppy references if absolutely necessary. Remember, puppy references can often be friends and relatives and of course they will be happy with their pups, but it's the breeder peer groups that tell the real story.
Warning for Duck Hunters-true story
We've been after the ducks pretty hard so far this season, and this morning was no different than normal. Picking up birds until about 8:30 when the "faucet" seems to shut off. Except, the faucet opened up on a buckbrush hole around 9:00 and two of us headed over to slip in and get in on the action. Even being his first season to hunt, 30 something days into it, he's really added "duck dawg" to his short, but respectable resume', dotted with some derby points and Q placements. While most of our spots have platforms or at least logs to get the dogs out of the water, this "makeshift" hunt had no decent place for a dog to stand. Seeing the sheer number of birds and knowing that we only needed a few, I figured 30 minutes tops...surely he can stand in knee deep water for that long. About 45 minutes into it he had just made a retrieve and I noticed a strange grunt/moan on the return that I've never heard before. As he came to heel, and another group was making a pass, he continued to make the sound. As he's not a "whiner" when birds are working, I gave a "quiet-nick". Continues to make the sound. Now I'm scratching my head. Knowing that he'll air even in swimming water, I rule that out. I chalk it up to "he's cold" and say "let's call it, my dog's getting chilly". As we're easing out, he becomes disoriented and begins to just tread water. I walk over and ease on his collar to pull him along. When his legs floated up to the sides, I knew we were in deep kim shi. Hypothermia was rapidly draining his time with us, as his core body temp continued to plummet. When I let go of his collar to pick him up, he sunk (head and all). Now I've heard of people doing amazing things in times of extreme duress (single person flips over car that is trapping someone, etc.), but I have never made it through 250 yards of beaver-run, smart-weed filled stump hole filled buck brush in under 20 minutes with my shotgun and blind bag. This morning I did that plus a 67 pound lab in 5. By the time I got to dry ground he was limp and unable to support his own head. I stripped my jacket, outershirt, and fleece to wrap and then curled up next to him while my partner (75 yards behind me without carrying a dog) was making to to shore to get the Argo. He had his first seizure on the edge of the field, gasping for breath, foaming at the mouth, and contracting every muscle in his body. As his eyes rolled back I pleaded with him "I'm so sorry buddy, I never meant for it to end this way"..."I never would have done this to you on purpose"....this was 10 minutes from the time he picked up the last bird. And I prayed for the first time in a long time. The selfish grief that burned from the fact that I was losing my first "real" dog and best friend was sickly overshadowed by the anguish that I felt from seeing the pain in Ace's eyes. That image raises the hair on my neck as I type this and will likely haunt me for many years to come. Argo pulls up and I hop in, with him in my lap, wrapped in my jacket, and I take the longest 1/2 mile ride to the truck that I'll ever take. Get to the truck, start engine, petal to the floor trying to get warmed up so that the heat kicks in. Lay Ace in the passenger floorboard and use everything dry that I had (handlers jackets, frogg toggs, gloves, etc) to get the water off. Then pile on my bibs, coat, and fleece to keep him warm. Second seizure hits as my buddy climbs into the driver's seat for the 45 minute ride to Jonesboro, where we have no clue how to find a vet on Sunday morning. Was going to give him some Coke to provide a shot of glucose, only to find out that his jaws were locked shut, front teeth piercing through his bottom lip from the seizures. Totally immobile and unresponsive, I pinch, pull, and pat to keep him from shutting those eyes. Notice that his gums are solid white. A few times he takes "his dying breath" and I jackleg attempt canine CPR. 10 minutes from Jonesboro and we get a call from the vet who responded to a page from his answering service. He's 15 minutes away, so I wait out another of the 5 longest minutes of my life in the parking lot. He pulls up, unlocks the doors, and I carry Ace in with the gut feeling that this would be his last vet visit. I prayed again for the second time in a long time. What happened in the next 4 hours is nothing short of a sho' nuff' miracle. I usually don't buy that cheesy crap, but I "seen it with my own eyes". With a core body temp of 84 degrees at the vet (so we'll call it close to 80 before the 100 mph heater wide open truck ride), a blur of heated tables, blankets, heating pads, warm saline solution through an IV began. 2 hours into it, we got to 90 degrees. He began to shiver (which was a good sign), and opened his eyes. At 2.5 hours, he picked up his head and took a drunken look around. At 3 hours, we were at 94 and and eased outside to relieve the bladder (another good sign that the kidneys were functioning). At 3.5 hours he ate a high-protein tube of some honey-substance. At 4 hours he was at 97 and I was hauling to Memphis with him asleep in the back seat, destined for the emergency clinic. Out of the back seat in Memphis he's got pep in his step to air and meet the awaiting staff with vet chart faxes in hand. He leveled out a 101.5 for tonight and is resting while fluids are administered. And while this seems to be the happy ending, I'm fully aware that he's not out of the woods yet. A condition known as D.I.C. (can't give you the true acronym, but the slang is Death Is Coming) were clotting ability is reduced is a definite possibility, along with a string of other ailments, including kidney, heart, lung failure, and the potential for his "internal temp regulators" to spike and throw him into HYPERthermia in the near future are all very real threats. But that's tomorrow. For tonight, my dog is alive. And in better condition than he was on the edge of that field this morning.
What did I learn?
-You cannot leave a dog in the water, even for a short amount of time. They need a place to get out and shake the excess water.
-I've always been a critic of dog vests...not no mo'. After the ass-chewing I got from the vet, I got a good list of reasons to use a vest.
-You've got to listen to your dog. Generally, they'll show/tell you that something's wrong.
-There could easily be more than coincidence relating the request for divine intervention and the honest-to-goodness miracle that I witnessed today.
As a PS, 10 months later Ace earned his QAA title.