I have been owned by Labrador Retrievers since 1996. My very first Lab was bred by Guide Dogs for the Blind. Although he was always a gentleman he did not want to be a guide dog! In the past, I competed with my Labs in 4-H and AKC junior showmanship and obedience. After my yellow boys were gone I decided I wanted a show dog. I had not yet learned that there was more to look for than a pedigree full of show winners and a couple basic health tests. That is how Carrie came to me, who although she was very sweet and intelligent, also possessed a devastating inherited heart defect. Since then I have spent many hundreds of hours studying breed history, health, structure, and training to try to do the best I can for the breed.
Today I am involved in AKC and UKC conformation showing, hunt tests, and obedience with some dabbling in agility and other events. I am a member of the Treasure Valley Hunting Retriever Club and The Labrador Club (the AKC parent club).
I believe in multipurpose Labrador Retrievers. Labradors that look like they should, according to the written breed standard, and have the sound temperament and working ability described in that standard. Trusted companions that can hunt, compete in dog sports, and work as service, search & rescue, and detection dogs.
To give puppies the best chance at a long life of doing all the things Labs can do, both sire and dam should be screened to rule out common heritable diseases. Health screenings for the following should be verified, never take someone's word for it!
- Hip and elbow dysplasia by radiograph (OFA or Pennhip). Remember final OFA clearances cannot be done until 2 yrs old.
- Eye disorders by a veterinary ophthalmologist. Clearances are valid only for one year because eye disease can develop at any age.
- Tricuspid valve dysplasia and other heritable heart conditions via echocardiogram by a veterinary cardiologist.
- DNA testing for applicable diseases such as exercise induced collapse, progressive retinal atrophy and centronuclear myopathy.
If you are interested in learning more about the breed, begin with The Labrador Club website. I'm also happy to answer questions about Labradors, and to refer you to other resources for information and responsibly bred litters.
~ Laurel McCord