If you’re looking to purchase your first Labrador Retriever puppy, emotions might be high. After all, it is an exciting time when you can’t stop thinking about your new puppy.

The unfortunate reality to consider is that there are a number of different ways to get a dog, many of which are not the best.

Countless breeders advertise that they have the best interest in mind. We all know, however, that they might be in it for the profit and not for the love of their animals.

Finding your next Labrador puppy should be done carefully and through the use of a reputable and responsible breeder.

Finding a good breeder can be done through dog shows, references, competition events and online. But first, it is important to realize the reason for which you should invest the time in finding a trustworthy breeder.

Why Should I Find a Reputable Labrador Breeder?

Spruce Pets identifies what a reputable can offer you compared to one that simply wants to make money off of their dogs.

Expert advice: breeders that know what they are doing will help you decide on if it’s the right match while backyard breeders just want to increase the chances of a sale.

Physically fit: if you go about buying a puppy from a reputable breeder, then it will showcase all of the admirable traits concerning that breed.

History of the puppy: knowing the background of your puppy and the genetics that it has inherited is essential and can only be done through a responsible breeder.

Meeting the family: those who breed their dogs for profits usually do not allow their clients to visit the house. But meeting the parents of your puppy allows you to know what to expect in your new potential addition.

Proper care: there are a number of immunizations that should happen before you even get your puppy. Responsible breeders ensure that this happens for the safety of their litters.

Home away from home: although this might not be a top consideration, a good breeder does become attached to the dogs they raise, taking them back if anything were to happen to their new owners.

For an overview of what a reputable breeder should do, watch this video provided by the American Kennel Club. This will give you a sense of what to keep in mind when pursuing a responsible breeder.

Do You Want a Dog for Sport or Show?

Knowing why you want a Labrador Retriever in the first place will help you find the right breeder. Some want a dog that participates in sports such as dock jumping, flyball or Frisbee.

In this case, you may have better luck going to official competitions where breeders will enter their pedigree dogs.

Or perhaps you’d prefer a Lab that goes on walks and cuddles with you on the couch. Companion puppies can be found at shows or online.

Despite the reason for which you’d like to add a puppy to your life, it is important to figure this out before contacting a breeder.

Where to Begin Looking for a Good Breeder?

As previously mentioned, finding a reputable breeder can happen through a variety of situations. It can also depend on what you want to do with your dog later down the road.

Dog Time recommends doing this by speaking with your vet or local breed for good recommendations. In addition, you can also visit dog competitions and shows or browse the American Kennel Club’s breeder referral page.

What Are the Signs of a Reputable Breeder on a Website?

Siting through a website can be challenging, especially when backyard breeders can make their situation look a lot better than it is.

By understanding what exactly constitutes a reputable breeder, the website should allow for some telling evidence.

Knowing just what to look for on a breeder’s webpage, Pet Helpful lists a few tips for the potential client.

Community work: a breeder that is invested in their dogs will be involved within the community through different club participations.

Titles: the achievements of the dogs breeding bred should not matter, but it does show whether the breeder pays close attention to the fitness of their dogs. Dogs who have more success in the ring are typically designed as they should be and with fewer problems.

Health clearances: with nothing to hide, a reputable breeder will clearly indicate what their dogs are getting tested for, which is pinnacle in deciding to buy from them.

Possible Breeder of Merit Program: this program is somewhat new and was established by the AKC. It ensures that the breeder has obtained at least four AKC titles, participated in AKC events for at least 5 years and has a vote of approval by this club.

To see if your potential breeder belongs to this exclusive club, search through the criteria on the American Kennel Club’s updated Breeders of Merit webpage.

What Questions Do You Ask a Breeder?

When you’ve looked over the website, then it is time to put the breeder to the test and see if they truly are responsible. To do this, you will need to contact them, either through the phone or your email, and ask them a series of educated questions.

If you don’t know what to ask, then use some of these suggestions provided by Dog TIme.

  • Where do the puppies live?
  • How often are the puppies handled?
  • Can I meet the parents?
  • How many litters do you raise a year?
  • Can I have copies of the health clearances?
  • Can I speak with a previous buyer within the last year?

What Should You Look for When Visiting the Breeder?

After asking all of the questions you need, it is important to visit the breeder and see the conditions of the dogs and the living space for a full review.

In fact, Rover agrees that this is the most important step. Look for these signs to find a suitable location for your future breeder.

  • The dogs live outside.
  • The dogs and puppies respond well to people and are socialized.
  • Living space is clean and void of sanitary flaws.

Should the Breeder Be Asking You Any Questions?

A good breeder is one that wants their puppies to go to the right home, regardless of how long it takes.

For this reason, they will be asking you just as many questions as you have them. Or, at least they should be. If they don’t do a proper job of ensuring the fit for you and one of their dogs, then this might be a red flag.

The process of finding a reputable breeder can take longer than if you were to go to a backyard seller.

The time spent is worth it however as this is the best way to ensure that you get a healthy, socialized Labrador puppy.

Take the steps mentioned to find your next best friend.