When purchasing a puppy you should consider it as a member of your family, a 4-legged member who will be around for 10-15 years. It is important to remember that you get what you pay for. Trying to find a puppy quickly, for a small price, could produce 10-15 years of less than desirable behavior, health problems, vet bills, etc. If you are going to invest this many years of your life with this furry 4-legged family member, wouldn’t you prefer to have an intelligent, trainable, eager to please, healthy companion?
When searching for a hunting dog, people often make the mistake of believing that if the dog’s last name is retriever that it will automatically be capable of hunting, retrieving and understanding advanced training concepts--unfortunately this just isn’t the case.
When you look at an AKC pedigree you can see generations of dogs bred for a specific purpose. You will find show dogs bred to look a certain way; you will find “backyard” dogs as I call them, bred for companionship, but not for intelligence or trainability; then you will find field bred dogs bred for hunting or working.
A field bred dog, particularly a field bred Lab is going to have a leg up on other breeds for several reasons:
1. These dogs are bred to have a strong retriever desire. The retrieve is solid and consistent. It comes naturally and instinctively to them, making their retrieve easier to mold in training.
2. They are naturally "birdy." We often notice field bred Lab pups who have completed no formal retriever training marking birds as they fly through the sky--it is genetic and bred into them.
3. Because a working, hunting Lab should be capable of understanding advanced training concepts, only the most intelligent have been re-bred. You will find trainable, eager to please field bred Labs with generally upbeat, happy- go-lucky attitudes, which translates beautifully in the field, in training, and in the house with your family.
4. Because a hunter invests a great deal of time and money into his dog, he doesn’t want to have to retire him early for health issues. Generations of field breeders have been x-raying hips and elbows and conducting genetic testing to try and breed out genetic diseases, certify heart and eye health, and simply not continuing to breed dogs that are unhealthy. For this reason you will find the most athletic dogs that have the healthiest joints, are free of genetic disease, have ideal coat textures and proportions among field bred Labs.
Looking for a puppy? If I dont have a breeding that meets your needs, contact me. I am more than happy to look at pedigree, health clearances, pictures, etc. to help you determine if the breeding you are considering effectively meets the needs of you and your family at an appropriate price. My fee is minimal and you get a top notch dog!
Grand Retriever Hunting Retriever Champion, Beckylou's Bayou Beamer, Master Hunter, Nine Time Master National Hall of Famer, Qualified All Age.
It's easy to see, based on his accomplishments, that Beamer has the intelligence and trainability to do the work. These genetic traits and qualities carry through the lines, ensuring that your puppy has what it needs to complete training successfully. This is why we look for field bred puppies.
For these reasons, I feel that a field bred Lab makes the very best hunting retriever or family companion. There’s a reason that the Labrador retriever has been the top registered dog with the AKC for 21 years running!
What about alternative or non-traditional breeds for retrieving?
I understand that a Lab may not be for everyone. I often have customers who want to use German Short Haired Pointers, Vizslas, Spaniels, and Golden Retrievers for their hunting retrievers. I am not opposed to this, but I will caution you that finding a non-traditional breed that is field bred and has the right personality and characteristics to make a successful retriever can be expensive and difficult-- but they are out there.
German Short Hair Pointers: Finding a GSP with retriever desire is probably the easiest of any non-traditional breed. You should search for a field bred GSP whose parents retrieve. I would want to see both parents effectively retrieving before I would purchase a puppy out of the breeding.
Vizslas: Over the years the Vizslas line in America has become very diluted--you mostly find pet breedings. If you are looking to make a Vizsla into a good retriever, you should find a field breeder and, most of the time, that means looking out of state. You should plan to be on a waiting list for a puppy and plan to pay double the price of a field bred Lab, possibly triple. Get in touch with me early to find out the qualities that you should look for in your puppy and should plan to begin working with me as soon as you get your puppy home to build its desire to retrieve. The Vizsla can absolutely make an excellent retriever, but its energy needs to be molded from a very early age to ensure success in retrieving. The Vizsla is an extremely high energy breed; many websites and online dog directories do not adequately prepare people for the true exercise needs of the Vizsla. Unless you have prior experience with this breed, I suggest talking with me before you purchase one so that I could help you make a decision on what breed would be best for your family and lifestyle.
Spaniels: If you want a Spaniel for your retriever, contact me for a reccomendation on Spaniel breeders, and also to let me help you choose your puppy from the litter. Contact me early so that I can help you build retriever desire.
Golden Retrievers: Golden Retrievers are exceptional hunting dogs and family companions. Due to the warm Texas weather and their long coats, Goldens are not a very popular Texas hunting dog. This makes finding field bred Goldens in Texas difficult. If you want a Golden you should find a field breeder and plan to pay at least double the price of a field bred Lab. You will more than likely be on a waiting list. Additionally, you may have to pay to have the dog shipped to you, as often finding a breeding in your time frame means looking out of state.
The Field Bred Labrador Retriever is simply easier to find, more affordable and are in such abundance that they are generally the most effective hunting retriever breed--this is what they are made to do.
Pedigree, what should I be looking for on a pedigree? How important is it?
Think of a pedigree as a dog's certification, like graduating from college. This is your insurance policy that the sire and dame dogs can do what the breeder says they can do. You should seek out a pedigree appropriate to what you plan to use your dog for.
Contact me for a better explanation of Field Trials vs. Hunt Tests