Hashing this over again...

If you are wondering what is the right dog for you, this is the place to be. In this introductory forum we talk about topics such as breed vs. mix, size, age, grooming, breeders, shelters, rescues as well as requirements for exercise, space and care. No question is too silly here. This particular forum is for getting and giving helpful, nice advice. It is definitely not a forum for criticizing someone else's opinion, knowledge or advice. This forum is all about tail wagging and learning.

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Savannah Blue Belle

A Heart of Gold!
Barked: Mon Jun 4, '12 9:48am PST 
I've been involved in this discussion from the point of view of a Lab Owner (two times) who feels that a Lab does not necessarily have to be used as a working dog, but makes a great (if active) pet.

Not for everybody, but for owners who will make sure the dog gets plenty of recreation and exercise.

I consider them "my breed."

HOWEVER, I have been starting to wonder if some of the arguements presented might be more "right" than my opinion. (I'm talking about YOU, Trigger! big grin)

I was "window shopping" just for fun and looking at breeders. Many of the better breeders I see are talking gun dogs and retriever training. Not talking pets. I was thinking sometime in the future I would be looking for a more carefully bred Lab, and also one that is more standard sized, since Savvy is super jumbo.

But are all the "good" breeders going to be breeding for field work? Or on the other hand, for tubby "show type" Labs?

In all likelihood, I will be adopting and not buying at all, but just started to wonder about this. (And Trigger, I value YOUR opinion, so please weigh in. 'Scoose the teasin'.)
Jackson Tan

Lad about town
Barked: Mon Jun 4, '12 1:43pm PST 
Oh, is what I'm about to say sacrilege? Probably! But if I was looking for a pet lab I would certainly purchase from working lines. I don't care at all for the marshmellowy, ginormous creatures Australian bench breeders seem to be churning out. I want a dog I can do something with, even if I don't hunt.

Plus, bench lines kinda put a bad taste in my mouth when I was looking for my kelpie. Bench kelpies are beautiful with their solid coloring and all, but the way chosen to reduce working instinct was to dumb down intelligence. They just don't have the same spark as the working dog. I worry about the same thing occurring in the lab, as well as appearance.

Lol, I can't wait for Trigger to find this thread. laugh out loud
Savannah Blue Belle

A Heart of Gold!
Barked: Mon Jun 4, '12 1:49pm PST 
Well, I do like an active dog. But I don't hunt or work the dog in any way. We MIGHT end up doing Dock Dogging or something. But I am with you on favoring an active dog.


Gone, But Not- Forgotten.
Barked: Mon Jun 4, '12 2:48pm PST 
thinking Since you're debating field vs bench labs, I thought this might assist you in determining which line to go with.

Anatomy lesson

The Muddy- Princess
Barked: Mon Jun 4, '12 4:47pm PST 
Love the Lab Anatomy lesson!

To Savannah: I don't think you have to choose either a fat bench Lab or a wired-for-sound field Lab. There are plenty of very reputable Lab breeders who breed for a healthy, smart, active dogs that can win in the breed ring and hunt or do agility or dock diving. Remember the original Lab was not bred to win American field trials nor to show in American breed rings, they were far more moderate than both ends of the spectrum. I love the fact that in the Golden standard, it emphasizes the fact that they should be a "moderate" dog. Look to English field labs (the ones bred and hunting in England) as a closer approximation of the original type Labs. That is not to say that you should go to England to get your dog, but look for breeders who focus both on the standard and the function.

It's all about- me.
Barked: Mon Jun 4, '12 6:20pm PST 
laugh out loud big laugh GPU (Gas Producing Unit) laugh out loud big laugh

I dig in mud- puddles!
Barked: Mon Jun 4, '12 10:01pm PST 
I was under the impression that in every litter there will be different personalities, temperaments and affinity for work.

In one litter there very well might be a number of pups with the right drives to have the potential to be hunting/working dogs, but there will very likely also be pups more suited to pet homes.

I would think that you could have your cake and eat it too...a reputable field line breeder might just have that mellower, less driven pup that would do best as a companion.

Barked: Tue Jun 5, '12 5:53am PST 
Different personalities sure but odds are you're looking at similar energy requirements. They may not be as hard-wired for work or intense but the inherent energy generally doesn't change, if that makes sense.

There are some decent-esque field/bench crosses appropriate for pet homes and some most field breeders will have washouts from work programs who couldn't cut it as field dogs or working dogs. I personally wouldn't go looking for a field puppy expecting it to be content as 'just a pet' but a young dog washout in those lines may give you a clearer picture.

Member Since
Barked: Tue Jun 5, '12 5:55am PST 
I am going to bet that labs are like any other split breed- yeah, you have your extremes, but there are also alot of moderate breeders still producing good dogs. You just have to be willing to put the time and effort into finding them.

When I was getting a dog, I definitely didn't want one only bred for show, because I'm an active person, too. It took me probably six months of talking to breeders before I found one that had the dogs I was looking for and then another six to be put on a waiting list for a puppy.

While I'm not a lab person, I did read a book by a woman who basically created the modern bench lab and the reason her dogs are so heavy was that they had to crash through heavy bramble to retrieve. The lighter labs were a different terrain.

Out of curiousity, what is it you are looking to do? Dock diving? You may not even need a purebred lab to do that. I've seen all manner of dogs on TV compete...the winner of the last dock diving competition I saw was some kind of belgian herding dog (probably a mal) so this may end up being a mute point for you.

I am the Sock- Bandit!!!
Barked: Tue Jun 5, '12 6:10am PST 
Seriously look into the English labs. They're smaller and still quite active, but not bouncing off the walls. They are more common in my region than the Am lab for some reason. Truly great all-around dogs, meaning you can do just about any activity with them that you can dream up. Some of the best temperaments I've ever seen in dogs were in Eng. labs. They still need a job to do, but once you both settle on what that is, they're really fun dogs to live with. Huge plus ofcourse that you live close enough to the water to provide swimming/fetch/dock work. Good luck in your search!big grin
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