There is no doubt that breeding Labrador Retrievers can be great fun.
But it is also very hard work and is a very real responsibility.
From breeders I have spoken too the one piece of advice they all seem to agree on is to plan ahead and make sure the breeding pair are from good stock and physically sound.
Labs can produce large litters so it is hugely important that you don’t begin a breeding programme unless you are absolutely confident of being able to find homes for all of the puppies.
Of course there are two distinct reasons why anyone would want to begin breeding Labrador Retrievers. The first to produce a litter for themselves and family, the second is as a commercial operation.
Whatever your motivation it should be remembered that not all pregnancies result in a happy, healthy litter. And, if you have the female dog, breeding a litter at home can be a great experience for the first time breeder or it can be an unmitigated disaster.
It is obviously very important to make sure you have the best possible pairing of dogs. Each dog must have a good temperament, be in top physical shape and free from disease. Each animals lineage should be checked to ensure there are no inherited problems.
OCD (Osteochondritis dissicans) – inherited joint disease
Any of the above are serious defects and it is the breeders responsibility to ensure that the dogs are tested and x-rayed prior to mating to ensure they are free from them.
The temperament of the breeding pair is just as important as their health.
Labradors inevitably end up in a family home so it is essential that they are temperamentally suited to sharing a home with children as well as adults.
Another essential point to consider when breeding Labrador Retrievers is to check the pedigrees of each of the breeding pair to ensure the dogs are not too closely related.
The implications of using closely related dogs are poor health in the puppies, questionable temperament and a weakening of the bloodline.
Before mating it is advisable to let the dogs get to know each other and, ideally, each dog should be over two years-of-age. By this time any temperamental or health issues should be apparent.
Breeding Labrador Retrievers is not a decision to rush into but it should be remembered that finding the right pair of dogs is only the beginning of the process.
Once the mating has taken place and pregnancy is confirmed the real work begins.
Taking care of the bitch during pregnancy can take a lot of work as can the whelping process. After the mum has produced her litter taking care of the puppies, and finding good homes for the puppies is a time-consuming and potentially expensive undertaking.
Of course the last point, finding good owners, should not be underestimated. Rest assured there is no way you will let the puppies go to just anyone.
Be prepared to reject potential owners if you are not satisfied that they will offer a caring and loving home to a puppy.
I suppose the cardinal rule here is to trust your instinct. You will know who is suited to owing one of your pups.
More On Breeding Labrador Retrievers
Finding The Right Breeder
Breeding Your Labrador Retriever
Some Issues To Address Before Breeding
Dog Mating And Breeding
Dogs In Heat
Black Labrador Retrievers
The Chocolate Labrador
Caring For Labrador Puppies