Choosing the right puppy

 By Dr Laura van Dalen.

Everybody has a color preference, but the color will not affect the personality and conformation of the puppy. If you feel that a puppy is the right one for you, don’t allow the color be the reason why you are not choosing him or her.

There is a breed for everyone, but not all breeds are for everybody. Do your homework and find out which is the kind of dog that will suit your lifestyle.

Some facts to take under consideration are:

Time you have to spend with your dog, Labs require time to play with them, training and do not like to live alone. Hence, they do not do good if left outside for long periods of time or overnight.
Time to spend grooming. Labs have a short coat with lots of undercoat. Brushing once or twice a week is fine during the non shedding season. When shedding season comes, late spring and late fall, prepare yourself for heavy shedding. Brushing daily is a must during this time. Labs should get baths no more than once a month.

Time to spend outdoors. Labs love the outdoors to investigate, play and swim. Water should be part of their lives.

Time to give your dog regular walks. It is not only about the physical exercise. Walking is very important for the well being of the Lab's mind. Walking time needs will vary depending on the size of your backyard.

Size of your house or apartment. I've had a few of my puppies living at small houses, condos and apartments. It has taken a lot of time, energy and effort from their owners to keep their dogs properly exercised and mentally stimulated. Bored dogs will become a problem.

Size of backyard. Same as above.

Only adults or kids involved. When small kids or older people are involved, you need the lowest energy and more gentle puppy. Same when having a special needs person in your household.


Budget for veterinarian, feeding, etc. Thank God, the Labrador breed is a healthy breed and they require little vet attention. Still, accidents and bad things happen and you must be prepare for it. Labs love to eat, but they should not be fed a lot. Good premium food is a must to keep your dog healthy. They'll eat about 1 big bag (40#) of premium food a month for about $50.

Let's be realistic. If you are a single person that has a new job, works outside 10-12 hours a day, lives in a rented space and has a very tight budget, you should not get a puppy yet. Wait until you are ready to have a pet. This is part of been a responsible owner. When a person isn't ready, this experience may end in a sad situation.

Temperament

Puppies respond to pack behavioral instincts. Some of them will be more dominant than others.

The dominant ones will be more outgoing and will get into trouble more easily. He will be happy outside and will enjoy the outdoors. This type of puppies is good for shows, performance and hunting. They'll be a perfect match for active and well organized families. Serious training is a must.

The submissive ones will be more gentle and mellow. These puppies will be the perfect match for small children, special needs people and older people. They love to be inside and going outside will be fun only if their owners accompany them.

Boy or girl?

Males are more loving and playful, but they are also more territorial and take longer to mature. The dominant ones can become a challenge for inexperienced owners that do not take over the leader role.

Females are more attached to the family and more protective of their people. They mature faster and are probably the best option for inexperience owners. Spaying is a must for pet females.

AKC link for future owners

  • Beware of breeders that claim to sell AKC Champion puppies. Puppies younger than 6 month can't be shown, much less be champions.
  • Beware of breeders that sale rare colors like Silver, champagne, charcoal or brindle Labradors.
  • Beware of breeders that do not show you the mother of the puppies.
  • Beware of breeder that work as brokers for other breeders.