How to Choose a Lab Puppy

By Tracy Barnhart

Labrador retrievers are the most popular dogs in the United States, according to the American Kennel Club. Labs were originally from Newfoundland, where owners bred them for hunting game. These dogs are black, yellow or chocolate in color, are typically easy to train and are good with children. To ensure that you choose the right puppy for your family, take time to research the breed, find a quality breeder and find a puppy that matches the temperament of your family.

Write a list of the characteristics that you would like to have in your puppy such as color, temperament, sex and energy level. If you are unfamiliar with the breed, research the positive and negative characteristics of Labradors so that you can decide what type of puppy is best for you and your family.

Choose a reputable breeder. Search for breeders through the American Kennel Club website or by asking other Labrador owners. Find a breeder who keeps the dogs inside the home, breeds a few litters of only one or two types of dogs and is knowledgeable about the Labrador retriever breed.

Meet the available puppies and their parents, if possible. A quality breeder should provide you with information on the health and temperament of the litter and allow you to visit the litter several times as the puppies age so that you can get to know them and their mother. View the entire litter of puppies and interact with each one during your visits. Ask the breeder whether the parents are healthy and whether they have any veterinary clearances such as eye and hip clearances.

Take the puppy that you are considering to your own veterinarian for a checkup to ensure good health. Choose a puppy that is healthy and meets the criteria you set for your family. Take the puppy home after the breeder says that the dog is old enough to separate from its mother.