UCB Parents Advice about Pets
Golden & Labrador Retrievers as family pets
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I think we have finally decided to buy a lab or golden
retriever. So we are now looking for a reputable breeder who
breeds for all the right reasons and not just to turn a fast
profit. I would appreciate your recommendations both good bad
about local breeders. Thanks for your help.
I wanted to respond to the person looking into either Labs or was this
they are the greatest family dogs. I researched breeders for
about a year before choosing one. Her name is Sally Kelley and
she has been breeding labs for over 30 years. You can see her
dogs at www.kelleygreenlabradors.com . She is all work, very to
the point and brief but she breeds purely for tempermant.
Translation-- she breeds them to withstand any amount of ''love''
your toddler can throw at them. The only thing I can warn you on
is I wouldn't get ANY dog unless you are willing to be the main
person in charge of feeding, walking, poop scooping, etc. Dogs
are just like kids and require time and attention, which is alot
to put on a 7 year old. Just my 2 cents! Hope it helps.
Try Pat and Jim Dunlavy of Hywind's Labrador retrievers at (209)
838-1164 in Escalon. We got our lab from them and thought they
were great. They might also be able to recommend other
breeders. N. California Lab or Golden rescue would also be a
great way to go.
After six months of research and another few months of waiting
for puppies to be born, I got my ''pet-quality'' chocolate lab
from a breeder in Vancouver, WA, Chelons Labrador Retrievers.
(It's harder to find a breeder of chocolates because, I'm told,
the chocolates don't place well in dog shows.) Please be
diligent; you can buy a dog with serious genetic problems that
can be very debilitating to both the dog and your cash flow. My
experience is that many of the best breeders in California have
waiting lists for their dogs and do not advertise. I was
strongly urged to avoid ''backyard breeders,'' who advertise in
the newspaper. I did my research by attending local dog shows,
talking to the breeders and meeting their dogs. I also met my
dog's ''parents'' at a show before I bought him. If you are
interested in the breeders I considered when I bought my dog,
you can email me and I might be able to unearth the
information. I must say, as much as I am completely in love
with my dog, and as great as his breeders were/are, for ethical
reasons I probably would not buy from a breeder in the future.
The Golden Gate Labrador Retriever Club has an incredible Lab
Rescue program with some beautiful dogs available. This, of
course, would not work if you want to show your dog. Good luck!
There are a number of good local breeders you might want to
contact to get connections. Masterson Kennels goldens have
seemed pretty healthy to me. Martha Shaw raises nice labs. You
might also consider contacting Guide Dogs for the Blind in San
Rafael- not only do they have career change dogs, but Dr. Autumn
Davidson one of vets raised retrievers and used to work in the
Walnut Creek area, and probably knows a lot of good breeders in
Please consider rescuing a lab instead of buying one! There are
so many dogs who need loving homes. Check out www.labrescue.org.
We're comparing yellow labs to golden retrievers in making a decision about
which dog would be right for our family. Our youngest
child is 7 so is capable of this important responsibility.
We know that goldens are wonderful family dogs but we
were interested in learning if the same is true for
yellow labs. Any information about personal experiences
welcome. Thank you.
Regarding the question about dogs: we have two golden retrievers and
they are absolutely great with our baby and all of our friends' kids.
They will chase the ball for hours, don't get upset when the little ones
scream, pull tails, or get in their faces, etc etc etc. I even put my
baby on the floor and leave the room, so confident am I that the dogs
will be fine. The only problem is that the dogs are so friendly they
have frightened kids unfamiliar with dogs (a little too much bounce).
We looked at Labradors when we went dog-shopping. Either breed is great
with kids, probably about equal. Labs are a bit calmer than goldens.
Still social, but not quite the frenetic energy. They also have LOTS
less hair; we are vacuuming constantly with two goldens. I have noticed
that my friend's lab seems to smell more "doggy" than my goldens. I
think either one would be a great choice. By the way, there is no
difference besides color between black, yellow, and chocolate labs.
After 20 years with German Shepherds, we got our first Labrador
Retriever two years ago (ours is black, but they are
genetically the same as the yellow ones -- just a color
variation). We adopted him when he was 18 months old,
from Guide Dogs for the Blind (he flunked). May of my
friends also have labs (it seems to be the official dog
of Orinda). Every one of the labs is a wonderful family
dog: patient, great with kids, trainable, fun. I am a
total lab devotee now. Go for it.
Responding the person about labs. I have had yellow labs all my life.
For the past 13 years we have had a mother and daughter. (just lost
the daughter to cancer in Sept). I can't say enough about their
personality and disposition. I have a 14 month old daughter and she
loves the dog. She lies on the dogs bed, rides her like a horse, pulls
at her ears and always wants to look at her teeth. The dog just lies
there and takes it. They are really sweet dogs.
I had a yellow lab for 12 years and she was a great family dog.
My kids could pull her tail, ears, etc., and she wouldn't
do a thing. I highly recommend them.
I had the most wonderful sweet dear yellow lab for many years. She was very
smart and very loving and all the best things I could imagine in a dog. I
think either breed would be wonderful for a family.
I have worked with Golden Retriever Rescue for a number
of years and they are great dogs. However, I don't believe
there is enough difference between the breeds to make
Golden vs. Lab your primary decision. Each are known
to be great with kids, but it always comes down to the
individual dog. One big difference that you might think
about is the amount of hair each breed will shed. Here
are some recommendations to start you out.
If you get an adult dog, go to either Norcal Golden Retriever
Rescue or Goldens in Cyberspace. It will take a while
to find the right dog,but it is well worth the wait.
If you get a dog who has not been personality tested,
you could wind up with a dog that you can't live with
and will have to return. This will, of course, only
cause more heartache. You want to look for a dog on
the lower end of the dominance scale, but not too low
that it might be fear aggressive.
If you decide on a puppy, please know that it will be
alot of work, but you can come out with a great dog if
you put in the TIME and effort in the beginning. If
you are thinking about a puppy, you should be able to
put in a minimum o 1 hour of training time each day for
at least the first 5 months. Also, large breed dogs
need a minimum of 1-2 hours of exercise each day.
This goes on for years. My 41/2 year olds go for 11/2
hours of off leash walks/runs every day. If you do
decide on a puppy, please pick your breeder VERY
carefully. Again, it is easy to end up with a dog that
is too much for the family to comfortably handle.
O.k., off my soapbox now. I've just seen so many dogs
get abandoned after a year by people that started out
with good intentions.
If you have any more questions, please feel free to email
me. I can give you some great referral emails and names
and I promise not to get back on my high horse.
Congratulations on waiting till your child is 6 or over until
you get a dog! That is ideal.
I have two labradors, yellow and black, and they are really
great companions. They do vary greatly in temperament,
though. My black girl is just a wild thing, and my yellow
girl is a low-key cuddler. They are exactly the same age.
The difference, IMO, is in the breeding (Max is from the
Oakland shelter and Maddy, the quiet one, is from a local
breeder). Please visit "Am I Ready for Labrador Ownership?"
for lots of info.
Oh, and as for the shedding: while a GR does have longer
hair, don't think for a minute that a Lab sheds less. This
does vary dog by dog, but my two Labradors shed enough that
I need to Swiffer my floors daily. It's pretty significant.
I forget whether you wanted a puppy or not, but please
consider getting a Lab from Labrador Rescue. The local
organization is http://www.labrescue.org/. To be even-
handed, the Golden Retriever rescue for this area is
Good luck with your choice. In my opinion, you can't
go wrong with either breed.
The best advice concerning dogs is to talk to the people you are getting the
animal from. Every dog is different. Labs are consistently a good family
dog, but, just like people, not all of them are. It only takes a second to
go over the line, which is long enough for a bite to occur when you're not
looking. I think 7 is an old enough age for a child to know when enough is
If you get a puppy or an adult from a shelter, be sure to get as much
information from the officers there as possible. If you get it from a
breeder, make sure they allow you to see where the animal was raised and ask
for references from other buyers.
Most shelters have material for you to read concerning teaching your
children how to behave around animals. Training your dog is important to
make them a good addition to the family, but training your family will help
ensure a safer environment for everyone involved, including the dog.
I just wanted to correct a misconception that Labrador retrievers don't shed as much as other dogs. Although they are shorthaired dogs, Labs actually shed quite a bit-often more than their longhaired counterparts. That fine short fur comes off in your fingers and finds its way in every corner of the home. Labs are double-coated and so need a great deal of proper brushing to maintain their coats (and keep fur from flying everywhere in your home). I have a short-haired Lab mix who sheds much, much more than her longhaired Shetland sheepdog mix companion. Also, I would urge you to consider mixed-breed dogs. There are a lot of mixed-breed adults and puppies up for adoption at shelters. They are just as loving as purebred dogs, less expensive to purchase (most times you don't purchase them, just pay an adoption fee) and less likely to be wanted (e.g. more apt to go unwanted at a shelter). Unless you are planning to show or breed a dog, there's no reason to limit yourself to a pure breed.
Gwynne and Mark
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