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Old 10-09-2019, 08:16 PM   #1
jhunter77
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Default What to look for when picking a lab

My loyal buddy passed away last month. He was given to me at 2 years old. No papers no pedigree. None of that mattered his obedience and hunting abilities were always great. I would take another one just like him if I could. With that said I know the next dog will be a totally different personality. I prefer a calm lab with hunting background. While I know the work that goes into field trials, I dont need titles in their lineage and those dogs can be more high strung. When trying to find a puppy what should I look for in the parents and owners? Also I have not had a puppy since I was a young boy. What should I look for when picking a pup out of a litter? Thanks
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:29 PM   #2
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It's a really old method that some may poo-poo but from listening to you I would read Richard Wolters books be it Gun Dog or Water Dog...both go through the puppy stages & when / what to bring home. Finding the right breeder is your primary concern after the quick & easy read. You sound like the perfect candidate to train your dog to suit your needs & this will help get you started.

Me, I would want a smaller lab vs a large simply because I primarily hunt dove / whitewing vs large waterfowl & they do better in the south tx heat. Color is important to some but it's my understanding you want all black nose / eyes for good breeding, but sure there are more educated in that aspect.

Good Luck...if the dog is going to be inside, I highly recommend a doggy door to help spring board the potty training!!

Sorry for the loss & understand all too well. A puppy is what always fixes it for me.
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:37 PM   #3
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Flat head vs knot head
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:40 PM   #4
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Iíve always spent about an hour and a half picking my pup out of a litter. One will stand out in my experience. My first pup I picked came up and put its head in my lap. The second one I chose sat by himself and watched me while his brothers and sisters were playing. Little things like that always stand out to me and my dogs have always been loyal to me and only me. I donít have kids so that is what I was looking for. Spend some time with the litter and something will stick out to you. You will know it when you see it.

As far as parents go, as long as they have a hunting background Iíve always found that I can adjust the manners of the pup. My pair had pups and the personalities were all over the board on those pups.
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:45 PM   #5
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Thanks for the kind words and advice. I loaned out my copy of water dog and never got it back. But yes that was very good info. I too prefer a smaller frame lab also. I am looking for an all around dog. Tucker, hunted fished and traveled everywhere with me and then later with my wife. He hunted and loved to go fishing or even just hang out when I was working. He even kept someone from breaking in one night. I trained him mostly myself and worked him with a coworker some also. He would take hand signals and in old age when he was deaf he still could mind and take commands. I never tried to train for blood trailing but think that will be on the schedule for any new pup. Tucker had a liver colored nose. Until saltwater slick posted about his dog being a dudley I had never heard that term. No looking back tucker would be classified as a dudley also. I have did a little reading in the nose being black though and it sounds like solid advice
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:56 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:56 PM   #7
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Had to put my lab down a couple years ago and still not ready for another one yet. Kalani was the best dog I’ve ever had, my road dog for 13 years. He was a big English with a huge head (he was about 130 in his prime). I had actually wanted another pup from the litter but after a couple visits the breeder said he and I were a better match and she was dead on.

I had a lot of help from the breeder training him because they were close. Later I trained him myself as a therapy dog. He did great as a bird dog and therapy dog, but was crap at field trials. Mainly my fault because if he got distracted and went off to play in the ditch or chase a rabbit I let him

Find a good breeder and just go meet the pups, one will find you. I really want another lab now that I have a little girl but don’t know if I can get another chocolate
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:59 PM   #8
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Skinny can you elaborate? I had always heard a dog with a knot head was smart. While I did not think that was scientific. I would love to understand more about the flat head vs the knot head.
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:08 PM   #9
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Holligan,Hooligan, sorry about your lab. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:08 PM   #10
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I did about 100 hours of research before I went to pick mine, got there and he picked me. Was first pup to come to me and everything looking for. We have pups coming soon in classifieds section FYI
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhunter77 View Post
Holligan,Hooligan, sorry about your lab. Thanks for the advice.
Thank you, sorry for yours as well. If you’re interested I can get you the breeders info, they’re actually in Ok these days. I’ve still got my office in boxes from our move but should be able to get their info in a couple days
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:50 PM   #12
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I have a female British Lab and shes the best dog I've ever had. I got her at 12 months old and she had started training with the previous owner who also owned her mother. The mother was out of Braken Fen kennels and the Father was a Wildrose Kennels dog. Those two operations train dogs for the Ducks Unlimited crew. My girl weighs about 55 pounds and she is very calm around the house and great with the kids but her whole demeanor changes when she sees me in camo. She is strictly business when its time to hunt. I honestly believe she'd pass out from exhaustion before she quit retrieving.
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:51 PM   #13
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I am not sure at this point if I will pick a breeder or find a lab without papers. Today is the first day I started thinking about the options for a new dog. I am like James and research alot before I get into anything.
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:53 PM   #14
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Thanks James. I will keep that in mind.
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:56 PM   #15
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Blood trail. I really like the British style labs. It sounds like you have a great dog. The personality sounds great for an all around dog.
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:59 PM   #16
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I’m no help. My last one was a white female. She wasn’t good for anything, but she was the best dog I could ever ask for. Haven’t had another outside dog since her, just not ready.
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:03 PM   #17
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:12 PM   #18
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Default He loved to go fishing

He would hang out in the shade of the truck and watch us fish when he was older. When he was younger he would ride in the boat or even kayak with me.
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:12 PM   #19
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Pm sent
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:13 PM   #20
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Bloodtrail,Blood trail, great looking color on your lab
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:15 PM   #21
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Default What to look for when picking a lab

When I picked mine 11 years ago, I knew I wanted a high energetic dog with strong will. When I went to pick one out, I played with them for about 30 minutes. There was only one that was ahead of the pack every time. He also whines and whimpered out of excitement where as the others didnít too much. I chose him. He is still alive and well and has lived up to the reasons I picked him. At 11 years old, heís still fit and highly energetic. I have a feeling when he does go down hill, it will be fast, and probably in the next couple of years. I will dread it. Been my buddy for a long time!


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Old 10-09-2019, 10:18 PM   #22
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Here is another of Tuck
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:21 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhunter77 View Post
He would hang out in the shade of the truck and watch us fish when he was older. When he was younger he would ride in the boat or even kayak with me.
That's definitely the face of a happy pup. Sorry for your loss. My girl is 8 now and I dread the day.
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:24 PM   #24
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Sleepy, if you take care of them and keep them active you will be surprised at how long they can hunt and live full lives.
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:34 PM   #25
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Depends on your wants/needs. There’s high powered field trial dogs that are wound tight and there are middle of the road hunting/family dogs, and there are the family only and kinda docile type too. I’ve been around them all and nothing wrong with any of them. I like to choose the “middle of the road” pup that shows attention when I throw a small sock or something. Also one that when laid on its back will fight to get up and show some grit but also when you raise your voice a bit will stop. Meaning teachable and not too hardheaded. I’m also thinking of a family dog that’ll be good with kids and not destroy the house too, so not just strictly hunting.

They’ll always be an alpha, or two, in the litter and I’m usually drawn to the 3rd or 4th in line that I foresee will be very trainable but have plenty of grit and smarts versus the alpha that could be overly high powered and harder to train pup. I’m also really keen on females for those reasons and they’ve been more easily trainable in my opinion, not all, but most. I currently have a ~11mo old Lab/Catahoula mix that’s a Male rescue and he’s awesome and very trainable. He also lost his manhood early and seems a bit more calm than most males with their Kahunas still in tact! Lol. Good luck either way. I’ll also recommend Richard Wolters books Gun Dog/Water Dog. Great stuff to find and start a pup

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Old 10-09-2019, 10:35 PM   #26
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A Lab needs 2 things, an instinctive drive to retrieve and to get in the water. If Iím picking out a pup the number 1 tool is a bumper or a ball of some sort. Get the pups attention and throw it. If they arenít falling over themselves trying to go get it keep looking.


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Old 10-09-2019, 10:36 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaker_cc[/quote
The second one I chose sat by himself and watched me while his brothers and sisters were playing.
This was my last experience as well. All his brothers and sister were going crazy expect for him. Once I acknowledged him he came over slowly and said hi. His energy was calm at home or hospitals but he would retrieve until he collapsed before he quite.
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Old 10-09-2019, 11:08 PM   #28
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Mdnabors I find myself also looking for a middle of the road dog. I have been around some great dogs some were wound tight and others were very timid. I think my training and personality will best match a middle of the road dog with just enough spunk to be loyal and protective.
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Old 10-10-2019, 10:46 AM   #29
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Any other advice? Thanks
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:10 AM   #30
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Never take the one a breeder hands you first. Some times that is the one they want to get rid of. Most people bond with the first one they hold. My last Lab, lived to hunt for 14 yrs.
Abby, in her usual place when duck hunting!
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Old 10-10-2019, 12:24 PM   #31
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Thanks white falcon. Great looking chocolate
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Old 10-10-2019, 01:15 PM   #32
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My first one was a yellow lab out of field trial stock. Had him for 13+ years and he was my best friend in the world. Lost him a couple of years ago and still not quite over it. A great dog but a little higher strung than I would have liked. Was just full of so much energy in the field. You could almost feel it. At home he was a regular couch dog. But he couldn't relax while we were hunting. Was wound so tight and so ready to go retrieve another bird. By the time he was about 10 he finally calmed down a little lol. I'm not ready for another one yet, but if I do get one I'll look for one that is not out of field trial stock. Something a little easier going out of good hunting stock. Maybe some English breeding.
Good luck on finding another one. Almost makes me want to start looking.
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Old 10-10-2019, 01:32 PM   #33
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Number 1 thing.......don't take me. I have the ability to pick the dumbest lab out of every litter. I had a chocolate that wouldn't get in water
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Old 10-10-2019, 01:52 PM   #34
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I have had several great labs and to this day will watch and study them and THE ONE has always picked me.
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Old 10-10-2019, 01:59 PM   #35
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Lol, yes some can be apprehensive about water. Work and play with them on a warm day and the walk by a pond so they can get a drink most will drink after that wade in a bit and forget all about the fear of water.
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Old 10-10-2019, 02:57 PM   #36
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Here's a few pics of my best buddy! He'll be two on Pearl Harbor Day. He's 103 lbs...solid muscle! We actually got him from a TBH'r in Conroe. Just a backyard breeding. He is AKC/UKC registered and I do run him in hunt tests. I do that to give me a reason to keep training him. He is the most outstanding dog that I have ever had. He'll do anything in the field....he has his SHR and HR titles. We run our first finished test next weekend...going for his HRCH title. He loves to retrieve....training...hunting...laundry...lol...w hatever! But he is the most lovable dog with myself, my wife, and our grandkids. He loves playing football with my grandson. I'm gonna really enjoy him while I'm blessed with him. It breaks my heart to know he won't be here forever. God bless all of you that have lost your friends!
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Old 10-10-2019, 03:19 PM   #37
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I drove from Austin to Ft. Worth to pick out a puppy. The breeder had different colored collars on the pups based on what she observed. Some liked water better, some were more social etc. When I got there she gave me all the info on the puppies and told me that most of the time the puppy picks the owner. About 30 minutes into playing with the pups all but one went to sleep. She started smiling and I took Freya home. I put her in a laundry basket for the ride home and I had a rolled up sock I would toss in the basket and she would pick up and give it back to me. She is 11 now and starting to slow down but she is a once in a lifetime dog. She points Pheasants, tracks deer, after I shoot my limit with dove she goes and sits by someone else.
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Old 10-10-2019, 04:28 PM   #38
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I've had nothing but field trial breedings in the last 30 years, some were wound up too tight but most could relax in a house. I have had some chocolate all shades of yellow and some black dogs. It's a crap shoot on the one you end up with but I prefer my chances with a field bred breeding.
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Old 10-10-2019, 04:47 PM   #39
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You need to take a look at retriever training forum and entry express and look at the breedings that are out there. Yes some of the prices can be high , but unless you know someone youll never get into the elite breedings that are unrealistic in price for a 7 week old pup. Best of luck in your search for that one dog.
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Old 10-10-2019, 07:11 PM   #40
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I have always let the dog pick me. Sounds funny but I have had some good dogs over the years. First pup that comes out to greet me and wants to follow me around not caring about it's litter mates or it's mamma gets to go home with me.
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Old 10-10-2019, 08:59 PM   #41
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I will look into the retriever training forum
I was not aware of it. Thanks
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Old 10-11-2019, 09:32 AM   #42
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Look at the parents, like begets like.
Then close your eyes and grab a pup, it will all work out.
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Old 10-11-2019, 09:19 PM   #43
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There are no guarantees, but a strong pedigree laden with AFC/FC or MH titles gives you a better shot at ending up with a great dog. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be “hot” dogs or high-strung. One of my Labs has 7 NFC’s in his bloodline and you hardly ever notice that he’s in the house. My other one is sired by an NFC and he can run a bit hot but is still an excellent family house dog. Formal training makes a big difference, too. Sorry to hear about your pup. It’s a very tough deal.
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Old 10-11-2019, 09:21 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm View Post
You need to take a look at retriever training forum and entry express and look at the breedings that are out there. Yes some of the prices can be high , but unless you know someone youll never get into the elite breedings that are unrealistic in price for a 7 week old pup. Best of luck in your search for that one dog.
^^^^^^^
This
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Old 10-11-2019, 09:34 PM   #45
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Quote:
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There are no guarantees, but a strong pedigree laden with AFC/FC or MH titles gives you a better shot at ending up with a great dog. That doesnít necessarily mean that theyíll be ďhotĒ dogs or high-strung. One of my Labs has 7 NFCís in his bloodline and you hardly ever notice that heís in the house. My other one is sired by an NFC and he can run a bit hot but is still an excellent family house dog. Formal training makes a big difference, too. Sorry to hear about your pup. Itís a very tough deal.
I agree with this and make sure they are hip, eye and EIC negative.
Also, donít settle for what is close and ready but be willing to wait for what youíre looking for. .
I drove from Austin to Waterloo, Iowa to get mine. Worth every mile.
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Old 10-11-2019, 10:15 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by Pilgrim View Post
I agree with this and make sure they are hip, eye and EIC negative.
Also, donít settle for what is close and ready but be willing to wait for what youíre looking for. .
I drove from Austin to Waterloo, Iowa to get mine. Worth every mile.
Great points. A responsible breeder will always have health clearances on both parents and would never breed two EIC carriers or an EIC affected dog. One of the parents can be an EIC carrier and youíll probably be okay. Lots of great dogs have been carriers...just canít breed two carriers. If a breeder canít produce the health clearances on both parents, then run like the wind. Like Pilgrim, I too found my last one long distance. Flew to Wisconsin from Houston to get him. I had done my research and knew what I wanted. Put a deposit down long before the litter hit the ground. Iíll likely do it again when the time comes. Whatever the initial price of the dog is, whether itís $250 or $2500, it usually ends up being the cheapest part of the overall deal.
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Old 10-13-2019, 08:45 PM   #47
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Thanks, been calling a few ads and I have not found many with hunting backgrounds.
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Old 10-13-2019, 08:52 PM   #48
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What price range should I expect for a lab pup with both hunting parents preferably with tracking background? I would not mind a little mix blood in the background to hopefully mitigate any issues with line breeding in the past
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Old 10-15-2019, 12:43 PM   #49
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Theres a male pup left thats posted in the classifieds and the price is right. If I could i would have bought one.
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