Finding a responsible breeder takes some work. It's important to know how to distinguish a responsible, quality breeder from all the rest. I'm hoping this post and the one that follows will help you easily recognize one from the other.
You will find that responsible labradoodle breeders health test their breeding dogs. They test them in order to improve the breed and to increase the likelihood of having healthier puppies. They also are more than happy to share the actual test results.
The following is a list of possible tests a responsible, quality Australian Labradoodle or Labradoodle breeder would have performed on all their breeding dogs.
Minimum testing requirements: (#1 and #2 are bare minimum test requirements)
1) Hips - These can be tested thru OFA (must be rated excellent, good, or fair) or PennHip (.60 or better).
2) Elbows- tested thru OFA or other.
As a bare minimum, breeders should be testing for these two mentioned above. There are other places that perform these tests, I mentioned the two above as they are well known.
Almost all quality breeders will also run additional test and will not breed their dogs unless they are cleared from other health and genetic disorders, such as:
3) Eyes cleared thru OFA or a certified vet ophthalmologist. This test is repeated every 18 months or so.
4) EIC (Exercise Induced Collapse)
5) prcd-PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy)
6) Patella clearance thru OFA and/or vet
7) Cardiac clearance thru OFA and/or vet cardiologist
Quality breeders for the most part keep:
8) DNA profiles on all their breeding dogs- Most reputable Labradoodle and Australian Labradoodle breeders have DNA profiles on their parent dogs.
9) Parents and/or puppy pedigree- These should be readily available. Labradoodle pedigrees should only have labrador retrievers and poodles in the pedigree. Australian Labradoodles could have labrador retrievers, poodles, cocker spaniels , labradoodles, cockapoos or other australian labradoodles in their pedigrees.
If pedigrees are not available, or if the there is doubt about the pedigree, can the breeder provide DNA test for parent dogs that confirm the breed type? I personally know two people that thought they were adopting one type of dog and actually got another. I also know of a breeder who advertised the sale of her "Australian Labradoodles" but when asked if DNA test could be done on the chosen puppy or the parent dog (there were questions about the breed of one parent dog), the breeder stopped all communication. These puppies were cute and much cheaper that the rest but obviously the breed was misrepresented.
You will find that responsible breeders will never neglect the emotional and physical well being of any of their dogs. Their dogs usually live at home with them, or in guardian homes (forever homes). They also will spend countless hours caring for the emotional well being of the puppies they raise. For these breeders, raising puppies is a labor of love. They will use different methods to care for the emotional and physical well being of the puppies they raise. They never leave this to chance.
In Part 2 of this blog we will look at other very important considerations when picking a quality breeder.