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Hunting Dog Suggestions..(see inside).


The Yeti

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Me and my wife plan on getting a puppy in the spring. Torn between a chocolate lab or a golden retreiver. I hunt mainly grouse and duck.Some Pheasant. Any suggestions for which breed, breeders and good training books? I want to train our dog right. Thanks much.

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Depending on what you want to spend and what kind of dog you want to choose I would first of all suggest going with a reputable breeder first. I bought my dog from Stu West ( Alma Bottom Kennels) Good web site. He has been great to work with and helped me get mine fixed up after being diagnosed with Blastomycosis this year. He truley cares about the animals he breeds. Check him out if your looking for a good lab.
Good luck

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Chocolates, blacks or yellows are all labs and the hair color doesn't make a bit of difference (just as we have blonde, brunette and red heads). What makes a difference is their pedigree. When you check out a pedigree also investigate the parents genetic backround. Check as many dogs as possible in a 4 generation pedigree. (Hips, elbows and eyes all have certfication numbers, make sure at least two generations of ancestors carry these, you'll have to take the breeders word on epilepsy, allergies etc. as these do not get tested). Make sure you get a written guarantee covering ALL genetic defects. Unforunatley with the popularity of all the retrieving breeds, to much "backyard" breeding has taken place and genetic disorders are very common. If you choose a golden, make sure it is out of field stock as many, many of the goldens have been bred for pets only, or shows. You'll get a smaller dog, with less coat which is what a "true" golden looks like as opposed to the larger ones with long flowing coats. Good Luck with your search, I know with a little homework you'll be very happy with the dog you pick! Ken

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If you plan on getting a hunting dog, stick with the Labs. But for an all around family dog that likes to hunt, go with a Golden.

I'll second the idea of finding a Golden that's of the dark red sporting type vs the long haired blonde showdog type.

They are both great breeds of dogs, each with their plus's and minus's. Do a little more research online before you make any decision. A lot of good info out there.

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Yeti,labs are great all around dogs.Goldens are more of a family type of dog who wil hunt well also.Goldens love their families to no end and are great around kids.I have a male Golden who is 3 years old and he is a great dog.If you want to see some pics of him drop me a e-mail and I'll send some hunting pics.like the above posters ay,watch your breeders.
Ryan Hale

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Just another opinion here, if you go with a golden be prepared to spend a lot of time brushing the coat. They shed alot of hair and pick up every single cockleburr (?sp) that's out there, they hunt a little slower than most others also. But, they are a great family dog, very affectionate. Mine is 5 now, hunts very well, but just a little too slow for me.

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I have a nine month old golden male from field stock and a two year old son at home. They really do make a great family dog. I am really happy so far. Spend the extra cash on a well bred dog. What's a few hundred dollars over the course of 10-15 years. Picking out the puppy is also very important, it's not an exact science, but you definitely want to stay away from the dominant pup and the wall flower. The Water Dog video and books are great. I also would suggest,"Retriever Training-a back to basics approach" by Robert Milner. Ask the breeders lots of questions. It's a lot of work training your dog, but you get more than you give. I was up in the air on getting a black lab or a golden. Either way, find a well bred pup.

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Setter. Thanks for the offer. Yes, that would be great to see some pics. You can e mail me at [email protected] I was at the game fair last year and one of the breeders had his female golden. I was surprised at how small she was because I thought Goldens were bigger.

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Labs4me, it seems the 'professional' breeders have gone overboard with all this talk of bad hips, elbows, and eyes. I've never seen a lab with any of these problems. Until 5 years ago, you never heard of elbows and eyes being checked. Seems to me to be a ploy to distinguish themselves from the backyard breeders and justify the outragious prices for puppys. I have a female lab that I plan on breeding to a respectable pedigreed male. Since I've shot a lot of pheasants over this female, I know that any pups that I get will be as good a hunting dog as any of these field trial 'hot' puppies that the kennels are peddling, yet I guess you could classify me as a backyard breeder. I'd rather buy a pup from a guy that hunts his dogs rather than a kennel that has 6 females pumping out umpteen pups every year.
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Yeti,
As with any breed, I strongly suggest you look at as many breeders and dogs as you can. Stick with hunting and trialing/testing breeders. Personally, I'd stay away from backyard breeders as most of them don't know what they are doing. Definitely get references and call them. Post questions about specific breeders. I just talked with my vet the other day a she said she just examined a golden pup that had no ball on the top of one of it's femurs. That's sad. The hip problems are very real with the larger breeds. When you get your pup take it to a vet and get it checked very thoroughly. Also insist on a written guarantee from the breeder. Good luck.
Gspman.

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Yeti, I have one of each. I grew up with Goldens. Cons are when they get wet they stay wet, a lab you can take a towels to him and he's pretty much dry. Cockleburs are horrible, I get mine shaved fairly short each year but it's still bad. My particular lab is a hard nosed hunter who is nice also. So, take your time, don't even go look until you know what you're looking at. You'll end up taking a cute puppy home, no matter what. Remeber, you spend 99% of the year just hanging out with the dog and 1% hunting, so pick a good family dog also. Finally, regarding hair, the lab is worse, I have a black one and that hair is thick, heavy and a real pain to clean up, the golden is light and feathery and easy to clean up. Also, labs are labs, color is just a trait like eye color in people. Black is dominant, yellow and choc. is recessive, which is just less common. Have fun with your choice.

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Blackjack, don't want to get in a pissing match! The joint and eye diseases are VERY real and VERY prevelent! Ask your vet how many he's seen/treated, I'll bet he won;t be able to make the same statement. Screening of eyes/hips and elbows has been around a lot longer than 5 years...I've been doing mine for 15 years now. I'm not a puppy factory, I usually have 1 litter every 2-3 years. I wouldn't classify me as a professional dog breeder either. Rather some one who's just trying to better the breed. There are a lot of good dogs out there, but why buy one that hasn't been screened as opposed to one that has? I do check all my dogs and the dogs I breed with for genetic disorders. I put titles on some of my females and others I don't. They all hunt and all will pass on the traits I'm looking for. You may never have seen joint disorders because your friends have had dogs that have "artheritis" showing at 6-7 because "they've been worked/hunted to hard" or "they jumped out of the truck wrong as a pup" or "they grew to fast" etc. etc. etc. I have a friend who wouldn't take his dog in for a screening and at 8-9 years old he can't hunt with us anymore as his back end is whithering away. Just "artheritis" he says. To much cold water duck hunting. I'll bet he has at least moderate if not serious hip dysplasia and this dog has been bred a few times. On the flip side, this last weekend in South Dakota I hunted with an 11 year old daughter of my first titled female who hunted till 12 (and lived till 13)and she hunted both days 10 a.m. till dark with no problem. I'll bet she repeats the same next year. Patting myself on the back? Nope! Just using it as an example. Could happen with "any" breeding but the odds are more in your favor if you buy out of "clear" pedigrees. As for the eyes, you may not know your dog is a carrier of a disorder as the most prevelent eye disorder does not affect the dogs vision for the most part. If they have some "folds" in the retina (retinal dysplasia) they can usually hold their head a little different to see past the blind spot. Sounds like no big deal though right? Wrong...they are starting to tie this disease with hip dysplasia. Cataracs... young dogs can be passed down a genetic catarac disorder, this is not the same as old age cataracs. Then there is progressive retinal atrophy which is more common in goldens...dogs generally lose sight around 5-6 years old. Sounds like fun...having a blind hunting dog when he's entering his prime. Think I do all this screening and research to make more money? hahahaha, Even though my pups sell for a little more than the next guys, I have a huge expense in my testing, breedings (stud fee, travel, AI if needed etc.), vet bills, eye certification as pups etc, etc. etc. If I wanted to make money I'd buy a male and female and put them toether and call it good! No expenses, no guarantees. But because I want to not only put the best pups on the ground, and take as much risk out of the physical problems as possible I do what I do. You have truley been blessed if you've never seen any of these problems...I hope you never do! I'm serious when I say I hope that none of your dogs ever come down with one of these diseases. It's not fun! especially if it is a severe case and you have to make the decision to put them down at a young age. I wouldn't knock you for doing your breeding, that's your business and your decision, but I will tell you that these conditions are not made up and I will always recommend that you by a pup from stock that has been cleared. Go ahead a rebutt me if you want just trying to pass along some facts. Good Luck in your search Yeti!

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Yeti, see my note in waterfowl forum. If the breeding takes, I'll have choc & black lab pups this spring with some excellent bloodlines and the testing, shots, dew claws removed, etc that the other notes talk about. The breeding is taking place this week at a breeder/trainer up in Ogilvie. That should put the pups ready to go in mid to late March. E-mail me at [email protected] and I'll send you the pedigrees.

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LABSFORME, I just discussed your response with my daughter, the vet. She said that you are right, unless you were interested in breeding generations of blind and crippled dogs, which you are definitely not. She said that indiscriminite breeding of genetically inferior dogs only benefits vet's income,and its not the type of business they want. What really gets her angry [and you don't want to see her angry] is people who get a dog, and when it can't hunt anymore because of genetic faults, have it put down and get another one. Keep doing what you're doing.

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LABS4ME is absolutely right. I don't know a heck of a lot about dogs but I have read some articles on the eye and joint situation and it is definitely for real. My friend's dad is a vet and he explained all this to me. I don't have much to offer, but just listen to what LABS4ME has to say, he's right.

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Labs4Me, thank you for pointing out all the right things to look for. Very well put. I was speaking to a very reputable breeder that was saying that if everyone would stop buying from the pet stores/puppy mills and would only buy through the folks that care, we could pretty much breed out hip dysplasia in 3-4 generations. The points you bring up are exactly why I'm working with David at On-Line Retrievers for my female and her litter.

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Labs4me
Well said I have seen 2 dogs the last year who have had hip dysplasia. One had to be put down at age 3 the other is on some medication but is no longer a hunting dog. This stuff ids very real. Yeti spend the extra money now believe me the cost of the pub is the cheapest part of owning a dog.

enjoy Lab

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I agree. Thanks for all the responses. There are so many message boards out there that are filled with half truth, sarcastic remarks to the posts. Very annoying. FM has been a true and very valuble resource for many outdoorsmen and women. Very cool. Many of my friends have also enjoyed this site. Let's add another option to this thread. Male or female dog? All my hunting buddies have males. (not that its a deciding factor) Any suggestions on this? In talking to my wife throughout today and looking at these responses, we are starting to aim towards a golden.

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From a guy who has had two female Goldens, I say go for the girl. Yes, your yard will look like mini crop circles, but I would rather have dead grass then the possibility of dead shrubs, dead trees, yellow fence posts and yellow truck tires. grin.gif

The females tend to be smaller, my first came in at 50lbs. and the second is a trim 68lbs. Also the females tend not to roam as much, at least this is what I've observed. Just remember that no two dogs are alike in personality, even the same sex. Pay close attention to the parents of the pup, parts of their personality will be passed on to the litter. My hound has the sweetness of her mother and the "got ta get da ball, got ta get da ball, got ta get da ball!" of her father. I've got nothing against males, I've just always been able to handle the ladies. LOL grin.gif

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Yeti, I'm going to pick up my female lab puppy tonight at 6:30! It's the most excited I've been in a long time. My first puppy. Here is a thread that I started a month ago about male or female

http://fishingminnesota.com/ubb/Forum53/HTML/000448.html

For me it just came down to seeing the pups and picking out the one that I liked best. I don't plan on breeding her so I just went by personality. Good luck and have fun.
P.S.
I am getting a 30 month guarantee on mine for eyes and hips. I made sure the breeder that I chose offered that because my uncle's choc lab was so bad it had to be put down at 8 years old. Stopped hunting at 5 because her hips were so bad. After $800 surgery it never got any better. Hips are really a serious problem, especially in labs.

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I have a 4 year old golden and found a way around the cocklebur problem. About 2-3 weeks before opener I take him in for a haircut and have them give him a "lab cut". When they are done with him he has 1-2 inches of hair everywhere and looks just like a lab. Since I started doing that I haven't had to pull 5-6 burs off him total.

Capt'n

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A book I have used to train quite a few Labs is called Game Dog by Richard Wolters. He does a good job of explaining where you should be at compared to the puppy's age.
Paul S

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Pups in the field. Any certain age they have to be, before you bring them in the field with you? I've heard many options on this topic. Thoughts?

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The most important thing before you bring a pup into the field is to make sure it is conditioned to the sound of a gun. Here is a link to a pretty good method.
http://www.coonriverkennels.com/Tips%20and%20Tricks%20Details.htm#Introduction%20to%20gun%20fire

After that it's pretty much personal preference. There are alot of bad habits that can be learned in the field if your not prepared.

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Thanks guys for this discussion. I am in the market for my first hunting dog and these are good things to know. These types of discussions are what make FM.com such a valuable resource.


LABS4ME,

If possible, could you send me an email? I have some dog questions for you.

[email protected]

[This message has been edited by Ray Esboldt (edited 11-13-2003).]

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I took mine pheasant hunting at 5 1/2 months just to get her some experience around other hunters/dogs, to let her just run and run, and to learn that gun fire means fun. I only took her out though AFTER she was solid on obedience training and after she had been exposed to gun noise. It needed to be a fun/learning experience, not one where she was cowering back at the truck or running off through the field with me chasing her. She didn't know at first what she was looking for but after the first pheasant jumped she quickly figured it out. Made her first retrieve that day!! It was a blast!

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Yeti,
Male or Female choice is much like the golden ret. vs lab option. Boils down to personal choice. The first question you'd probably want to consider is are you planning to breed the dog. If it's your first dog, you'd probably be better deciding to stay away from that arena. A spayed/neutered pet will usually be a healthier, happier pet so that would be the suggestion if you're not breeding.

Back to Male vs Female... I've owned both sexes and they both have their pros and cons. Females come into heat twice a year and attract every dog for miles. Can put a real damper on your hunting trip. Males will chase a nearby female in heat, ignoring all commands when he has breeding on the brain. Females will leave your lawn covered with dead spots. Males will piss on every bush, post, flower, tire, or tree in their territory.

My personal preference runs towards the males. Females tend to be a little more high strung and flighty. Of course males have there moments too. If I had my pick of a litter, though, I'd pick the biggest, fattest, laziest male pup of the bunch. They seem to grow up to be even tempered, happy, strong hunters. Don't go for the one that runs to you and jumps all over. They are the fun puppies that turn into the uncontrollable, energy-overloaded nightmares.

My two cents. Good Luck!

------------------
Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

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Labs4me, good response to my earlier post. From the sounds of all the other posts, with 'vet references', the the hip and eye problems are more pevalent than I thought, I guess I have been lucky to not see it.

As to the original post, goldens vrs labs, someone posted that the labs can't handle long trips. I just got back from 5 days of hunting in SoDak, we hunted from 10 til 5 every day and our labs lasted just fine. My brother alternated his 1 and 12 year old males and I hunted my 7 year old female lab every day, all the time. She was tired toward the end, but every morning she was turning circles, ready to go. The key is having a dog that loves to hunt, good conditioning, and good nutrition. Since they're usually too tired to eat in the evening, we mix up a canned dog food mixed with dry food and water supper and they'd eat that. We also did a smaller batch at noon when we had our lunch. They had energy til the end. My brother pooped out first, saying he'd had enough smile.gif So it all depends on how your dog has been conditioned and how you feed them, whether its a golden, lab, or ??

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