A Guide to Having a Litter
Every person who has a litter (therefore becoming a breeder), should make sure that their bitch is health tested.
The basic tests recommended by the club are hips and elbows x-rayed and scored by the BVA (British Veterinary Association) and a clear current yearly eye certificate by an approved KC eye testing veterinarian. The same tests are expected to be undertaken for the stud.
Ask your vet if he is used to x-raying hips and elbows for the BVA as you only get one chance at scoring. If he is not; ask others where they go for their x-rays. Have them scored by the BVA.
At present the 5 year breed mean score for hip results is a total (left and right hip) of 12 and the 50% of Labradors have a scoring equal or less than a total of 10 (Median score). Making sure that each parent is below 14 is an ideal.
If you have doubts we urge you to discuss it with the stud owner of your choice and/or other experienced breeders.
The N&D Labrador Club recommends that only 0 or 1 elbows be bred from.
This means that you are advised to look for parents below the mean score for hips and with elbows of either 0 or 1.
Eye tests are held across the country and to find the closest one to you, you can use this facebook page . The name of this group is BVA/KC/ISDS Canine Health Testing Dates.
A clear yearly eye test is a must; it's preferable that it is under 12 months validity at the time of mating and ask to see the stud’s certificate. Don’t assume because he is well known or because he is from a well known kennel, he has a valid eye test.
To this you can then add the option of DNA testing. Labradors are mainly subject to four hereditary conditions :
EIC (Exercise Induced Collapse),
CNM (Centro-Nuclear Myopathy)
PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) and
HNPK (Hereditary Nasal Parakeratosis).
If only one parent is tested for these conditions, providing the said parent comes back clear, you know for sure that none of your future puppies can have the condition. They might carry it but never have signs of it and this is the most important thing.
The original test finders are :
Use the Kennel Club Mate select to check what health results the grand-parents, parents, siblings of the stud and previous progeny of the stud have :
Make sure you know what you are doing with colour… the number of pet owners who assume that a yellow pure and a chocolate pure will give them a litter half chocolate/half yellow is amazing !
Look up the colour inheritance on VetGen and if in doubt just colour test.
Don’t choose a dog because he’s a friend’s dog or because he’s the latest champion. This does not make him a good stud or the right dog for your bitch.
It's worth travelling (a long way) for the right stud; but he could also happen to live not far from you!