It is absolutely essential that your chosen Labrador stud dog has been checked for inherited conditions that could be passed onto his offspring. Before being considered for breeding, our Labradors are health checked to establish their appropriateness for breeding. These may include tests for hips (OFA), elbows (OFA), eyes (CERF), teeth-dentition, heart (OFA Cardiac Echo Doppler), inheritable Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Exercise-Induced Collapse (EIC), Centronuclear Myopathy (CNM)...and new tests as they are proven in the future!
It goes without saying that a Labrador Retriever stud dog must have the ideal temperament for his breed. Regardless of how beautiful he may be, any Labrador that is more "guard dog" than "guide dog" should not be held at stud. Your best choice for a Labrador sire needs to eagerly and quite naturally love the whole world. A proper Labrador is everyone's best friend. He must have a strong willingness about him that makes him eager to please and be guided by his human companions.
Everyone loves a winner!
It makes good sense that, in order to produce outstanding Labrador puppies, you must start with a winning stud dog. Your choice of sire has demonstrated his success in the show ring - because he's beautiful; success in hunting or sport - because he's smart and eager to please; success with people - because he's naturally a lover of life and intrinsically gregarious; success in health testing - because he's physically sound; and best of all, his success in passing onto his progeny the best possible qualities!
We ship cooled/chilled, not frozen, semen for artificial insemination breeding.
Contact us for details.
The evaluation of hips and elbows as done by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) falls into seven different categories. Those categories are Normal (Excellent, Good, Fair), Borderline, and Dysplastic (Mild, Moderate, Severe). Three independent outside radiologists classify the xrays into one of the seven phenotypes above, the final grade is decided by a consensus of the three evaluations. The hip grades of Excellent, Good and Fair are within normal limits and are given OFA numbers.
Hip dysplasia is a terrible genetic disease because of the various degrees of arthritis (also called degenerative joint disease, arthrosis, osteoarthrosis) it can eventually produce, leading to pain and debilitation. No one can predict when or even if a dysplastic dog will start showing clinical signs of lameness due to pain. There are multiple environmental factors such as caloric intake, level of exercise, and weather that can affect the severity of clinical signs and phenotypic expression (radiographic changes). There are a number of dysplastic dogs with severe arthritis that run, jump, and play as if nothing is wrong and some dogs with barely any arthritic radiographic changes that are severely lame.
Elbow dysplasia is a general term used to identify an inherited polygenic disease in the elbow of dogs. Studies have shown the inherited polygenic traits causing these etiologies are independent of one another. Clinical signs involve lameness which may remain subtle for long periods of time. No one can predict at what age lameness will occur in a dog due to a large number of genetic and environmental factors such as degree of severity of changes, rate of weight gain, amount of exercise, etc. Subtle changes in gait may be characterized by excessive inward deviation of the paw which raises the outside of the paw so that it receives less weight and distributes more mechanical weight on the outside (lateral) aspect of the elbow joint away from the lesions located on the inside of the joint. Range of motion in the elbow is also decreased.
A dog can be certified CERF normal for one year (free of cataracts, etc.) through CERF - Canine Eye Registry Foundation. A CERF examination is an eye screening examination only done by veterinary ophthalmologists (board certified by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists) who then records his or her observations on a CERF form.
During the eye certification examination, the pupils of the dog are dilated with eye drops. Once the pupil is well dilated the ophthalmologist will examine the eye for major and minute abnormalities in the cornea, anterior chamber, lens and vitreous. Abnormalities that may be noticed include distichia, imperforate puncta, corneal dystrophy, persistent pupillary membranes, cataract, persistent hyaloid remnants and vitreal degenerations.
Finally the retina or fundus is examined with an ophthalmoscope, which provides the doctor with a clear view of all parts of the retina. This part of the examination may reveal such problems as Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Retinal Dysplasia, colobomas, choroidal hypoplasia, optic nerve hypoplasia, retinal detachment, and certain vascular abnormalities.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy, or PRA, is an inherited disorder. This means it is passed down from parents to offspring. PRA is a condition of the retina in the eye that encompasses many diseases, all of which progress over time and eventually lead to blindness. For Labrador Retrievers, there is now a test which can be done that allows breeders and owners to know if a dog is clear of the disease, a carrier of the disease, or affected by the disease.
Optigen offers a genetic test for the risk of a dog developing PRA. Optigen A1 or Normal means the dog does not carry even one gene for the disease; Optigen B1 or Carrier means the dog carries one gene but will not develop PRA. Optigen C1 or Affected means the dog carries two genes and will in all probability develop PRA, though it may be very late onset (ten years old or more). If the dog's parents were optigen tested and all their offspring have to be one status, the dog is labeled "presumed" (for instance, the offspring of an A1 to A1 breeding would be "presumed" A1s).
Centronuclear myopathy is a recessive disorder, meaning that the dog must have two copies (CNM/CNM) of the defective gene to suffer from the disease. A dog can also be a carrier (CNM/n) of this disease, and will not display any symptoms. A carrier dog will pass on the mutation that causes CNM to 50% of it's offspring. If mated with another carrier dog, there is a 25% chance of producing an offspring affected by Centronuclear Myopathy.
Centronuclear Myopathy (CNM) causes insufficient muscle function in the Labrador Retriever breed. Puppies are born apparently normal, but then it quickly becomes evident that there is a problem. The puppy will often not gain weight adequately due to decreased muscle tone in the esophagus. Within 2 to 5 months, the disease has usually progressed to display the full range of symptoms, including a loss of muscle tone and control, an awkward gait, and extreme exercise intolerance. This condition is exacerbated in cold conditions.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for CNM, as the dog will never develop properly functioning muscle tissue. The dog usually has a normal life span but he will always be plagued with the symptoms of Centronuclear Myopathy.