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cliffy

? about British Labs

13 posts in this topic

My wife and I are thinking about getting a dog. We both like labs and after doing some research, I think a British lab would be the best for us.

I would be interested in hearing from any British lab owners. I dont bird hunt so it would basically be a pet and not a hunting dog. My wife and I are active and we do have access to wooded property and a lake place...so the dog wouldn't be strictly stuck inside a house.

Also, I was looking on-line and came across Tall Grass Kennels in SD. Anyone have any experience with this Kennel?

Any info would be great.

Thanks

Cliffy

I see if I wouldn't have been in such a hurry there is a few other posts on this same topic. Sorry for doubling up. Any other info from others would still be appreciated.

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I have a British lab. She is only 8 months old, and is my first lab. My wife and I absolutely love her. I can tell you there is a huge difference in the disposition and temperament of the British labs. Much calmer and relaxed, not so high strung like American labs. Although ours is a hunting dog, she is a great pet all around. Just so you know, you will pay more for a British lab. Most are around $1,000 or more for a pup. We got ours from Rick McConico out of Old Oak Kennels in Blooming Prairie. He has great lines and is an excellent breeder in my opinion. Check him out. These dogs are great. At least mine is after 8 months!

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Thanks for the info. Its pretty much a done deal now...just got to find the right breeder. We kind went into this adventure knowing we would have to spend a nice sum of money....so that really was not a surprise. A friend of a friend recently bought a British Lab and he allowed us to spend the day with his dog...which was a little over a year old. Never barked once all day...and warmed up to us instantly! Thanks again for the info.

Cliffy

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I usually stay out of this topic... but more and more each week and each post opened on this subject, the answers refer to "British Labs" as some distinct breed... it is not. Labs are labs and all the "American Labs" are bred down from dogs that came from the U.K.

With that said, am I saying that 'American' dogs decended from traditional Field Trial lines generally possess a calm-even demeanor? No way... couldn't even hold a gun to my head and get me to utter those words... Does that mean every American Field trial dog is some Helter Skelter spaz head that bounces off the walls? Nope not saying that either. I just put down a male that was a direct son of Lean Mac, the most winningest dog in trial history... my dog was one of the softest, calmest, brightest dogs I ever put my hand over. I may never see another like him... Conversley, I have personally seen one 'British' dog that was as "bouncy" a dog as I've seen. He was a great hunter, but was wound tighter than I prefer... It happens, they are living flesh, not made on an assembly line.

To lay a basis for this discussion, I will need to talk about American bred labs that possess the traits you are speaking of. There are breeders out there trying to bring the lab of old back. I am one of them. Not advertising here, just giving you my 2 shakes. I breed dogs of a calm, tractible demeanor that I would put up against any 'British Breeding'. They are also stellar field dogs, generally free from inherited disorders and are soft easy to train students... I've had the pleasure of watching 2 of them grow up and just this week I had dinner with one of the couples who have a pup. It is 5 months old... we ate dinner and the pup went over and curled up on his rug by the patio door without being told. She is also out being introduced to pheasant hunting and has been on 3 hunts now. She is incredibly beautiful to boot. People are amazed at her maturity and grace for such a young dog...

Am I trying to put a feather in my cap? Nope... not even going to ry to twist my arm to pat myself on the back... What I am trying to say is... a lab is a lab... the breeding will dictate what your pup will turn into. There are many fine breeders of Americna Labs that will give you what labs lost long ago... hard work, tractibility and a natural calmness. Look for breeders of dual purpose lines... dogs that hold multiple titles, a mix of hunt test - field trial, show and / or obedience. They are out there but it takes some research. No different than putting research into any dog you are thinking about buying.

With the recent hysteria on 'British Dogs', you will see more and more indesciminate breedings. I see dogs being advertised as 'British' but neither parent were imports... when do they no longer claim 'British' status... 2 generations removed? 3? 4? If the parents were both bred here, are they of British breeding? As I've said all the dogs in the States can be traced back to Britain at some point or another. I've also seen pedigrees advertised as british when in fact only 1/2 of the pedigree was British and I don't believe the dam was an import but in actuality bred here in the States and bred back to a game farm dog with definite Amercan field trial lines... But I can guarntee unsuspecting people scooped up these 'British' pups believing this would solve all their hyper lab woes...

I'm not knocking the imported dogs from the U.K., I even bred to a Scottish import once. Great pups... but I did not sell them as 'British', as they were not.

To make a long story short, move forward researching your 'British' breeders. Ask how far back in the pedigree were the direct imports, ask if the parents were bred here or oversees... then begin to make the decision on selecting a breeder and litter. Do not rule out a well bred American line... I would concur a well healed - stacked field trial line will most likley be more than the average Joe can handle or train, these are the thoroughbreds in the Lab world, but many fine breeders of the type of dog most hunters and families desire are out there... and often at a discounted price compared to so-called British Labs.

Good Luck!

Ken

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Robert and Kipley at Tallgrass are really nice folks, and a pleasure to deal with. They spent waaaaaayyy more time with me and my family than we could have expected, and I truly appreciated their time and concern. They interviewed us as much as we interviewed them - and I found that aspect both reassuring and quite different than my previous dog-buying experiences.

The breeding program is quite simply outstanding also, and that is really the bottom line when you're looking for your new partner. You really need to see these dogs in action to appreciate what they are.

Buying a pooch is a long-term deal, and those folks understand it.

Its a little out of the way, but in my mind the drive out there is well worth it. Besides, you can always stop at the Redlin Museum deal in Watertown......

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Ken, I have to agree with you about the hype and marketing and outright deceit that seems to have crept in to the whole "Brit" fad. I spent many hours over several months researching the various breeders, their breeding stock, the history of the various lines, etc.

Sadly, a whole lot of so-called British Labs simply weren't what they were advertised to be. I'll admit, I got very discouraged - between the prices and the hucksterism, it was not fun.

I also went to a couple of places that were regular puppy factories, and the owners were downright p0'd when I left without plunking down cash for a deposit or taking a pup from their stock on hand. Sorry fellas, but I stated right up front that I was doing research, and giving me a line of hoohaw instead of pulling out the certified pedigrees will send me scurrying in the other direction faster than a rabbit seeing a dog.

My Brit pup (both parents from the UK) is still untested - but I really like what I'm seeing so far, both around the house and when we play "The Game" in the yard. This weekend he will have his first introduction to the field, as we go after pheasants. I told Jr. he better not miss - since I will be busy with the dog and probably not doing much shooting.

I thoroughly agree with your advice about checking out the breeders carefully, and not discounting the American Lab. Sounds to me like you have a breeding program in place that may be of serious interest to me in another 5 years or so. Going through the better part of two hunting seasons without a lab has been painful, and a mistake I never wish to repeat.

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I agree with Ken. It's all about the bloodline/breeding and doing research. This "it must be better because it came from overseas or is being brought back from the old-time lines" marketing phenomenon is present in several breeds right now. It's a head scratcher.

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Just pick up are british lab pup last Saturday from green Meadows retrievers in st. croix falls and could not be happier If you want a quiet demeanor then these are the dogs for you. A British Lab is not the same as a American lab in my opinion I've had both. These dogs are much quieter and more manageable.

My wife and I are thinking about getting a dog. We both like labs and after doing some research, I think a British lab would be the best for us.

I would be interested in hearing from any British lab owners. I dont bird hunt so it would basically be a pet and not a hunting dog. My wife and I are active and we do have access to wooded property and a lake place...so the dog wouldn't be strictly stuck inside a house.

Also, I was looking on-line and came across Tall Grass Kennels in SD. Anyone have any experience with this Kennel?

Any info would be great.

Thanks

Cliffy

I see if I wouldn't have been in such a hurry there is a few other posts on this same topic. Sorry for doubling up. Any other info from others would still be appreciated.

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Ken:

Thanks for jumping into the conversation...lots of good info and your points are well taken.

I feel the need to clarify my thoughts. I am not thinking of getting a "British" lab just because they are the "hot" new item. To be honest, I am just looking for a smaller lab that is well behaved...and yes, I know the behavior depends a lot on us (my wife and I) and the training and attention we give it. Our family has owned labs in the past and I suppose that is why I love them so much.

The idea of a British lab was in my head mostly over their size. I would be happy to have an "American" lab if it was the right size and came from a good breeder.

Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Cliffy

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Cliffy,

I have a 7 month old British/American cross from legend gun dogs in Dassel, MN this is my third lab and have yet to meet anyone from trainers to hunters that have not been completely amazed at the demeanor, temperment and intelligence of this dog. He is a smaller dog about 60lbs. as of now and I don't think he will get too much larger. You can teach this dog something once and he never looks back, for example: I put in an underground fence, walked him once around the boundry and he was trained he has not left the yard in 2 1/2 months every new stage of training is that easy. I have absolutely no connection to the kennel at all but truley believe you could not get a better family/hunting dog.

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Ken that is one of most well written and thought out responses I've seen in a long time! I have a 4 1/2 old British that did have parents from Scotland. I could not agree with you more on the current "craze" of the dog of the week.

The Brits wanted to retain more of a field dog not a trial dog that American breeders quite frankly needed due to the demands put on the dogs because of how American trials were run.

I agree there are some breeders, and I applaud you for being one who are trying to get bloodlines more in line with the traits associated with a field dog. That is good for me and how I want my dog to work. But everyone has a different idea on how their dog will be used so we should continue to see different breeding strategies.

The bottom line and always has been is to spend the time to do your research. Look at operations and see the parents and how they work. There are no doubt breeders that have jumped on the bandwagon and are no doubt diluting British lines as well so it is up to you as a buyer to get what you think you are getting.

Good luck with your search.

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It seems from what I have read and other discussions I have had on British/English Labs isn't that it is some other breed of lab but a specific set of physical characterstics: smaller frame, stocky, blockier head, otter-like tail, etc. I have not read/heard that there had to be a certain limit on the gap between generations actually whelped in the UK. Maybe that has been lost from the original definition before I got my information and what is discussed now is just those physical traits. In any of the conversations I have had with others isn't that there is some superiority of a Brit/Eng. What I have said in conversations and on this forum is that it is the same great lab features in a smaller package. I wouldn't say in a discussion of any type of lab, be it "Brit/Eng" compared to "American", color, blocky vs pointy, that one is better than the other. We have two labs, our runt of a girl that is supposed to be Brit/Eng at about 60lbs and our big dude at 85 - 90 lbs and he is every bit of a lab she is. I always thought people got the "Brit/Eng" because they wanted a smaller lab.

IMO, any lab can be a good dog regardless of how they are labled. And, any color of lab is good as long as it is black winkgrinlaugh

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IMO, any lab can be a good dog regardless of how they are labled. And, any color of lab is good as long as it is black winkgrinlaugh

NO NO NO Any color is good as long as it is RED gringringrin

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