|Frequently Asked Questions
A: Temperament is the primary reason. On average, British Labradors are kind and highly trainable. This means the dogs can be trained by their owners, and generally don't require a professional. Also, electric collars are not used in England and shouldn't be needed in most instances with British Labs trained in America.
A: Because in Great Britain Labradors are used differently than they are in America. Also, the British have a different value system; that is, they emphasize different qualities in their retrievers. To be used on a shoot, or to compete in British field trials, a Labrador in Great Britain must fundamentally be quiet and still; alert but not nervous, even if hundreds of pheasants are being shot over him or her in a driven shoot. Once sent, British Labradors must retrieve game that is either killed dead or crippled. Consequently, they must be excellent game finders. American Labradors, by comparison, have been bred, generally by American field-trialers, to be very big, strong and aggressive in the field; animals that more frequently than not now not only are best trained by an electric collar, but often the collar is a necessity to gain control of these animals. Differences can be seen between the two in their kennel manners, to cite just one example. British Labradors rarely bark or pace nervously. Many American Labradors do.
A: No. Our Labradors, for instance, have been selected for nearly 27 years from the best stock Great Britain has to offer. Not uncommonly in Great Britain, as elsewhere, cast-off dogs sometimes are peddled to unsuspecting buyers or buyers who are not discriminating in their purchases, or buyers who lack the resources to purchase the best stock. We at BritishLabradors.com consider ourselves to be very discriminating buyers, and even more discriminating breeders. Dogs we import and dogs we breed must meet our high standards; standards we believe set us apart from the cottage industry of British Labrador breeding and selling that has sprung up around us in recent years.
A: You can now access the best information on how to train your retriever the British way—so you, too, can have a dog that is easy to live with and an excellent game finder! Log on to www.britishretrievertraining.com for all the details and to subscribe for 30 lessons that will take you and your best friend through the first year of training. In addition, subscribers have access to 75+ newsletters featuring training tips and news and insights into game bird hunting and management. Subscription is complimentary to customers purchasing their dog from us.
A: Yes and no. Any good American trainer, sensitive to individual differences among dogs, and willing to consider those differences, can train any Labrador, British or American. But too often American trainers are constricted by time and are only willing to train retrievers using one method, namely by the electric collar. Such trainers generally will not achieve optimum results from a British Labrador, which generally is a "softer'' animal than its American counterpart. We do, however, have kennels and trainers we can recommend to purchasers of our dogs.
A: Some of our dogs have won in American field trials. But generally we do not sell them to people whose primary interest is trialing in America. American Labradors, particularly American field-trial stock, are generally better suited for American field trials. However, many, if not most, of our retrievers compete in AKC licensed and other hunt tests. And many have achieved their Master Hunting titles.
A: Yes, provided the trainer knows what he or she is doing. Keep in mind, the collar is not used in Great Britain, and dogs there are routinely trained to very, very high levels. Having said that, given the nature of, say, even hunt tests in America, at the highest level it is difficult to prepare an animal to run without the use of a collar. The reason: Hunt tests in America, like field trials, reward dogs that run straight lines, that ignore points of land jutting into ponds and lakes and other natural temptations. Proficiency at training dogs to succeed at these tasks is often aided by a collar, wherein a retriever can be "burned" off a point, or similarly reprimanded if it fails to run a straight line.
A: Our goal is to breed first-rate companion hunters, animals that are as easy to live with as they are to train and hunt over.
A: Yes, by appointment. We welcome visits by customers and prospective customers. Visitation is during business hours 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday - Friday. Weekday evening and Saturday visitation is possible if our schedule allows it but no Sunday visitation please as we observe the Sabbath.
The following are visitation guidelines for visiting your puppy before the delivery/pickup date at 7 weeks of age.
1. Visitation of puppies can begin after 4 weeks of age. By this time they have acquired good maternal immunity, their eyes and ears are open, and they are playful.
2. Please do not visit any other kennels, the veterinarian, or handle any other dogs on the day of your visit. If you own a dog, we require a copy of his/her health record indicating he/she has been vaccinated in the past 12 months and at least 4 weeks prior to your visitation. This can be brought along to your visit or e-mailed.
3. To retain some semblance of family life for myself, my husband and our children, we limit puppy visitation hours to weekdays. Saturday visitation is possible if my schedule allows it but no Sunday visitation. please. An appointment must be made. I am flexible regarding evening visitation and you can spend all the time you’d like hugging and playing with the puppies but please understand that I may not be able to spend time with you as dog chores and family responsibilities have priority. Please call 651 261-9769 to make an appointment. Don’t forget your camera!
A: They are excellent for both uses.
A: We have customers from California to Florida, Washington state to New England. Most are used as hunter companions, some only as companions, some as obedience competition dogs.
A: Let's talk specific differences between BritishLabradors.com Labradors and American Labradors. American Labradors generally are bigger than our Labradors; in some cases much bigger. A typical female of ours will weigh a few pounds either side of 55 pounds; a typical male between 71 and 75 pounds. Not uncommonly today, American Labradors weigh upward of 100 pounds. In this regard, we believe smaller is better. The smaller Labradors (which, by the way, conform to both AKC and British Kennel Club standards) usually have fewer skeletal problems, and usually hold up better in the field. Additionally, they are not as imposing in a duck blind or boat. As for appearance, we strive to produce Labradors that are pleasing to the eye in all respects. Tails absolutely must be carried down. Heads must be typey and bold (particularly for males), or at least leaning in that direction. The animal must be within an inch or so of proportionate at the front shoulder, and proportionately coupled front to back.
A: Dogs must have soft mouths. They must be natural retrievers. They must be what we call "natural carriers,'' i.e., wanting even from a young age to carry something in their mouths. Dogs must be athletic and free moving, so they can complete their tasks afield. They must be intelligent. And, as previously mentioned, easily trained.
A: We've been in business a long time. We guarantee the health of our dogs. We have a one year unconditional guarantee on all of our puppies. We help our customers succeed with their animals. We care deeply about what we are doing.
A: We are very selective breeders, and a relatively small breeding operation. On average, we have between nine and twelve litters annually.
A: Always. A deposit of $500 toward your purchase price is required to reserve a puppy. (See http://www.britishlabradors.com/cost_deposit_requirement.aspx for current purchase price.) Once the deposit is received, we place your name on a list of your preference(s) of sex and color. We have 4 reservation lists: Black Male, Black Female, Yellow Male and Yellow Female. When a puppy of your preference of sex and color becomes available, you are contacted. You can then make a decision to take a puppy from this litter or wait for an upcoming litter. You may visit your puppy and we will make YouTube videos of your litter available on the our web site each week until 7 weeks of age. Puppies may be picked up at 7 weeks of age or we will ship the puppy to you at 8 weeks of age. Shipping costs are the responsibility of the purchaser.
A: Yes. Sometimes the process takes a few months, or even longer. Sometimes less time is required. This option usually is chosen by people who don't have time to train a puppy, and/or people who want a quiet, steady gun dog and want it immediately. An imported British Labrador is trained to hand and whistle signals, and usually has at least one year of experience in the field. Prices vary. Please call for availability, prices and references.
A: Primarily to maintain the integrity of our breeding program. People can argue about whether animal breeding is more science or art--or both--but few will debate that, properly done, it is an extraordinarily sophisticated process. Money is needed, and frequently in reasonably large sums, if the breeding is as honest as it is well-intended. A high degree of knowledge is also required to do the job correctly, as is experience and, perhaps as important as any, a refined eye for "right" kind of animal. We think we do all of this pretty well. Conversely, we don't think many other people do. That's why we restrict our AKC registrations to "limited," which allows owners to use and compete with their animals in any way they can imagine, but does not allow them to breed their dogs and register the offspring with the AKC.