Sunset Labradors Breeding Philosophy and Policies

Sunset Labradors is a small hobby breeding program dedicated to preserving and enhancing the wonderful characteristics of Labrador Retrievers breed. To achieve these goals, I research pedigrees, assess the temperament of the potential parents, and require numerous health clearances on both the sire and damAdhering to the AKC conformation standard for the breed is also a priority. My litters are raised in a supportive environment that gives the puppies with the best possible start in life. Like most hobby breeders, I so not make a financial profit. My rewards come from the joy of raising carefully planned litters and placing happy healthy puppies in loving homes

My goal is to breed healthy, sound, intelligent Labradors with correct conformation, the classic temperament, an eager to please attitude, and a low to moderate activity level. The selection of the sire and dam is the first step. The girls in my breeding program have had OFA hip, OFA elbow, OFA cardiac (by echocardiogram), and OFA eye testing done. They also have DNA testing done for PRA, EIC, CNM, DM, HNPK, RD/OSD, and D locus. The typical Labrador temperament with an eager to please attitude is a priority. My dogs are good retrievers, but they do not have any field training. Rally obedience is my favorite canine sport. The selection of the stud dog is based on health clearances as well as their pedigree, conformation, and temperament. The stud dogs often have show titles and many of the dogs in their pedigrees are champions. The dogs in my line are the American show-type Labradors, aka English Labradors. Most of my girls are show quality. Many of the dogs in their pedigrees are show quality, and a number of the them have show titles.  

My dogs and their puppies receive quality care with regards to safety, diet, exercise, veterinary care, and loving companionship. I share my home with my canine kids. They have access to a large fenced-in yard. My dogs and their puppies are fed Fromm dog food. Most of my breeding females have just two litters. My retired girls live out their natural life with me so you will be able to meet with the dam, the puppies, and several other older relatives.

My puppies are raised in a home-based setting with separate indoor and outdoor areas. I strive to provide them with an environment that promotes their physical and mental development. For the first month, the puppies are in whelping box in the guest bedroom. I move the puppies into a spacious pen in my sunroom when they are 4 weeks old. Weather permitting, they play outside in a fenced-in patio area and a 10 foot by 34 foot grassy pen. I provide them with a variety of  indoor and outdoor toys. They play in and around two toddler playhouses and several climbing toys. In warm weather, the puppies play in a toddler wading pool. They have both soft and solid chew toys. My puppies have frequent visitors so they are well socialized. They are exposed to a variety of sights, sounds, and surfaces. During the last 2 weeks the puppies are with me, I bring each puppy into the main areas in the house and the large outdoor dog yard. They receive the first vaccination against several canine diseases and prophylactic treatment for parasites before they go to their new homes. 

My puppies are carefully placed in approved homes. I encourage prospective owners to describe the traits they find desirable in Labradors and provide me with information about their lifestyle and family dynamics. I observe and evaluate them as they grow. My puppies are also temperament tested by an experienced dog trainer when they are at least 7 weeks old. There is usually some difference in the personality, activity level, confidence, sound and touch sensitivity of the puppies in the litter. Based on the results of the temperament tests and my observations, I will identify the puppy or puppies that will most likely meet the needs and expectations of their my owners. There may not be a puppy in every litter that is suitable for some families. The selection of a puppy to be placed in a home with young children, a time buyers, and a senior couple will receive careful consideration. For more information, please see the Puppy Selection Policy page in the Nursery section.

The purpose of the sales agreement/contract is to protect the puppy, the breeder, and the buyers. My primary goal to provide for the safety and well being of each puppy. I also hope to remain on friendly terms with the new owners. The agreement states my obligations to the new owners as well as the obligations of the owner to me and to the puppy. I retain an interest in all the dogs from my breeding program throughout the dog's life. I am available to help with problems or concerns. My responsibilities to the Sunset Labradors continues throughout the dog's lifetime. My puppies are returnable at any age for any reason. A detailed written health guarantee is included in the sales agreement. I stand behind my puppies with a new puppy or a partial refund if specific problem develops. 

AKC limited registration will be issued with all the puppies sold as companions. The offspring of dogs with limited registration can not be registered with AKC. Dogs with limited registration can participate in numerous AKC activities including obedience, field trials, agility, and tracking.

A spay/neuter agreement is included in the sales agreement. These surgeries are an important aspect of responsible dog ownership. Establishing and maintaining a responsible breeding program is a time consuming, expensive, and often challenging undertaking. Most dog owners are not prepared to make the necessary commitments. Unplanned litters are prevented. 
Based on recent studies, early spaying and neutering puppies may predispose them to various health risks including shortened lifespan, bone cancer, obesity, hypothyroidism, abnormal bone growth and development, CCL ruptures, hip dysplasia, and urinary incontinence in females. The risk of several serious health problems may be significantly reduced when the surgery is done post maturity. 

I will be available to answer questions as long as you own your Sunset Labrador. I have a lot of experience raising puppies and helping other owners solve problems with their puppies and dogs. I am happy to help new owners with problems and concerns throughout the dog's lifetime.