It’s not hard to love a Labrador retriever. Their outgoing, family friendly personality, great rapport with children, receptiveness to training, and their ability to hunt both waterfowl and upland game have made them a highly desirable and well-loved breed. This popularity is reflected by their place at the top of the American Kennel Club’s registration statistics for the past 24 consecutive years.
When adopting or purchasing a new canine family member or hunting companion, we would all like to know that our enormous investments in love, time, and money will see a sizable return. For a family dog, we’d like to know that they will be healthy and live as long as possible. For a hunting or working dog, in addition to a long life, we’d also like to know they will be able to have a long, healthy career performing the specific task for which we’ve prepared them. Though we could never eliminate or predict all disease risks for our dogs, genetic testing technologies have made elimination and prediction of some inherited diseases easier than ever before.
This blog is the first of a four part blog series examining preventable inherited diseases of America’s favorite dog, the Labrador retriever. What many prospective puppy buyers don’t realize is that some inherited diseases can be completely eliminated from blood lines by breeders through the use of genetic testing and informed selective breeding practices. In addition, if not already tested by your breeder, genetic testing your specific pick of the litter before taking him home can uncover potential disease concerns that may limit your dog’s health, happiness, or lifespan.