You can identify a good Labrador puppy by visual assessment, pedigree paper, and DNA Breed analysis.

There are so many aspects that go into what makes a great Labrador.

You want one that is physically healthy and one with a good temperament.

Puppies get their genetic traits from both parents.

The best way to find a healthy puppy is to start with healthy parents.

Here is a list guide to help you identify some of the key features of a good Labrador puppy.

How To Identify A Good Labrador Puppy ?

  1. Find Repute Breeder
  2. DNA Breed Analysis
  3. Head and Chest
  4. Body Confirmation
  5. Body Measurements
  6. Teeth
  7. Ears
  8. Eyes
  9. Coat Color
  10. Check Temperament
  11. Choose from a Litter
  12. Examine the mother
  13. Healthy Labrador puppy

1)    Find Repute Breeder

If you’re thinking of buying a Labrador puppy, find a good breeder and avoid backyard breeders and puppy mills.

The purchase price will be higher than those puppies, but they come with health clearances and guarantees that you won’t get from less reputable sellers.

A reputable breeder will have their puppies examined by a veterinarian at least once before selling them to make sure they are healthy.

They should give you copies of health certifications for both parents and information about the immunizations and medical care your Labrador puppy has received so far. [1]

The breeder should have a basic idea of what kind of temperament the puppy will have as an adult based on an evaluation by a professional tester or trainer or by observing the pup’s interactions with family members or other animals.

The breeder should be able to produce the dog’s pedigree and American Kennel Club paperwork, plus certification that the puppy has been examined by a vet and has received all its required vaccinations.

If the puppy’s father and mother are both registered as Labradors with AKC, then there is no doubt that the puppies will be 100% purebred. [2]

2)    DNA Breed Analysis

The DNA assessment procedure is a test for identifying the genetic risk of inherited diseases.

The DNA of a puppy is tested, and the result determines whether he’s a carrier or not.

The breeder should be able to provide you with paperwork proving that both parents have been DNA tested and are clear of hereditary diseases.

Ask about genetic testing done on the dogs being bred, including hip dysplasia and eye conditions like progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), canine multifocal retinopathy (CMR), cataracts, retinal dysplasia, etc. [3] [4]

3)    Head and Chest

The head of a pure Labrador puppy is broad, clean-cut, and well-chiseled. Its teeth, jaw, eyes, and nose should all be proportionate.

You will find a stop (i.e., break between the top of the head and muzzle) defined but not too pronounced, as Labradors are known for having a slightly concave or “dished” appearance to their faces.

Ears should be set on high, which means they stick out laterally at the base when viewed straight on or from behind.

The muzzle should be the moderate size.

The cheeks should be moderately chiseled in profile with adequate jowls to lend balance to the head.

The chest of a pure Labrador puppy must be deep and wide enough for adequate lung capacity but not barrel-chested or so broad that the dog looks heavy about its overall body length.

The Laboratory Standard describes it as “the deepest point of the brisket reaching down between his front legs”.

4)    Body Confirmation

The Labrador puppy’s body is proportionate to the head, and it should have a well-balanced appearance, with both its forequarters and hindquarters equal in balance and size.

A puppy should be able to move freely and effortlessly, with both front and back legs straight from elbow to ground when viewed from behind, going away, or coming towards you.

Its top line is firm and straight from the withers to the croup (not sloping or roached).

The rear legs are broad at the shoulders, muscular with good thighs and strong stifles; the feet are medium-sized with well-arched toes.

Its tail is well set on, thick at the base, broadening to become strong where it attaches to the body, tapering towards the tip. [5]

5)    Body Measurements

The Labrador has a shoulder height of 53-64 cm (21-25 in) and weighs 25-36 kg (55-80 lbs).

Male length is from 21½ to 24½ inches at the withers; female from 20½ to 23 inches at the withers.

Purebred Labrador puppies are usually between 50 and 80 pounds when they grow up.

Pick a Labrador puppy with a standard of 55 to 80 pounds.

It is not uncommon for a small Labrador to be much smaller than this or a large one to be much larger. [6]

6)    Teeth

The Labrador puppy develops a full set of evenly spaced, white teeth that meet in scissors or level bite.

If the jaws are normal, the upper incisors should overlap the lower ones slightly.

A dog that has an under-bite or overbite is undesirable.

A scissors bite refers to how the upper and lower incisors meet edge to edge.

In a level bite, the upper and lower incisors are even.

There are two types of bites that are serious faults in this breed: undershot and overshot.

In an undershot bite, there is more than one-eighth inch difference between the length of the upper jaw and lower jaw when they close together; in an overshot bite, there is a gap of more than one-eighth inch between the top front teeth when they close together. [7]

7)    Ears

A good Labrador puppy will have ears that are small to medium-sized and hang close to its head.

When viewed from the side, you can tell if a puppy’s ears are too high on the head by seeing if there is space between its eyebrows and the bottom of its ear.

Ears hanging too low cause them to drag along the ground, which leads them to become deformed over time.

Similarly, overly wide or narrow ears do not allow a dog’s hearing system to function properly since sound waves will bounce off at odd angles rather than hit their eardrums directly as intended by nature.”

8)    Eyes

The eyes of a Labrador puppy should be medium-sized, well apart, and dark brown.

The Lab’s eyes should also have an intelligent expression.

Its eyes are dark, kind expression giving sweetness and intelligence, while eye rims are black.

A Labrador retriever puppy comes in three colors: chocolate, yellow and black.

Chocolate Labs often have eyes of two different colors —brown and hazel.

Yellow labs are cream or tan in color; they have brown eyes.

Black labs also have brown eyes.

Eye color other than brown or hazel could lead to Cataract. [8]

9)    Coat Color

A purebred Labrador retriever should have a black, yellow, or chocolate coat with no markings or spots of any other color on its body.

If the puppy has white markings on its paws or chest, it is unlikely to be a purebred Labrador.

The puppies have short, dense, weather-resistant coats that are straight or wavy.

They should have a thick coat with a double layer that helps protect them from cold water when hunting or in other environments where they might get wet.

Pure Labradors tend to shed seasonally, although some do so year-round (especially if they’re kept indoors). [9]

10)    Check Temperament

The pure Labrador puppies’ characteristics are calm temperament, gentle nature, and incredible trainability that make them perfect family pets.

Test your puppy’s reflexes by placing him gently on his back and stroking his chest with one hand while holding his head gently with your other hand.

He should lie quietly for about a minute until you put him down again.

If he struggles or snaps at you, this is a sign of poor temperament and instability–a definite no-no for a family pet! [10]

11)    Choose from a Litter

You can choose a healthy, alert, active, shiny coat and bright eyes puppy from a litter.

From experts’ experiences, smaller litters (3-4) tend to be healthier than large litters (8-10).

Large litters usually mean that the mother had a difficult time giving birth, resulting in serious health problems for both mother and puppies.

The more puppies there are in a litter, the more likely it is that one or more of them will end up being unhealthy.

It doesn’t mean that you should completely rule out large litters – be aware that they come with certain risks. [11]

12)    Examine the mother

Healthy and happy-looking Labrador mothers tend to have healthy and happy-looking puppies.

If a mother is thin, emaciated, or has any obvious health issues, her puppies will most likely have similar issues.

And if the mother is sickly, then chances are that she won’t be able to produce enough milk for all her puppies.

It will make them weak and malnourished.

13)    Healthy Labrador puppy

A healthy puppy should have bright eyes, a shiny coat, and an alert expression.

The nostrils should be clean and clear, without any discharge, and the gums should be pink and moist, with no signs of inflammation.

They should not be overly dry or pale.

Check the puppy’s teeth. They should be clean, with no bad odor from puppy mouth.

Check the puppy’s body condition, and make sure he is neither too thin nor too fat.

Run your hands along his ribs and spine.

You should be able to feel the ribs underneath a slight covering of fat but not see them.

If you can’t feel the ribs, then he is overweight. If you can see them, he is underweight.

How To Choose A Labrador Retriever Puppy?

You can choose a Labrador retriever puppy from a reputable breeder by pedigree papers, DNA analysis, and visual assessments like breed standards, coat color, body confirmation, litter size, the mother’s health status, and puppy temperament.

The most important thing is to look at the parents and their background.

It’s vital to know where they came from and their origin.

In general, you want to find a breeder with a strong reputation for producing good-quality puppies with great temperaments.