Aristes' Labrador Retrievers

Labrador Retriever
Health Clearances & Breed Standard

Before you purchase a Labrador Retriever puppy, please take the time to familiarize yourself with the Labrador breed, the breed standard, and genetic problems associated with the breed.

About Health Clearances

Many “Labrador Retriever breeders” claim to be breeding to improve the breed. However, they do not have the appropriate health clearances for their breeding stock. When considering a Labrador puppy, the sire and dam should each have the following clearances:

Hips should be rated at least fair. A rating of good or excellent is preferred. Hips rated by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) are listed on the OFA website. You can search by the dog’s registration number or registered name. Don’t take a breeder’s word that a dog’s hips passed OFA. Ask for a copy of the certificate or search the website yourself.

Dogs whose elbows have been evaluated by OFA should be rated as normal.

CERF: Eye examinations should be done annually. The examination checks or cataracts and inherited eye disease, including Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and Retinal Dysplasia. Labrador Dogs should have a current Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) clearance. Ask for a copy or search the CERF website.

Optigen: PRA is a genetic problem in Labrador Retrievers and causes blindness in affected dogs. Optigen has a test for the prcd form of PRA. The test identifies dogs as clear, carrier or affected. Before purchasing a Labrador puppy you need to ensure that at least the sire or the dam is clear. A carrier bred to a carrier or an affected dog bred to a carrier will produce puppies with PRA. The puppies are not blind at birth. Blindness will occur after the guarantee offered by many “breeders” expires, usually around the age of 4-5 years of age, but sometimes as late as 6-8 years of age.

Labrador Retrievers have a genetic predisposition to Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia. The sire and dam should each have a heart clearance. If only one parent is not checked and has a problem, and entire litter may be affected. A clearance by echo Doppler is preferred; however, clearances by a specialist or a cardiologist are acceptable.

Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC): Studies regarding EIC in Labrador Retrievers have identified a marker for a genetic test. As with PRA, you need to ensure that at least the sire or the dam is rated EIC clear.

No one can guarantee that a Labrador puppy will never have a problem. A reputable breeder of Labrador Retrievers will ensure that all breeding stock is screened using the most current methods available to make sure puppies will be free from genetic problems. Of course, heredity and environment each play a role in the overall health of a puppy. Proper nutrition and exercise are extremely important to a puppy’s health. A reputable breeder will give you guidance to ensure your puppy has a healthy, happy and long life.

About Labrador Retriever Breed Standard

The Breed Standard for the Labrador Retriever is available on the AKC website at  Please be aware that some “breeders” claim to be breeding AKC registered white, silver, chocolate and tan or black and tan Labradors. Labrador retrievers come in three recognized colors: black, yellow and chocolate. The breed standard allows for a small amount of white on the chest; however, it is considered undesirable. Yellow Labradors range in color from a very pale or cream color to fox red. AKC does not recognize white, silver or multi-colored Labradors.



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