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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
My wife and I are researching adding a Labradoodle to the family this coming spring. Has anyone heard of St. Clair Labradoodles? From what I have found on their webpage and a couple of exchanged emails, it seems like they were one of the earliest "Labradoodle ONLY" breeders in the US starting back in 1998.

I sent a couple of emails with some questions, and they were very prompt and professional with their responses. I asked a lot of questions I have seen mentioned on here and elsewhere. I have quoted their responses below, hope you guys don't mind the length, but while I have seen suggestions on what questions to ask I have never found what answers are acceptable.

Also, their Puppy Contract (Condition of of Sale) seems a little restrictive compared to ones I have read elsewhere. Any big gotcha's you guys see in it?

Thank you for considering our kennels.We were the first Labradoodle only breeder in the USA and have been featured on the Today show,Fox 2 News and many magazines.We have references for you if you let us know where you live.All adult dogs have frequent health checks and have OFA certified hips before breeding.I am happy to see you have done some research before,rather than after your purchase and know what you need in regards to coat type and shedding.We will be having F1b breedings beginning Around Jan. and continuing thruout spring.Be aware that not all F1b pups have what you are looking for and that is why it is very important that you choose a breeder wisely.It is a very long committment once you choose a pup.We do also breed True Austrailian Multi-Gen pups with fleece coats in medium-mini sizes but they can be cost prohibitive for many people.

Please see your questions below as i have tried to answer each in order andagain thanks for considering our state licensed and health inspected kennels.kennels

1) Will you have puppies likely matching those desires/needs in the
Spring/Early Summer?
*Yes,But waiting too long will hurt your selection.We use postmark date when deposit & contract is received to assign selection position.

2) How long have you been breeding in general? Labradoodles specifically?
*We began profesionally with Labradors in 1996 and switched to Labradoodles in 1998 after too many Labradors we found with H.D.We felt the crossing of 2 breeds a healthier combination.

3) Are you a member of IALA/ALAA?
*We were members (ILA)and our Austrailian dogs are registered with them.Our F1b dogs are CKC registered and our poodles are AKC.There are many struggles in the club and we decided to back away until things settle down.

4) Do you health test your breeders? Hip Testing? CERF Eye test? Yearly Blood Screening Profile & Thyroid Panel? Is written documentation
available?
*We use only our own dogs for breeding and have done CERF only when we suspect any problems(none to date).All adults have OFA good-excellent hips.

5) Your "Condition of Sale" seems somewhat restrictive and one-sided
compared to others. It seems a wellness guarantee for sicknesses
(non-lifethreatening) that likely were contracted prior to buyer possession
is a standard. Why is this not in your contract?
*The 5 day exam is the owners responsibility.If findings suggest a problem such as worms(any) or other parasites or disease we will pay for treatment to clear the problem.If found to be life threatening in any way a refund or another pup will be provided you.

6) How do you socialise the puppies? How are their temperments? Can you
provide owner referrels who have puppies from the same parents?
*All pups are socialized here in our home,not left in a kennel.We use Volhards P.A.T. to help determine temperaments and will suggest a couple of pups from the litter for your lifestyle and family.The test may be found @ http://www.volhard.com/puppy/pat.htm

7) What is your worming schedule?
*3,5 and 6 weeks.stool samples are taken to vet for analasis

8) What do you feed your dogs/puppies?
*Adults get Diamond maintence and pups get Iams large breed puppy food.

9) What age do you wean and can be picked up?
*Depending on litter size and the mothers tolerance between 7-8 weeks.

10) Do you provide written information including medical history,
vaccinations and diet details? Pedigree? Some form of identification which
matches the pedigree?
*You receive a puppy packet which includes pedigrees of parents,OFA certs.,training tips puppy vac.record.Some of our adults are microchipped for ID and all are registered..

11) Who is your vet? Can we contact them?
*Wilson vetinary hospital....Please do contact them.

12) How long before the puppy leaves the kennel, has it been vaccinated for the first time?
*Depending on age of pup,all will have at least 1 vac. some older may have 2-3 vac.

13) How much do the puppies cost? Do you desex before transferring the
puppies?
*Multi-Gen pups run...are desexed.F1b pups are...for all colors but black.Black pups run....F1b pups are not desexed.When you have them desexed we will then have them registered for you (our expense)

14) Can we come and visit your site? Do we need to schedule an
appointment? What days/times?
*You are encouraged to visit,especially if you have allergy concerns and wish to see the different coat types.We would like an appointment,but as long as you keep it reasonable it is not necessary....
We are going to visit this week, they did provide referrals in our general area, and I will follow up with the referrals and probably the vet this week. What kind of questions should I ask the referrals & their vet?

Sorry for the long post. Thanks in advance for your advice & input.
 

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I think their answers to the questions are all really good and they sound like a very reputable breeder. BUT the guarantee is not enough. I would pass or ask if they are considering a two year guarantee anytime soon. I am sure mine isn't perfect, but take a peek if you like by clicking on my website below. I have no puppies available so I am comfortable that I am not steering you away only educating you. :)

Every incredible reputable breeder I have had the pleasure to come across offers a 2 (or longer) guarantee that actually refunds you the money towards vet costs and doesnt ask for your pup in return and it covers "genetic issues" not just two but all.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the input. I to thought the 1 year was a little short, but I am not all that familiar with the possible genetic issues. Can someone point me to some information about the potential genetic issues, including what the symptoms/signs are, when they typically start to appear, and the possibility of testing for early detection.
 
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Hip Dysplasia can be a genetic issue. It may take some time to surface because puppies that have it do not always show symptoms. And even when you can see the hip dysplasia on the xray, it does not mean that the puppy will develop symptoms. (60% do not develop symptoms even with dysplastic hips. No one knows why.) So you could technically KNOW at 1 year that your puppy has hip dysplasia, but you might not be certain at 1 year what TREATMENT will be needed. If the puppy is neutered or spayed by your vet, I would ask for a hip xray at that time, because they need to be sedated for the xray.
Hip testing of parents is great, but no guarantee because it is a recessive gene and can pop up in any generation.
Anyway, 2 years gives you lots of extra time over 1 year to decide (and be covered under warranty) if treatment (surgery) is going to be necessary if hip dysplasia appears.
I am not sure about other genetic problems, but thought I would chime in with the hip problem info. If it is unclear, just PM me and I'll try to explain it better. :lol:
 

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WOW you asked great questions!! What a complete questionnaire!

St. Clair IS one of, or the oldest breeder of pure Labradoodles - that is, Lab x Poodle only - and I see they did add Aussie Doodles to their breeding years ago, as well. They were on the TODAY show, which launched a HUGE spread of interest in Labradoodles, including myself!
(In 2000)

The guarantee of just 1yr is surprisingly short to me, in that they have so much reputation. Frankly, it's disappointing too. If you are getting a puppy from them, and the 1yr. is from the date of pickup, I would PLAN on getting my Doodle's hips x-rayed on its 1yr. birthday, or withing a week of it, just to be sure.

 

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Most breeders give at least 2 years on health. Also the comment about the eyes

We use only our own dogs for breeding and have done CERF only when we suspect any problems(none to date).All adults have OFA good-excellent hips

The only way they would know that the dog has problems for sure is to have the eyes looked at by a board certified Vet.
 

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Sounds like you have some great info here...and I sincerely commend you for asking questions and finding out about what others think of the answers. You are really doing a great job!
The things that jumped out at me are more related to hips and to health testing in general...but to that concern the fairly short term health warranty factors in.
They said that they bred Labs, UNTIL they discovered TOO MANY incidences of HD...so they started to cross them with Poodles....well, HD is NOT corrected by crossing with Poodles! The Poodle line could also be carriers (same with eyes and any of the other genetic issues...it takes both parents as carriers to produce an affected puppy)...still, they did not say that they replaced their Lab breeders, only that they began to breed to Poodles.
In answer to your health testing question...they really dropped the ball there, in my opinion. This is typical AKC mentality..."WE have good dogs, so we will only breed OUR good dogs...and they will be healthy." Nope. Not good enough. This indicates the possibility of inbreeding...which creates a lot of problems. It also indicates that they have not tested their breeding stock...and I'd want to know why.
If they are sure that their breeding stock is not carrying problematic genes, then why not test?
True, they have a good reputation, and true, they probably will not suffer much if people insist on testing go to another breeder...they are a big operation...but still, red flags are really flying at this issue for me.
They are absolutely correct in that testing does not mean something won't crop up...but what it does indicate is that there is a breeder who cared enough to be as "certain as scientifically possible" that the dog is healthy. So, you add the genetic odds of a bad set of genes...together with an attitude of "we only breed our dogs, so they are healthy"...I would be very cautious. I would, at least require a 2 year health warranty.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Wow, more great input. Basically I think Jac has summed up how I was thinking. They seem very established, professional, and reputable, which is why I was surprised by the lack of testing & the short health guarantee leave me wondering "why?"

We will be going to visit soon, and I will try to address some of these issues with them in person.

I will also look around at other breeders in the meantime.

What other genetic health defects are a risk/should be covered?

Anybody know of any specific breeders in Michigan or Ohio? Possibly even Indianna?

Thanks again.
 

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I have not really worked with Rich either, but he has offered his help on many forums and seems to be a caring and compassionate breeder.
He was interested in using my Poodle as stud once but it didnt' work out, still he was making a very fair offer.
He has a large operation going and his dogs are beautiful
I think that if he says he tests, and if he has results, you can trust him and take him at his word.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Maureen said:
sorry, can't help you with that one. Did you try to contact Kris? Does she not have any puppies now?
she will have puppies available, I am talking to her as well.

Two questions for you.

1) What are the genetic diseases that should be covered in health guarantees? What testing should be done and at what ages to make a determination?

2) What kind of questions should I ask the breeders vets?

Thanks.
 

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At a minimum, they should be testing for hip problems...usually elbows and patellas too (although not everyone tests those) and eyes (CERF) which must be done annually...not just once! Be sure that the testing is up to date. Get copies of results, don't take the breeder's okay...(any breeder.) Oh, and if they have OFA prelims, make sure that if the parent is 2 years old, they also have the effective testing and not relying on the preliminary score.
Thyroid, vWD, heart, SA (unless the Poodle side has been cleared for SA)...
About the warranty, different breeders offer different ways of handling it. Most will want a second opinion, which they will pay for. You want a breeder to stand behind the puppy...so, maybe the disease isn't covered by the contract warranty...still, you want them to care enough to help in what every way they can.
You probably don't want to have to return your dog in order to get the refund (many requre that)...you will love your dog and, in my opinion, if my dogs have disease that will take a lot of money to treat, I will refund the purchase price to help offset the costs and make as little impact as possible on the owners. The owner will be going through enough with pain and worry, the finances can be eased by the breeder...and, in my opinion, should be.
BUT...many people take advantage of breeders and use this warranty to get money even when not entitled to it...so, most breeders, myself included, will make a strong contract without giving much away...it is easier to break a contract to do what is right than it is to enforce a lax contract when you have someone abusing your puppy.
So, you see, many things enter into this mix...the main thing is to select a breeder you trust. Someone with integrity and an honest nature...and a good reputation.
 
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