By Dr Laura van Dalen. Should you care about Champion bred Labrador puppies if what you want is just a pet? I'll answer you with another question: Do you want a Labrador that looks and acts as a Labrador when he or she becomes an adult? If your answer is yes, then you should care about having a puppy breed from Champion stock or Champion lines. First of all, what is a Champion??? Dogs must acquire 15 points, including 2 majors won under different judges and at least one point under a third different judge. Dogs can win from 1-5 points in a particular dog show. 3,4 and 5 points are considered majors. Only the best non-Champion male and the best non-Champion female can get points in any particular show. Technically, a dog can become a champion in 3 shows if he/she wins 5 points majors in each of them. Most times, it takes months to finish a dog and make it a champion. 1 and 2 points usually come easy. Getting the majors is the big deal. The more contenders the more points the dog/bitch gets. After you have the winner dog and the winner bitch, they will go and compete for the best of winners. After the points have encountered a receptor, then everyone is after the Best Of Breed ribbon. The BOB winner will go and compete with all the other BOB of the sporting group to obtain a Group 1st. and then compete for the Best in Show against another 6 group 1st winners. When a Dog has won Best in Show, you can see BIS in front of his Name, but it is not a title. A BISS is a Labrador that won at least 1 specialty show. This means that this dog was the best Labrador in a show of only Labradors. Big specialties can hold hundreds of Labs. That's a BIG win!!! Now, what does all of that has to do with you? Well, a Labrador that becomes a Champion is a dog that has defeated quite a few other Labradors because he/she is a better example of the breed on the eyes of different judges. He or she looks so much like the standard that he/she deserves to be a Champion. So, the more Champions your puppy has on its pedigree, the greater the chances he will look like a true Labrador as an adult. Let’s be honest, you can get a “Lab” from a lot of different sources (Pet shops, back yard breeder, shelters, etc) in the area, but would they look as a true Labrador when they grow up? Most likely, no. All puppies are cute. The reality check comes when they lose their belly fat, and start growing. By then, you love your dog so much that you do nothing about it, but dream he or she would look like what you intended to buy......a true Labrador. Hopefully this same lovely puppy won't become a maniac hyper 100 pounds disturbing creature. Another reason to look for champion breed Labradors is the fact that most conformation show breeders care a lot about genetically transmitted deceases and temperament. Hips, elbows, and eyes are the minimum to be checked in the future breeding stock for Labrador Retrievers. OFA hips can comeback as excellent, good, fair, borderline and different grades of dysplasia. Borderline are to be tested 6 month after. Certification results of dogs older than 2 can be seen on the OFA website Cardiac, Patellas, dentition, and several DNA tests are becoming common practice. DNA tests comonly done are PRA-PRCD, EIC, NHPK, CNM, DM, Cystinuria, cooper Toxicosis, etc. The Temperament is unique for each breed. There is no certification for temperament. You got to trust your breeder in that one, but check on the parents. You should always be able to meet, play with, and interact with the parents, at least the mom and probably other family members of the puppies without a problem. Note that just whelped moms can be protective of their puppies and can sometimes turn aggressive on the first days after whelping. Labs must be friendly, alert, their short otter tails got to be wagging at all times. They might bark at the beginning to alert the new comer and their owners, but should be quiet shortly after. Here is what the standard says about the Labrador Retriever temperament: “True Labrador Retriever temperament is as much a hallmark of the breed as the "otter" tail. The ideal disposition is one of a kindly, outgoing, tractable nature; eager to please and non-aggressive towards man or animal. The Labrador has much that appeals to people; his gentle ways, intelligence and adaptability make him an ideal dog. Aggressiveness towards humans or other animals, or any evidence of shyness in an adult should be severely penalized.” Conformation Champion is not the only title you can put on a dog. There are field champions, Hunting Champions, Agility Champions, working Dogs, Companion dog, etc. The more titles the better. Here is a list of the many other titles you can put on a dog: AKC Titles Beware of breeders that sell, Brindle, silver, charcoal, or Champagne Labs. Also beware of breeders that claim to sell AKC Champion puppies.