Labrador puppies without papers cost around $400 compared to the $800 average if you buy them with their papers.
Lab puppies without papers cost less because the breeder doesn’t pay for the registration of the AKC of the puppy or the parents. This considerably reduces the breeding cost of the puppy and hence, the cheaper selling price.
It may initially seem that American Kennel Club registration is just for show dogs and that it’s not worth the price difference. There’s a bit more to it, though.
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What Does It Mean When a Puppy Has No Papers?
A puppy without papers means that the puppy isn’t registered with the AKC.
The breeder should normally give you the papers of both parents of your Lab puppy so you can register him with the AKC. Both parents should already be registered with the AKC as well. If one of the parents has limited registration, the puppy won’t be registered.
Some breeders fail to register the parents in the AKC or simply choose not to do so, but they continue breeding anyway. This isn’t exactly illegal but it should draw your attention to certain factors:
Getting a pedigree is one of the main reasons why registering your dog with the AKC is a good idea. You get to track your dog’s ancestry for up to three generations depending on the package you choose.
Tracking your dog’s ancestry gives you an insight into the health of the parents and grandparents of your puppy. This gives you a good idea of the genetic and physical conditions you should be expecting (or not expecting) from your puppy.
A Lab puppy without his papers makes you unable to detect or predict any health issues that may happen.
It may seem that purchasing a lab puppy without papers is a good bargain. Initially, it definitely seems like it.
However, your puppy may or may not develop some health issues as he grows up. Labs are prone to Hip Dysplasia, a condition where the hips of the dog don’t form or function properly.
The problem with hip dysplasia is that it’s genetic. If you’re not sure whether the parents had it or not, you may be treading in the dark as you have no guarantee that it won’t happen to your Lab puppy.
Should the unfortunate happen, you’ll have to take your Lab for multiple vet visits which could get expensive. You may end up paying much more money than you saved when initially buying the Lab puppy.
Dogs that participate in events should meet a certain standard before they’re included. The AKC registration ensures that any participating dog is a perfect example of its breed.
If your puppy is missing his papers, then he’s not registered with the AKC, which in turn means that he won’t be allowed to participate in events.
Keep in mind that even if your Lab puppy grows up to be a perfect dog with no health conditions, he still won’t be allowed to participate without registration.
It’s a tough decision, especially if you are in love with the puppy.
The decision is yours in the end but we recommend against it. Here are the pros and cons of getting a Lab Puppy without papers:
- Cheaper price than registered Lab puppies
- You don’t get a pedigree
- Your Lab doesn’t participate in shows
- Your Lab’s health could be compromised
- You could pay more money than what you thought you saved
As you can see, the cons clearly outweigh the pros.
For one, having a pedigree is important to make sure that your puppy has healthy parents and grandparents. Even if you’re not interested in dog shows, the health of your puppy should be a major concern.
Secondly, many issues could happen during the breeding process which could cause health problems for the puppy. The AKC If the puppy doesn’t meet certain standards, he won’t be registered with the AKC.
With that in mind, you can rest assured that a registered Lab puppy is often a healthy one. The AKC even provides a 30-day trial of pet insurance once you register your puppy with them.
Unpredictability is the main issue with the absence of papers. You may end up with a perfectly healthy puppy that develops no health conditions at all. However, the chances of that happening are unlikely.
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What if I Still Want the Puppy?
We get it. Your heart might just latch to that one puppy. Fortunately, it’s not an absolute no-no.
If you still want to buy that beautiful Lab puppy, there are a few things you could do to get some insight into the puppy’s health:
If there’s a chance you could see the parents of your Lab puppy before buying him, it may put your mind at ease.
Try to make sure that both parents are physically and mentally healthy if you can.
In most cases, you will find only one parent or no parents at all, but it’s still worth the shot. You may even ask if someone bought one of the parents and pay them a visit to see the parent.
A Canine Hip Score is a number given to each joint of the dog’s hips to indicate how severe the hip dysplasia is (if present.)
The score for each hip ranges from 0 to 53. The lower the score is, the better. The total score for both hips should range from 0 to 106.
A good hip score for each hip ranges between 0–3.
If possible, it’s worth checking if the parents were hip scored. If they’re indeed hip scored, you should ask for the results. The breeder shouldn’t mind showing you the hip score results. If they refrained from doing so, that’s a red flag.
Paul has been creating content for the dog niche for many years. The information he shares comes his first hand experience growing up in dog lovers household and then owning multiple dog breeds of his own as an adult. Paul enjoys doing the hard research to collect, analyze and present our dogtemperament.com readers with the best answers to their questions.
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