Puppy Information & Application


Welcome to Slater Kennels.

We have intermittent litters and a limited number of spots. Currently, Apa and Annie are our only breeding females, and should you prefer one of them, you may certainly be added the litter-specific deposit list. Or you may request to be added to the general list.

Our dogs are not hang-around dogs. They are working dogs who live for the adventure. We would never recommend our dogs to those who want one of those lazy labs that just hangs out on the couch. A twelve-year mistake is not worth the sale. But if you're looking for that dog that will work just as hard as you in the swamp, on that long hike, or playing in the backyard, keep on reading!

We hope that the following information proves useful and we hope that more people will have a better understanding of what to look for in this convoluted process.

First, We'll Talk Health Testing


The first thing to look for in a breeder is genetic testing. It's an absolute must. A few hundred dollars is nothing compared to thousands in vet bills for a disease that could have been prevented before birth.

Genetic disorders are passed down in a mathematically predictable way, so luckily, a responsible breeder can reverse engineer the equation to ensure your puppy is completely clear of any potential diseases. We genetically test each one of our dogs as well as every puppy to prove to you that our dogs who are we say they are, and we are so confident in our pairings that we offer a LIFETIME genetic health guarantee.


Dilute dogs (silver, charcoal, etc) do not conform to breed standards. This is technically a part of the genetics section but is so important it deserves its own drop-down. We don't mean to sound overly hostile, but dilute dogs are not Labradors. Please do not be fooled by the promise of something "rare," as it will only come with a decreased lifespan and more potential health issues.

As a more in-depth genetics lesson, the "D" gene is the gene we look to to yield a dilute dog (silver, charcoal, etc.), and that some breeders are unfortunately doing on purpose. The three combinations are:

1) DD (non-dilute, not dilute factored)

2) Dd (non-dilute, dilute factored)

3) dd (dilute, dilute factored)

Only the dd variety produces the actual color variation we would call a dilute dog, but for the success of our dogs and your pup, we only breed dogs that have the DD combination, and we believe that any responsible breeder would do the same.

Chocolate Coloration

There is nothing wrong with a Chocolate Labrador from an ethics standpoint. It is certainly not unethical to breed this color, but for us, we are solely looking at statistics.

Chocolate Labs have existed since almost the inception of the breed, only a few years after Buccleuch Avon and Buccleuch Ned, the two founding Labradors, who were black. In fact, the first Chocolate at the Buccleuch Estate actually preceded the first Yellow! However, a 2018 study from the the UK's Royal Veterinary College found that, from a sample of 30,679 Labradors:

"The median longevity of non-chocolate coloured dogs (12.1 years) was longer than for chocolate coloured animals (10.7 years)."

So from a statistics standpoint, we just don't do it. Study

OFA X-Rays

Everyone has heard about hip dysplasia and its horrible effects. While the exact split for joint issues between hereditary and experiential factors is not 100% known, studies show that parental joint conformation is a major part of the success of the offspring, with experiential factors (e.g. the puppy's environment after he or she goes home) yielding the remaining contribution.

So, to do all we possibly can, we perform x-rays on our breeding dogs' hips and elbows to have them certified by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). This allows us to stand by our puppies' hereditary components with a two-year hip/elbow guarantee, and we help also help owners with some tips to ensure healthy joints into adulthood for the dogs that work so hard for us.

Next, Let's Talk Pups


No matter what anyone says, size matters. Are you a goose hunter that needs a powerful 110 lb dog? Or a family who wants to hunt small ponds with your kids and take the dog on hikes? When you imagine the dog that will spend its entire life under your care and be one of the most rewarding undertakings you will ever do, what does he or she look like? You are the buyer, don't compromise on what you want.

Our two breeding females are on the smaller side as far as weight goes, in the 55lb range. But for height, Annie is taller and Apa is shorter. The pairings are normally with studs that are larger, but you can expect a puppy from us to end up in the 50-60 lb range.


Just like size, drive matters too. If you're looking to compete in retriever trials or if you have difficulty training a softer dog, maybe a higher drive dog is for you. Alternatively, a softer dog can provide a better relationship for some people.

Of our dogs, Apa is higher drive and will visibly outwork Annie, as she is a bit softer. However, Annie's steadiness puts Apa to shame. It all just depends on what you're looking for in a dog.

Home Life

Will the dog sleep in a kennel? On the couch? These questions must be answered if we are to ensure the best decision is made. Generally, a higher drive dog in the field will also be a bit crazier in the house, even as breeders work to breed the on-off switch into their lines. The opposite is true for a softer dog, where a warm bed might be the only place she wants to be inside.

Our Apa calms down well indoors but if someone comes knocking, she's the first one up, excited to say hello. Annie also hasn't met someone she doesn't like, although she is much more laid back in the home and won't be the first one to the door.


If you plan to hunt or compete with your dog, how will you train? With multiple dogs in a more British format or in a single-dog, more American style? Are you needing to run 300 yard blind retrieves?

Of our girls, Apa is a little dragon and is a blast to train as there's always enough energy. Annie is a bit softer but is every bit the technical retriever Apa is and is more of a teammate than a dog to be handled.

Thank You for Your Attention

We hope you found this information helpful. If you are interested in learning more about a pup from a Slater Kennels litter, just click or tap the maroon pop-up. Thank you!

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