Thursday, 9 December 2010

DogsLife study - enrol your pup!

© Poole Hall Labradors

Earlier this year, the Dogslife study was announced with some fanfare.

The idea? A lifetime study of 20,000 Kennel Club registered Labradors, asking pertinent questions about health, weight, diet and exercise.

So enthusiastic was the Kennel Club about this study that the KC Charitable Trust threw a whopping £100,000 at it to fund it for just one year.  

For slightly less than £100k (like, say, a tenner) I can predict with confidence that the study will find that being overweight increases the likelihood of joint disease and decreases longevity. This has, in fact, already been established with the Purina study, which found that Labradors kept lean lived almost two years longer than lardier ones.

But there are other good questions to be answered by this study - and not least the role diet plays in health and longevity. Reckon kibble poisons dogs and a raw diet is the road to rude good health (or, indeed, vice versa)?  Here's a chance to prove it.

I'd urge everyone with a Kennel Club-registered Labrador born since 1st January 2010 to enrol. And not least because the researchers wanted 20,000 and so far have recruited, um, just 631 owners.

Perhaps Poole Hall Labradors in Shropshire (pictured above) could encourage some of their puppy buyers to enrol their pups? Haven't checked their 2010 stats yet, but these Kennel Club Accredited Breeders registered no less than 126 litters - 880 puppies -  between January 2005 and September 2009.

That's an awful lot, isn't it?


  1. You asked "That's an awful lot, isn't it?".

    Numbers are relative, aren't they? Let's compare them with 2 cases where kennels with over 1,000 dogs were raided, and dogs removed because of conditions.

    Junior Horton of Hillsville, Virgina USA, with Horton's Pups, who a judge limited to "only" 250 dogs:

    Sharon Roberts of Parkersburg, West Virgina USA, with Whispering Oaks Kennel, who also had over 1,000 dogs removed:,2933,410004,00.html

    Can you image the cost of those raids? Luckily volunteers turned out to help - many from other states who accepted these unfortunate purebred dogs.

    How many puppies can a kennel with over 1,000 dogs produce? If the government doesn't limit the number of dogs, why should a puppy farm stop at 1,000 when 1,200 would give them an extra 200 females to breed?

    What is a fair number for producing pet puppies? One litter in the home at a time? Maybe 3 litters a year?

    What should be a maximum for breeding dogs on a puppy farm? Is there some grey area between 3 and 1,000?

    On the lighter side, have you read Awash in Mastiffs? Funny, but so true!

  2. Leave it to you to trash a breeder who supplies GUIDE DOGS and tests all of their stock..breeds dogs for dual purpose and more.. is there no end to your hubris?

  3. yes let's stop people from breeding dogs for the blind.. what horrible people they must be... let's really look at the numbers'' 57 months of breeding.. 880 puppies.. that's 15 pups per month.. yup must be puppy farmers.. NOT..why not see what the call was for guide dogs during that same period.. see how many blind or disabled people were waiting to have a dog..see if 15 puppies per month in training could even come CLOSE to filling that need
    Looks to me like these people are fulfilling a need that HELPS society.. are you saying otherwise?

  4. Great that they're supplying assistance dogs but they're clearly breeding very prolifically for the pet market too - indeed, they're advertising them as being "ready for Christmas", something not many responsible breeders I know would do.

  5. Dijana from Sweden10 December 2010 at 22:20

    Dear lord 15 puppies a month!! That's about one bitch whelping each fifteenth day. That means they have about 20+ active bitches per year. If you also consider the fact that you usually have bitches that are too young/old to breed or perhaps need to rest from whelping in your stock then you'd see there are a lot of dogs in the picture..

    That's not exactly what you would call moderate or particulary normal..

  6. I'm always a bit cautious of any breeder claiming to produce "dual purpose" retrievers of the two popular breed and who produces that many litter per year.

    We wouldn't have a division between working and field types in those retrievers if one could just produce dual purpose dog at such a high volume.

  7. Swedish person.. you have no idea how these people raise dogs..what is "normal " to a person in a restricted society like Sweden.. and the UK to follow .. makes perfect sense to me.. they are raising dogs to sell OH NO.. that cannot be true.. how horrible.. what beasts they are.. please.. give it a rest.. their dogs are tested.. useful working animals.. and pets...their kennel is approved.. what more do you want? and please Jemima tell me how many of their puppies have been through welfare in the 57 months you tracked.. that would be pertinent... the rest.. not so much..

  8. Dijana from Sweden11 December 2010 at 08:56

    I honestly don't give a rats hiney if they make money. People that breed smaller dogs can make quite the profit with a small amount of dogs. But because breeding 150+ puppies a year is not really the responsible thing to do when there are shelters that need to find homes for homeless dogs. And of course, werebEVERY single one of those buyers responsible people with the right amount of knowledge, money etc to take care of the puppy?

    Usually a breeder has some amount of trouble finding the right owner for the right puppy when they have a moderate amount of puppies for sale. It's not that uncommon you hear that the puppy has started to misbehave, become gravely overweight, neglected etc. When becoming adult.
    Still we try to find the perfect owner for our dogs. The larger amount of puppies you have for sale, the higher the likelyhood that you'll find irresponsible buyers when you're trying to get rid of them all, in my opinion.

    Btw, restricted society? What do you think Sweden is, China? We don't even have the phenomenon of buying dogs in stores or official puppy mills. Is that what you would call restricted then thank god we are!

  9. Normally, I'd growl at any mention that linked dogs to any type of research, but this reads okay, just recording weight, diet, and exersize. Maybe pedigrees will be looked at too?

    If someday someone does use this information to make a diet drug, I hope it doesn't have any side effects, like what happened in the USA years ago.

    That was sure nice of the KC to spend that much money to help fat dogs. I will be interested to read the results of their study when they are ready to report.

  10. I am surprised Guide Dogs are buying many puppies as they seem to be breeding quite alot themselves
    and they must be spending a considerable amount of money buying and training puppies and I am sure not buying all the puppies bred by these people
    It is time pet shops were stopped selling puppies and the buyer being able to see the puppies with the mother and been shown the relevant test certificates.
    Keep up the good work Jimima

  11. Anon wrote: "Normally, I'd growl at any mention that linked dogs to any type of research" How come? There's a world of difference between 'animal research' and what this kind of epidimiological study is trying to do.

    This study is more wide-ranging than just looking at "fat dogs", diet and exercise. It will be looking at morbidity/mortality too and should yield some really useful information.

    Indeed, I think it will be more reliable than, say, the 2004 KC/BSAVA health survey, as it should involve a wider spread of owners (as opposed to just breed club members).

    Please spread the word on this one to anyone, particularly pet owners, who have bought a KC-registered puppy in 2010.

  12. I have had two of their puppies and they are reared in a lovely way I would not hestiate to recommend Poolehall Labradors as excellent breeders.

    Their dogs are so very gently kind and have no issues at all. They are all very healthy and as my vet said if only all Labradors were bred like this.

    1. I agree with anonymous 03/01/2012. I have had many dogs over the years and Harry, a chocolate labrador from Poolhall is by far the most placid and lovable dog we have ever had. He is a delight to train and came to us healthy, with a full family tree, and a very useful information pack. He had been wormed and vaccinated and our vet also said she wished all breeders were as responsible. If you are so concerned why don't you go and visit Poolhall for yourself?

  13. How did you find out that they breed so many litters? I ask because, if that kind of information is easy to glean, it would make avoiding puppy farmers that little bit easier.

  14. You can check with the Kennel club as to how many litters they breed. I would emphasise here that Poolehall are NOT a Puppy Farm, far from it. All puppies are lovingly handles cared for and have excellent temperments and are extremely healthy and very placid as Sarah has said. They come with their first vaccination a full pedegree Microchippied and wormed.

  15. My gorgeous Black Lab from Poolehall has just had his first Total Hip Replacement aged 14 months.i do hope they are not breeding from either of his parents. Really should check with KC to confirm.

  16. My chocolate lab from Poolehall is nearly 6 and she is really healthy, placid and brilliant with children.

  17. How I wish I knew this before I got my pup from them would certainly have had second thoughts certainly was not given this impression. Whilst I do agree with the good temperment, has turned into a lovely dog, but having met a few others people over the time I have had mine & had very mixed reports both good and bad (i.e. health problems). Something that was not offered was a vist to see how they were kept - which is mentioned in all the advice one buying puppies, Mum & Dad were brought out to us, but could have done with a good groom.

  18. Our choc lab is just 3 years old and has genetic heart failure. We have been in touch with Poolehall but didn't get the response we were expecting so we have written to the health and breeding services of the Kennel Club them to take up the matter. We are devastated that we will lose our lovely faithful friend way before his time.

  19. My dig has just turned 7 years old and is very healthy. We checked out his mother and father. They were reared on a farm and we were able to see the kennels. There was certainly no sign of intensive breeding or poor conditions. His temperament and health are very good. The pups were looked after in the farmhouse, there was nothing intensive. Pedigree dogs are inherently susceptible so we a owners are the ones to blame in the long run with the Kennel Club. Just for the record I would recommend Poole Hall as a breeder, mine is a Chocolate lab with the best temperament I have ever found.

  20. I have two Labs from Poolehall. A yellow and a black. 5 years and nearly 4 years and am soon to be getting another yellow. Both of my girls are wonderful. I would recommend Poolehall to anyone who wants a well-adjusted, healthy, fantastic temperament Lab.

  21. we've had 2 from here, both have had serious health problems which were genetically inherited. A friend had two (different colours to ours) and they two had very serious difficulties. We also recommended Pool Hall to some other friends and now feel terrible. The problems have varied between kidneys and severe pancreatitis, which only came to light after a year or two and the poor fellow nearly died :-(

  22. My dog was bought 2 years ago from poolhall.He is healthy, well behaved with a fantastic temperament.

  23. My dog was bought 2 years ago from poolhall.He is healthy, well behaved with a fantastic temperament.

  24. We had our chocolate Lab from Poolehall back in 2008. He's almost 9 now, and has been (and continues to be) the most wonderful dog. We have never had any health issues with him, nor have we had to take him to the vet (except for his annual check and jabs, and once when he ate a sock!). He is incredibly healthy, gentle, friendly, loyal and loving to every human and creature he meets. We met his Mum (Tia) and Dad (Lloyd), we were shown around the kennels and Jane's home where the pups were raised. The family run a working farm, but the kennels were clean, comfortable, and the dogs were clearly well cared for. Despite the fact Rocco doesn't retrieve a ball more than twice, he is a pretty perfectly balanced Labrador who has never shown even a hint of aggression, and has never been anything other than gentle and loving with children and adults of all ages. I know everyone thinks their dog is the best in the world, and arguably everyone is right! But I know I couldn't have asked for a more perfect dog in Rocco, and for that reason I wouldn't hesitate recommending Poolehall.

  25. We have had two Labradors from poolhall, both girls. Our first is now 12 years old and going strong, her gentleness and loving nature is down to the breeding and nurture in the early weeks. Our second girl sadly passed away recently, a kinder and more intelligent dog could will be hard if not impossible to find.
    I have no worries at recommending poolhall for puppies; yes they may breed Labradors, but their girls & boys are all well looked after & cared for by a family who know what they are doing and treat each dog as part of the family.