I have some questions about non health-tested breeding Labs, if anyone might have any knowledge and can advise me? I’m the current owner of 4 cats and a smallish (12kg) Greek rescue dog. I’ve spent 9 fruitless months trying and failing to find a suitable large-breed 2nd rescue, so now I’ve given up (can’t take any more disappointment!). I'm now looking for a well-bred KC reg'd Black Lab female pup. My previous, and first, dog was a wonderful female Black Lab cross of 33kg from my then sister-in-law's "whoops litter", and I’m very much missing that ‘big dog presence’ – especially as I usually walk alone and my current dog resembles a Cockapoo (2nd most stolen breed in the UK, so they say). So, this will be my first pedigree dog, and I want to get it right. I’m far from being an expert but I’m trying to educate myself and am doing my best to research what constitutes "well-bred". I don’t want to end up sobbing on the shoulder of TV’s Supervet a few years down the line, attractive though he is!! I'm not having much luck on the KC's Puppy Finder as a scarily high amount of the litters show a Co-efficient of Inbreeding of more than 5% (often quite a bit more ... I think I saw one in the 20s). I was also concerned to discover that many of the Estimated Breeding Values for the hips and elbows aren't too impressive, either! According to The Institute of Canine Biology: “ ... in terms of health, a COI less than 5% is definitely best. Above that, there are detrimental effects and risks, and the breeder needs to weigh these against whatever benefit is expected to be gained. Inbreeding levels of 5-10% will have modest detrimental effects on the offspring.” Other sources recommend only 4% to be the safe cut-off point. One litter I noticed advertised on Pets4Homes as "KC registered" did not mention any health testing done, but the mother looked like a beautiful example of the breed. I'd by then already exhausted all the likely-looking litters containing black females that a) didn't well and truly break the bank (what with the ‘Covid effect’ on prices still in full swing), b) weren't more than 3 hours' drive away, and c) mentioned health testing. None of them had a pair of parents with the full set of impressive COIs / EBVs or even very good actual health test results. I decided to check with the breeder to see if they'd forgotten to mention health testing (yes, I'm naïve!) and he wrote back: "No but I have had the same line for the last twenty five years and never had an issue. I’ve currently got the grandmother in my kennel and she is fourteen." Fair enough. So, I looked up the litter on the Kennel Club's Puppy Finder database, and couldn't find it. However, I was aware that the Kennel Club is currently taking up to 28 working days to do its admin regarding registration, so - giving him the benefit of the doubt because the litter was only 3 weeks and 2 days old - I contacted the breeder again, saying: "Are the puppies actually KC reg'd, at least? Your listing says they are, but I couldn't find your litter's details on the Kennel Club's puppy finder. If you've not yet been able to register them, could you please tell me the kennel names of the parents so I can have a look at their COIs and EBV predictions?" He confirmed that the litter wasn't registered yet, but that it would be. He then tried to fob me off a couple of times ("Ring me and we can have a chat") but I wasn't in the mood to hear any old flannel (what was the problem in simply stating the kennel names like I'd asked?) and replied: "I prefer to lay the groundwork and get that figured out before getting too interested in adorable puppies or hearing convincing chat from the breeder that I've no way to confirm whether it's absolutely accurate or not. It'll take an entire day, more or less (6 hour round trip, plus at least an hour's viewing), to come and check out the litter ... so I don't want to go into it without having checkable facts. I hope that's understandable. If you won't / can't provide parents' kennel names, we'll leave it there, thanks." He then did supply the Dam and Sire's details and it turns out the Sire is almost 11 years old and has a COI of 6.8%. However, I did notice the small print which says the “breed average” for Labrador COIs is 6.6%! What do people think about the concept of Labs having their own “breed average” as a yardstick, rather than the 4% or 5% that people without skin in the game say is the safe cut-off number? I mean, it’s my understanding that your 1st cousin has a COI with you of 6.25% (I doubt many of us would be comfortable with the thought of hooking up with our first cousins) ... yet here they’re implying that 6.6% is the “average” benchmark to consider! It’s quite scary to think that pedigree Labradors (and this involves just UK registered ones, I assume) are all, on average, the equivalent result of a cousin to cousin marriage. Perhaps there IS an argument for Labradoodles, after all?! The sire’s EBV predictions for both elbows and hips were low, which was encouraging, but both were under 45% confidence (at least 60% is preferable). The Dam turned 7 in February and has only had one previous litter (of 10, three years ago). Her COI is 4.2% and her EBVs are low for elbows but over the line for hips; confidence under 40% in both instances. I don’t really know whether to consider this as a “well-bred” litter, or wait a few weeks and research some later litters. Apart from there being no substitute for DNA health tests nor for eye tests, I suppose another issue here is that – unlike on the Puppy Finder - nowhere on the KC’s Health Test Finder (that I can fathom) is the name of the owner. If I was a suspicious sort, I might wonder if the names given were genuinely the parents of the pups, anyway? It's a "Don't do it", isn't it?