Horizon Retriever's Breeding Program
Horizon Retrievers strives to produce versatile Labrador Retrievers that excel in the home, field and public. We believe that the labrador is the ideal companion gundog: from upland and waterfowl hunting, to being a great family pet and everything in between, we aim for our dogs to be able to do it all. Our breeding criteria includes:
Complete health testing recommended by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals for the Labrador Retriever
Dogs that have solid, functional structure
Dogs that are social, sweet-natured, and delightful to be around
Dogs that are environmentally sound and stable
Dogs that are easy and enjoyable to live with, natural off-switches and calm demeanor out of drive
Dogs that have a natural interest in game birds and affinity to retrieving on land and in water
Dogs that are capable of competing in a variety of venues, namely retriever hunt tests, spaniel hunt tests, dock diving, scent work, etc.
As professional trainers and pet owners, we use our unique experience to breed dogs that we would love to own and train! To see our breeding dogs, please visit this page.
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At Horizon Retrievers, our dogs are part of our family. When you invest in a Horizon Retriever puppy, you become part of our family, too! We love building relationships with our puppy buyers and are always available to help. We offer a variety of resources and programs to puppy owners to help you build the dog of your dreams!
What to Expect
When Purchasing a Puppy
A well-bred, purposefully-bred puppy. Intentional thought and research goes into our pairings as we strive to produce an ideal companion and companion gundog.
A puppy that is cleared for genetic diseases through Embark and Paw Print Genetics.
A puppy that is raised using ENS and following the Puppy Culture Program. Each puppy receives extensive care including handling, socialization, exposure, developing good habits and introducing life skills.
Abundant send-home information, including a puppy do's and don'ts checklist, health and training resources, recommended product list, and access to the Horizon Retrievers puppy owners Facebook group. As your breeder, we are a resource for life.
A puppy that can be registered with the American Kennel Club and United Kennel Club with limited registration.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do you choose mom and dad?
Choosing to breed and who to breed is a decision we take very seriously! It is a huge responsibility to bring life into this world and we wouldn't do it without confidence that we can improve the quality of dogs being produced. We have very, very high expectations of our own dogs and only breed those that meet those expectations. We pick sires that compliment our females in pedigree, temperament, trainability, and performance.
2. Do the parents live inside or in kennels?
Our dogs are 100% house dogs; they are pets that live well-behaved in our home and often sleep in our bed. In order to produce dogs that will make enjoyable companions in a buyer's home, it's essential that we recognize those qualities in the dogs we are breeding.
3. Can I meet mom and dad?
All potential puppy buyers are encouraged to come meet mom! Call/email to set up an appointment.
The sires (dads) we use are not located on site. We do not own these dogs, as we feel the best possible way to produce the highest quality dogs is to look at the biggest range of options to narrow it down to the top pick. (Puppy buyers are welcome to visit puppies by appointment, too!)
4. How do you decide puppy picks?
It is our responsibility as reputable breeders and dog trainers to ensure the best possible match between puppy and owners. While it is impossible to predict the temperament of an adult based on their earliest weeks, we spend significant time with each puppy and will match puppies with buyers based on gender preference, lifestyle, goals, etc. We will not offer puppy picks based on "first come first serve," as this often leads to mismatched puppies and owners.
5. When do puppies come home?
The first few months of a puppy's life are critical for proper mental, physical and emotional development. Puppies will come home at 8-10 weeks old to allow them sufficient time with mom and littermates, while still offering puppy buyers plenty of time to bond, love and work with their new additions!
6. What kind of labs do you breed?
There are 3 variations of the Labrador Retriever: the American lab, the British lab and the English lab. American and British are "working/field" type Labradors while the English labs are the "conformation/show" labradors. While we do consider conformation, health and longevity to be an essential factor in our breeding program, we emphasize that function is just as important as form. Therefore, we only own and breed American and British labradors. You can find out more about American vs English labs here.
7. How do I buy a HR puppy?
If you are interested in a puppy from Horizon Retrievers, please be sure to fill out our Puppy Buyer Application. In order to be considered for a puppy, you must complete this application. If your application is approved, there is a $500 non-refundable deposit to be put on the wait list for a puppy. This deposit is applied to the puppy purchase price and can be transferred between litters.
8. Will you transport/ship puppies?
In order to establish relationships with each of our puppy buyers, it is our preference to meet buyers at pickup. This is a great opportunity to get to know one another, meet mom of the litter, and ask plenty of questions! But if you are not local to North Carolina and are approved through the application process, we are willing discuss making arrangements to have a puppy transported through approved companies.
8. Do you have a puppy buyer contract?
Yes, I do! Once you have submitted your Puppy Buyer Application and it is approved, I will reach out with my contract.