Are you looking for a Labrador in the California area? We’ve got a list of possible places for you to try!
It’s easy to see why you’d want one of these fantastic pooches. The Labrador Retriever is officially America’s top dog. With a run of more than thirty consecutive years at #1 in the American Kennel Club’s breed popularity ranking, the Lab’s position is indisputable.
So, where do you buy one? After all, this is a big decision. You want to pay a fair price and get a healthy dog. You need to know who you can trust, as there are too many dishonest people out there willing to rip you off.
And it’s not just about losing money. Some people mistreat their dogs and use unethical practices. You might land yourself with a sickly pup that costs you a whole lot in vet fees, or the puppy might only live for a short while.
Don’t despair! We’ve selected seven of the best Labrador breeders in California to help you avoid any of these scenarios.
If these breeders can’t help you, use them to guide your search for a reputable alternative.
Right, let’s get started!
Labrador Breeders In Northern California
Kicking off our list of Labrador breeders in California, we have:
Spirithawk Labrador Retrievers
Retired teachers Cindy and Butch Ellis have devoted around forty years to breeding and raising dogs, including Labradors. Under the name Spirithawk Labrador Retrievers, they breed top-quality Labs that make fantastic family companions.
Cindy and Butch live in the Central Valley region of Northern California, along with their parent dogs, as one big happy family. None of their dogs are kept in kennels or crates away from the home.
Over the years, these breeders have strengthened the bond with their dogs by taking them to dog shows and simply enjoying life together.
These are all signs of a good breeder! You just know that they do this purely out of love for the Labrador breed.
Spirithawk contact details:
Website: Spirithawk Labrador Retrievers
Email: [email protected]
Labrador Breeders In Southern California
Cedar Ranch Labradors
The Cedar Ranch website gives you a sense of what this breeder is all about from the start.
Rick and Tiffany Ginkel’s homepage jumps straight in to tell you the aims of their breeding program, which is great to see. You can discover what health tests they use on their parent dogs to ensure the pups are free from genetic problems. There’s also a breakdown of their puppy rearing process, which is outstanding.
Next, they explain how the pups are socialized and trained, using the Early Neurological Stimulation and Early Scent Introduction methods, among others.
Finally, they tell you all about the nutrition and medical care they provide the dogs and puppies. As a good, reputable breeder, Cedar Ranch ticks all the boxes!
Be sure to visit their website as it’s worth checking out, even if it’s to get an idea of how a good breeder operates. They’re definitely among the best Labrador breeders in California in our book.
Cedar Ranch contact details:
Website: Cedar Ranch Labradors
Email: [email protected]
Stofer’s Labs is another worthy entry on our list of the best Labrador breeders in California.
You’ll find this kennel in Monterey County, about 40 miles west of Fresno and about the same distance south of San Francisco.
On their website, you’ll find all the information and advice you need about buying and caring for your pup. This includes sections on preparing your home, grooming, nutrition, healthcare, and training. There’s even a section on holistic health!
Stofer’s is owned and managed by Kim Stofer and her team of professional employees. Between them, they breed and raise perfect Labrador puppies. They also have a doggy boarding service, a grooming service, and obedience training.
With around two decades of experience, Kim knows how to breed healthy Labrador Retriever puppies with an excellent temperament. If you need proof, take a look at their testimonials section on their website, where you’ll find many happy customers.
Stofer’s Labs contact details:
Website: Stofer’s Labs
Email: [email protected]
English Labrador Breeders In Northern California
For some dog owners, the English Labrador is the epitome of the breed and represents all the best features of the original Lab. Over the years, Labradors in the US have become thinner, taller, lighter, and generally more agile and athletic.
Many Labrador Retriever Breeders strive to keep the traditional English Lab breed alive in America, so if you prefer the heavier, stockier dog, then these are the people to see.
We’ve selected a few for our list of the best Labrador breeders in California.
Sterling Lab Puppies
It’s great when a breeder spells out their mission and values straight away, and this is precisely what Sterling Lab does on its homepage.
Sterling Lab Puppies is situated in Yuba City, a short drive north of Sacramento, so it’s handy for those in central California, too.
The owner, Maryanne, is dedicated to producing the ‘perfect Labrador’ through carefully planned breeding programs. It’s clear from the start that Labradors are Sterling Lab’s hobby, passion, and life! One key point in their favor is that Sterling Labs plans each litter with a deliberate purpose in mind, and their pups aren’t bred for financial gain.
Maryanne strives to breed perfect Labs and works hard to ensure that they go to the right homes. All the parent dogs are AKC Labrador Retrievers that are checked for common health conditions like hip dysplasia and eye problems.
Each puppy goes home after having its first set of vaccinations and is microchipped. You’ll also receive a 25-month health guarantee against genetic conditions.
Sterling Lab Puppies contact details:
Website: Sterling Lab Puppies
Email: [email protected]
Kentfield Kennels is another excellent example on our list of the best Labrador Breeders in California. Located in Sebastopol, an hour north of San Francisco, Kentfield is ideal for dog lovers in northern and central California.
The owners, Ted and Laurie Solski, have devoted their lives to perfecting their puppies. Each breeding is designed to retain and enhance the excellent Labrador qualities we know and love.
Their efforts have led to them becoming AKC Breeders of Merit and a place in AKC’s Bred with HEART program. With these two coveted accolades under their belt, you can be confident that Kentfield upholds the highest standards of Labrador breeding.
Also, you can check out Kentfield Kennel’s AKC inspection report on their website, which shows just how impressed the inspectors are each time they visit.
As if this wasn’t enough, this breeder is also enrolled in the Canine Good Citizen program and uses Embark DNA testing on all their females.
Kentfield Kennels Contact Details:
Website: Kentfield Kennels
Email: Via the website
English Labrador Breeders In Southern California
Established in 2008, Summerland Labradors is based in Phelan, about a one-hour drive from most parts of Orange County and Los Angeles. They are also well-placed for dog lovers in San Diego and the southern areas of the state who are looking for a Labrador.
Since its inception, Summerland has focused on improving the Labrador breed as a whole by adjusting its breeding program with each litter.
To achieve this, they use extensive health testing that makes sure each dog is as healthy as possible before breeding. Although they produce Fox Red and Chocolate Labs, you’ll mostly find black and yellow dogs here.
It’s clear from their website that the main reason for their efforts is that they love Labradors!
Summerland Labradors contact details:
Website: Summerland Labradors
Email: [email protected]
Country Labs Southern California
Al and Bonnie St. John have the good fortune to live in the Tehachapi mountains region of Southern California, where they have plenty of land for their dogs to roam and explore.
Their love for dogs (and other creatures) is evident, and the joy that their Labs bring them shines through on the Country Labs website.
It’s worth checking out their story on the website, how they first became breeders and what drives them to perfect their breeding program. Like all good breeders, they want to improve on each litter. They do this by sharing their knowledge with and learning from other breeders with one aim: to produce healthy, happy pups that embody the excellent Labrador qualities and that enrich the lives of their owners for many years.
Country Labs sticks to the AKC breed standards, so you’ll only find the yellow, chocolate, and black Labrador Retriever here.
Country Labs contact details:
Website: Country Labs
Email: Via the website
How Much Does A Labrador Puppy Cost In California?
Finding an accurate price for any puppy is a bit like asking, how long is a piece of string?
If you Google it, you’ll get a wide variety of prices from many different people. So, what’s the answer? The truth is, all of these people are right! Anyone can charge what they like for their puppies, and they often do so.
This is why it’s essential to find a reputable breeder, as they’ll charge a fair price for a healthy dog. By fair price, we mean that it reflects the quality of the pup as well as the efforts of the breeder to make it as healthy as possible.
From the information available, prices for Lab puppies in California start from around $400 and go as high as $2,500. That’s a pretty big difference!
The reason for this wide margin usually comes down to whether you want a pet-quality or show-quality dog. A pet purebred Lab generally costs between $400 and $1,500, and most will fall somewhere around the $800 mark.
However, a Labrador bred for conformation shows will cost between $1,500 and $2,500, maybe as much as $3,000.
Other factors affect the price, such as the pup’s sex and color*, and dogs with good pedigrees or from champion bloodlines will always be more expensive.
*The primary colors are black, yellow, and chocolate. Rare colors, like fox red and silver, are generally more, though don’t be taken in by anyone selling ‘rare’ colors at exorbitant prices!
If you’re after an English Labrador, you should also expect to pay a bit extra. These will cost $2,000 or more, as they are usually show-quality dogs.
A service dog will cost even more, from around $15,000 right up to $40,000!
You could save money by adopting your Lab. Adoption fees are generally between $50 and $500 depending on the rescue group or animal shelter you use.
One last word on prices: be prepared to pay a little extra for your pup, but only from a good breeder. Anyone charging less than the average rate probably isn’t investing much time and effort in producing healthy puppies. A properly run breeding program takes time and money. Although most breeders don’t make much of a profit (if any), they need to cover their expenses.
It might be expensive, but paying $1,000 for a healthy puppy from a reputable breeder is a wiser move than paying $400 to a puppy mill.
Labrador Puppies For Sale In California: Craigslist
After thousands of people raised concerns about animal welfare, official rules were put in place to ban the sale of animals on Craigslist.
However, the ban hasn’t stopped people from advertising puppies, as expensive, fashionable breeds still sell for $5,000 or more. It seems that it’s possible to bend the rules, if you know how!
Officially, you can only offer pets for free or for a nominal fee. The idea is to allow people to find a good home for their dog if they can’t care for it any longer. While the sentiment is sound, this loophole is abused.
The same applies to any other online selling platform, including Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree. They all have regulations, but it’s difficult to police these the whole time.
Almost everybody shops online these days, buying everything from groceries to cars. Even so, buying a puppy online is never advisable. Scams are rife, and in most cases, the puppies never existed. Also, puppy mills use online selling platforms to shift their dogs. They’ll sometimes drop the price to get a quick sale, although they often hike their prices to maximize profits.
If you are looking for advice about buying a puppy online, then here’s ours: don’t do it.
When buying a puppy, there are really only two places to consider.
First, head to a local animal shelter or contact a Labrador rescue group. Their adoption fees are reasonable and much less than buying.
The other alternative is to find a reputable, well-established Labrador breeder. They rarely need to advertise as many breeders have a waiting list for their pups. Also, good breeders only produce one or two litters a year, so they don’t have a whole load of puppies to shift.
If the breeders on our list don’t have any pups ready for you, use them as an example of what good breeders look like and search for others nearby.
Labrador Breeders In California: Finding The Best
Let’s take a second to find out what makes a good breeder.
When choosing a Labrador breeder, your first task should be to check their reputation. These take a while to build, so most kennels will have been established for at least five years.
However, don’t rule out recently established breeders completely! If they tick all the right boxes, then they should be safe to use.
Check out customer reviews on their social media pages. Some breeders have testimonials on their websites, or they’ll be happy to pass on details of satisfied customers for you to contact for a reference.
If you spot any negative comments, see how they resolved them.
You can tell a lot about someone in the way they handle a complaint! A negative can be turned into a positive purely by being handled well.
Here’s a quick checklist of what else to expect in a reputable dog breeder:
• They have a carefully planned breeding program with only one or two litters each year.
• They have a good relationship with local veterinarians.
• They use extensive health testing for all parent dogs, including OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals), to check for heart and joint problems.
• They don’t release pups before eight weeks.
• Parent dogs are kept in the home as family pets.
• They offer a puppy pack (containing puppy food, toys, blanket, advice leaflets, etc.) and lifetime support.
• They don’t deal with multiple dog breeds.
• They arrange the first set of puppy vaccinations before going to their new family.
• The breeder welcomes you to the site to meet them and the parent dogs.
• They begin the socialization process before the pups leave home.
On top of this, some will also begin dog training or use the Puppy Culture or Early Neurological Stimulation (Super Dog) methods.
If your breeder offers most of these, then you can be sure that they’re one to use.
Labrador Breeders In California: In Summary
Photo from: @oliverschronicles
Whether you’re looking for a yellow, chocolate, or black Lab, or you want something a bit different, our list of the best Labrador breeders in California will set you on the right track.
Any of these breeders is an excellent place to find your new best friend. And with the extra tips as to what a good breeder looks like, as well as some information on prices, you can buy with confidence and peace of mind.
The main thing is that you do your homework first. Although we provided a list of breeders, it’s up to you to check them out further.
• Avoid buying online from classified ad sites or marketplaces.
• Avoid puppy mills, puppy brokers, and pet stores.
• Visit the breeder if possible.
Don’t go ahead if you don’t feel 100% happy!
A good breeder is bound to ask questions about your lifestyle and your home. This is to be expected, and you should answer them honestly. It shows that they are concerned for the welfare of their pups. Show them that you want to give your new best friend a safe, happy, loving forever home, and all will be well!