British Labs possess an extremely calm nature and a keen intelligence in addition to the traditional qualities of strength, power and endurance. Thanks to top breeders and handlers in the United Kingdom, Five Oaks Kennels has been able to import dogs from England, Ireland and Scotland to establish the European bloodlines that make these British dogs great.
Breeding Philosophy
A great deal of thought goes into the breeding of each litter at Five Oaks. There is so much more to it than simply mating two dogs and hoping for the best. Because we have carefully selected top imports from the United Kingdom, we have a gene pool which possesses the four traits that we hold in highest regard. These traits are:
1. Health
2. Natural Ability
3. Desire
4. Biddability
First and foremost is the health of the pup. Five Oaks is dedicated to producing physically sound animals. And health is one aspect you should not ignore when purchasing your future retriever. Nothing is more upsetting than to find that your young dog has a genetic hip or eye issue that forces him to retire at an early age. Our dogs are screened for Degenerative Eye Disease and Hip Dysplasia before entering our breeding program, minimizing the chance that your pup will be affected with common health problems.
Natural Ability
While all Labradors may be retrievers by name, not all are equal when it comes to natural retrieving ability. We have a strong conviction that Labradors should CHOOSE to return to his owner with an object. We could train all dogs to do so, using force fetch methods, but we prefer to breed for this trait. This makes the training process less technical for the trainer and more enjoyable for the dog. We incorporate the “hold” command once the “fetch” command has been established. When taught in conjunction, these two commands should be all your retriever needs to know in order to obediently retrieve you downed game birds.
A Labrador is a retrieving breed and, by nature, should have a desire to bring objects to his owner. Also a working dog must face many physical obstacles while working afield. Among these are inclement weather, thick brush or row crops, ice, cold water and elusive crippled game. A retriever with little desire will hesitate and even quit instead of pushing forward to complete his job. This is the reason Five Oaks imports breeding stock from competitive Field Trial lines. These top lines provide us with dogs that are bred to defy harsh weather and difficult terrain to excel at their sport. While your dog may never be asked to retrieve a crippled pheasant from waist-high sugar beet field at 250 yards, the innate desire should be present if your trophy Pintail drake sails out of sight, into thick buckbrush or cattails. Then you will truly appreciate a retriever with a “take care of business” attitude.
A biddable dog is one that is easily taught or controlled. A working retriever is a part of a team, and his ability to work with his handler is paramount. Nothing is harder for a trainer than dealing with an aloof dog that prefers to do things his own way. And yes, it is possible to have a biddable dog that also maintains enough self-confidence to figure out diving cripples and running upland birds without the handler’s interference. At Five Oaks we like intelligent, biddable retrievers that enjoy working with their handlers, as opposed to those that choose to “self-employ.” We actively breed for this trait and are proud of how easy our dogs are to train. We feel that even a complete novice should be able to train one of our Labradors to be both an obedient and competent working retriever.
All puppies bred at Five Oaks participate in the “Bio Sensor”—also called the “Super Dog” program developed by Dr. Carmen Battaglia. The purpose is to provide early neurological stimulation through a series of exercise beginning on the third day of life and ending on the sixteenth day. Proven benefits are improved cardio vascular performance, stronger adrenal glands, more tolerance to stress and greater resistance to disease. Secondly several audio programs-- The Master’s Voice, Puppy Racket and Canine Lullaby—are implemented in the whelping room. Throughout the day CD’s are played, some with noises conditioning the pups to unfamiliar sounds and others with calming music. Finally the puppies continue the process of socialization with their mother and siblings along with gentle handling from the Five Oaks staff. These three strategies work together to produce healthy, confident, well-adjusted animals.