Top Quality English Labradors
National and International Champion Bloodlines
Puppies Currently Available!!!
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We are a responsible breeder and show family located in Charleston SC with a passion for European Style Labrador Retrievers with superior temperaments, health, and conformation. We carefully plan every litter striving for show quality dogs and improvement to the breed. Our pedigree contains some of the most prestigious bloodlines and several nationally top-ranked Labradors. These puppies are raised in our home and lovingly handled from the time they are born. By eight weeks of age, our puppies will have been imprinted, socialized, AKC reunite micro-chipped, wormed, had their 1st set of shots, vet checked and health certified.
Conformation show dogs compete to be judged as the very best animals for breeding the finest future litters. A significant amount of passion, life's work, research, knowledge, time, sacrifice, heartache, and expense goes into producing show quality litters and puppies of this caliber. Puppy sale proceeds are reinvested into our dogs to help pay for care, training, and showing expenses. Please help support Conformation show breeders in our efforts to breed responsibly, strive for excellence, and aim to produce only the most beautiful, healthy, well-tempered, talented, purposefully bred dogs in the world. No dog should be bred otherwise.
We are a specialty breeder, breed rarely and for the purpose of producing high-quality show dogs for our own breeding program and legacy, and do not identify or qualify as a commercial pet breeder or pet dealer. The AKC does not recognize a dog's registration (often linked to the breeder) to be the dog's Title of Ownership. Written signed contracts are required to transfer the ownership and possession rights of any BellaVista Labrador!
Kate Wannamaker is the breeder. Kate graduated top of her class, college-educated in animal science with a focus on breeding & reproduction. Kate has experience in artificial insemination and is an accredited registered sonographer. She has had formal training in breeding & reproduction, training, showing, judging, nutrition, business, farm management, and design. Kate is an active AKC Bred with HEART breeder and member of the National Labrador Retriever Club, Charleston Kennel Club, and Charleston Dog Training Club.
GCH BellaVista's Star Attraction TD CGC
Owned & Shown by BEST OWNER HANDLER Niki Hahn
Watson finished his Grand Championship!!!
BellaVista Dally Up
wins BOB and Group 4th
@ 10 months of age!!!
and now major pointed!!!
In the beginning, Kate grew up on a 10-acre farm in rural Ohio and has been working with dogs her entire life and showing horses since age 7. Kate's father had experience training police dogs and showing horses through OBGYN med school and spent countless hours and school nights teaching obedience and grooming skills to Kate and her sister Beth. We owned, trained, successfully showed in 4H, and loved Shetland Sheep Dogs, Golden Retrievers, as well as the occasional rescue. It was a dream of ours to one day successfully own and show a winning Conformation AKC dog. My father would purchase our dogs from registered AKC breeders and would pay extra for the pick of the litter, though beautiful and much loved, we never did obtain our winning Conformation show dog. That experience sparked a lifelong curiosity and passion in Kate to one day selectively breed and produce her own perfect dog.
Kate met her husband Chris in 2007, Chris is an environmental engineer with a focus on water treatment. Chris has a strong passion for aquatics and breeding fish, and, comes from a family experienced in breeding Labrador Retrievers and Great Danes. Chris personally grew up with Labrador Retrievers and enjoys spending weekends with the dogs on his family's 28-acre farm on the creek in Edisto dove hunting and dock diving, a Labrador's paradise. When we met, it was decided, Labrador Retrievers were the lifestyle & breed for us. Kate spent the next 3 years researching show dogs and breeders to select the perfect female to start her line, the sire she chose has since gone on to win and became the AKC #1 ranked Labrador of 2013.
Our goal is to produce beautiful and functional all-purpose Labradors of the highest quality with wonderful temperaments, excellent health, and great soundness. Our Labradors make great family companions, and properly selected, raised, and trained may perform well in Obedience, in the show ring, as gentlemen's hunting companions, or as Therapy dogs.
Major pointed (24 months)
BellaVista Gustavo King of Hearts
Gus' first weekend out took 2 reserves, and, won WD, BOW, and BOO beating 52 other Labradors for a major win!!! Thank you to our judges and handler Cyndi Landsberger!
Gus & Kate showing in BBE at the Potomac 2019 Specialty
Kate's philosophy and a few helpful tips:
We don't insist anyone raise their Labrador exactly the way we do, but, please know I am always happy to help if you have any questions or concerns. I have over 30 years of experience working with dogs, but, if I don't have an answer, I'll likely refer you to your vet, try to do some research, and get back to you. Most of you will already be familiar with a lot of these tips if you have ever had a Labrador Retriever or dog.
Labradors are loyal and loving social pack animals that (once bonded to you) wish to be at your side. In general, I would prefer puppies go to smoke-free homes and be raised indoors as one of your family, having a fenced back yard is a major plus.
The annual cost to properly care for ANY dog including time, energy, food, supplements, training, grooming, preventative medicines, and vet care, etc. (not to mention competing) is significant. Your BellaVista Labrador puppy comes from several generations of health tested dogs... we hope that this will significantly reduce the chances for genetic diseases, cancers, and disabilities commonly found in Labrador Retrievers and similar mixed breeds... and in the long run (beyond your purchase price) actually reduce your overall cost of ownership.
We are committed to producing the healthiest animals possible and strive to continually educate ourselves and do our best to help prevent hip dysplasia in our breed. Strong believers in lifelong learning, we attempt to stay abreast of the latest research. Joint disease is estimated to develop in 71% of ALL dogs. The risk of developing hip dysplasia is caused by several factors, environmental as well as genetic. Unfortunately, not all of the contributing genes have been identified to help breeders in our attempts to further eliminate genetic risk from our bloodlines.
BellaVista Labradors does our best to only breed healthy animals and to provide excellent prenatal, pregnancy, and postnatal care. We complete all recommended health screenings for Labrador Retrievers and attempt to breed only healthy, sound, and structurally beautiful parents with the best hip ratings possible. Not to give away all of our secrets, but, we take precautions such as avoiding all medications not recommended for breeding dogs. We avoid vaccinations 2 months prior to ovulation and throughout pregnancy. We feed the mother and our puppies a nutritionally complete LARGE breed puppy food, currently Fromm Large Breed Puppy Gold. We avoid the use of harmful chemicals in our home and on our lawn. Our dogs and puppies do not have access to any toxic plants, bushes, or trees. We provide your puppy with loving care in a safe environment and obtain a head to tail health evaluation by a Veterinarian to help ensure your puppy is healthy, free of observable genetic defects, and is as perfect as possible before being placed in their new forever homes. Additionally, we insist you obtain an evaluation from your own Veterinarian within 3 days of taking your puppy home.
As in humans, joint disease cannot be prevented by genetics alone! Environmental factors and preventing injuries throughout your pet's life, especially at a young age, play a major role in preventing your puppy and future dog's chance of developing joint damage and arthritis. Please help prevent injuries to your pet by not allowing roughhousing, exercising too rambunctiously, walking or playing on slick surfaces, stairs can also pose a hazard for injuries. Please avoid all jumping until your pet's growth plates are fully formed at age 2. Flooring should provide your pet with proper traction. Also, please provide your pet with safe access to an orthopedic bed for sleeping and lounging. Additionally, we believe hormones play a major role in your dog's proper growth and development. We recommend spaying or neutering your BellaVista Labrador after age 2, if not intended for showing or breeding by us, BellaVista Labradors.
Proper age-appropriate diet and exercise are important for muscle development and joint support. One major thing you can do to help reduce your puppy's risk of developing joint disease by not allowing your Labrador to grow too quickly or to become overweight! A recent study I read concluded overweight dogs are twice as likely to develop hip dysplasia. Your BellaVista Labrador comes from generations of show lines. According to the AKC breed standard, full-grown Females roughly 21.5 to 23.5 inches in height at the withers should weigh 55-70 lbs, full-grown Males roughly 22.5 to 24.5 inches at the withers should weigh 65-80 lbs. Ideal weight is sufficiently muscled and when you can still feel the ribs but not see them. Please feed a nutritionally balanced LARGE breed puppy food until growth plates are fully formed at age two. We currently feed Fromm Large Breed Puppy Gold. Please research all prescribed medications to ensure they are safe for cartilage of developing large breed puppies.
We never feed table scraps as it promotes picky eating and several foods that humans eat are actually toxic to dogs, for example, grapes and raisins cause kidney failure. Legumes when digested release toxins in a dog's gut that can contribute to heart failure. We generally avoid food, treats and supplements containing legumes, corn and copper. Never give Tylenol. Please do not allow your dog access to anything containing artificial sweeteners such as xylitol. Please safeguard all medications, smoke, and weed products. Also, please be aware that most common household plants, bushes and weeds in our yards are also toxic to dogs. Rawhides can cause choking. We choose not to feed animal bones as they can splinter and cause a perforated bowel.
Left unattended, a puppy will chew and eat just about anything. It's good to have plenty of chew toys available for your teething puppy. If a puppy gets a hold of something you don't want them to have say "whoops" "drop it", reward when they let go of the item as you are removing it from their mouth, then give the puppy or dog one of its own toys that it can chew on. Discourage puppies from chewing or eating their bedding, and, be sure to remove damaged items so that your puppy will not ingest them which could cause a bowel obstruction. We attempt to "puppy proof" our house and yard by removing all toxic plants and by not leaving anything lying around our house or on the counters that we don't want our dogs getting into or chewing up. Tall baby gates to block off a room or two are also helpful.
Labradors are known to shed a lot, but I've found that bathing with just a gentle puppy shampoo every 2 to 4 weeks, regular brushing, and using a "furminator" when your Labrador blows out their coat twice per year can significantly reduce the amount of hair all over your house. Anti-shedding shampoos & supplements are also said to be helpful.
Crate training is beneficial for your pet's safety and sense of security when you cannot be present to monitor them. Properly used, a crate (similar to a canine's den in nature) can become a place of safe haven for your Lab... our Labs will actually choose to go to their open-door crates when they want a break from us or the kids and to take naps. So please, never use the crate as a punishment. Safely traveling and attending dog club events requires a happy quiet dog in a secure hard crate with access to climate control and fresh cold water at all times.
We prefer to train using positive reinforcement methods such as reward good behavior and ignore bad behavior. Clicker training is good to instantly mark a correct response, or, you could just say "yes" or "good dog". You could mark a mistake by saying "whoops".
To correct jumping and barking for attention, you can ignore your puppy (just for a moment) until they are sitting quietly, then, give lots of love and praise when you achieve the desired behavior. To discourage barking when all your dog wants is attention, walk out of the room and don't return until the puppy is quiet, reward puppy for waiting quietly. If a puppy tries to jump on you, fold your arms and turn your back to the dog (to ignore them), or, hold their paws (the dog will be in a standing position) and don't allow the dog to hop down until they are clearly uncomfortable. The dog will learn quickly not to jump up on you or else they will be held up in a standing position against their will.
To prevent pulling or lunging ahead when healing on a leash, if the puppy walks ahead of you, simply say "whoops" then stop and don't move forward until the puppy is at your side, mark the good behavior with "yes" then you can move forward with "heal" or "let's go". Luring with treats in your left hand is a good way to start teaching the puppy to walk and sit properly at your side. It's best to encourage good healing practices and discourage jumping on people as a puppy, soon enough, they will become a large dog. I have grown up to believe that consistency is key and every interaction an owner has with their dog, they are either "training" or "un-training". At any experience level, to train yourself how to appropriately ask a dog to walk on a loose leash socialize and behave, group obedience classes are highly recommended.
These tips require consistency, time, and patience, however, will help set you up for a long happy life with a healthy good mannered dog.
BellaVista Labradors supports responsible pet ownership, educated responsible preservation show breeders, as well as our community's and veterinarians' wishes to help reduce the world's unwanted pet overpopulation. As if you were adopting a human baby, all of our Labrador families are interviewed and deemed responsible before taking a puppy home so, we fully expect our pet families to keep their pets safe, to provide sanitary indoor living conditions, training, humane treatment, adequate vet care, access to clean water, proper nutrition, maintain their pet at a healthy weight free of injuries, and to prevent pregnancies.
We love our Labradors and consider our pet families extended family. BellaVista Labradors is here as a reference for you for the life of your pet. We hope that you will keep in touch, share updates, pictures, accomplishments, as well as any potential developmental or health concerns. We use your feedback and data to continually track, learn, research, and improve upon our breeding practices. It is our goal to always improve upon and produce the very best Labrador Retrievers possible.
An animal is a lifelong commitment, however, if for any reason you are no longer able to care for your BellaVista Labrador, we ask that you return them to us, the breeder, for re-homing and/or to grow old with us. There should be no such thing as a shelter pet.
For inquiries, please fill out our puppy questionnaire
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Property under 24-hour surveillance
For inquiries, please fill out our puppy questionnaire