Dusty Road Labradors

About Us

Dusty Road Labradors is located in the beautiful Loess Hills of southwest Iowa. We are a small, quality-based kennel breeding and showing English Labradors. All are labs are AKC registered with many champions in their pedigrees.

We have earned the distinction of being an AKC Breeder with H.E.A.R.T.  We are the only lab breeder in Iowa with this title.  This means we complete the breeding tests recommended by The Labrador Club plus more.   All of our labs used for breeding have hip, elbow, and eye certifications and are tested for PRA-prcd, CNM, EIC, and DM.  The following describes how each affects the lab and why it is important to test before breeding:.

PRA-prcd:  Progressive Retinal Atrophy, progressive rod-cone degeneration is a disorder in which the cells in the retina of the dog degenerate and die. PRA is the dog equivalent of retinitis pigmentosa in humans. Most affected doges will not show signs of vision loss until 3-5 years of age. Complete blindness can occur in older dogs. Progressive Rod-Cone Degeneration is a form of PRA known to affect over 40 different breeds.

CNM:  Centronuclear Myopathy  previously known as HMLR, or Hereditary Myopathy, is an autosomal recessive mutation that causes insufficient muscle function in the Labrador Retriever breed. This is due to the centralization of the nuclei in muscle fibers, caused by a missense insertion in the PTPLA gene.

Puppies are born apparently normal; however, it quickly becomes evident that there is a problem. The puppy will often not gain weight adequately due to decreased muscle tone in the esophagus. Within 2 to 5 months, the disease has usually progressed to display the full range of symptoms, including a loss of muscle tone and control, an awkward gait, and extreme exercise intolerance. This condition is exacerbated in cold conditions.

EIC:  Exercise-Induced Collapse is an autosomal recessive genetic disorder causing affected dogs to suffer from a loss of muscle control following periods of extreme exercise. Typically, an affected dog begins to show symptoms between 5 months and 3 years of age, usually around the age that more intensive training begins.

EIC episodes generally occur after 5-25 minutes of extreme exercise. Not all types of exercise can induce an attack; generally the dog must be actively running and excited for an extended period of time. The attacks often begin with rocking, followed by the hind limbs becoming weak and giving out. The severity of these attacks ranges between different dogs; some will continue to attempt to retrieve, dragging their hind legs along, and other will be totally unable to move, acting disoriented. These attacks usually only last about 5-25 minutes, however, in some extreme cases, dogs have died immediately following an EIC attack.

Dogs with Exercise-Induced Collapse can still lead full lives. However, it is important for dog owners to be familiar with what types of activities a dog can participate in and what types of games may trigger an episode.

Because EIC is a recessive disorder, a dog must have two copies of the mutation in order for the disease to manifest. This means that a dog can have one copy of the mutation and not experience any signs or symptoms of EIC; this dog would be known as a carrier. The carrier can then pass on either the normal gene or the mutated gene to any offspring. If two carriers are bred, a dog could potentially receive the mutated gene from each parent and be affected by EIC.

DM:  Degenerative Myelopathy is a progressive neurological disorder that affects the spinal cord of dogs. Dogs that have inherited two defective copies will experience a breakdown of the cells responsible for sending and receiving signals from the brain, resulting in neurological symptoms.

The disease often begins with an unsteady gait, and the dog may wobble when they attempt to walk. As the disease progresses, the dog’s hind legs will weaken and eventually the dog will be unable to walk at all. Degenerative Myelopathy moves up the body, so if the disease is allowed to progress, the dog will eventually be unable to hold his bladder and will lose normal function in its front legs. Fortunately, there is no direct pain associated with Degenerative Myelopathy.

The onset of Degenerative Myelopathy generally occurs later in life starting at an average age of about 10 years. However, some dogs may begin experiencing symptoms much earlier. A percentage of dogs that have inherited two copies of the mutation will not experience symptoms at all. Thus, this disease is not completely penetrant, meaning that while a dog with the mutation is likely to develop Degenerative Myelopathy, the disease does not affect every dog that has the genotype.

CERF:  Canine Eye Register Foundation certifies dogs for inheritable eye diseases such a cherry eye, retinal dysplasia, juvenile cataracts. CERF tests are completed by an opthomologist vet until the dog reaches 8 years of age. The dog’s eyes are dilated and the exam is very similar to a human eye exam. The CERF exam is a PASS or FAIL test and can be recorded on Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).

OFA:  Orthopedic Foundation for Animals is the organization that evaluates hip and elbow X-rays to determine if the hips are EXCELLENT, GOOD, or FAIR. Any dog getting a rating of less than EXCELLENT, GOOD, or FAIR should not be bred.

The acceptable rating for elbows is NORMAL. Any dog not receiving a NORMAL rating should not be bred.

OFA ratings are permanent if done after 2 years of age. OFAs can be done before 2 years of age being noted as preliminary.

OFA X-rays are completed by vets and sent to OFA for evaluation by three different vets.

Our labs have calm, quiet demeanors making them excellent candidates for family pets, therapy dogs, or service dogs. Our Pippa received her AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) distinction. Janell and Pippa are a registered Pet Therapy Team thru Midlands Pet Therapy, a part of Alliance of Therapy Dogs. Sadly, we lost Pippa at the young age of 8 in 2017.  Mark and Conrad are also a registered Pet Therapy Team.  When Pippa passed, we cut back on the number of visits since Conrad was the only Therapy Dog.

In 2019, Conrad was retired and now enjoys just hanging with the younger labs.  Conrad and Pippa visited local schools, rest homes, hospitals, senior living facilities, group homes, churches, and funerals.

Two of Conrad’s puppies completed their training to be service dogs.  Congratulations to Quad Cities Canine Assistance Network for the intensive training they provided the boys.  One puppy is an emotional support dog, and one puppy is a therapy dog.

Our labs are very smart with a strong desire to please their person. All of our labs go to obedience training and many are first in their class.  They are eager to try new things.

Our labs are beautiful. They have big blocky heads, broad chests, and the infamous otter tail. We love all colors of labs but have chosen to breed predominately yellow litters with an occasional yellow and black litter.

Our labs are part of our family. All puppies are whelped in the house.  Those we select to keep for possible show prospects or acquire from other breeders spend 6-8 months in the house while attending obedience training and being house trained and socialized.

Our labs are on-the-go guys. We realize the importance of early and continual socialization. Our labs attend family gatherings, go for walks in the park, attend Halloween parties in pink tutus, participate in Buddy Walks for Down Syndrome Awareness, visit PetSmart and PetCo, and enjoy an occasional ice cream cone at the local DQ. The older dogs get to visit Bass Pro and are always enthralled by the mounted animals.

We are members of the Council Bluffs Kennel Club and Companion Dog Club of Omaha/Council Bluffs.  Janell served as the Treasurer of the Council Bluffs Kennel Club for 4 years. We are very involved with club activities: Celebrate CB! parade in May, Responsible Dog Ownership Day, fun days, our dog show in November.  Mark and Janell help with UKC shows and a program on obedience sponsored by Companion Dog Club.

We love having visitors! We invite prospective puppy buyers to visit expectant parents and meet us. Visitation is allowed up to 1 week before expected delivery and again at 6 weeks after the puppies receive their first vaccination.  We do require that everyone be well.  Many don’t realize that our illness such as strept throat can be passed to puppies.

We continue making improvements to our kennel and play areas.  We are different than most breeders.  Our labs have large play areas that they enjoy when the weather is nice.  They have covered 5’x10′ outside kennels with igloos that they enjoy when it is raining or snowing.