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Jill DiGesare of Eden, NY, has been involved in showing and breeding Labrador Retrievers under the Wiscoy prefix since the mid-1970s. DiGesare always keeps at the forefront of her breeding program the temperament, health, and type of her Labradors. She is a licensed AKC judge for Labrador Retrievers and has judged Lab specialty shows both at home and abroad.

The love of my Labradors shines through in their wonderful, sweet temperaments. My passion and love for them is reflected back when I see how well my puppies fit into their new family homes,” says Jill. 

AKC: How did you get started in breeding dogs?

Jill: My involvement in the breed began with working the dogs in AKC Obedience trials. That eventually led me into the conformation ring at AKC shows. I found mentors to work with and, through many years of hard work and determination, I developed the line of Labradors that I have today.  

What is the most important thing to know about your breed?

One of the things that makes Labrador Retrievers unique is their ability to do many different jobs. The Labrador’s 28-year reign as the most popular breed in the United States attests to their versatility. From the field, to the couch, to therapy, they truly do it all! A well-bred Labrador has never met a stranger.

Well-bred Labrador Retrievers make fabulous family dogs and are most happy when with their people. Even though my focus on breeding a litter is to keep a puppy or two for myself, the majority of my puppies are placed into homes with families who want a healthy, handsome family pet.  

How has AKC Marketplace helped you find puppy buyers?

I find that the AKC Marketplace helps families in their search for good breeders, achieving my goal to find good forever homes for my puppies. 

What is your favorite question to ask of potential puppy buyers?

When screening puppy buyers, one of my first questions is “How much time do you have to spend with a puppy?”  

What are the main qualities you look for in potential owners?

Labradors thrive in a home where they are given the attention and affection that they need. They are an easy breed to train and generally will not be a challenge. That said, it is still important to fit the right puppy with the right family. The family with a toddler is going to have different needs than the gentleman who is searching for a gun dog. I want my potential puppy owners to be able to commit to the time a new puppy needs. 

What is the best advice you would give to novice breeders?

When mentoring new breeders, I encourage them to visit AKC conformation shows, obedience trials, and hunt tests. These will give them some idea of the versatility of this breed. Study the breed standard.

Due to the popularity of the Labrador, potential puppy buyers need to do their research. That way, they know the correct questions to ask regarding health testing that has been done on the parents, grandparents, etc.  

Do your dogs participate in AKC sports?

Yes. In addition to finishing numerous Champions, I am pleased to say that I have bred two Champion/Master Hunters. These dogs are much more than just a pretty face. My goal is to preserve the type, temperament, and health of this very special breed. 

What do you like best about breeding dogs?

Breeding these dogs has brought so much joy into my life. Meeting new friends and enjoying the camaraderie we all enjoy is one of them. But the single biggest pleasure that I derive from breeding Labradors is the joy and love that I see my puppies bring to their new families. The emails and pictures that I receive and the heartfelt stories of love that these dogs have brought into their family’s lives are things that mean more than any amount of ribbons that my dogs amass.  

Do you have a favorite breeding story?

There are no favorites. Breeding dogs is not for the faint of heart. There are as many disappointments as there are success stories. But at the end of the day, watching your special bitch love and care for her new babies has to pull at your heartstrings.  

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