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  • puppy's and underbites

    I possibly have the opportunity to attain a very nice blood-lined male yellow lab. Owner said the only problem is that he has an under bite, unlike the rest of his litter. Cost of dog is next to nothing, but his litter mates are in the mid-thousands?

    What are the problems associated with underbites in dogs??? Or concerns you would have or know of?

    I guess i'm not looking to breed this male. Definitely a hunter, companion and competing in Hunt Tests.


  • #2
    After conferring with a friend who has owned Show Champions and FC/AFC's it seems that breeders generally consider bite be inherited. A scissors bite is preferred in retrievers and, in the show ring; a dog that is either 'under' or ‘over’ will almost always be defeated. In some breeds, it is considered a serious fault.
    If the puppy is very young, i.e., under 6 or 8 weeks old, and is already undershot, I would be concerned, because even a level bite can go 'under' around 6 or 8 months.... seems that lower jaw just grows later. An undershot bite that is evident at a very young age could look like a bulldog by the time he's grown!! Ideally, a puppy under 8 weeks should be a little 'over' to allow for that later growing which will end up the nice scissors bite.

    That said, if it's to be a hunting dog.... and the bite is just a little off and not so bad that the dog can't eat or carry a duck, then what's to worry? Seems a great opportunity to get a very nicely bred dog ... it's considered 'pet quality' and the breeder probably wants to make sure that the dog gets into a really good home! ........ Remember, too, that they don't walk or swim on their mouth!! In a hunting dog, I'd be a whole lot more concerned about other genetic problems like hips or knees or muscles!!

    Hope this helps...


    • #3
      As a breeder, I have had a couple of pups over the years that had overbites at 7 - 8 weeks old. These pups were either sold for a very small price, or given away - with an AKC "Limited" registration. Dogs with overbites should not be bred - this is thought to be an inherited fault.

      However, the worst case scenaio is that the dog may have to have the lower canines surgically removed if they start to grow into the upper gums.

      Other than that, they will grow up to be just like their littermates and can be trained to be a wonderful retriever and/or hunting partner.