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Dawn Mieth | Mocha Labradors

Mocha Labradors | Dawn Mieth


Interview with Dawn Mieth, Breeder of Mocha Labradors


Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?

Dawn Mieth: Our family lives in Central City, Nebraska. We have had dogs all of our lives. We started breeding in 2008.


What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?

Dawn Mieth: Our kennel name is Mocha Labradors. We believe that our dogs are first and foremost our beloved family pets. Then they are our show dogs, and if they pass all health tests they move into our breeding program. We currently have nine Labrador Retrievers. They consist of retired dogs and those we are currently showing, and puppies being raised for the next generation.


Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?

Dawn Mieth: GCH MochaLabs Easter Blessing has been our top-winning bitch. She excelled in the show ring and at The Potomac (the largest Labrador show in the world) where she made all the cuts in the Best of Breed ring to the end. GCH MochaLabs Wreck It Ralph has been our top-winning sire. He also excelled in the show ring. Ralph became the No. 1 National Owner-Handled Labrador Retriever of 2021 and No. 1 National Owner-Handled of 2022! Also, he received an invitation to Crufts.


Which have been my most influential sires and dams?

Dawn Mieth: Our most influential sires would be CH Inselheim Up To Citadel. He is the sire to four of our home-bred champions. Also, he has sired several Therapy Dogs in our breeding program, including our first seeing eye dog with Leader Dogs for the Blind. GCH Quailchase Bearcreek Jolly Joe is the sire to our top-winning bitch, GCH MochaLabs Easter Blessing. And GCH Glacieridge Tabatha’s Granite has also added a lot to our breeding program, including several Therapy Dogs.

Our most influential dam would be our foundation bitch, GCH Labradale Traveling Pants MochaLabs. She is our foundation bitch that we purchased from Hidden Pond Kennels. She has produced six home-bred champions from three different sires.


Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?

Dawn Mieth: Our home is located in Central Nebraska. We live on seven acres where our dogs love to run. We have inside and outside runs that consist of 5×5 indoor runs that have Kuranda beds, heating, and air-conditioning. Our outside runs are 5×20 ft. attached to an 80×100 ft. grassy dog yard. They run free all day till it’s time to go to bed. Currently, four of the nine Labs live in the house with us. Our puppies are born and raised in our bedroom where we sleep next to them for the first two weeks.

Our whole family takes turns on puppy duty. Between 4-5 weeks they move onto our back porch where they are potty trained and crate trained. As weather permits, we go outside several times a day to play freely and have fun on the farm. We have several neighbor kids who love to come and play with our puppies.


What is my “process” for selecting Show Puppies? Performance Puppies? Field Puppies?

Dawn Mieth: From birth, we have some puppies that just stick out! We watch them closer, starting at 5 weeks. As they play outside we watch for temperament and movement. At 6 weeks old we start to stack them on our grooming table. We will look at them again at 7 weeks. At 8 weeks of age we set up a puppy evaluation party at our Grand Island Kennel Club where our President, AKC Judge Doug Jensen, demonstrates correct conformation of our breed to all who want to attend. Our puppies get to be just that—puppies. At around 6 months of age we start Conformation classes at our Grand Island Kennel Club where Doug is our teacher. I also start to walk them and get them to focus on me during our walks; with watch and stand commands, and then I reward with a cookie.


Do I compete in Companion Events? Performance Events?

Dawn Mieth: We compete in Conformation and Fast CAT through AKC. We also compete at International Dog Shows.


Are Field Trials or parent club Hunt Tests important to me?

Dawn Mieth: From form to function, the Labrador Retriever should be able to hunt, be a service/therapy dog, and be that loyal family companion. Titles in all aspects are good for all dogs that are in our breeding program. Field Trials and Hunt Tests are great for the Labrador breed. I, myself, do not participate in them.


How would I define “conditioning” as it relates to my breed?

Dawn Mieth: The Labrador Retriever needs lots of exercise. As puppies, we just let them have free play and never over-work a puppy. Our puppies get to be just that, puppies. At around 6 months of age we start Conformation classes at our Grand Island Kennel Club.


Are there any health-related concerns in my breed? Any special nutritional needs?

Dawn Mieth: The Labrador Retriever has several health tests that should be performed. We test for EIC, HPNK, PRA, Hips and Elbows, and Heart and Eye certification. Typically, there are no special nutritional needs. Overall, I feel our breed is in good condition. Any trends that have been there have been addressed in the past few years.


Do I think my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?

Dawn Mieth: I feel there are a lot of true Labrador breeders who are doing what’s right to preserve the breed.


Is my breed well suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?

Dawn Mieth: As the No. 1 most popular AKC Breed, the Labrador Retriever is the most versatile breed out there. For the most lovable, loyal family companion to your hunting partner in the field, and for the people who need a therapy/service animal, the Labrador Retriever is the best!


What is the biggest misconception about my breed? What is my breed’s best-kept secret?

Dawn Mieth: I feel there are no misconceptions or best-kept secrets of the Labrador Retriever. Their reputation speaks for itself. As a Labrador Retriever breeder, the sport of dogs has been amazing for me and my family. Being at the dog shows is like a family away from family. We are there to support each other and do what’s best for our breed, and to learn and grow as a breeder.


If I could share a comment or two with judges of my breed, what would I like to say to them?

Dawn Mieth: I would share that we need to look at the overall balance of the Labrador. Can they perform the tasks they were bred to do?


Do I have any words of wisdom to pass along to newer breeders?

Dawn Mieth: I love helping new people who are looking to get into the Labrador breed! First and foremost, find a reputable, accomplished breeder and learn from them.


For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Sporting Dog?

Dawn Mieth: At our very first dog show in Topeka, Kansas, our family was staying at the lake. I was taking our two girls of six months of age for a walk when, little did I know, they would take me for a run! They spotted ducks on the bank of the lake—and off we went. They dragged me down the hill and almost into the lake where I finally fell on my butt and held on for dear life to stop them. Lesson learned that day: Only walk one at a time and stay far away from ducks while showing!



Are you looking for a Labrador Retriever puppy?

The best way to ensure a long and happy relationship with a purebred dog is to purchase one from a responsible breeder. Not sure where to begin finding a breeder?

Contact the National Parent Club’s Breeder Referral person, which you can find on the AKC Breeder Referral Contacts page.


Want to help rescue and re-home a Labrador Retriever dog?

Did you know nearly every recognized AKC purebred has a dedicated rescue group? Find your new best friend on the AKC Rescue Network Listing.


Labrador Retriever Breed Magazine

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Read and learn more about the friendly Labrador Retriever dog breed with articles and information in our Labrador Retriever Breed Magazine.


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