About our Kennel
Quality Labs in Northern California
Marble Mountain Kennels is a family owned and operated kennel that produces about a dozen litters a year. We produce Labrador Retrievers with both outstanding natural hunting skills and well-balanced, personable dispositions. We are located in the northern extreme of California in the heart of the Pacific flyway, where quail and pheasant can still be found in their natural setting with the beautiful backdrop of the Marble Mountains.
What sets us apart from other breeders?
We strive to produce dogs with the following six traits: 1) superior intelligence, 2) terrific personalities, 3) outstanding hunting desire, 4) natural pointing instinct, 5) superb looks, and 6) proven pedigrees. We would like these dogs to be equally welcome in your home as companions, in your duck blind as a retrieving machine, in the grain field as a pheasant pointing and retrieving partner, or at the hunt test or field trial as a competitor. We are also making an effort, with most breedings, to produce natural-born pointing retrievers.
We hunt over our dogs, and choose to use our Labs in both upland and water fowling situations. We are looking for true versatility in the best gun dog breed developed--the pointing Labrador Retriever.
We also believe that you hunt with a dog 30-40 days a year (if you are really lucky), but you live with him 365 days a year. So a gentle disposition and good socialization are extremely important to our breeding program. (For a real job I run a summer camp for kids, so our dogs must be good around adults and children).
Our dogs are certainly beautiful, but we are not show dog breeders, so looks are not our primary concern. Other hunting dog breeders choose breeding lines without much regard for temperament. Although our dogs possess strong champion hunting pedigrees, we also pride ourselves on breeding for companionship in addition to the hunt drive, point, and intelligence. We prefer dogs that aren't bouncing off the walls and we know you do too. We find that, because our dogs are both even-tempered and intelligent, they are easier to train and enjoyable as pets. Pete calls this high power vs. low key dichotomy an "on-off" switch. We hope you'll come to the same conclusion when you look over our dogs' pedigrees and personality descriptions and make your decision regarding adopting a dog or puppy from us.
About Pointing Labs
Pointing Labs are a new wrinkle in the hunting dog world, and for some the idea of a Lab as a pointer is just too extreme. But, for a hunter like me who wants to hunt it all, and loves the temperament of a Labrador, a pointing Lab is hard to beat. We are aware that dogs bred with superior intelligence, good looks, and a calm disposition will be valuable in many other areas as well. We currently have dogs working as search and rescue team members, military and security bomb and drug detection agents, advertising models, elder comfort dogs, obedience and agility players, members of student projects, and hunt test and field trial competitors.
Pointing Labs have been bred in kennels in the United States for the last 80 years, but have become popular in the last 20 or so. They are, to those who hunt with them, the best of both worlds. They are patient in the blind, love water, and handle cold temperatures well. At the same time they quarter, search out and point sitting birds, but can also flush running birds. They are absolutely deadly on pheasants, quail and all kinds of waterfowl. But please note that NOT ALL PUPPIES POSSESS THE NATURAL POINTING TRAIT. This is due to the fact that we have chosen to emphasize superior hunting ability, intelligence, and disposition above the pointing trait. However, the more generations of pointing in the background, the stronger are your possibilities of getting a dog that points. Many of our litters have 3-8 generations of known pointing Labs.
Deposits & Reservations
All pups will have dew claws removed, first rounds of shots, and a full guarantee on hips, elbows, eyes, general health, and hunting desire. Your pick in the litter is determined by the date on which your $250 deposit is received. Deposits can be made with the condition that you get either the gender or the color puppy you desire. Deposits are otherwise non-refundable, but can be transferred to a future litter if desired. There are both a PDF Puppy Preference Survey and a Puppy Reservation Form that should be filled out by all prospective owners. By emailing photos of these forms with a photo of your deposit check you can hold your spot for 7 days until your check and reservation arrive in the mail.
Puppy Raising Process
Marble Mountain Kennels is not a large kennel and we are proud of the care that each of our females and their litters are given. Our unique approach in breeding is to place many breeding females in homes where they will be loved, trained and hunted. This process allows them to develop fully as dogs, live a satisfying life. It also gives us a chance to evaluate them in the type of setting in which we intend their offspring to thrive.
Our studs are treated well at our kennel too. They get to run several miles a day, hunt during hunting season, and hang out with their buddies in a nice outdoor area with plenty of shelter from the elements. They each take their turn being "free" around our house, as well, so they can protect our summer garden from deer and ground squirrels or just be loved on by our family.
Marble Mountain Kennels has a state of the art whelping kennel facility to care for our litters. The kennel was designed to allow us to house our new litters in a safe, clean, and stimulating environment.
Finally, we believe that the socializing process is crucial to a healthy puppy. Fortunately, our three daughters and two sons love puppies and play with them daily. But, to ensure that puppies get enough interaction when we all get busy, we hire students (or call friends or staff from the next-door Kidder Creek Camp) to come and play with puppies. It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it!
If you are looking for a quality Lab, or know someone who is, call and make your reservations soon. Our litters generally go quickly. Females usually go the quickest. Often more than half the litter is spoken for before they are born.
At five weeks old we mark puppies with colored collars and start to make observations about their behavior. As the puppies approach adoption age we put the pups through puppy profile tests. This allows us to have some clue as to where the individual pups rank with their littermates in a variety of different traits. It also gives us an idea of which puppy will be best suited to which family, since some puppies might be better placed in a hunting family, whereas other puppies might fit better in a non-hunting family. Puppies are ideally adopted out between seven and nine weeks of age.
Loss of a Canine Companion
We understand that about 70 percent of you contact us because you have lost a long-time, faithful friend and member of your family. We know that you're still grieving and that it has taken courage to begin a search for a new puppy. I like what Cesar Milan says about coping with a dog's death and the importance of taking time to mourn and build up your emotional stamina to the point that you can become the pack leader--the boss--for your new dog. The good news is that you are familiar with the time, patience and commitment necessary for owning a dog. You've been there, you've counted the cost, and you're ready to take that next step. Many people call us to share stories of their lost canine companions. Many people get choked up. We want you to know that you're in the majority and you should not be embarrassed. We understand the tears.
Dogs are amazingly personable creatures. They sense your emotions. They're full of such life and each one is unique in temperament. And, of course, they love their humans unconditionally. They need us and we're not ashamed to admit that we need them too. A new puppy will not help you to forget your loss, but he or she will enhance the happy memories you already have and add many new and special ones to enrich your life even more.
People often comment on how attractive our web presence is, but we hope that it is not just a great home page that they appreciate. We work hard to give you the information that will be most valuable in helping you choose your next canine companion. As we continue to develop our website, all of the primary dogs mentioned will have multiple photographs, a pedigree, and a helpful description. When you click on "upcoming litters" you will learn valuable information on the parents, see the puppies’ pedigree, view pictures as the puppies mature, and have a link to our live puppycam to watch these pups eat, sleep and play. (And, by the way, we welcome any emails pointing out potential errors in our website. We want to get them corrected right away. Thanks!)
Internet assistance is great, but we also know that for many a big decision like a new dog will often lead to more specific questions and we would love to talk to you about any questions you might have.
We enjoy helping you, our customers. Thanks to our God and your business, we are also able to assist others via financial contributions to the following non-profit organizations:
Marble Mountain Kennels is a family-owned business...
Our entire Morrill Family from left to right: Cale, Cami, Pete, James, Julie, Lexi and Rienne
Photos of our Kennels and Facility
A few years back a production crew filmed part of a movie at our place. Julie took a few photos of the excitement and got some shots of our kennels and facility in the process. (Unfortunately, one of those dastardly editors removed the scenes of our beautiful mama dog and her puppies, so they ended up on the cutting room floor, but it was fun, all the same!)
Below are more photos of our barn and surrounding meadow (in winter and summer), where our older dogs live. Yes, we live in a beautiful place!