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    1. #31
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      The hallmarks of the Labrador breed are head, tail, coat. Are there some show dogs who are extreme examples? Yes. That is not correct and they should be penalized. However, a dense, thick, double coat IS a component of this breed.

      The opening paragraph of the Breed Standard states: "The Labrador Retriever is a strongly built, medium-sized, short-coupled, dog possessing a sound, athletic, well-balanced conformation that enables it to function as a retrieving gun dog; the substance and soundness to hunt waterfowl or upland game for long hours under difficult conditions; the character and quality to win in the show ring; and the temperament to be a family companion."

      All the dogs in the Sporting Group should be bred to work in hunting season. They are not pulling sleds through blizzards. The density of the coat can... at some point... become a liability for all these breeds. Retrievers' double coat reflects the fact that they are water dogs. Cold water dogs. BUT they are not Newfies. They are an all-around dog and have to be able to work land and water fowl.

      Now, if people are choosing to breed for more range, more speed, more endurance based on modern hunting/sporting preference:(I don't know what a "modern hunting preference" is. It's how we've hunted in the US since we've been hunting in the US. It's American... not British. And we have our own breed club. The UK has theirs. Having said that working retrievers and ring retrievers here look identical to their UK cousins); for less coat for better warm weather performance, less otter-like tail, longer head-plane/snout for better vision like a sighthound -- GREAT, but that's not what the standard calls for and it is not reflective of the original formulation of this breed any more than a stumpy-legged, upturned, short snouted, open-coated example from the show ring is.

      No, no, no. There are field dogs that meet the standard. They might have subtly different looking heads/snouts than those common in the ring today. But we are not talking about sight-hounds. If you appeal to the original formulation, I think you are stuck. Because the head I'm referring to... the one we see at field events... is more reflective of the early CH's (See Banchory Bob.) I agree we shouldn't be looking to clone the early Dual's, some evolution is inevitable. I'm only suggesting the ring judges should not penalize a subtly more field-type skull. A "throw-back" once in a while would perhaps be a healthy trend.

      No. Not range. But yes on the endurance. They should be able to quarter within gun range. Not acres and acres ahead. This is not a polemic for long-legged, out of standard dogs. I'm saying Labs have to be able to keep working the field as long as the hunter does. BUT... let's be honest. That has more to do with conditioning than phenotype. The shorter legged dog in the ring ought to be able to do this as well as a rangy archetypal (and out of standard) field dog.

      Speed, yes... but only as a sprinter, not like pointers and setters. When the birds are coming in... the hunter(s) might be dropping them fast. The dead birds have to be picked up and wounded birds promptly shagged down. So it's a matter of moderation. A well balanced lab isn't going to be the fastest dog on the planet. But he ought to be able to turn on the burners (so to speak) for short bursts when necessary. The standard calls for a "strong" dog. I think this would be synonymous with "powerful" and that's the sort of thing I envision.


      I think the majority of people with Labradors of whatever persuasion are perfectly content with what they have laying at their feet. There's nothing wrong with that IMO.

      And therein lies the absolutely outstanding characteristic of the Labrador Retriever and why they will likely be the #1 choice among all the breeds for the foreseeable future. We are incredibly fortunate to have a dog with such a rich and diverse gene pool. (Thank GOD, we are not like the poor Curly Coat people!!!) But that very depth and diversity is also the reason for our robust discussions (not disagreements.)

    2. #32
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      When you say dual champions, are you talking conformation champions that are a field trial champion?

      There are plenty of dogs with their conformation CH and MH title. What more do they need?

      Field trials are not indicative of what the Labrador was bred for. Therefore, to get a field trial dog, you have breed for it, much of which is outside of the standard.

    3. #33
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      Quote Originally Posted by TuMicks View Post
      The hallmarks of the Labrador breed are head, tail, coat. Are there some show dogs who are extreme examples? Yes. That is not correct and they should be penalized. However, a dense, thick, double coat IS a component of this breed.

      The opening paragraph of the Breed Standard states: "The Labrador Retriever is a strongly built, medium-sized, short-coupled, dog possessing a sound, athletic, well-balanced conformation that enables it to function as a retrieving gun dog; the substance and soundness to hunt waterfowl or upland game for long hours under difficult conditions; the character and quality to win in the show ring; and the temperament to be a family companion."

      All the dogs in the Sporting Group should be bred to work in hunting season. They are not pulling sleds through blizzards. The density of the coat can... at some point... become a liability for all these breeds. Retrievers' double coat reflects the fact that they are water dogs. Cold water dogs. BUT they are not Newfies. They are an all-around dog and have to be able to work land and water fowl.

      Now, if people are choosing to breed for more range, more speed, more endurance based on modern hunting/sporting preference:(I don't know what a "modern hunting preference" is. It's how we've hunted in the US since we've been hunting in the US. It's American... not British. And we have our own breed club. The UK has theirs. Having said that working retrievers and ring retrievers here look identical to their UK cousins); for less coat for better warm weather performance, less otter-like tail, longer head-plane/snout for better vision like a sighthound -- GREAT, but that's not what the standard calls for and it is not reflective of the original formulation of this breed any more than a stumpy-legged, upturned, short snouted, open-coated example from the show ring is.

      No, no, no. There are field dogs that meet the standard. They might have subtly different looking heads/snouts than those common in the ring today. But we are not talking about sight-hounds. If you appeal to the original formulation, I think you are stuck. Because the head I'm referring to... the one we see at field events... is more reflective of the early CH's (See Banchory Bob.) I agree we shouldn't be looking to clone the early Dual's, some evolution is inevitable. I'm only suggesting the ring judges should not penalize a subtly more field-type skull. A "throw-back" once in a while would perhaps be a healthy trend.

      No. Not range. But yes on the endurance. They should be able to quarter within gun range. Not acres and acres ahead. This is not a polemic for long-legged, out of standard dogs. I'm saying Labs have to be able to keep working the field as long as the hunter does. BUT... let's be honest. That has more to do with conditioning than phenotype. The shorter legged dog in the ring ought to be able to do this as well as a rangy archetypal (and out of standard) field dog.

      Speed, yes... but only as a sprinter, not like pointers and setters. When the birds are coming in... the hunter(s) might be dropping them fast. The dead birds have to be picked up and wounded birds promptly shagged down. So it's a matter of moderation. A well balanced lab isn't going to be the fastest dog on the planet. But he ought to be able to turn on the burners (so to speak) for short bursts when necessary. The standard calls for a "strong" dog. I think this would be synonymous with "powerful" and that's the sort of thing I envision.


      I think the majority of people with Labradors of whatever persuasion are perfectly content with what they have laying at their feet. There's nothing wrong with that IMO.

      And therein lies the absolutely outstanding characteristic of the Labrador Retriever and why they will likely be the #1 choice among all the breeds for the foreseeable future. We are incredibly fortunate to have a dog with such a rich and diverse gene pool. (Thank GOD, we are not like the poor Curly Coat people!!!) But that very depth and diversity is also the reason for our robust discussions (not disagreements.)
      Bring your subtly different FC/AFCs to the ring then. If they are classic heads with proper double coat, otter tail, in working condition, you can win.

    4. #34
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      Quote Originally Posted by Labradorks View Post
      When you say dual champions, are you talking conformation champions that are a field trial champion?

      There are plenty of dogs with their conformation CH and MH title. What more do they need?

      Field trials are not indicative of what the Labrador was bred for. Therefore, to get a field trial dog, you have breed for it, much of which is outside of the standard.
      I agree with you totally. FT's are to retrievers what (maybe) the Metropolitan Opera is to music. (1) An acquired taste, (2) incredibly high standards (3) rare talents. But the world is rich in music with something for everyone.

      Unfortunately, to get the dual you have to have two championships. And though HT's separate out and "prove" outstanding talent and training... they don't award championship titles. Only FT's do that.

      NOW... here is something someone else may know about. I don't know if this is the AKC, or the LRC. Clearly, the world is ready for some new sort of Dual-ness. It would have to be evidence of excellence in both ends so that the entire Lab community would support it. I suppose it would have to go through both official bodies.

      But it seems to me the world is ready for something along these lines.

    5. #35
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      Quote Originally Posted by TuMicks View Post
      I agree with you totally. FT's are to retrievers what (maybe) the Metropolitan Opera is to music. (1) An acquired taste, (2) incredibly high standards (3) rare talents. But the world is rich in music with something for everyone.

      Unfortunately, to get the dual you have to have two championships. And though HT's separate out and "prove" outstanding talent and training... they don't award championship titles. Only FT's do that.

      NOW... here is something someone else may know about. I don't know if this is the AKC, or the LRC. Clearly, the world is ready for some new sort of Dual-ness. It would have to be evidence of excellence in both ends so that the entire Lab community would support it. I suppose it would have to go through both official bodies.

      But it seems to me the world is ready for something along these lines.
      To get what you think the world is after, I think is nearly impossible, hence the lack of such dogs. FT Labs are bred out of standard, including their temperament, on purpose, to get something that Labs don't typically do. You have to be thoughtful to breed this dog or perhaps you just need to get it purely on accident, an anomaly. And then, you'd have to get a handler that wanted to, had the money and time and experience to do it all.

    6. #36
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      Quote Originally Posted by dxboon View Post
      And you would be wrong. There are judges in our breed and who are licensed in our breed (but breed other hunting breeds) who hunt. One of my breeders is a licensed judge and hunts behind their Labs (that show). They in fact got into Labs because they were hunters first. My chocolate boy in my signature is linebred on my breeder's personal gundog.

      As I've said before, if folks don't like what's in the ring, bring your correct dogs, get your judging licenses, join the parent club, and all that it will take to change what is shown, since the problem is all apparently on the show side.
      Many of the people I knew who sere showing Labs also did field work, picking up pheasant at local shoots. My friends always had one or two dogs that worked throughout the season.

      Right after Bruce passed from a heart issue, the conversation led to how fit our dogs always were. Their first full champion picked up several days per week for many years. My friend would ride his bike to the village in the morning, with the dog running beside him, spend the morning picking up, then ride back home at lunch, then back to the shooting grounds. Pick up all afternoon, then run back home. I can't say how many retrieves he had per day, but the number of birds shot on a given day was in the hundreds. That's a fit dog doing a days work in the field.

      Quote Originally Posted by TuMicks View Post
      I stand corrected and repent in dust and ashes. In AKC HT's, (and FT, for that matter) the emphasis is absolutely on retrieving game, not finding it. A well trained lab of bench phenotype should not be at all disadvantaged. Judges will typically not set up a test that takes more than a few minutes for a dog to complete (time management when you're evaluating 50 dogs or more.)

      But a lot of hunters use their dogs to quarter ahead of them. (Grouse, partridge, pheasant.) Within gun range... not acres ahead like a pointer. They will however work a field for a long time... continuous movement for hours, sitting when the birds flush. On a moderate to warm fall day, even a sleeker Lab can overheat. That's why I believe you'll never see a ring style coat on a field Lab, no matter how carefully bred to standard.

      I will defer to Barry about whether this is consistent with the original standard with regard to a Gentleman's Gun Dog. Hunting in the US is very different than the UK. It just is. But our field labs really look a lot like theirs. I have no objection to being involved with the parent club. But they aren't the ones judging the dogs in the ring.
      Hunting in the UK is very different than it is here. It's a business there, and it can cost thousands of pounds for a days shooting. Back when I lived there some of the big shoots were charging 5000 pounds or more. The shoot I worked was pretty small, 75-100 birds a day normally, it was a club with members paying an annual fee to shoot the whole season. We had a couple Labs that worked there, including mine on several occasions, no idea what their breeding was but they were decent looking Labs.

      The divergence of show and field TRIAL dogs in England is similar to here in the US. US field trials are not a days shooting, where the UK field trials are. Normally they are held at an estate that has shooting on a regular basis. The dogs don't all get the same retrieve, it's based on the birds shot during that drive or walk up and the order in which the dogs are set up.

      In my opinion, and I am by no means an expert on either conformation or field trials. That being said, I feel that the Labrador Breed Standard serves as a guide on what the dogs should be both in looks and capabilities in the field. There is a reason for a double coat, the otter tail, the shape of the head, and all the other things that make a Labrador capable of working a day in the field. If these things are detrimental to a dog being competitive at field trials, then maybe the way field trials are set up is actually detrimental to the Labrador constructed per the breed standard.

      All that being said, I do think many show breeders have strayed from the standard, with heads that look like Rottweilers, short in leg, and depth of the rib cage to name a few things, and that's both here and the UK. I'm not sure what can be done to changes these things in both FT and conformation type dogs. I do have to think that some of the issues we see today, in particular blowing out knees are related to how the dogs are being bred. I had never heard of a Lab with a knee issue until I came to this board 5 years ago. It tells me the mechanics of the joint are wrong in some way. Same thing can be said of elbows and shoulder too.

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    8. #37
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      This was Bruce's great-great grandfather. A nice dual purpose dog.

      Salona Hill Labradors

    9. #38
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      Quote Originally Posted by barry581 View Post
      This was Bruce's great-great grandfather. A nice dual purpose dog.

      Salona Hill Labradors
      Good looking, and a MH.

      Barry, when you refer to blown knees, are you referring to the field lines? If so, can we know whether that is due to their lives as athletes (the work is not for the faint of heart... I won't minimize it) or to their anatomy?

      Just curious

    10. #39
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      Quote Originally Posted by barry581 View Post
      This was Bruce's great-great grandfather. A nice dual purpose dog.

      Salona Hill Labradors
      He is also behind my chocolate boy. Spencer was imported from England, so is a true English Lab.

    11. #40
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      Quote Originally Posted by TuMicks View Post
      Good looking, and a MH.

      Barry, when you refer to blown knees, are you referring to the field lines? If so, can we know whether that is due to their lives as athletes (the work is not for the faint of heart... I won't minimize it) or to their anatomy?

      Just curious
      No. Just in general. Way back when my friend and I went to visit a breeder who was very field trial oriented but used one of my friends stud dogs to bring some looks back into his lines. I was pretty oblivious when he sent several of his dogs on retrieves over some pretty rocky/uneven ground show us how they worked. As we were driving home my friend said he was "horrified" watching the dogs running over that terrain, saying he'd never let his do it.

      Quote Originally Posted by dxboon View Post
      He is also behind my chocolate boy. Spencer was imported from England, so is a true English Lab.
      Ch Naiken Zepher was Bruce's sire, a very handsome dog and a good worker. Jackie offered me a dog from one of her upcoming litters when Bruce passed, but for a variety of reasons I chose to not bring another puppy over. I was lucky enough to meet with her and her daughter on my last two trips to the UK, and I can say they really are some of the nicest people you would ever meet.

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