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    1. #1
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      TuMicks's Avatar
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      Noted on another website

      In April of 2014 the Labrador Retriever Club sent a letter to conformation judges stressing particular aspects of the standard they felt were being ignored or misinterpreted.

      http://www.thelabradorclub.com/uploa...C%20Judges.pdf

      This was not a new standard, just a sort of "Dear Colleague" letter.

      My sense is this action was not taken because of undue influence of "field" people. However, some field people seemed to think the 2015 Westminster labs did look somewhat more svelte.

      As noted in the title, I took this from another website. I don't know the background or politics that go on in other retriever circles/activities. But in the article there was a picture of a recent ring winner, comparing it to CH Shamrock Acres Light Brigade. The differences are daylight and dark. I am not sure how long ago "Briggs" was cleaning up in the show ring, but presumably it was before the field people influenced the change in the way the standard was written. Yet, contemporary show champions (my info comes from the web and very limited personal experience) seem to diverge more sharply from the field labs than they did in his day.

      What is going on? Though I don't do conformation (temperamentally unsuited for that sport) but I do care about the breed. Please offer your opinion or any info you have on the background scoop.

    2. #2
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      Basically it boils down to what different people wanted the breed to look like, vs. what they wanted the breed to be able to do. People who bred for conformation tried to breed to the stand of what a dog should look like, not really caring about what they should be able to do. People who bred for field trials bred for temperament that would allow the dogs to do every increasingly difficult field tests, things that Labs were never really bred to do. Then add in what law enforcement needed the dogs to do, and the service dog sector needed the dogs to do, and the specialization within these sub-groups needed.

      Somewhere along the line you have all these different interests, breeding their version of the Labrador. So now we have field Labs, America Labs, English Labs, and the list goes on.

      I've been involved with Labs in some way or another for over 30 years. My first Lab, Ella, was what was considered a "dual purpose Lab" in that she was placed in her classes at conformation shows, and could competently pick up game at local shoots, namely pheasant. The kennel she came from has produced show champion dogs who could competently pick up and retrieve game to hand for over 40 years. In a nut shell, they looked like what a Lab was supposed to look like, and could do the job a Lab was bred for. Win a field trial? No way. Hunt test? No way. Bomb sniffing, drug sniffing? Maybe with the right training. Great family dogs. Absolutely. Hip, elbow, eye, EIC and other clearances?? Yup.

      For me, the saddest part of all this is seeing how the show dogs have gotten away from looking like a dog that could do a days work in the field. The show dogs, both UK and US all look grossly overweight to me. If you go back to the Champion conformation dogs of the 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, and 80's and compare them to the dogs who are Champions now, you see a distinct difference.

    3. #3
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      Quote Originally Posted by TuMicks View Post
      In April of 2014 the Labrador Retriever Club sent a letter to conformation judges stressing particular aspects of the standard they felt were being ignored or misinterpreted.

      http://www.thelabradorclub.com/uploa...C%20Judges.pdf

      This was not a new standard, just a sort of "Dear Colleague" letter.

      My sense is this action was not taken because of undue influence of "field" people. However, some field people seemed to think the 2015 Westminster labs did look somewhat more svelte.

      As noted in the title, I took this from another website. I don't know the background or politics that go on in other retriever circles/activities. But in the article there was a picture of a recent ring winner, comparing it to CH Shamrock Acres Light Brigade. The differences are daylight and dark. I am not sure how long ago "Briggs" was cleaning up in the show ring, but presumably it was before the field people influenced the change in the way the standard was written. Yet, contemporary show champions (my info comes from the web and very limited personal experience) seem to diverge more sharply from the field labs than they did in his day.

      What is going on? Though I don't do conformation (temperamentally unsuited for that sport) but I do care about the breed. Please offer your opinion or any info you have on the background scoop.
      You seem super concerned about the direction the breed is taking based on your various posts on the state of show dogs in our breed. Someone with your concern and interest should get involved in conformation if you want change. There were several judges letters sent out in response to all the internet shaming that went on after Westminster in 2014. That's it. Public appeasement. There are several other posts on this forum about "fat" show Labs. More background there.

      Do you really feel like no betterment has occurred in the breed since Briggs? A great dog for the time, but you want to go back to seeing dogs just like Briggs win? You don't think there have structurally overall been improvement in fronts, rears, so many other aspects from a health and soundness perspective?

      How many conformation shows do you get out to a year? How many show dogs do you see live and in person? There are extreme show dogs just like there are extreme field dogs. Should I judge all field dogs by the most extreme (and often very successful) examples? There are plenty of moderate show dogs in the ribbons.

      Look at pictures of this year's winners bitch from Potomac, the world's biggest Lab specialty. Grossly overweight? Hardly. An American-bred Lab put up by a Brit breeder-judge, for those who believe the English are the only true preservationists of the breed. Best in sweeps at Potomac this year? A nice young chocolate. Not overweight. Google him.

      There are plenty of winning show dogs who hunt with their owners -- not scenarios as in hunt tests and field trials, but out in the wild with their person. A dog who can spend Saturday in the show ring, then work as a pickup dog all day Sunday? Why isn't that commendable?

      Start showing the Labs that you think are correct. If you're not in the ring, you don't give the judge a chance to reward you. I'm sure there are judges that would be in agreement with all of you who think Labs should look like they did 50 years ago.

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    5. #4
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      Daos summed it up nicely.

      What I am going to say will most likely make folks mad but so be it. I've been on this board and it's predecessor before the big dump since 2003, and this is hardly a new revelation. What we have here is a pet board with about 70% pet folks with pet bred dogs, 10% real hunting dogs, 10% performance dogs and 10% conformation dogs. Every year when Westminster hits, we go through this. This year when Potomac hit, we went through it again.

      It would kinda be like me joining a football forum because I like to toss the ball around, and then talk about how awfully big some of those college and pro players are. Aren't some of them topping 300#? How can they possibly play a sport? They can't possibly be healthy when doctors mean weights for men are probably around 200# or less. I've never touched a football player but he's probably just fat, and I am not going to believe you that he's probably as solid as a truck.

      I think in one publication I read, they said 92K litters of labs were registered with AKC one year. I am guessing the amount of those being bred by reputable breeders doing everything right and producing dogs that actually meet the standard is pretty low. So I would prefer if folks want to bitch about the down-turn of our breed, they need to back themselves up with knowing more than 1 or 2 photos of a conformation dogs. Get to some shows, meet some people.

      I personally know a lady with the #1 female lab in 2013, won a JAM at Westminster in 2014, she's a Bronze Grand Champion and a Junior Hunter. And she actually goes out hunting too, not just hunt tests. She did not place at Potomac this year.

      I am not saying there aren't examples of too big of labs. But they aren't all like that. You guys pick one favorite 1980's champion and see one current winner and think "oh lord the breed is going to crap". It's really not the case.
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    7. #5
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      I have no idea why people get so bent out of shape about this. There are bigger problems with the over breeding of labs then there are with if people think the conformation winners are fat. Until you see them do something outside of the ring how can you criticize what their abilities are?

      Personally I do not understand the point of doing hunt tests. I would prefer just hunt with my dog. I do not feel the need to prove what he can do to anyone.

      Yes i am wanting a certain look in my dog as well. To me the temperament of the lab is more important then the style of lab. Not sure why needed to start a new thread on same topic from 3 weeks ago.

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    9. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by JenC View Post
      Daos summed it up nicely.

      What I am going to say will most likely make folks mad but so be it. I've been on this board and it's predecessor before the big dump since 2003, and this is hardly a new revelation. What we have here is a pet board with about 70% pet folks with pet bred dogs, 10% real hunting dogs, 10% performance dogs and 10% conformation dogs. Every year when Westminster hits, we go through this. This year when Potomac hit, we went through it again.

      It would kinda be like me joining a football forum because I like to toss the ball around, and then talk about how awfully big some of those college and pro players are. Aren't some of them topping 300#? How can they possibly play a sport? They can't possibly be healthy when doctors mean weights for men are probably around 200# or less. I've never touched a football player but he's probably just fat, and I am not going to believe you that he's probably as solid as a truck.

      I think in one publication I read, they said 92K litters of labs were registered with AKC one year. I am guessing the amount of those being bred by reputable breeders doing everything right and producing dogs that actually meet the standard is pretty low. So I would prefer if folks want to bitch about the down-turn of our breed, they need to back themselves up with knowing more than 1 or 2 photos of a conformation dogs. Get to some shows, meet some people.

      I personally know a lady with the #1 female lab in 2013, won a JAM at Westminster in 2014, she's a Bronze Grand Champion and a Junior Hunter. And she actually goes out hunting too, not just hunt tests. She did not place at Potomac this year.

      I am not saying there aren't examples of too big of labs. But they aren't all like that. You guys pick one favorite 1980's champion and see one current winner and think "oh lord the breed is going to crap". It's really not the case.
      Thanks, Jen. You know, every year for an insane tenth of a second I think about sharing my Potomac photos here so people can see the broad spectrum of Labs being shown successfully, but then I snap back to my senses. I've come to realize there will be these posts every year after the shows that are televised (Westminster, Eukanuba, the National Dog Show) since that's the only time most people see Labs showing in conformation, and now after Potomac too because of the "fat" dog-shaming internet bloggers writing about the winners, and the destruction of Labradors by show breeders.

      If people want to point fingers, and lay blame for the ruination of the breed, there are plenty of places on the show, field, and BYB/pet producer sides on which that blame should fall.

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    11. #7
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      TuMicks-- was at a hunt test recently sitting w/ some friends (field) and even they had to ask what breed one of the field dogs was. We all thought it was an ILP dog! I thought one of the parents was a Belgian Sheepdog looking at the head, the grossly incorrect shepherd like coat, etc, but nope, the pup's sire was a very well known/respected FC/AFC--- a nice looking dog. Did some online research, and the mother was definitely the one who "shined thru" on that breeding. So there are folks on both ends who are doing the breed a disservice. And yes, there were some comments on the other end as well that day (rightfully so in one case w/ very overweight dogs).
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    12. #8
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      TuMicks - you should try going to your local Lab Club's WC test. In my area, you see a lot of dogs from the conformation ring there. It can give you a whole new appreciation of the breed as a whole.

    13. #9
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      Quote Originally Posted by barry581 View Post
      Basically it boils down to what different people wanted the breed to look like, vs. what they wanted the breed to be able to do. People who bred for conformation tried to breed to the stand of what a dog should look like, not really caring about what they should be able to do.
      The wording here really bothers me. Those who breed to be able to show conformation, breed with the standard in mind.... that standard is the blueprint of what this breed should look like so that it IS ABLE to do the job is was created for. There are plenty of breeders out there who produce puppies that are fully capable of spending the day in the ring OR field.

      I hope dxboon doesn't mind me posting this pic...



      This is 6yr old BISS AM GCH CAN CH Piccadilly's Hidden Covey JH WC and those pictures were taken less than a week apart this spring.... she was Best Opposite sex at Potomac and then got to pick up 26 pheasants at a tower shoot along side her champion daughter

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    15. #10
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      I think what many people fail to realize is that labs were meant to be a gentleman's hunting dog and how vastly different field trials are from actual hunting and how many of today's field trial dogs are what differs from the standard. Yes, there are some overdone conformation labs, but people should go to a show and see with their own eyes that it's not nearly as many as the Internet armchair judges would have you believe. I know plenty of conformation labs that can go hunting one weekend and win in the show ring the next.

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