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Breed Priorities – Labrador Retrievers

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296 – February, 2018


This article is not intended to promote fault or part judging. Nor is it to imply that any characteristic called for in the standard is unimportant. Judging, and breeding, is about prioritizing and about what the judge or breeder will forgive. Discussing priorities can help in learning how to better evaluate a breed.

The Labrador Retriever continues as the most popular breed based on AKC registration. They have big entries at dog shows. They are frequently used as service dogs. They have their fans in the field. Maybe because they are so flexible, we hear that the Lab experts don’t all agree on what a Lab should look like. This makes a survey to identify their breed priorities even more interesting.

We found nearly sixty Labrador Retriever breeder-judges to invite to participate in the survey. Thirty-nine agreed to do so, and thirty-one completed surveys were received. Some of the experts judge only Labs or a few breeds, while others judge one or more groups. Most have judged Lab specialties and many have judged the parent club national. The group has been involved in Labradors for nearly thirty-six years on average and has averaged judging the breed for almost eleven years.

Labrador Retriever Virtues

The survey included a list of characteristics taken from the Labrador standard for the breeder-judges to prioritize from most important to least important. Below is a list of virtues in sequence by the average of the survey rankings, with one being the most important.

1. “Otter” tail
2. Short, dense, weather-resistant coat
3. Clean-cut head with broad back skull
4. Kindly, outgoing, tractable nature; eager to please and non-aggressive
5. Hindquarters broad, muscular and well-developed
6. Shoulders well laid-back, long and sloping
7. Movement free and effortless
8. Topline level
9. Skull and foreface – parallel planes and … equal length
10. Substance without lumber or cloddiness
11. Good spring of ribs
11. (tie) Length equal to or slightly longer than height
13. “Kind,” friendly eyes
14. Short-coupled
15. Scissors bite
16. Underline almost straight

Click here to read the complete article
296 – February, 2018

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Posted by on Mar 3 2018. Filed under Current Articles, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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  • December 2018