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A typical Labrador puppy, in designer yellow.



The Labrador Retriever: About The Breed
The Labrador Retriever is a hardy versaltile breed that was developed about three hundred years ago in Newfoundland off the eastern coast of Canada. Originally called the St. John's, the breed excelled in all areas of duty from towing in nets for fishermen to retrieving waterfowl, to hauling wood and guarding property. The St. John's dog made its way to England in the 1800's where it was admired by the aristocracy for its outstanding scentind and retrieving abilities. The family of the Third Earl of Malmesbury of England is generally credited with recording pedigree information, maintaining pure lines and naming the breed the "Labrador Retriever".
      The Labrador Retriever is one of the most versatile breeds in the dog kingdom. Labradors are well known for their abilities in the hunting field from fetching upland game birds to plunging into icy waters to retrieve downed waterfowl. This breed also excels in obedience trials, agility tests, tracking, field trials and conformation shows. Because of their agreeable disposition, eagerness to please and trainability, Labrador Retrievers are very much in demend for use as guide dogs, assistance/service dogs and therapy dogs. Many police departments use Labradors to aid in search and rescue and drug and bomb detection squads.
      The Labrador Retriever is also a wonderful family pet and generally very good with children, other dogs and various assorted household pets. The breed's versatility and affectionate temperament have made it the most popular breed in the United States and one of the best all-around dogs in the world. Unfortunately for the breed, popularity often carries a price. Backyard breeders and puppy mills jump on the breed popularity bandwagon to mass produce puppies simply to meet market demand. These "breeders" generally do not research pedigrees, temperaments or possible health problems such as hip dysplasia or PRA before breeding a litter. These litters often produce unsoundness and unreliable dispositions and contribute to an increase in genetic problems in the breed.

Breed Standard and Characteristics

     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. It also has the quality to win the the show ring with a temperament to win as a family companion as well. Physical and mental characteristics would denote a dog bred to perform as an efficient retriever of game with a stable termperament suitable for a variety of pursuits beynd the hunting environment. The most distinguishing characteristics of the Labrador Retriever are its short, dense weather resistant coat, "otter" tail, a clean-cut head and its friendly eyes, expressing good character and intelligence. The Labrador Retriever coat colors are black, yellow and chocolate. The size of the Labrador is 22.5 to 24.5 inches in dogs and 21.5 to 23.5 inches for bitches. Approximate weight of dogs is 65-80 pounds and 55-70 pounds in bitches. These measurements vary depending upon the bloodlines that are present in the dog's pedigree.

Health Concerns

A basically hardy breed, the Labrador does have some known hereditary problems to be aware of, some of which are:

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)
Retinal Dysplasia (RD)
Allergies and Hypothyroidism

Further Reading:

The Labrador Retriever by Dorothy Howe
The Labrador Retriever Today by Carole Coode
The Book of the Labrador Retriever by A. K. Nicholas
Training Retrievers For The Marshes And Meadows by James B. Spencer
Retriever Puppy Training by Rutherford & Loveland
Labrador Quarterly Magazine Hoflin Publishing (303) 934-5656

The LRCGD strongly urges all prospective owners to follow this checklist when purchasing a Labrador puppy:

1. Why do you want a Labrador? Companion, hunting, show, obedience or breeding?
2. The Labrador is a very busy, active dog. Do you have a kennel run or fenced yard? Do you have the time and energy to socialize, obedience train and exercise a Labrador? Are you willing to make a 10-15 year commitment? (the average lifespan of a Labrador).
3. Buy from a quality, established breeder. Do not buy from a backyard breeder, petshop or puppy mill. Buy your puppy from a reputable breeder because these breeders research pedigrees and individual dogs before mating to produce soundness and true Labrador temperament. Quality breeders use breeding stock cleared through OFA and Wind Morgan (an organization which compiles soundness data). These breeders dedicate much time, effort and money to produce litters on a limited basis to improve the breed. Not to merely mass produce to meet public supply and demand.
     These breeders maintain sanitary kennel areas, ethical record keeping and provide written contracts regarding soundness, hip dysplasia, PRA, future breedings and type of registration. Quality breeders produce healthy socialized puppies and temperament tested litters matching puppy and people personalitites and situations.
     LRCGD breeders adhere to a breeder's code of ethics regarding standards of care, registration and representation of the Labrador Retriever. Conscientious breeders want you to be happy with your puppy and are available as long as your dog lives to answer questions or concerns that might arise. If unforseen circumstances make it impossible for you to keep your dog, most concerned breeders will accept the dog back or help you place the dog in a new home.

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  Web Site created January 1998. Last updated: July 15, 2017