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Subject: rec.pets.dogs: Labrador Retrievers Breed-FAQ
This article was archived around: 21 May 2006 04:21:57 GMT
Posting-frequency: 30 days
Last-modified: 26 Feb 2002
There are many FAQ's available for this group. For a complete
listing of these, get the "Complete List of RPD FAQs". This article
is posted bimonthly in rec.pets.dogs, and is available via anonymous ftp
to rtfm.mit.edu under pub/usenet/news.answers/dogs-faq/faq-list, via
the Web at http://www.k9web.com/dog-faqs/lists/faq-list.html, or
via email by sending your message to email@example.com with
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This article is Copyright 1997 by the Author(s) listed below.
It may be freely distributed on the Internet in its entirety without
alteration provided that this copyright notice is not removed.
It may NOT reside at another website (use links, please) other
than the URL listed above without the permission of the Author(s).
This article may not be sold for profit nor incorporated in other
documents without he Author(s)'s permission and is provided "as is"
without express or implied warranty.
Liza Lee Miller, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cindy Tittle Moore, email@example.com
PO Box 4188, Irvine, CA 92616
Originally written: August 1992
Continually revised and updated. Updated: November 28, 2001
Copyright © 1992-2001 by Liza Lee Miller and Cindy Tittle Moore. All
rights reserved. You may download and print a copy of this file for
your personal use. Further distribution must be with the explict
permission of the authors, except as noted below.
NOTE: Labrador Rescue organizations may freely give a copy with each
dog they place. The only restriction is that the article must be
complete and retain our names & copyright. Please let us know if you
use this material for rescue adoptors and please give us any feedback
you think would improve this article for this purpose.
Table Of Contents
* Characteristics and Temperament
* Frequently Asked Questions
* Special Medical Problems
* The Wind-Morgan Program
+ Other Publications of Interest
+ Online Resources for Lab Owners
+ Breed Rescue Organizations
+ Breed Clubs
+ Field and Hunting Clubs
Characteristics and Temperament
The main characteristics of Labradors are their coat, tail, head and
temperament. They have a double coat: a soft, downy undercoat that
keeps them dry and warm in cold water and a hard outer coat that helps
them repel water. Their tail, described best as an otter tail, is
thick at the base and tapers to a narrower point. It should not be
carried over the back nor should it have a curl to it. It should,
however, be at exactly coffee table height and always be ready to
swipe one clean. Their head is clean cut and somewhat broad, with
hanging ears. Their expression is alert and intelligent and conveys a
kind, friendly temperament.
Their best feature is their temperament. Labs are loving, people
oriented dogs. They are happiest when they are with you. Labs are
retrievers and will bring you things they find laying about your house
or yard. They tend to be quite patient with children and wonderful
family dogs. They are not guard dogs. They may bark protectively, but
will generally not act more aggressively. Labs are wonderful people
dogs, more likely to lick someone to death than hurt them. They tend
to be stable, not easily upset by strange things or occurrences. They
will take many things in stride.
In the U.S., there are two distinct "lines" of Labradors: field lines
and show lines. Field line Labradors have been bred with an emphasis
on field or hunting ability, and show line Labradors have been bred
with an emphasis on conformation and temperament. There is some
dissension between the two groups, with field people claiming that
show lines have lost much of their hunting and retrieving abilities,
and show people claiming that field lines do not much look like
Labradors any more and lack correct temperament. The truth is likely
somewhere in between. Dogs from field lines will generally have a lot
of drive, and will often exhibit more energy. Dogs from show lines
might not be as fast, but most are capable hunters, though not
necessarily field trial material. Either type can make a pleasant
companion for a day out of doors.
Labrador Retrievers are people- and action- oriented dogs, and can
become bored if left to their own devices. Untrained, they can be
unmanageable due to their size and enthusiasm. Unexercised, they will
often turn to destruction or escape to alleviate boredom and excess
energy. They require attention and love as much as food and water.
Labradors are easy to train which makes obedience work a fun way to
interact with your dog. Labradors also require plenty of exercise --
this is especially true since most Labs love to eat! Ensuring they get
proper exercise, training, and attention will give you a happy,
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a Labrador and a Retriever?
Retrievers are a type of dog. They are, literally, dogs that
retrieve and were originally bred to retrieve game for hunters both
on land and in the water. There are six breeds recognized as
Retrievers by the AKC. They are: Labrador Retrievers, Golden
Retrievers, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Flat Coated Retrievers,
Curly Coated Retrievers and Irish Water Spaniels. There are other
breeds of Retrievers not currently recognized by the AKC, for
example CKC's Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.
Labradors don't shed, do they?
Actually, they do. Labradors have what is called a double coat.
This means that they have a soft, downy undercoat and a harder
guard coat. These two types of coat help keep the dog warm and dry
while swimming in cold waters when retrieving ducks. Generally
Labradors will shed their coat twice a year. This is called
"blowing" their coat. They are moderate shedders, not enthusiastic
ones such as Alaskan Malamutes or German Shepherd Dogs. There will
be a certain amount of hair loss throughout the year, especially in
more temperate climates. This varies individually; some Labradors
shed less than others, especially if they happen to have an
How much grooming do they need?
Labs need to be brushed on a regular basis (about once a week) to
keep them clean. This will also help keep the shedding under
control. A "slicker" type brush, which you can buy at any pet
store, works nicely. Labs, like all dogs, need to have their
toenails clipped regularly. You can get a canine nail clipper at
any pet store and your vet can demonstrate to you the best way to
clip their nails. Labs do not need to be bathed frequently. The
Labrador coat does not need constant attention. A true bath, which
includes shampooing the coat, is only necessary if the dog smells
bad. Generally, if a dog is merely dusty or muddy, you can rinse
them off with plain water or wait until they are dry and brush the
dirt out to restore them to cleanliness. Shampooing them too often
is not a good idea as shampoo tends to strip the natural oils out
of their coats. A properly oily coat repels dirt and sheds water
In general, Labrador coats are low-maintenance.
Are Labradors hyper?
A Labrador with correct temperament is never hyperactive.
Individual dogs can be. With the steady increase of popularity of
the breed in recent years, more and more Labradors are being bred
by people who have less regard for temperament than established
breeders. Some people claim that field line Labradors are hyper and
show lines are mellow. Others claim that field line Labradors are
mellow and show lines are hyper! In reality, it appears that
"backyard bred" Labradors have by far the worst temperaments. If
you don't breed for good temperaments, you won't get them except by
accident. ("Backyard breeders" refers to people with little or no
knowledge of breeding dogs doing so mostly for the money or because
it seems the thing to do, or even by accident. A better term is
"disreputable breeders." There are plenty of small-scale, or hobby,
breeders with wonderful reputations for producing sound, good
tempered, well-balanced dogs.)
The best advice for finding a Labrador with the right temperament
is to thoroughly investigate the breeders you are considering. Ask
to see their other dogs--this should give you an idea of the energy
level you can expect from their puppies. Ask for the names of other
people who have previously purchased dogs from them -- and then
contact these people and ask them whether they'd recommend this
breeder or not. Labradors with poor temperaments are often the
result of thoughtless breeding and will not appear in dogs from
either show lines or field lines that have been conscientiously
However, Labradors are active dogs especially in puppyhood. And
Labradors often do not fully mature until around 3 years of age!
This means you will have a dog that is mentally a puppy (with a
puppy's energy) until this age regardless of its physical size!
Often a Lab puppy is labelled hyperactive when it is simply a
normal, exuberant and bouncy puppy. If you are prepared to deal
with this period of time in their lives, you will not have
problems. It is the people caught unprepared who then label their
puppy hyperactive and incorrigible and dump it.
We would like to stress that such dogs, untrained and unexercised,
WILL be a huge problem for their owners, becoming destructive,
unmanageable, and in many cases escape artists. Once under proper
discipline (which does NOT mean beating the dog!), most of these
Labs will shape up into good pets.
What is "butt-tucking"?
"Butt-tucking" (not limited to Labs) is when your pup suddenly
starts running in circles at top speed with his rear tucked under
him. Most Labradors do this. It does not indicate a problem with
your Lab, either with its temperament or its joints. However, you
will want to keep a sharp eye out that you are not injured during
Labradors are popular, aren't they?
Yes. Since 1991, they have been the top registered dog with the
AKC. At the end of 1997, the U.S. President got a chocolate
Labrador. This means that there are a lot of people out there
breeding Labradors hoping to make a few quick bucks (as opposed to
improving the breed). You need to be very careful about where you
get your Labrador. Disreputable breeders are the primary source for
hyper, ill-behaved and ill-favored Labradors. With a bit of
research and care, you can find good puppies. The average price for
a properly bred Labrador puppy is about 400-600 dollars, more for a
show- or field trial- quality puppy. If you are asked to pay
substantially more or less for a puppy without good reason given,
I'm confused -- which kind of Labrador will make a better hunter, a
show-line or field-line Labrador?
Most Labradors, show and field bred, make great hunters. Your own
level of expertise in picking out likely puppies and training them
is probably as important as the pedigree of the dog. You should
consider what kind of hunting you do, how much experience you have,
and discuss all of this with the breeders you consult.
If you are specifically interested in field trials, you are advised
to look for good field trial kennels. (Just as, if you are
interested in showing in conformation, you should look for good
breed ring kennels.) This split is unfortunate, but it does occur
since both field trials and conformation trials are essentially
highly specialized sports. Very few breeders have the resources to
compete seriously in both venues.
No matter which lines you are interested in, you should try to find
the puppies that are well balanced with correct structure and
conformation as the base. Whether you are interested in pet, show,
hunting, etc., will determine the other characteristics that you
want. But an unsound dog does not make a good show dog, hunter,
obedience dog, nor pet!
Do they make good guard dogs?
Labradors are not reliable guards. Some can be protective and most
will probably bark if they hear or see something they don't like --
particularly if it is near their yard. If your main purpose in
getting a dog is to have a guard dog, a Labrador is not a good
choice, but if you want an "alarm" barker, most Labradors are fine.
What kind of work can Labradors do?
Besides hunting, doing field trials, and being terrific pets? Quite
a bit. Many Labradors are used as Service and Therapy dogs, for
example. Still others do very well in Search and Rescue work, as
well as making excellent Bomb, Narcotic, and Arson dogs. Their
nose, disposition, and trainability make them particularly suitable
for these types of activities and the breed has a distinguished
history in these endeavors.
Interestingly, in comparison to other breeds, such as Goldens,
there are relatively few Labradors in obedience competition. No one
is quite certain why, although of course several theories have been
advanced, from Labradors are a little too "disobedient" (a
necessary ability in Service work -- to disobey an unsafe command),
to most people with Labradors being involved in other activities
such as Hunt Tests.
How are they with children?
As a breed, Labradors tend to be good with children. However, as
with any dog, it is not a good idea to let puppies and children
play unattended. Both puppies and children tend to be unaware of
their own size and strength and could accidentally injure one
another. Labradors aren't likely to intentionally hurt anyone, but
could knock a child over when they thought they were playing. By
the same measure, children can inadvertently hurt a puppy if they
aren't supervised. As a parent of a young child and the owner of a
young Lab puppy, realize that you will have to spend time teaching
both the child and the puppy how to behave around one another.
Note that a Labrador that is not well trained nor properly
exercised is much more of an accidental hazard to children than one
who is kept firmly under control.
Do Labradors like to swim?
Labradors love to swim. In general, they take to swimming quite
naturally. But don't be alarmed if your little pup is unsure about
swimming the first time--they have to learn about swimming just
like anything else. Never throw a young puppy into the water! If
you have an adult dog around that enjoys swimming, the pup will
probably follow it in happily. You could also wade in yourself and
have the pup follow. Be aware though that pups have sharp nails
which can be painful if they try to climb up on you in the water.
The pup's first introduction to the water should be at a spot where
there is a gradual entry, rather than a sharp drop off, and there
should be no current at all. Let the pup explore the water at his
own pace; if he just wants to splash and wade for now, let him. As
he gains confidence, he will go in deeper.
Another important caveat is that dogs should not be allowed
unattended access to a swimming pool unless you know that they know
how to get out. Dogs often cannot easily pull themselves out of the
pool and even strong swimmers will tire if they can't find an easy
way out of the water. And if you do let your Lab in your swimming
pool, check that filter often! Dogs shed much more than people do.
Are there golden Labs? What is the difference between golden and
Labradors come in three colors: black, chocolate, and yellow.
Yellow Labradors are often mistakenly called "golden Labradors."
The term yellow refers to a range of color from nearly white to
gold to fox-red. The Golden Retriever is a separate breed from the
Labrador, although there are similarities. Sometimes the term is
used informally to refer to a Labrador / Golden Retriever mix.
Are there any other colors of Labradors?
No. Black, chocolate, and yellow are the only correct colors. While
mis-marked purebred Labradors are possible, be wary of those
selling "rare" Labradors of other colors at exorbitant prices.
There are yellow Labradors that are so pale they appear white, but
they are still considered to be yellow and will usually have some
color, even if it is only on the ear tips. These lighter yellows
not unusual nor rare and should not command a significant price
hike. The same goes for "fox red" Labradors. Variations in the
color of yellow Labradors are not penalized, but treated the same
as any other yellow Labrador; however the lighter shades tend to
predominate in the ring at this time.
"Silver" Labradors are purely a scam and are either crosses with
Weimaraners or very light chocolates. An actual silver Labrador
(possibly a dilute chocolate) would be treated as a mismarked dog
and not command a high price. To our knowledge, "blue" Labradors
(dilute blacks) have never been offered, but if they were, the same
caveats as the silver Labs would apply. It's possible the silver
Labs are actually dilute blacks; no one has done any test breeding
to verify and the owners of the silver kennels are remarkably
secretive about their dogs. However, based on a comparison with
Doberman Pinschers, it seems reasonable to speculate that silvers
are dilute chocolates ("fawns" in Dobermans).
Can you get yellow Labradors from black ones? And vice versa? What
Yes, you can get yellows from blacks and blacks from yellows.
Similarly, you can get chocolates from blacks or yellows and
vice-versa. It all depends on what color genes the parents carry.
The only absolutes are that if both parents are yellow, the
resulting puppies are always yellow, never black or chocolate; if
both parents are chocolate, you can get yellow or chocolate puppies
but never black ones.
Are there differences between Labs of different colors?
Aside from the color itself, there are no differences. Many people
feel that black Labs are better hunters, yellow dogs are lazier,
and chocolate dogs are hardheaded and stubborn. None of this is
true. The reason is pure genetics. Coat color in normally colored
Labs is determined by two genes unrelated to anything else about
the dog. It is perfectly possible to get all three colors in the
same litter, therefore the notion that there is a color based
difference in temperament and/or ability is absurd.
Alright, so what is the nitty gritty on coat color inheritance?
Two sets of genes, not one, control a Lab's coloration. One set of
genes controls whether the Lab will be dark (either black or
chocolate) or light (yellow). Dark is dominant over light. Thus a
Lab whose genotype is EE (homozygous dominant) or Ee (heterozygous)
will be dark; only Labs that are ee (homozygous recessive) can be
The second set of genes only come into play if the Lab is dark
(either EE or Ee). This set controls whether the Lab is black (the
dominant trait) or chocolate (the recessive trait). Thus, a dark
dog (ie. EE/Ee) that is BB (homozygous dominant) or Bb
(heterozygous) will be black, while the only way a dog can be
chocolate is for it to be dark (EE/Ee) AND bb (homozygous
So now, the possibilities for black dogs are EEBB, EEBb, EeBB, or
EeBb. The possibilities for a yellow dog are eeBB, eeBb, or eebb.
And the possibilities for a chocolate dog are EEbb or Eebb.
Remember that puppies will get one E/e from the dam and one from
the sire, as well as one B/b from the dam and one from the sire to
make up their complete "code". If you had two parents that were
both EeBb (black in appearance), you can get all three colors in
the resulting litter! Furthermore, when you realize that a pair of
yellows can only give their puppies the ee combination, you
understand why two yellows only produce yellows. In a similar
fashion, two chocolates can only bequeath bb to their puppies, so
two chocolates can never produce a black puppy.
The eebb is an interesting case, as this is a yellow dog with
chocolate pigmentation on its nose and eyerims. A dog that is bb
always has this pigmentation. Under the current standard, a yellow
with chocolate pigmentation is disqualified.
If the Lab is mismarked, for example Black and Tan, or brindled,
there are other allelles present in that dog's makeup. If you are
interested in a further discussion of these genes, do look up
Clarence C. Little's classic book, The Inheritance of Coat Color in
Traditionally, the way to determine a dog's genetic background for
color is to examine the whelping box: a dog that produces yellows
and/or chocolate carries those genes. And dogs carry what their
parents have; a black with one yellow or chocolate parent must
carry the yellow or chocolate gene. But for those who really want
to know for certain can now make use of a simple cheek swab test to
determine their dog's genotype. VetGen (1-800-483-8436) has such a
test for $85.
What is a Dudley?
This is a yellow Labrador with chocolate pigmentation (eebb). It
can also refer to a Lab with absolutely no pigmentation on the nose
or eyerims (all pink in color), but in actuality, this is extremely
rare, and probably a genetic abnormality. Please be aware that,
while this trait is considered undesirable, it does not indicate
some sort of genetic abnormality. There is no known correlation
between Dudley noses and poor health.
But I see some Labradors with a pinkish nose.
Yes, this happens with many breeds, actually. It is called "winter
nose" or "snow nose." Many yellow Labs will have dark noses in the
summer that fade somewhat in the winter and repeat the cycle the
next year. It is not understood why this happens. You can see it in
many northern breeds such as Huskies and Malamutes as well. This is
not considered a fault in any of these breeds and is not penalized.
To differentiate between Labs with faded noses and Dudleys, check
the eyerims and gum tissue of the dogs. A Dudley will have only
light pink or tan skin; the other dogs will have black pigment in
Do they jump fences? Are they good escape artists?
They are not renowned for this as a breed, although individual
Labradors can be clever at escaping. Some can be good at opening
doors and latches. A six-foot fence properly grounded will keep a
Labrador from jumping, although many Labradors will never jump a
four-foot fence perimeter. Because they can chew a lot, take care
that your enclosure cannot be chewed through. They can also be good
climbers, so check for possible footholds the dog could use to haul
himself up (for example, check if a doghouse provides a platform
from which to jump a fence).
A Lab that is bored and/or underexercised may turn into an excape
artist par exellence.
Do they bark a lot?
Bored Labradors can, but excessive barking is not generally typical
of the breed. Labradors often give a warning bark in response to an
unusual event that they feel needs your attention, such as "Hey, a
car pulled into the driveway!"
Will a male or female Labrador make a better pet?
Both sexes make good pets. In general, male Labradors are more
dependent and females are somewhat independent. For example, if you
are at home working on your computer, your male Labrador will
probably sleep right under your feet while your female will
probably sleep in the other room and just come in and check on you
For most people, a male Labrador will probably make the best pet!
Where should I get my dog?
You have to first decide if you are getting a puppy or an adult
Lab. If you choose to get an adult dog, you could get one from the
pound, from a Labrador Rescue organization, or from a breeder who
is looking for a home for an adult Labrador. There is more about
Rescue organizations at the end of this file. If you decide to get
a puppy, you should do some research and find a reputable breeder
How do I choose a puppy?
You need to do some homework before you start talking to breeders
and certainly before you look at any puppies. You need to make some
decisions about what sex and color you'd like. What you plan to do
with the dog. What kind of temperament you'd like. Once you have
some answers to those questions, you should discuss your concerns
and ideas with breeders. After you have found a breeder you like,
then allow the breeder to help you select your puppy. Most breeders
have a pretty good idea of what the puppies' personalities are like
and will guide you to a good choice.
What health problems are Labradors prone to?
Hip and elbow dysplasia can be a problem, so be sure to look for
breeders that certify their dogs through OFA or Wind-Morgan.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Retinal Dysplasia are both problems
in this breed, so dogs being bred must be examined yearly by an
veterinary ophthalmologist. Labradors are prone to mild skin
allergies in some regions of the US, notably Southern California.
Ear infections are always a potential problem with hanging ears.
You can minimize the potential for health problems by choosing the
breeder of your puppy carefully.
What is this I hear about the lawsuit with the AKC?
Over the past five years or so, the national breed club for
Labrador Retrievers (the LRC) has been trying to revise the
standard for the breed. Many bench, or show, people objected to the
revisions being made. The AKC took the unprecedented step, because
of the amount of controversy on the subject, of returning the first
submitted revision in 1993. The LRC resubmitted the revised
standard, still over the objections of the bench community, and the
standard took effect April 1, 1994. As the new standard included
disqualifications for height, some breeders are now unable to show
their dogs, and six of them put together a lawsuit based on the
Sherman Anti-Trust Act, claiming that the LRC rewrote the standard
to admit their dogs to the ring while excluding the objecting
It is important to remember that a large part of the controversy
revolves around the fact that the LRC has a limited membership --
the most popular AKC breed in the US has a national breed club
composed of 700 members, down from 900 several years ago. Most of
these members are oriented toward field trials. Many show oriented
fanciers greatly resented the lack of involvement allowed them
throughout the revision process. On the other side of the issue,
the LRC and the AKC have stated that they do not feel the standard
provides any hardship to Labrador breeders and have asked that the
suit be dismissed due to lack of merit. There is a good deal of
acrimony on both sides that has contributed to the overall issue.
At the moment the lawsuit against the LRC and the AKC is still
The Labrador Retriever was developed in England in the mid 1800s by a
handful of private kennels dedicated to developing and refining the
perfect gundog. That many such kennels were pursuing their own vision
of such a dog is the reason behind the variety of today's retriever
It's fairly clear that there were no indigenous dogs in Newfoundland
when the first fishing companies arrived. If the native Americans of
the time had any, the explorers never observed them. Thus it's quite
likely that the St. Johns dogs themselves come from old English Water
Dogge breeds, insofar as fishermen were the primary people on
Newfoundland for centuries. There is also some speculation that the
old St. Hubert's dog might have been brought over as well --
illustrations of the breed show a black, drop-eared dog with a certain
resemblance to the Labrador. But it is unknown if the fishermen going
to Newfoundland would have had hound dogs used for game rather than
We can only speculate what happened, but we do know that the cod
fishermen sent out from Britain practiced "shore fishing." Small
dories were used for the actual fishing, and they worked in teams of
four -- two in the boat and two on the shore to prepare and cure the
fish. They would have needed a small dog to get in and out of the
boat, with a short water repellent coat so as not to bring all the
water into to the boats with them. They would have bred for a strong
retrieving instinct to help retrieve fish and swimming lines, and a
high degree of endurance to work long hours. If the runs were heavy,
the fishermen were reputed to go for as long as twenty hours to haul
the fish in.
The dog developed for this early work could be found in several
varieties: a smaller one for the fishing boats, and a larger one with
a heavier coat for drafting. The smaller dog has been called,
variously, the Lesser St. John's dog, the Lesser Newfoundland, or even
the Labrador. These dogs came from Newfoundland; it is unknown why the
name "Labrador" was chosen except possibly through geographical
confusion. Charles Eley, in History of Retrievers at the end of the
19th century comments:
The story [...] was that the first Labrador to reach England swam
ashore from vessels which brought cod from Newfoundland [...] It
was claimed for them that their maritime existence [...] had
resulted in webbed feet, a coat impervious to water like that of an
otter, and a short, thick 'swordlike' tail, with which to steer
safely their stoutly made frames amid the breakers of the ocean.
Part of the confusion over the names is that "St. John's dog" and
"Newfoundland dog" were used interchangeably for both the greater
(larger) and lesser (smaller) varieties. And the term Labrador has
also been used to refer to the lesser St. John's dog, especially in
the latter half of the 19th century. The greater is commonly held to
be the direct ancestor of today's Newfoundland, while the lesser was
used to develop many of the retrieving breeds, including today's
The exact relationship between the two varieties of the St. Johns dog
(and some 19th century writers listed up to four varieties) is also
unclear; we don't know which came first, or to what degree they were
related. Certainly the greater St. Johns dog was first imported to
England nearly a hundred years earlier, and many contemporary and
modern day writers assume that the lesser was developed from the
greater but we have no real evidence one way or another. Newfoundland
has been used for fishing and other activities since approximately
1450 so there has been plenty of time for the development of the St.
Johns dog and its varieties.
Development in England
From the time these dogs were first imported back to England in the
early 1800s to 1885 when the combined effects of Newfoundland's Sheep
Act and Britain's Quarantine Act shut down further importation, a
handful of kennels regularly imported lesser St. Johns dogs and
carefully bred them for gun dog work on their estates. These kennels
include those of Buccleuch and Malmesbury, each of which imported
lesser St. John's dogs throughout the 19th century for their private
The second Earl of Malmesbury (1778-1841) and his son the third Earl
(1807-1889) imported the dogs and kept their lines going until the
third Earl's death. In a letter he wrote in about 1887 he noted:
"We always called mine Labrador dogs and I have kept the breed as
pure as I could from the first I had from Poole, at that time
carrying on a brisk trade with Newfoundland. The real breed may be
known by their having a close coat which turns the water off like
oil, above all, a tail like an otter."
At about the same time, the fifth Duke of Buccleuch (1806-1884), his
brother Lord John Scott (1809-1860) and the tenth Earl of Home
(1769-1841) embarked on a similar but independent program. They lived
within a 30 mile radius and developed the Buccleuch line. The eleventh
Lord of Home (1799-1881) continued his dogs, but the line was nearly
extinct about the time of his death.
However, a chance meeting between the third Earl of Malmesbury and the
sixth Duke of Buccleuch and the twelfth Earl of Home resulted in the
older Malmesbury giving the two young Lords some of the dogs from his
lines. From these dogs, given in 1882, the Buccleuch line was
revitalized and the breed carried into the 20th century. Buccleuch's
Ned and Buccleuch's Avon are generally agreed upon as being the
ancestors of all Labradors.
That two different kennels, breeding independently for at least 50
years, had such similar dogs argues that the Labrador was kept very
close to the original St. John's breed. Thus it is probable that
today's Labrador, of all the modern retrievers, is the most closely
related to the original St. John's dog and by extension, as closely
related to the modern Newfoundland as to the other retriever breeds
such as Golden Retrievers, Flat Coat Retrievers, etc.
The Twentieth Century
By the turn of the century, these retrievers were appearing in the
British Kennel Club's events. At this point, retrievers from the same
litter could wind up being registered as different retrievers. The
initial category of "Retrievers" included curly coats, flat coats,
liver-colored retrievers and the Norfolk retriever (now extinct). As
types became fixed, separate breeds were created for each and the
Labrador Retriever finally gained its separate registration under the
Kennel Club in 1903.
While there have been strains of Labradors bred pure up to this time,
it is unknown how many of these cross-bred dogs were folded into
"Labradors" or into other breeds as the registrations began to
separate. Many breeders feel that crossbreeding at this time accounts
for much of the poor type that can appear today; however claims about
the use of Pointers or Rottweilers can probably be safely discounted.
The first two decades in the 20th century saw the formation in Britain
of some of the most influential kennels that provided the basis for
the breed as we know it today. Lord Knutsford's Munden Labradors, and
Lady Howe's Banchory Labradors are among several. At this time, many
dogs distinguished themselves in both field trials and conformation
shows; the high number of Dual Champions at this time attests to the
Labradors were first imported to the United States during World War I.
At this point, the AKC still classified them as "Retrievers;" it was
not until the late 1920's that the retrievers were split up into the
breeds we know today in the AKC. The Labrador Retriever has been used
heavily in the US as a gundog; the American Labrador Retriever Club,
Inc. (LRC, Inc), is to this day primarily a field trial organization,
and it was instrumental in forming the AKC field trials.
The two World Wars greatly diminished the breed in numbers (as it did
many others). After the second World War saw the rise of the Labrador
Retriever in the United States, where Britain's Sandylands kennel
through imports going back to Eng CH Sandyland's Mark influenced the
shape and direction the show lines took in this country. Other
influential dogs include American Dual CH Shed of Arden, a grandson of
English Dual CH Banchory Bolo, especially evident in field trial
This return trip to the Americas resulted in the widely expanded use
of the Labrador as a gun dog. In Britain, the Labrador was, and still
is, used primarily for upland game hunting, often organized as a
driven bird shoot. Typically, separate breeds were used for different
tasks; and the Labrador was strictly for marking the fall, tracking
and retrieving the game. But in the United States and Canada, the
breed's excellence at waterfowl work and game finding became apparent
and the Labrador soon proved himself adaptable to the wider and
rougher range of hunting conditions available. The differences between
British and American field trials are particularly illustrative.
Many old treatises and articles on gun dogs make it clear that yellows
and livers were evident and even common before any recorded breeding
was the rule. Spaniels, Poodles, Setters, Retrievers, and even
pointers occasionally displayed yellow and liver coloring. In fact,
calling a dog "liver" one or two hundred years ago could mean any
color from yellow to red to liver or brown.
In the earliest years of the Labrador, yellows were simply culled. The
first registered yellow was Ben of Hyde, out of two black dogs,
themselves from import stock. Ben produced many yellows when bred to
black bitches; if the genetics were the same then as now, this
indicates that many blacks were actually heterozygous for black.
Oddly, his yellow littermate Juno produced few if any yellows when she
was bred to blacks. However, bitches produce few puppies compared to
dogs so chance probably stepped in with homozygous dominant black
mates for Juno.
The anti-yellow sentiment was so strong that in the 1920's experienced
breeders reported being directed to the Golden Retriever ring! At this
point, dogs of this color did suffer a wide variation of incorrect
type -- it's easy to find pictures of old yellow Labradors with very
houndy features. A separate standard was briefly drawn up to address
this problem, but eventually it was felt that yellows should simply
adhere to the same standard as blacks. Today, you will find as many,
if not more, yellows as blacks of the same quality. Only in some
hunting circles will you still find the erroneous opinion that "blacks
make better hunters."
Chocolates, like yellows, have also been present all along in the
breed. In fact, the well known story of the origins of the Chesapeake
Bay Retriever refers to an 1807 shipwreck involving two St. John's
dogs probably destined for Poole and hence to Malmesbury or Buccleuch:
one black and one liver. Some believe that the chocolate color was
introduced into Labradors around the turn of the century by crossing
with Pointers. This is unlikely for several reasons:
* Prior documented presence of livers in the St. John's dogs.
* The presence of the liver color in many other closely related
breeds, such as the Flat-coat, Chesapeake, and Newfoundland.
* Since liver is recessive to black, it is perfectly possible to
"hide" the gene in many generations of black, especially if the
occasional liver is quietly culled.
Chocolate Labradors have gained favor much more slowly than the
yellows have, although culling of them probably declined about the
same time. They did well in early field trials at the turn of the
century but it was not until 1964 that Britain had its first chocolate
bench champion, Cookridge Tango.
Chocolates are by far the rarest color in the ring, whether show or
field. They are increasing in popularity steadily, though, and in
another 10 years may equal the other colors in numbers, acceptance,
and quality. Prejudice against chocolates in both show and field
arenas is still widely present today. They are either "too ugly" for
the show ring or "too stupid/stubborn" for the field.
The Standard is the physical "blueprint" of the breed. It describes
the physical appearance and other desired qualities of the breed
otherwise known as type. Some characteristics, such as size, coat
quality, and movement, are based on the original (or current) function
for the dog. Other characteristics are more cosmetic such as eye
color; but taken together they set this breed apart from all others.
The Standard describes an ideal representive of the breed. No
individual dog is perfect, but the Standard provides an ideal for the
breeder to strive towards.
American Kennel Club
Australian National Kennel Club
Canadian Kennel Club
Kennel Club of Great Britain
United Kennel Club
(this list is incomplete)
Special Medical Problems
Labradors are susceptible to hip dysplasia as well as other joint
problems. All breeding stock should be x-rayed and certified clear of
hip dysplasia by OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) and/or by the
Wind-Morgan program (see below) and/or by the PennHip methods. Most
breeders will use OFA and may optionally use Wind Morgan or PennHip as
an adjunct. The breeder should be able to provide you with copies of
certifications done on both sire and dam.
Labradors are also at risk for several eye problems including: PRA (
Progressive Retinal Atrophy), cataracts, and retinal dysplasia. All
breeding stock should be examined annually by a board certified
veterinary ophthalmologist. Most responsible breeders will turn that
evaluation in to CERF for tracking of various eye problems in the
breed and thus have a CERF number for their dog, good for one year.
You should ask to see a copy of the paperwork that is turned in to
CERF, though, because this form will report on other things that may
not deny the dog a CERF number but could be of further interest.
Diagnosis of PRA is not easy. The dog may be diagnosed via an
Electroretinogram (ERG), which will give advance notice by about two
years from actual blindness. However, unless PRA is known to show up
early in the individual dog's lines, it is not recommended unless the
dog is at least five years old. In addition it is a very difficult
test to administer. Not all ACVO veterinarians are qualified to do a
diagnostic ERG because of the delicate skill necessary and it requires
anesthesia of the dog.
Because PRA often does not appear until the dog is older (as late as 8
years or more), this disease has been difficult to eradicate. Please,
if your dog appears to be losing his sight, have him checked by a
veterinary ophthalmologist, and if he is diagnosed with PRA, contact
his breeder and send his pedigree, if known, to the PRA Data books
(see Resources below).
Dr. Gus Aguirre has been working on identifying the genes responsible
for PRA in Labradors (and other breeds; the markers for Irish Setters
have already been identified) for several years now. It appears from
his reports that a DNA test may be available within a few years.
You can also contact Michele Feitler of VetGen at 800-4-VETGEN FAX
313/669-8441; their research team is trying to locate the gene that
causes PRA and need DNA samples from affected dogs and their families.
Only with complete information can we begin to remove this problem
from the breed.
Swedish PRA Labs
Labradors are also prone to other joint problems such as OCD and
arthritis. Look for breeders who not only OFA hips but also elbows or
who use the Wind Morgan program in addition to OFA.
Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia (TVD)
Breeders are beginning to recognize a new problem in the Labrador
breed, a defect of the heart termed Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia. After a
stud dog on the west coast produced a number of young puppies dying of
this disease, he was tested and found with a very mild case,
detectable only through an echocardiogram, an auscultation
(stethescope) exam was not adequate. It is NOT known at present what
the mode of inheritance of this disease is, or how widespread it is in
the breed. Ask the breeders whether their dogs have been cleared by an
echocardiogram. At the moment, very few dogs are so cleared as we know
very little about this problem.
Some further sources of information:
Also called "wash tail" and "limber tail", "cold tail" occurs when
your dog's tail goes limp and he bites at it as if it were a foreign
body attached to him. This condition is not serious and should go away
in two or three days. It seems to be associated with swimming in cold
water (hence the name). It's thought to be a reaction on the part of
one of the glands at the base of the tail, or perhaps a sort of muscle
spasm. M. Christine Zink covers the condition in Peak Performance; it
is not typically listed in veterinary handbooks.
Because of their drop ears and their love of swimming, Labradors can
be prone to ear infections. Not all Labs get them, but many that do
can be chronic about it unless you take regular preventive steps.
It's a good idea to check your dog's ears regularly. You are looking
for two things. First the ear's appearance: should be light pink or
flesh-toned (yellow Labs will have pinker skin) and clean. Second, the
ear's general odor: should not smell anything from the ear or the
If the ear is dirty, use a tissue or cotton ball and wipe the ear out.
Because of the shape of the dog's ear canal, you will not injure him
by swabbing down there, but use only your fingers, never a Q-tip or
something similar. If your dog seems to generate a lot of waxy
material, you may want to put him on regular cleaning program. You
should not have to wipe out the ear very often, perhaps once a month
or less, unless he's been out swimming.
If the ear smells bad, you should take your dog into the vet to be
treated for it. There are a variety of types of ear infections.
Thereafter, you should clean your dog's ears regularly to prevent
Many Lab owners commonly use a solution like the following:
* 2 tablespoons Boric Acid
* 4 oz Rubbing Alcohol
* 1 tablespoons Glycerine
Shake well. Put 1 small eyedropperfull in each ear. Rub it around
first, and then let the dog shake. Do this once a week and you
shouldn't see any ear infections. It works by raising the pH level
slightly inside the ear, making it less hospitable to bacteria. This
will NOT clear up an existing infection, this is a preventive remedy
only. If the dog's ears are presently infected or sensitive, this
solution may further irritate the ear tissues.
For whatever reason, Labradors appear to be especially prone to
ruptured cruciate ligaments. This injury is usually sustained during
some type of activity involving twisting the legs -- jumping to catch
an object in mid-air, for example. Treatment involves any of a number
of surgical options and extremely restricted activity for at least 6
weeks after surgery. It can take up to 6 months for performance dogs
to fully rehabilitate.
Laryngeal paralysis occurs when one or both sides of thelarynx do not
open and close properly. Depending on the severity of the paralysis
will impede the dog's ability to get oxygen. This can lead to
overheating, as dogs pant to cool themselves down, but a dog with
laryngeal paralysis cannot pant effectively. Labs seem to develop LP
mainly as a function of old age although some younger dogs come down
with it. Labs are not congenitally disposed to LP as some other breeds
The earliest sign of LP is a change to the sound of the dog's bark and
a rough sound in the breathing. To diagnose LP, the dog must be
lightly anesthetized and the movement of the larynx studied. It does
take some experience to correctly diagnose this, so ask for a referral
if your vet suspects LP, but has not much experience with the
The only treatment for Laryngeal Paralysis is surgery to tack open at
least one of the laryngeal folds. However, while oxygen is now assured
to the dog, the dog is also at increased risk for aspiration pneumonia
as food or water can now be more easily inhaled. LP patients are
typically fed from raised bowls and prohibited from swimming in
non-chlorinated water. In addition, LP patients no longer bark
normally, and sound as if they had been debarked (in fact the surgery
The other option is no treatment. Several owners report that with no
treatment and careful monitoring of the dog's condition (especially on
warm days), some dogs do well for a while longer. Discuss all
possibilities with your vet, as there are varying levels of severity
of LP which can factor into your decision about treatment.
Other issues to discuss with breeders are epilepsy, skin allergies and
Rimadyl should be administered with due caution. Most of the major
side effects (liver toxicity) to this drug have been observed in
Labradors, although it is unknown if that is due to the proportion of
dogs needing such medications being Labradors, or if Labs as a breed
are subsceptible to it. Discuss this issue thoroughly with your vet.
The Wind-Morgan Program
At the University of California, Davis, under the auspices of the
Genetic Disease Control program, is the Wind-Morgan program, an
orthopedic evaluation and registry specifically for Labrador
Retrievers. Many breeders are including Wind-Morgan evaluations on
their breeding stock. Unlike OFA, a Wind-Morgan certification is for
hips, elbows AND all four hocks. A dog may be certified after it is
one year old. The registry is OPEN which means you may ask about any
dog, or peruse the database yourself, again, unlike the OFA registry,
which is closed.
To learn more about the Wind-Morgan program, give the GDC a call at
916-756-6773 or write to them at GDC, PO Box 222, Davis, CA 95617.
They are also on the web at http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/gdc/gdc.htm
Barlow, Lady Jacqueline. Labrador Characters. Hoflin Publications.
A compilation of wonderful short stories about Labradors by the
Lady Barlow, a longtime fancier of the breed.
Berndt, Robert J. and Richard L. Myers. The Labrador Retriever.
William W. Denlinger, 1983, 127 p.
Large sized book, lots of b/w pictures. Good general information
about Labrador Retrievers. A little dated but a good read.
Churchill, Janet I. The New Labrador Retriever. Howell Book House,
This latest addition to the suite of Labrador books is well
organized, informative, and opinionated! It is unfortunately
weakened by many editorial errors such as mislabelled pictures and
by an uneven style of writing at times targeted toward the novice
and at others toward those with a PhD in medical research. It is
well worth adding to your collection of Labrador books.
Coode, Carole. The Labrador Retriever Today. Howell Book House, 1993.
This book is an excellent update on the last ten years or so of
Labradors in the show ring plus field kennels. Info on kennels in
different countries included. Photos, b/w and color. Some
discussion on choosing a puppy, managing a breeding kennel, and the
standard (in different countries) included. Author is British.
Howe, Dorothy. The Labrador Retriever. T.F.H. Publications, Inc.,
Ltd., 1984, 352 p. With additional chapters by Anna Katherine
Lots of information on Labradors. B/W pictures, illustrations.
Short collection of pedigrees in the back. Geared more toward the
less experienced Labrador owner; does not go into as much depth or
detail on the breed itself as other books do. Good general care
Howe, Lorna and Geoffrey Waring. The Labrador Retriever. Popular Dogs
Publishing Co., Ltd., 1975, 207 p. (this is a revised version of The
Popular Labrador Retriever by Countess Howe).
Somewhat dated, this book nonetheless offers a fascinating look at
the breed by one of its most influential patrons. Countess Howe was
instrumental in the Labrador breed the first half of this century
(via the Banchory kennels) and she showed many dogs to their breed
and field championships in Britain. Some illustrations.
Martin, Nancy. The Versatile Labrador Retriever. DORAL Publishing,
Wilsonville, Oregon. Ed. MariAnne Foote. 1994, 320p.
A worthy addition to the library of Labrador books. Chapters
include History, Definition of a Standard, The Versatile Labrador
(with sections on field dogs, show dogs, obedience and tracking,
and service (including detection work)), Breeders and Kennels (in
England and the US), Labradors in Other Countries., the Basis of
Heredity, Becoming a Breeder, Outstanding Winners and Top
Producers. Profusely illustrated with b/w photos. The history
section is an excellent, exhaustive listing of what all is known
about the breed, including at times contradictory information, all
of which gives the reader a good idea of why it's hard to say
exactly how the Labrador came about.
Nicholas, Anna Katherine. The Book of the Labrador Retriever. TFH
Publications, Inc., Ltd., 1983, 478 p.
Chock full of pictures both b/w and color; this is the largest of
the books on the Labrador Retriever. Somewhat concentrated on show
Labradors and becoming a little dated, it nonetheless offers
information on all aspects of the breed. If you buy only one book,
this is probably the best because of the photographs included.
Roslin-Williams, Mary. Advanced Labrador Breeding. H.F. & G. Witherby,
Ltd., 1988, 151 p.
This book offers an overall philosphy for those thinking about
breeding Labradors. It gives the reader much food for thought
particularly as the author does not shy away from controversy.
Besides the advice, a number of interesting stories about old-time
Labrador breeders are included and makes good reading for those
interested in the breed's history as well. She includes a
description of how she trained her dogs for gundog work.
Roslin-Williams, Mary. All About the Labrador
Roslin-Williams, Mary. Dual Purpose Labrador
Smith, Steve. Just Labs. Photos by Dale C. Spartas. Willow Creek
Press, Minocqua, WI. ISBN 1-57223-029-0.
Warwick, Helen. The New Complete Labrador Retriever, 3rd Edition.
Howell Book House, Inc., 1989, 322 p.
This probably has the best overview on the history of the Labrador
from 1810 onwards. Good general discussion of Labradors
(upbringing, training, etc). Old pedigrees included at back.
Weiss-Agresta, Lisa. The Labrador Retriever: An Owner's Guide to a
Happy, Healthy Pet
Wiles-Fone, Heather and Julia Barns. The Ultimate Labrador Retriever
Wolters, Richard A. The Labrador Retriever: The history . . . the
people. Petersen Prints, 1981, 200 p. (New edition, 1992.)
A large book like the Berndt/Myer book, this one has a lot of
photographs (b/w and color) and illustrations and artwork. This
book contains a relatively controversial theory of the history of
the Labrador, some fascinating exploration of the "original"
Labrador in Newfoundland, and much discussion on the Labrador as a
hunting retriever and a show dog, quoting people on all sides.
Don't bother with the first edition if you don't already have it,
the second is much better.
Zeissow, Bernard. The Labrador Retriever. TFH Publications, 1995.
This is the "official" book sanctioned by the National breed club,
the LRC. It contains a number of good photographs and details the
history of the breed and the LRC in the United States.
Unfortunately some of the pictures are mislabelled; it is hoped
that this is fixed in a reprint. The best (cheapest) source for
this book is through Cherrybrook.
Articles of interest
R. D. Kealy, S. E. Olsson, K. L. Monti, et al. Effects of limited food
consumption on the incidence of hip dysplasia in growing dogs. J Am
Vet Med Assoc, 1992;857-63.
Hunting dog training books
Bailey, Joan. How to Help Gun Dogs Train Themselves. Swan Valley Press
2401 NE Cornell Rd., # 140 Hillsboro, OR 97124 (1-800-356-9315).
Good coverage of the first year in the life of versatile and
Free, James Lamb. Training Your Retriever.
A classic. It outlines the long-standing training methods for field
dogs. A good book even if some of it is outdated. An excellent
description of training a dog to handle.
Rutherford, Clarice and Cherylon Loveland. Retriever Puppy Training:
The Right Start for Hunting, Alpine Publications, 1988.
Good step-by-step training methods, explained and illustrated
Rutherford, Clarice, Barbara Brandstad, and Sandra Whicker. Retriever
Working Certificate Training. Alpine Publications, 1986.
An excellently written book on how to get your dog ready for the WC
test. While they have written it for the one put on by the Golden
Retriever Club, it is equally applicable for the LRC one.
Informative and illustrated with b/w photos.
Spencer, James B. Training Retrievers for the Marshes and Meadows.
Denlinger Publications in Fairfax, VA. (Out of stock; check for
It starts with puppy selection and goes on up to advanced marks and
blinds. It is oriented toward the amateur gundog trainer and is
well written and comprehensive. Highly recommended.
Spencer, James B. Retriever Training Tests. Prentice Hall Press. 2nd
Helps you to set up training situations and teaches you how the dog
should react to things like hills, cover, land-water-land
retrieves, how the wind affects them, etc. Lots of good problem
solving material. Highly recommended.
Dog Lover's Guide to the Labrador Retriever
By PetVisions Inc.
1010 Calle Negocio
San Clemente, CA 92673
This is a well done video, aimed at the person novice to Labs. It
contains good information and tips, though the section on health is
skimpier than one would like. The direction and pacing of the
material is very smoothly and professionally done.
Total Retriever Training
By Mike Lardy, Whistle Lake Productions
2635 Thornbrier Ct.
Lake Orion, Michigan 48360
A set of several tapes, and an excellent overview of how to train
up the hunting retriever.
Gun Dog, P. O. Box 343 Mt. Morris, IL 61054-0343. 1-800-800-7724
(phone number also for Wing & Shot and Wildfowl). Articles on all
types of bird dogs and gun dogs.
International Labrador Newsletter, contact Ken at
firstname.lastname@example.org or Penny Carpanini at email@example.com.
Biannual, $10 per issue. Back issues available.
International Labrador Digest, Waterdog Publishing, Box 17158,
Fayetteville, NC 28314. Fax 910-487-9625. By Lisa Tynan,
firstname.lastname@example.org and David Vollette. $65 annual subscription domestic
($75 foreign), 6 issues per year.
The Labrador Quarterly, 4401 Zephyr Street, Wheat Ridge, Colorado
80033-2499. A show oriented publication. Dog ads plus informative
articles. $40/domestic, $44/foreign (4 issues). Also quarterly, Top
Labrador Retrievers: top Labs both systems, top 20 Labs regionally in
the US; listings of what each judge puts up in BOB along with entry at
show. $30/year ($34 foreign).
Retriever Field Trial News, 4213 S. Howell Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53207.
414-481-2760. $35/year (10 issues).
The Shooting Sportsman, Circulation Department P. O. Box 5024
Brentwood, TN 37204. 1-800-331-8947
Other Publications of Interest
Labradors, published in New Zealand. Good info on all kinds of every
day subjects. Chapters on excercise, feeding, care of old dogs, Labs
at work (guide dogs etc) holidays with dogs, breeding, whelping,
hereditary diseases. first aid, etc. Available for U.S.$19 (inc. P&P)
payable by Bankcheque or Postal Note to the Labrador Stock Controller,
Mary Eggers, Punga Punga Rd,. R.D.1.TUAKAU, North Island, New Zealand
PRA Data, Inc. 1309 S. Shamrock Street, Veradale, WA 99037. This is a
list of Labradors known to be affected with PRA, plus their pedigrees,
when known. This booklet is useful in trying to determine which dogs
may be carriers. The 1994 comprehensive book contains all the
pedigrees previously published. If you have a PRA-affected Labrador
that is not in the book, you are invited to send the dog's pedigree
and copy of medical diagnosis to the above address.
PRA Book, published by Isabella Krafts. Contains information on PRA in
european Labradors. Write to Krafts at Am Wispelt 12, 46499
Hamminkeln-Brunen, GERMANY, or fax to her at Int + 281 27285 (you will
need to add the appropriate prefixes to dial into Germany from your
Yearly Julie Brown's Directories. Photographs and pedigrees of 200+
Labradors in every edition. Show oriented. Write to Julie Sturman,
7315 Granite Road, Melrose Park, PA 19027. She is also online at
Finnish Breeder's Directory. Published in 1995 by the Finnish LRC.
350+ pages. Mail to Brgitta Johansson, Solbacken 10140, Finland (Phone
+358-9-295 2232; Email email@example.com). Enclose 170 Finnish Marks
(approx $30 USD) in cash or International Postal Order (made payyable
to Labradorinnoutajakerho R.Y.) for the book plus shipping and
handling. Next Directory will be published in 2000.
Labrador Retriever Champions. Index of all breed Champions earned from
1952-1988. A new edition is due out soon to bring the list up to 1994.
Published by Camino Book Co., PO Box 729, Kings Beach, CA 95719,
Labrador Quarterly's The Best of the First 10 Years of the Labrador
Quarterly. Compendium of all the articles in the last 10 years of the
LQ. Many pictures, many interviews of influential persons in the
breed, and much more. $55 softcover, $80 hardcover from Hoflin
The Labrador Retriever Annual, Hoflin Publications. 200+ pages, color
photographs, contributed articles. Limited and numbered editions. $40
Online Resources for Lab Owners
There are several email lists for the Labrador owner who has email
1. We run Labrador-L for the interested Labrador owner, currently our
subscription rate is over 1600. It is a busy and active list (with
a 100 message per day cap), and you're welcome to drop in and meet
us. To join, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org and put subscribe
LABRADOR-L yourfirstname yourlastname in the body of the message.
You will get an introductory Welcome file describing the general
guidelines for the mailing list. The list is monitored, but runs
2. Hoflin Publications also runs Labrador-H, currently moderated by
Jake Scott. This is a quieter list and also welcomes all those
interested in Labradors. To join, send email to
email@example.com and put subscribe LABRADOR-H in the body
of the message.
3. LabsR4U is a list (started November 1997) run by Bud Cravener that
is fully moderated. To join, send email to
firstname.lastname@example.org. You will get an introductory
Welcome file describing the general guidelines for the mailing
These mailing lists are listed ordered by startup date, earliest to
latest. Other mailing lists of potential interest include gundog and
hunting retrieving mailing lists, which may be looked up in the Email
There are also many websites! Probably some of the best for Lab owners
* Labrador Retriever Homepage, at http://www.labradorhome.com/
* Working Retriever Central, at http://www.working-retriever.com/
* High Performance Labradors, at
* Ring of Labrador Retrievers, at
Breed Rescue Organizations
Since Labradors are currently the #1 dog in the U.S. (surpassing
Cocker Spaniels in AKC registrations for the first time in 1991),
there is a extra special need for supporting breed rescue. Older
Labradors are often available from a variety of situations. Most are
well-cared for dogs that simply need a new home. If you are interested
in rescuing an older dog, please contact your local Labrador Retriever
club and ask about their rescue program. There are rescue programs
across the nation.
Keep in mind that the people-oriented temperament of the Labrador
means that they are quite easily adopted -- they adjust quickly to
their new homes and form new bonds with their adoptive families.
The national coordinator for the Labrador Rescue program is Luanne
Lindsey of Texas. Her number is 512-259-3645. Fax is 512-259-5227. She
coordinates a database of all Labrador Rescue programs. Both calls for
assistance and calls giving further information on such programs are
To find a good breeder near you, contact your local breed club for a
list of affiliated breeders. Some clubs have a code of ethics for
member breeders; others do not. Membership or presence on a club list
of breeders does not automatically confer reputability. You must check
with each breeder individually and see if they meet your standards.
All good breeders will at minimum be xraying all their stock for both
elbow and hip dysplasia; screening all dogs they plan to breed or have
bred, even into old age, for PRA. They will be showing their dogs in
something, whether in the breed ring, field trials, hunt tests, or
Their dogs will be clean and healthy and properly housed. The breeder
will be happy to discuss all aspects of Labradors, including their
breeding programs, goals, information about Labradors in general, and
information for new owners. You should be comfortable with them and
agree with their overall objectives in breeding.
All persons interested in the future of this breed, no matter their
background and interests, should consider joining their local breed
club. This is especially true for those involved in activities other
than conformation showing. Most clubs require that a member or two
agree to sponsor your application and that's about it.
Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope with any inquiry to
expedite replies. If you call, consider reversing charges, or leaving
a message that the person can call you back collect. This list is
periodically updated but as contacts continually change, try to make
it as easy as possible for the person to return your calls or mail.
Labrador Retriever Club of Southern Australia
Labrador Retriever Club of Canada
Gail Kleebaum, Sec., 195 Dearman Road, West St. Paul, Manitoba
R4A 9A1 204-338-0298; email@example.com
Atlantic Labrador Retriever Club
Kim Lipsett, Secretary, RR# 5, Fredricton, N.B., Canada E3B
The British Columbia Labrador Retriever Club
Laura Smith, 3315 Flagstaff Place, Vancouver, B.C. V5S 4K9
Eastern Ontario Labrador Retriever Club
Island Pacific Labrador Retriever Club
Anne Morrison, Sec., 1487 Stelly's Cross Rd, RR #2, Saanichton,
BC V0S 1M0
Labrador Owners Club
Sandy Straw, Secretary, 199 St. Clarens Ave., Toronto, Ont.,
Canada M6H 3W2
Labrador Retriever Club of Alberta
c/o Larry Lawrence, 503 Bracewood Crescent S.W., Calgary,
Alberta, T2W 3B7, Canada
Labrador Retriever Club of Manitoba
c/o Susan Trigg, Box 43, Grp 105, RR#1c, Winnipeg, MB R3C 2E4
Labrador Retriever Club of Saskatchewan
Pauline Gaudette, Sec., 1212 Currie Avenue, Saskatoon, SK S7M
Deutshland Labrador Club
Dutch Labrador Club
Ms. Mary-Ann Duintjer, Bronsinklaan 30, 7421 Ep Deventer, The
Labrador Retriever Club of Finland
Labrador Retriever Club of Montenegro
Labrador Retriever Club of Norway
Norsk Retrieverklubb, Solheimsgt 1, 2000 Lillestrom
Tlf 63 80 36 57; Tlf 63 80 36 58; Fax: 63 80 36 59
Labrador Retriever Club of Sweden
Labrador Retriever Club of Ostergotland, Sweden
Labrador Retriever Club of Ostergotland, Sweden
Labrador Retriever Club of Switzerland
The Labrador Retriever Club of Japan
Note: Requires Japanese character codes to view this site.
Labrador Retriever Club
Mrs J Coulson, Broadacre, Broad Lane, Hambledon, Hants. PO7
Chocolate Labrador Owners Club
CLOC, P.O Box 274, Banbury, Oxon OX15 5YH ENGLAND;
Yellow Labrador Retriever Club
Mr A W Jury, Secy.
Cotswold & Wyevern Labrador Club
Mrs J A Cook, Secy.
East Anglican Labrador Retriever Club
Mrs J Cole
Kent, Surrey, and Sussex Labrador Retriever Club
Mrs J D Elliott
Labrador Retriever Club of Scotland
Mrs A M Pollack, Secy.
Labrador Retriever Club of Northern Ireland
Mrs C F Doherty, Secy.
Labrador Retriever Club of Wales
Mrs J Povall, Secy.
Midland Counties Labrador Retriever Club
Mrs S A Hill, Secy.
North West Labrador Retriever Club
Mrs S M Saunt, Secy.
Northumberland & Durham Labrador Retriever Club
Mr N Barlow, Secy.
Three Ridings Labrador Retriever Club
Mrs P Gill, Secy.
West of England Labrador Retriever Club
Mrs F Braddon, Secy.
Labrador Retriever Club, Inc.
Mr. Christopher G. Wincek, Secretary, 2555 Som Center Road,
Hunting Valley, OH 44022, firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the AKC-recognized Parent Club for the breed.
National Labrador Retriever Club
Ginger Watkins, 105 Coles Drive, Doylestown, PA 18901
Alaska Labrador Retriever Club
Vicki Olson, 4256 Birch Run Dr, Anchorage, AK
Papago Labrador Retriever Club
Betty Bueltman, 9144 West Calle Lejos, Peoria, AZ,
Golden Gate Labrador Retriever Club
Terri Herigstad, 9995 Tesla Rd, Livermore, CA 94550
High Desert Labrador Retriever Club
Doris Engbertson, 15331 Wyandotte St, Van Nuys, CA
Labrador Retriever Club of Southern California
Chris Bunch, 3844 Mound View Ave, Studio City, CA
San Diego Labrador Retriever Club
Kathy Besser, 834 Cole Ranch Road, Olivenhain, Ca.
San Joaquin Valley Labrador Retriever Club
Judy Heim, 15002 Cambridge Dr, Lathrop, CA 95330
Sierra Vista Labrador Retriever Club
Trudy Rose, 12031 Cresthill Dr, Elk Grove, CA 95624
Labrador Retriever Club of Greater Denver
Denise Hamel, 6259 S. Monaco Way, Englewood, CO 80111
Labrador Retriever Club of Northern Colorado
Labrador Retriever Club of Central Connecticut
Deb Jakubielski, 171 Depot Rd, Canterbury, CT 06331
Labrador Retriever Club of the Pioneer Valley
Jan Lemire, PO Box 270775, W. Hartford, CT 06127
Labrador Retriever Club of Southern Connecticut
Geri Barent, Kent Lake Avenue, Carmel, NY 10512
Pawcatuck River Labrador Retriever Club
Catherine Mason, 5 Hardwick Rd, Quaker Hill, CT.
Southern Florida Labrador Retriever Club
Linda Jordan, 4100 SW 122nd Ave, Miami, FL 33175,
Greater Atlanta Labrador Retriever Club
Tina Kirkland, 147 UpChurch Rd, McDonough, GA 30252
Labrador Retriever Club of Hawaii
Marie Tanner, 95-138 Kuahelani Avenue #120,
Mililani, HI 96789
Hoosier Labrador Retriever Club
Clint Furgason, 631 Lakeview Dr, Noblesville, IN
Shawnee Mission Labrador Retriever Club
Michelle Lewis, 4622 W 69 Terr, Prairie Village, KS
Labrador Retriever Club of the Potomac
Labrador Retriever Club of Greater Boston
Karen Kennedy, 343 Locust St, Danvers, MA 01923
Huron River Labrador Retriever Club
Annie Cogo, 1408 N Kellogg, Howell, MI 48843
Labrador Retriever Club of the Twin Cities
Linda Weikert, 51767 Hwy 57 Blvd, Wanamingo, MN
Spirit of St Louis Labrador Retriever Club
Patty Wilcox, 10308 Blackberry Ln, Catawissa, MO
Mid-Jersey Labrador Retriever Club
Sue Lazarchick, 7414 Driftwood Ln, Mays Landing, NJ
Labrador Retriever Club of Albuquerque
Juxi Burr, 4401 Yale NE, Albuquerque, NM 87107
Iroquois Labrador Retriever Club
Labrador Retriever Club of the Hudson Valley
Enid Bloome, 5 Wake Robin Rd, Norwalk, CT 06851
Long Island Labrador Retriever Club
Valerie Severn, 24 Old Orchard Ln, Ridge, NY 11961
Skylands Labrador Retriever Club
Sharon Celentano, 9 Moonlight Dr, Walkill, NY 12589
Labrador Retriever Club of the Piedmont
Elizabeth Mayo, 3653 US Hwy 601 N, Mocksville, NC
Raleigh-Durham Labrador Retriever Club
Tara Powell, 324 Cottage Bluff Lane, Knightdale, NC
Central Ohio Labrador Retriever Club
Christian DiSabato, 6015 Carters Corner Rd,
Sunbury, OH 43074
Lake Erie Labrador Retriever Club
Cathy Chisholm, 3721 Strandhill Rd, Shaker Heights,
Miami Valley Labrador Retriever Club
Carol McMahon, Secy.
Northern Ohio Labrador Retriever Club
Connie Lenke, 2100 Congo St, Akron, OH 44305,
Rose City Labrador Retriever Club
Greg Huntzinger, 30940 SW River La Rd, W Linn, OR
Greater Pittsburgh Labrador Retriever Club
Gina Gross, 714 Fordham Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15226;
Coastal Carolina Labrador Retriever Club
Elizabeth Bowron, Secy
Dallas-Ft Worth Labrador Retriever Club
Cathy Brown, 2617 Fairbrook St, Irving, TX 75062
Heart of Texas Labrador Retriever Club
Keri Schooler, 24912 Singleton Bend E Rd, Travis
Peak, TX 78654
Puget Sound Labrador Retriever Association
Walli Roarke, 11512 Interlaaken Dr SW, Tacoma, WA
Winnebago Labrador Retriever Club
Barbara J. Holl, 1291 Joliet Street, Dyer, IN 46311
Field and Hunting Clubs
Hunting Retriever Club (HRC)
United Kennel Club, Inc., 100 E. Kilgore Road, Kalamazoo, MI
National Shoot To Retrieve Association (NSTRA-GD)
226 North Mill Street #2, Plainfield, IN 46168, 317-839-4059
North American Hunting Retriever Association (NAHRA)
P.O. Box 1590, Stafford, VA 22555, Tel: 800-421-4026
North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA)
Box 520, Arlington Heights, IL 60006
Quail Unlimited National Headquarters
P. O. Box 610, Edgefield, SC 29824-0610
Labrador Retriever FAQ
Liza Lee Miller, email@example.com
Cindy Tittle Moore, firstname.lastname@example.org