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rec.pets.dogs: Labrador Retrievers Breed-FAQ

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                            Labrador Retrievers

   Liza Lee Miller,
   Cindy Tittle Moore,
   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
     * History
     * Standard
     * Recognized
     * Special Medical Problems
     * The Wind-Morgan Program
     * Resources
          + Books
          + Videos
          + Periodicals
          + Other Publications of Interest
          + Online Resources for Lab Owners
          + Breed Rescue Organizations
          + Breeders
          + 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,
   healthy Labrador.
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
     incorrect coat.
   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
     this free-for-all!
   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,
     be wary.
   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
   yellow Labs?
     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
   about chocolates?
     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
     these areas.
   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
     you trust.
   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
     breeders' dogs.
     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
  Early ancestors
   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
   water dogs.
   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
   breed's versatility.
   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

  Hip Dysplasia
   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.
  Eye Problems
   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.
   Related websites:
       Swedish PRA Labs
  Joint Problems
   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:
  Cold Tail
   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.
  Ear Infections
   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
   further infections.
   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.
  Common Injuries
   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
   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
   are, however.
   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
   is similar).
   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.
  Miscellaneous Problems
   Other issues to discuss with breeders are epilepsy, skin allergies and
   thyroid function.
   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

    Breed books
   Barlow, Lady Jacqueline. Labrador Characters. Hoflin Publications.
   December 1996.
     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.
     Beautiful photographs.
   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
     pointing dogs.
   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
   ed, 1997.
     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
   1-800-848-5963. $139.95
     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 or Penny Carpanini at
   Biannual, $10 per issue. Back issues available.
   International Labrador Digest, Waterdog Publishing, Box 17158,
   Fayetteville, NC 28314. Fax 910-487-9625. By Lisa Tynan, 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 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
   ($47 foreign).
  Online Resources for Lab Owners
    Mailing Lists
   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 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 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 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
   List FAQ.
    Web Sites
   There are also many websites! Probably some of the best for Lab owners
     * Labrador Retriever Homepage, at
     * Working Retriever Central, at
     * High Performance Labradors, at
     * Ring of Labrador Retrievers, at;list
  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
   obedience/agility tests.
   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.
  Breed Clubs
   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;
   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
          3W1 (
   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
          4QS, U.K.
   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,
          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
    New Jersey
              Mid-Jersey Labrador Retriever Club
                      Sue Lazarchick, 7414 Driftwood Ln, Mays Landing, NJ
    New Mexico
              Labrador Retriever Club of Albuquerque
                      Juxi Burr, 4401 Yale NE, Albuquerque, NM 87107
    New York
              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
    North Carolina
              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,
                      OH 44122
              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;
    South Carolina
              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,
    Cindy Tittle Moore,
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