Preserve it, or the breed is lost!
I think that there can be no bred of dog in which it is more important to adhere to true type than in the Labrador Retriever.
Breeders should remember this and not get away from type by trying to breed a light, galloping racy dog. The Labrador was never intended for this. Too much can be sacrificed to speed.
We dont want a dog of Greyhound type, but a dog that can stand up to hard days of work on land or in water – what one might term a heavyweitght quality hunter type.
By heavyweight I do not mean a dog that ist clumsy and cloddy – but a powerful medium-sized dog, deep through the heart with short back, strong an powerful hindvquarters, good reach of neck and clean shoulders but not too narrow in the chest.
The dog should have plenty of bone and stand four square on good legs and feet with good hocks. He should be a sound, active and true mover. The tail should be short and rounded very thick at the root. The coat should be very dense and weather resisting.
As tot he head, anyone who has seen a good Labrador head will not easily forget that kind. Intelligent eye with such faithful expression. For this the dogs needs a haszel coloured eye.
A black eye is an abomination, as it gives a hard piercing and „terriery“ expression.
The ears should be nicely placed and the skull wide. A wide skull does not mean a cheeky, fleshy face.
The whole bearing of a true Labrador is one of a dog of great dignity combined with a gentle sensivie nature. The Labrador is a charming companion, very docile and gentle with children and not quarrelsome with other dogs. He is naturally clean and is most excellent house dog and a watch dog of great discimination. I think a great deal of harm has been done to the breed in two ways.
One – the indiscriminate breeding that took place in the war simply for benefit, and not with any regard to type and the ultimative good of the breed in general.
The second was the very unwise desire for excessive speed, and to arrive at this breeding form, lightly got-up whippety dogs took place.
A dog which has ability to endure a hard day – and not one which is expected to do a few „downs“ at Field Trials at excessive speed – is what we want.
I think everyone dislikes xxx, but a senseless galloping dog is every bit as bad and may do infinite harm ar an ordinary days shooting.
I have loved the Labrador for many years. I do not want to see such a lovely breed ruined as it surely will be if the crave for lightly got-up, galloping tall dogs goes any furhter. The Labrador should be of medium size, and not try to compete with a Great Dane.
A dog which has the sense to moderate his pace accodring to scening conditions is inevitalbe, for a dog.
- Lorna C. Howe
A positive approach.
In the most simplistic terms, type is about the shape, size and relationship to each other of the bones that support a Labrador and the soft tissue that holds the structure together . Clearly, this statement describes conformation and some people make a distinction between conformation and type, but the make of an animal, in the very general sense described here, dictates its shape and shape and type are very closely connected.
Yet type is considered as more than this, at a higher level, type includes the balance and symmetry of the breed, it includes something about the style of the breed and something about the character and mentality of the breed. Type includes a behavioural element, in the case of a working breed, the job required of a dog will have a bearing on type and so how a dog moves and handles itself is implied in type.
At the simpler level, the Kennel Club breed standard of the Retriever (Labrador) is the obvious place to start any discussion because it is a basic account of breed characteristics. In 1986, The Kennel Club reviewed the breed standard, though some of the original standard, drawn up in 1916, remains intact. The present standard is a reasonable form of words to describe the main features of the Labrador but it is extremely difficult to put into words all the detail that comprises a breed. If you remove all obvious clues, such as a title or specific references to unique features of a breed, from a standard and then ask even experienced dog people to guess the breed involved, they can find it a surprisingly difficult task. It can be even more fun if the standard refers to a breed of cow or horse but the participants are allowed to assume it is of a dog.
However carefully it is drafted, a breed standard has its limitations. All the breed standards approach their task by describing the parts of the dog in question. It is possible to gain a reasonable idea of the make and shape of a dog from the standard, yet, by its very nature, type is about a whole animal and the wholeness of the animal is greater than the mere sum of the parts.
- The Show Labrador Retriever in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. 1945-1995. Volume One. 1996. pp.10f. Richard L. Edwards (Lasgarn)