Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Show Ring is Turning Labradors Into Angus

How did Labs go from the dog on the left to the dog on the right?

A simple story: theorists rewarded exaggeration.

The same thing happened in the body building world. The Lab lovers at SlimDoggy have the tale.

Why has a Labrador — America’s most popular AKC breed — never won Westminster? More from the Lab lovers at SlimDoggy.

The good news is that the Labrador Retriever Club recognizes there is a BIG (pun intended) problem with the shows dogs seen in the ring.


Jennifer said...

This is not a modern development in the breed. Find a picture of Buccleuch Avon 1885 (they're all over the internet), considered one of the foundation dogs for the breed. He's one chunky dog. I am not advocating for fat Labs, but I think the breed propensity for blubber comes from the St John's dog, a working dog that spent a lot of time swimming in the Bay of Fundy. As with marine mammals, fat is good insulation. As with bears, pack it in in the warm months cause winter/early spring can be a cold hungry time. No question, Labs are healthier when kept slim.

Jennifer said...

In this case fault for exaggeration falls squarely on the judges. The standard does not support fat. Quote: General Appearance: The Labrador Retriever is a strongly built, medium-sized, short-coupled,
dog possessing a sound, athletic, well-balanced conformation that enables it to function as a
retrieving gun dog; the substance and soundness to hunt waterfowl or upland game for long
hours under difficult conditions; the character and quality to win in the show ring; and the
temperament to be a family companion. Physical features and mental characteristics should
denote a dog bred to perform as an efficient Retriever of game with a stable temperament
suitable for a variety of pursuits beyond the hunting environment.
The most distinguishing characteristics of the Labrador Retriever are its short, dense, weather
resistant coat; an "otter" tail; a clean-cut head with broad back skull and moderate stop; powerful
jaws; and its "kind," friendly eyes, expressing character, intelligence and good temperament.
Above all, a Labrador Retriever must be well balanced, enabling it to move in the show ring or
work in the field with little or no effort. The typical Labrador possesses style and quality without
over refinement, and substance without lumber or cloddiness. The Labrador is bred primarily as
a working gun dog; structure and soundness are of great importance.