Sharon And Christopher Wagner Litchfield, NH
The Labrador retriever is the most popular breed in the U.S. and has been for many years. This is due to it's wonderful temperament, moderate activity level, and easy care good looks. Any time a breed is in demand the risk of irresponsible breeding for monetary gains is high. Puppy mill, pet store, and backyard breeders churn out inferior Labrador retrievers that have separate family trees for many generations.
There are three distinct "types" of Labradors in the U.S. today.
The first is the type that we breed. These are correctly referred to as "show bred" or "bench bred" dogs however the term "English" has become popular to describe their style. Note that show bred dogs all over the world are the same and that show bred dogs bred in the U.S. are obviously not "English" dogs. Only dogs bred in the U.K. can actually be labeled as English. Show bred dogs are relatively short and stocky in build (females generally range from 60 - 75 lbs and males from 80 - 90 lbs) and have broad square heads with thick wavy coats and dense bone. They have pedigrees full of dogs with various titles in the show ring, hunt tests, etc and are thus extremely versatile and excel as show dogs, hunting companions, obedience, agility, therapy, and especially as family companions. Breeders are usually very responsible and allocate an immense amount of time and money for health clearances, showing, competing, and breeding their dogs.
The second type is often referred to as "American" which is most likely due to the fact that here in the U.S. a competition called field trials has changed specific individuals of the breed over the last 50 years to specialize in these very rigorous events. True "field bred" dogs are highly selected for their retrieving ability and are moderate dogs (females range from 50 - 60 lbs and males from 70 - 80 lbs) with a very lean build, narrow heads with long muzzles, a short double coat, and thin legs. They come from a long line of field champions and are undeniably amazing retrievers and also excel at obedience, agility, and as companion animals. Breeders are also usually very responsible and perform extensive health clearances. These dogs typically require more exercise than the average show bred dog but they are never "hyper-active".
The third type is often labeled simply "pet bred". This should not be confused with "pet quality" which is a term responsible breeders will use for puppies that do not have show/competition potential due to a mild fault such as an overbite or posses a conformation trait that is not desirable. True pet bred dogs are those that are derived from poor pedigrees that do not contain any titled dogs for at least the first three generations. Having one champion in the fourth generation is not going to positively influence a litter enough to overcome the parents, grandparents, etc. They are not responsibly bred and come from puppy mills, backyard breeders and pet stores. Backyard breeders may mean well and take good care of their dogs but they breed with no education and no goal except to have "cute" puppies and make some extra money. Because these dogs are bred without any rhyme or reason they vary in looks, size (50 - 125 lbs), and temperament with some being atypically active, destructive, and even aggressive. Health problems are more prevalent in pet bred dogs since breeders do not screen parents.
Field type black male:
Show type black male:
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