The Big Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is taking place this week. THE dog show to be at. Labrador Retrievers showed this morning (this morning being Tuesday, as I write this.) and we watched on the computer. It was almost like being there!
I am a Labrador Retriever so that’s why I was interested in watching those dogs this morning. All the retrievers showed this morning. Labs, Goldens, Chesapeakes, Flat-Coats, Curly Coats, and Nova Scotia Duck Tolling. All retrievers were originally bred to RETRIEVE! That means bringing birds back to hunters. Going out and finding the downed bird and bringing it back.
Labrador Retrievers were first entered at the Westminster show in 1923. A Lab has NEVER won Best in Show. They have never even won Best in Group – which is the Sporting Group and includes all the other retrievers and all the Spaniels and Setters and Pointers. That being said, according to AKC records, they have been the #1 most popular breed in the United States since 1992!!! I believe that that is because they are one of the most versatile of breeds. They are excellent hunting dogs both in the water and on land. They are also the number one dog for guide dog work. 60-70% of all working guide dogs in the world are Labrador Retrievers. Labs are used in bomb and drug sniffing, as military dogs, in search and rescue, as service dogs, in the show ring as obedience and rally competitors, and of course at home as the perfect companion!
The history of the Labrador is a little murky. They did not come from Labrador, but instead from Newfoundland. The early fishermen, fishing in the Labrador Sea, used a small dog called a St. John’s Dog to help them in the boats. The dogs were sent in to retrieve fish that got off hooks and to help bring in nets. I will not go into a lot of history here, but the name Labrador Retriever became common in England around 1870. The 2nd Earl of Malmesbury is credited with starting the first kennel of Labradors in the early 1800s. The Kennel Club in England first registered Labs in 1903 and the American Kennel Club’s first Lab registration was in 1917. Labs began gaining popularity in the United States in the 1920s.
In 1981, Richard A. Wolters wrote the definitive book on the Labrador, The Labrador Retriever, the history … the people. It was published by Peterson Prints. The book is a real treasure full of historical facts and photographs and lots of artwork.
Labs come in three official colors. Black, Yellow and Chocolate. Yellow labs can be any range from white to a fox red. In the conformation ring, pink noses and white markings are not allowed. A pink nose sometimes happens with yellow labs. This is called a Dudley. The standard size for a Lab is 21 1/2″ – 24 1/2″ at the withers. And 55 – 80 lbs. They should have an otter tail – which means thick and round and straight. The coat should be short, straight and very dense. Outside of the show ring you can find a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Lab temperament should be kindly, outgoing and tractable. Labs are happy, willing dogs!
Now back to the dog show — The winner of Best of Breed in the Lab Ring today was
Sire – Ch Hunt Club Clay View Supernova at Belquest
Dam – Ch Wits End Windfall Vegas Showgirl
Whew! Those are some big names!!
My name is simply Rhythm. My Mom and Dad were Dottie and Shep. I guess guide dogs don’t need fancy names. I do have an official AKC number and papers that allow me to compete in AKC sanctioned shows. I have competed in Rally and Agility, but I prefer being a library dog.
If you are interested in learning more about Labrador Retrievers you can check on wikipedia HERE.
You can visit the American Kennel Club website. Or the Labrador Retriever Club website. And Animal Planet has a nice little video.
I wish you great success in all that you do this week!
Your friend in the library