Labrador Retriever

There is likely no more iconic versatile hunting breed in the world than a Labrador Retriever (Lab).  Newfoundland is a climate inherently prone to frigid icy water and unforgiving arctic conditions. Such is the environment responsible for the Labrador’s creation. The Labrador should come firmly built and short-coupled. They are athletes well-balanced developed to hunt waterfowl and upland game for long days in the cold.


Labs have a short, dense, weather-resistant coat. A properly bred lab should possess a broad back skull.  They are a kind breed, great with families and should have an expressive intelligence and good temperament.


Size – The height at the withers for a dog is 22-1/2 to 24-1/2 inches; for a bitch is 21-1/2 to 23-1/2 inches. Any variance greater than 1/2 inch above or below these heights is a disqualification. Approximate weight of dogs and bitches in working condition: dogs 65 to 80 pounds; bitches 55 to 70 pounds. The minimum height ranges set forth in the paragraph above shall not apply to dogs or bitches under twelve months of age.


Proportion – Short-coupled; length from the point of the shoulder to the point of the rump is equal to or slightly longer than the distance from the withers to the ground. Distance from the elbow to the ground should be equal to one half of the height at the withers. The brisket should extend to the elbows, but not perceptibly deeper. The body must be of sufficient length to permit a straight, free and efficient stride; but the dog should never appear low and long or tall and leggy in outline.

Substance – Substance, and bone proportionate to the overall dog. Light,” weedy” individuals are definitely incorrect; equally objectionable are cloddy lumbering specimens. Labrador Retrievers shall be shown in working condition, well-muscled and without excess fat. Source:



The Lab’s popularity may also be its biggest danger as a gun dog, Noting the breed standard quoted above, not many Labs as a percentage qualify to meet this strict standard. The popularity of the great breed remains the single biggest threat to the breed’s hunting continuality. With so many back-yard breeders not adhering to the breeds strict breed standard it is estimated only three percent of Labradors today can qualify for field dog status, while another ten percent are only "show dogs", leaving the remaining bred labs as mere pets.


Hunters seeking a truly versatile hunting dog breed capable of extreme weather conditions, superb retrieving and the ability to hunt upland birds, may love the Labrador Retriever. Hunters seeking such a breed need to carefully and meticulously search the proper bloodlines and seek breeders adhering to the Lab breed standards and performance.


FYI: Silver Labradors are not considered part of the breed standard

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