Hashing this over again...

If you are wondering what is the right dog for you, this is the place to be. In this introductory forum we talk about topics such as breed vs. mix, size, age, grooming, breeders, shelters, rescues as well as requirements for exercise, space and care. No question is too silly here. This particular forum is for getting and giving helpful, nice advice. It is definitely not a forum for criticizing someone else's opinion, knowledge or advice. This forum is all about tail wagging and learning.

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I am the Sock- Bandit!!!
Barked: Thu Jun 7, '12 6:29am PST 
Yes, labs were first and foremost bred to be water dogs, assisting fishermen in the very cold waters of the North. Think about what that does to an animal's metabolism. Take a look at the build of a long distance swimmer (human or otherwise). These dogs needed to be able to take a small amount of calories and keep themselves warm while swimming and working all day long.

That's why they put on weight so quickly. They have efficient metabolisms that take whatever calories it can get and pack it on as that smooth layer of insulating fat that swimmers need. It's actually a sign that these dogs were totally well-bred for their purpose back in the day. Labs watched closely for feeding adjustments and exercised properly can maintain a healthy weight. It's just a bit trickier than it is for other breeds.

Not all English type labs are imports. They've been breeding them in my area for many many years (they were the dogs I grew up with and I'm old)...The Labrador Retriever Club held their national event in my town last summer, the Englishes there were well-represented US bred dogs.

Barked: Tue Jun 19, '12 7:57pm PST 
"HOWEVER, I have been starting to wonder if some of the arguements presented might be more "right" than my opinion. (I'm talking about YOU, Trigger! big grin)

I was "window shopping" just for fun and looking at breeders. Many of the better breeders I see are talking gun dogs and retriever training. Not talking pets. I was thinking sometime in the future I would be looking for a more carefully bred Lab, and also one that is more standard sized, since Savvy is super jumbo.

But are all the "good" breeders going to be breeding for field work? Or on the other hand, for tubby "show type" Labs?"

Any good Labrador breeder will be breeding for field work. Field or show bred, they should all have the drive to perform AND possess the capacity to be a well balanced domesticated family pet at the same time.

I hate the split. It's incredibly misleading and has led to such a wonky public perception. Field lines should never be out of control maniacs, show lines should never be incapable or disinterested. Because they've been defined and polarized misguided individuals have taken things to the absolute extreme.

Although they did indeed originate as water dogs retrieving in general is what they've otherwise always in some capacity been bred and driven to do.

"Chubby" or thicker lines don't usually lend well to doing what the breed is bred to do whether they're driven to perform or not. Across the board the bigger the dog the harder the body has to work and the more damage that work they are intended to do will will do to bones, joints and organs. That applies to every day life situations too, just going up and down the stairs shouldn't be a struggle at the age of 10. For far too many Labradors it is.

It's only fair to note, weight =/= fat necessarily. In Hoyt's lines there are individuals who pushed 80lbs. But those 80lbs were straight muscle. Muscle makes a dog heavier than fat does, so a disproportionately tall and large boned individual who's made of mush can actually end up weighing far *less* than a dog who is standard height but conditioned to perform. Just because one is heavy, doesn't mean they are ill suited to perform. Weight alone doesn't determine such a thing. Size (height) and body condition are what I would focus on most when determining if an individual is of appropriate breed size, not weight alone.

Hoyt's breeder refuses to recognize the split, they breed for performance and performance and temperament alone. There are both "field" and "show" lines woven throughout.

When you're talking about bettering any breed most would agree ability to exist and perform as intended while being a reasonable domesticated pet to boot is at the top of the priority list. Those not breeding for any sort of original performance are typically going to fall short. Especially when talking about those who's work is still very relevant to modern day life.

Does there HAVE to be well bred "pet bred" terriers? Yes. If there weren't many would cease to have a purpose in a family home. But is there such a thing as a well bred "pet bred" cattle dog? That's where things get mighty muddled.

Can there be individuals that don't perform as well as others in any well bred litter? Of course! But those are individuals (or entire lines) who shouldn't reproduce more like them intentionally. Only those with the best instincts AND temperaments should be duplicated.

Those without working knowledge and enthusiasm of what a breeds "best instincts" actually are, and the ability and desire to give their dogs the opportunity to revel in them, aren't going to know the breed on it's most basic level. When looking for a good breeder that wouldn't be acceptable to me. At least no more so than any other breeder who advocates trying to turn a Rottweiler into a Pomeranian, or a Terrier into a Pug. Square peg meets round hole. That's not what they were ever intended to be, nor should be encouraged to become. So why people today are insisting and even demanding Labradors should be loafs is beyond my comprehension.

Labs aren't meant to be marshmallows. And while I agree there are other activities that can enhance and in certain circumstances act as substitutes for traditional instincts and behaviors, I don't believe they can ever replace that which a dog was inherently meant to be.

Obviously that doesn't apply to dogs in rescue situations, but you specifically referenced "good breeders" here, and that is my opinion. There is no such thing as a good Labrador Retriever breeder who doesn't breed individuals intended to perform as they were originally intended to. The show/field line split is irrelevant to me, it's an across the board belief. (There is also no such thing as a good Labrador Retriever breeder who doesn't do rescue work in some capacity. So although you may not be interested in buying a well bred pup a good Lab breeder will certainly network with loads of people who can connect you with a dog in need of a home and big heart just like yours wink )

Barked: Tue Jun 19, '12 8:25pm PST 
A great example for you of the size debate just because this dog blows my mind every single time I think of him:

Cashzingers Cattail Corky (pushing 90lbs at prime and peak condition)

Corky was an "English" import and although he weighed a ton he was no taller and hardly heavier boned than a field bred Labrador. I know because I've personally seen pictures and video of him in his last few years when he wasn't able to work quite as hard as his infamous younger stompin' days. I've also met plenty of his offspring. Muscle weight although heavier *supports* bones and joints, while larger bones and mush make them weak and susceptible to injury and degradation.

I don't fault any breeder for breeding heavier weighted dogs as long as they're heavier due to body conditioning and not sheer all around pudgy mass.

Edited by author Tue Jun 19, '12 8:29pm PST



Do you even- lift?
Barked: Tue Jun 19, '12 8:57pm PST 
Trigger, that Lab is amazing eek

Barked: Tue Jun 19, '12 9:17pm PST 
Sick eh? lol

I wasn't joking when I point blank asked his owner/Hoyt's breeder if they juiced their dogs.

I also got all up in their vets business bugging them to see if there was evidence of such a thing.

It's a tough pill to swallow with the stereotypical marshmallow Labrador image of today. Even for me with how well I thought I had Trigger conditioned (laughable in comparison!) Pointer bodies have always been my absolute favorite, straight chiseled. I had never seen a *LAB* like that before.

They trial, A LOT. As in that and working hunt clubs is what they do for an actual living and they are incredibly successful. They are evaluated by a lot of independent vets when they travel. Even novice handlers with his offspring look similar. There has never been even a hint of evidence of anything wonky (believe me, I left no stone unturned).

That's the real deal right there.

Corky changed what I held in my mind as the ideal standard for the breed, his lines prove it's not an impossible standard to carry on by any means. When we went down to pick up Hoyt I saw plenty that looked just like him.

Edited by author Tue Jun 19, '12 9:19pm PST

Jackson Tan

Lad about town
Barked: Tue Jun 19, '12 9:25pm PST 
Holy hell eek that's a magnificent animal.
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