AKC Gazette
AKC Gazette

Our guest columnist for this issue is Bill Daley. Bill has been a successful field trial competitor and active LRC Board Member for many years.

Great Versatility Results in Continued Popularity
by Bill Daley

Once again the Labrador Retriever has been the most popular breed of dog registered in the United States accounting for 154,616 of the total 958,503 number of dogs registered with The American Kennel Club in 2002. Labs account for 15% of the total dogs registered!

Years ago the most popular dogs registered by the AKC were mostly small breeds. In 1972, thirty years ago, four out of the top five dogs registered were small breeds. Poodles (all sizes) being by far the most popular with 256,491 dog registrations, a whopping 23% of the 1,129,200 total dogs registered that year. Labradors were number eight that same year with 30,170 registrations, less than 2 1/2% of the total and had increased in popularity from the number ten position the previous year.

Since its inception over 60 years ago the Labrador Retriever Club, Inc. has remained dedicated to preserving the integrity of the breed as a retriever gun dog that is equally at home in the hunt field, at a dog show or sleeping on a child's bed. Given the tremendous growth over the years of the breeds popularity, it is remarkable the degree to which the Labrador have retained and developed their ability as working retrievers. That achievement is a measure of the health and vitality of the breed.

The Labrador is described as a strongly built, medium-size, short-coupled dog possessing a sound, athletic, well-balanced conformation that enables it to function as a retrieving gun dog. It has the substance and soundness to hunt waterfowl or upland game for long hours under difficult conditions. An important trait of the Labrador which contributes greatly to the breed's versatility is its temperament, best described as friendly and outgoing, indulgent with its peers, strongly human oriented and tractable.

Those same physical and personality traits are responsible for the growth in popularity of the Labrador, which today excels in a great variety of uses beyond the hunting field. The adaptability and trainability of the breed finds it utilized in many dog guide and assistance programs as well as excelling in substance detection, search and rescue work and of course Labs remain wonderful family companions.

In 1972 The Labrador Retriever Club of Southern California became only the second club approved by the Labrador Retriever Club, Inc., to hold, other then the parent club, an Annual Specialty Dog Show. The LRC of Hawaii had previously been approved because of the Club's remoteness from the Continental US and quarantine restrictions.

Since that time over the years as the popularity of the breed increased, the number of local clubs has increased all across the Nation. Today there are 44 local Labrador Retriever Clubs in the United States, the majority of which hold Annual Specialty Shows. These Regional Labrador Retriever Clubs, All Breed Clubs, Field Trial and Hunt Test Clubs offer countless AKC Licensed, Sanctioned and Informal Retriever Field Trial, Hunt Test, Tracking, Conformation, Obedience, Agility Events, Competitions, Training Programs and all types of other activities.

You and your Lab are invited to join in on the fun! For a listing of the local clubs in your area, their scheduled events, types of activities and contact persons contact the award winning Labrador Retriever Club, Inc. Web Site at http://www.thelabradorclub.com and the American Kennel Club Web Site at http://www.akc.org/.

Thank you, Bill

(Labrador Retriever Breed Column for AKC Gazette July 2003 Vol 120, No 7, pp 57)

The Labrador Retriever Club, Inc., is the single organization officially recognized by the American Kennel Club as the national parent club of the Labrador Retriever. The Labrador Retriever Club, Inc., was incorporated in October 1931, in the state of New York, and is not affiliated with any other association titled or claiming to be the National Labrador Retriever Club.