Club History

Celebrating 90 Years!

The Labrador Retriever Club, Inc. (LRC) has a long and rich history as a nationally based club dedicated to preserving the integrity of the breed. It is the single organization officially recognized by the American Kennel Club as the national parent club of the Labrador Retriever. Incorporated in October 1931, in the state of New York, the LRC, Inc. is not affiliated with any other association titled or claiming to be the National Labrador Retriever Club.

Today, the Labrador Retriever is America’s most popular breed. But it was not until 1917 that the first Labrador was registered by the American Kennel Club. According to records the first retriever field trial licensed by the AKC was held December 21, 1931. That same year, on October 24, the Labrador Retriever Club was incorporated under the laws of the State of New York by a group of sportsmen led by Franklin B. Lord.

The Club’s first annual specialty show was held on May 18, 1933 in New York City. Mrs. Marshall Field, Judge, awarded Best in Show to Mr. Lord’s Boli of Blake, who, on November 1, 1933, became the first Labrador to earn his American championship.


The Club sponsors a National Specialty Event week in October of each year that includes a specialty show, obedience and agility competitions, retrieving tests and educational seminars. In addition, the LRC, Inc. hosts two hunting retriever tests and two field trials annually.

The Club has an introductory test for novices interested in training their dog for field work called a Working Certificate test. A Working Certificate will be issued to any that passes the basic test requirements. The Club also sponsors a Conformation Certificate program whereby a dog is evaluated against the written Standard for the breed (dog must be at least one year old).

Both these programs are open to intact Labradors, as well as spayed or neutered animals. It is also recommend that you have your dog pass a Canine Good Citizen test sponsored by the American Kennel Club.

Publications and Contributions

We publish a quarterly newsletter and an annual Yearbook. The LRC also provides educational material for new owners, breeders, and potential judges of the breed.

The Labrador Retriever Club’s Breeders Directory is available online. It has been made available for prospective Labrador owners who are looking for reputable breeders of puppies and older dogs. The Breeders Directory is indexed by name, location, and “kennel” name.

In addition, we donates funds toward breed specific health issues and are always working towards educating the public about our breed.

Official LRC records:

Early Club history in four hardcover books + paperback supplement:

1931 – 1956

1956 – 1961

1962 – 1966

Labrador Retriever Bench Records 1967 – 1983

(Published by Julie Brown’s Directories in cooperation with the Labrador Retriever Club, Inc.)

LRC 1959 Supplement (1956 – 1961) – 152 pages, includes Membership List (Laughlin – LRC, President)

LRC Yearbooks (14)

1994 to the present

1968 LRC specialty in conjunction with International KC, Chicago, IL.

President – Wells Wilbur  (   – 1975)

1972-1974 Standard Revision (AKC had problem with changes to “bite” and color descriptions of “black” and “white” published in July 1972 Gazette.).

President – A.A. Jones  (1976 – 1987)

1975 October 12 – First National Specialty show hosted by a regional club (LRCP)

1975 Regional club permission letters delegated to regional reps – H. Ginnel, S. McCarthy & M. Foote,

1976 Rotating National Specialty cycle begins (regional club host – LRCSC).

1977 February 15, New York – Labrador Retriever Meeting organized by Helen Ginnel. Fifteen LRC members present, 17 non-members.

Nat’l Specialty hosted by Winnebago LRC.

1978 Nat’l Specialty hosted by LRC of the Potomac.

August – LRC request to divide Open Classes by color approved by AKC.

Bench Show Committee (BSC) appointed by the President.

1980 Nat’l Specialty hosted by Winnebago LRC.

1983 Nat’l Specialty hosted by LRC of Albuquerque.

1985 Nat’l Specialty hosted by Mid-Jersey LRC.

1985-1986 President appoints Committee to work with AKC on a slide show for the LR.

1986 Change WC allowing HT judges to officiate.

1987 Area Representative Program initiated.

Regional club guidelines for hosting a National Specialty established.

Working Certificate brochure and application updated.

Job Description and structure of the Bench Show Committee.

1987 “Silver” coat color problem – LRC board requested that AKC remove “other” from Labrador Retriever registration applications.

General education and judges’ education guidelines under consideration.

1987 Nat’l Specialty hosted by the LRC of Albuquerque.

President – John McAssey  (1988 -1991)

  1. LRC begins publishing a Club Newsletter.

Active Working committees appointed by the President:

  • Bench Show Committee – Chair, Helen Ginnel
  • Judges’ Education Committee – Chair, Mrs. A.L. Foote
  • C & B and Standard Review Committee – Chair, B.W. Ziessow
  • Ethics Committee – Chair, Merlyn Foote
  • Working Certificate Committee – Chair, Mrs. A.L. Foote

1988 Nat’l Specialty hosted by Dallas-Ft. Worth LRC.

1989 Nat’l Specialty hosted by Miami Valley LRC, Dayton, Ohio.

1989 Proposed Standard revision not approved and returned by AKC. (Changed after published.)

1990 Nat’l Specialty hosted by Golden Gate LRC. Conflicting dates with Mid-Jersey LRC noted.

1990 Membership Application reviewed and new application approved.

Annual dues increased to $15.00 + $15.00 initiation fee.

Dr. Ziessow resigns as Secretary/Treasurer. Nick Michelson appointed to the position by the President.

1990 March – Dr. Ziessow withdraws resignation

1990 Chris Wincek, Esq. nominated and elected Secretary. Dr. Ziessow remains Treasurer.

LR Rescue Committee appointed by President (Virginia Campbell – Chair)

Joined Purina Partnership Program.

CAC develops National Special Show Manual with LRC guidelines.

Judges’ Selection Committee Guidelines established. First committee appointed by the President.

1991 Constitution & By-laws revised and approved.

October – Show Manual revised.

1991 CILRRP (Committee for Information on Labrador Retriever Rescue Programs) was appointed by the president to develop guidelines for regional clubs interested in LR rescue programs.

1991 Nat’l Specialty hosted by LRC of Greater Denver.

President – A. Nelson Sills  (1992 – 2012)

1992 Nat’l Specialty hosted by Winnebago LRC.

1992 Standard Revision Committee appointed.

(Chair-Bernard Ziessow+15 members)

1992 LRC begins collaboration with t.f.h. Publications on The Official Book of the Labrador Retriever, published in 1995.

1993 Nat’l Specialty hosted by Huron River LRC.

1994 LRC collaborates with AKC on the video for the breed.

1994 Nat’l Specialty hosted by Puget Sound Labrador Retriever Association.

Standard Revision approved.

Ensuing problems.

February – Charges filed with AKC against the Club and Officers.

Class Action suit and correspondence (AKC/LRC vs. H. Price Jessup, Linda Vaughn, Sally A. Kelly, Susan Owens, Annette Watkins, Nancy Hope Love).

1995 LRC objects to AKC’s new guidelines for Triple Champions.

Nat’l Specialty, Warwick, Rhode Island.

1995 President appoints Judges’ Selection Committee—Mary Feazell, Chair.

Established Parent Club Partnership with AKC/Canine Health Foundation (CHF) for LR health research studies.

1996 Nat’l Specialty, Danvers, Massachusetts.

LRC assumes full responsibility for Nat’l Specialty.

1997 January – Dr. B. Ziessow retires as Treasurer.

March – Donation ($9,000.00+) to Dr. Gustavo Aguirre for PRA research.

National Rescue Fund and Guidelines established.

Contribution for Type II Myopathy research.

Nat’l Specialty Event Week, Pleasanton, California.

1998 National Specialty, Purina Farms, Grays Summit, Missouri.

November – Conformation Certificate Program approved.

1999 Nat’l Specialty Event Week, Moreland Hills, Ohio.

2000 Nat’l Specialty Event Week, Redmond, Washington.

2001 Nat’l Specialty Event Week, Valparaiso, Indiana.

2002 Illustrated Standard published.

Nat’l Specialty Event Week, Sturbridge, Massachusetts.

2003 Nat’l Specialty Event Week, Gray Summit, Missouri.

2004 Nat’l Specialty Event Week, Brighton, Colorado

2005 Nat’l Specialty Event Week, Warwick, Rhode Island.

2006 Diamond Jubilee Celebration

Nat’l Specialty Event Week, Gray Summit, Missouri

2007 Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC) test established with CHF/LRC funding.

Nat’l Specialty Event Week, Hillsboro, Oregon

2008 Nat’l Specialty Event Week, Newman, Georgia.

2009 June – Directors’ Approve LRC Mission Statement.

Nat’l Specialty Event Week, Bloomington, Illinois.

2010 Nat’l Specialty Event Week, Chino, California.

“Go Green” Regional Specialty Show added to Event Week.

2011 Nat’l Specialty Event Week, Brooklyn, Connecticut.

2012 September A. Nelson Sills retires as President.

President – Fred Kampo Jr.  (2012 – Present)

Nat’l Specialty Event Week, Grays Summit, Missouri

2013 LRC archival material re-located to the Bird Dog Hall of Fame,

Grand Junction, Tennessee

Nat’l Specialty Event Week, Lacey, Washington

2014 DNA test for dilute Coat Color added to OFA.  

Nat’l Specialty Event Week, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Regional Specialty, AKC/Eukanuba, Florida

2015 AKC Canine Health Foundation President’s Award

Nat’l Specialty Event Week, Purina Event Center, Gray Summit, Missouri