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Breed standard

Acquaintance with the standard of the Labrador. Based on the book "What is a Labrador", author Dorothy Howe (translated by Osokin T.)

The purpose of establishing any standard is to attempt to verbally describe the external characteristics of the ideal animal of a given breed, as well as the ability to distinguish a certain breed from any other. During the development of the breed, the English, understanding the importance of various characteristics (both mental and physical), established the Labrador Standard as a guide for future breeders and judges.

It is very difficult to clearly imagine the appearance of a dog described in words, only by constantly comparing one Labrador with another can one create in the imagination the image of a good representative of the breed. The fact is that within the breed standard, different points can be interpreted differently, which makes it possible for breeders and judges to prefer certain dogs over others. Without these nuances, there would be no dog shows and the life of a breeder would be quite lean.

There is no doubt that the Labrador originally developed as a hunting breed. This fact must be taken into account both for the show category and for the working category, as the physical characteristics of the dog must show that it is a working breed and its mental characteristics are also very important. The Labrador's way of moving is in direct proportion to its purpose. A dog designed for speed has significant differences from one whose functions depend on strength and endurance. Along with love and willingness to please his master, the Labrador must have courage, independence and perseverance, without which he will be an inferior hunter. The speed requirements for the retriever in the early days of the breed were not seen as of great importance. Speed ​​in general implies a streamlined structure with light bones and a narrow, least wind-resistant body with a curve in the spinal column. Retrievers must have the endurance to work all day in all weather, on land or water, to seek out and retrieve any game that has been shot down. The Labrador was intended, in particular, to retrieve ducks and geese, which required the development of a powerful body, a strong neck and a tail that served as a rudder. It must have a coat that prevents the penetration of cold water to the skin, as well as the ability to bring the owner found a fallen bird, whether dead or injured.

There are many elusive things about the Labrador and it is impossible to describe these and other qualities in a standard that is based on appearance. Through the history of the breed all descriptors have agreed that very light eyes are unattractive and favored completely dark eyes. Lady Howe, when describing eye color, preferred the term "burnt sugar"; such a definition is rather amorphous. Although, of course, in our breed, eye color does not affect the working ability of the Labrador in any way.

The undercoat is very important; without it, the Labrador, with its short coat, would not be able to withstand cold water. The Labrador must also have the correct ratio of all parts of the body. For example, a dog may have a good hindquarters with powerful pushing movements of the hocks; however, if she has a weak front, she will not be able to take the load due to these shocks and will quickly tire.

Balance is an elusive thing, it is difficult to describe it. When we see a Labrador running, seemingly without any effort, even an inexperienced person understands how beautiful he is, and a more experienced person understands that the dog is balanced. This means that all parts are one in perfect relationship. Breeders and judges must never forget the special characteristics that distinguish one breed from another, and the Labrador must look like a Labrador and be in no doubt of belonging to another breed.


GENERAL APPEARANCE: Strongly built, compact, very active dog. The Labrador should have a fairly broad back and a strong, muscular hindquarters. The coat should be close fitting, short, dense and free from dewlap.

HEAD: Should be broad, with a sufficiently spacious cranium; the stop should be well defined so that the forehead and muzzle do not merge into a straight line. The head should be of clean lines, without fleshy cheekbones. The jaws are long and powerful with a scissor bite; the nose is broad with well developed nostrils. The teeth are strong and regular, symmetrically located. The ears are set close to the head, set far back and should not be large or heavy. Eyes of medium size, expressing the greatest intellect and good character; may be brown, yellow or black, but brown and black are preferred.

NECK AND BODY: The neck should be of medium length, strong and not narrow. The shoulders are long and sloping. Chest of good depth and width; rounded ribs; a strong back and a broad, strong loin. The thighs are well developed and powerful.

LEGS AND FEET : The forearm is straight from the elbow to the ground, the feet are compact with tightly closed toes and well developed pads. Hocks with good angulations, without cowhide (proximity of the hocks) or barrel-shaped set-on. The legs are of medium length, bony with well developed muscles, but not too short, as the balance with the body is disturbed.

TAIL: a distinctive feature of the breed - very thick at the base, gradually tapering towards the end, of medium length, without dewlap; clad throughout its length with short, tight, dense hair, giving it a distinctive "round" appearance, which is described as "otter". The tail may be carried provocatively, but not curled over the back.

COAT: another striking feature; it should be short, close-fitting, very dense and without waviness; very hard to the touch.

COLOUR: black, fawn or chocolate.

(a) black: entirely black, with a small white spot on the chest allowed. Eyes of medium size, expressing intelligence and good character; brown or hazel are preferred, although black and yellow are acceptable.

(c) fawn: can vary from red-fox (red fox) to light cream (light cream) with altered tint on the ears, underparts and tail. A small white spot on the chest is permissible. The expression and color of the eyes are the same as those of blacks, with a black or dark brown rim around. The nose should also be black or dark brown, although it may fade to pink in winter. "Dudley" nose (pink, no pigmentation) should be penalized.

(c) chocolate: a range of shades from light reed to chocolate. A small white spot is acceptable. The eyes are light brown to amber yellow. The nose and rim around the eyes have dark brown or liver pigmentation. In winter, a pink nose is not considered a fault. "Dudley" nose is penalized.

MOVEMENTS: Should be free, amble and rocking. Front view - when moving, the legs are straight, the elbows are directed straight back, but not too close to the body. Rear view - The hind legs, which should be muscular and without cowhide, should appear to move as parallel as possible, with a sweeping movement and good flexion of the hocks, thus giving the impression of energy and strength.


males: 56 - 57 cm

bitches: 54 - 56 cm


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