Before you breed, be sure you are a responsible breeder. A responsible breeder of any breed knows his breed’s standard and keeps it in mind whenever contemplating a particular breeding. Lack of knowledge when it comes to the breed standard, correct conformation, disqualifying faults, pertinent health clearances, not knowing what is behind your pedigrees, not having knowledge of strengths and weakness in your lines and how best to compensate for any potential issues, and making excuses for deficiencies in your own dog in any of these concerns is inexcusable even with those whose objective is to merely create “pets”.
Whatever the reason, in the Labrador Retriever breed where we enjoy such deep quality, there is no excuse for breeding an inferior Labrador when the resulting litter only perpetuates more inferior dogs. When you respect a breed, you, as a responsible breeder, do everything in your power to protect and preserve the breed. To make excuses by saying “but” to justify the breeding of a Labrador without regard to the standard and preserving the special qualities which makes this breed unique and special, only displays a selfish attitude and the dereliction of duty to being a steward of the breed. A responsible Labrador breeder’s duty is to breed correct Labradors true to the standard and not make excuses for not doing so.
Betty-Anne Stenmark, AKC Judge and President of the Del Valle KC writes:
“In the purebred-dog world today, the breed standard is sacred and not to be tampered with. In fact the American Kennel Club makes it difficult for a breed parent club to alter the standard by considering changes only every five years. This ensures that the standard cannot be changed to suit the dogs currently running around the home of an important breeder. We must breed to the existing standard, not alter it when it no longer suits us.”
Charlotte Hulett writes:
“So, whatever country you live in or whatever venue you show in, why not obtain a copy of The Standard that applies to your breed, in Your Country, and study it! These Standards were written by people who understood sound structure and movement and who loved this breed. I believe we owe them a debt of gratitude for helping make our breed what it is today: A sound, intelligent, beautiful, versatile animal! Shouldn’t we all, no matter what venue we prefer, strive to continue to breed those qualities which make our breed so special?!”
The Labrador Club statement:
“There is only one breed of dog known as the Labrador Retriever, described by the Standard of the Breed….please remember that there is only one Labrador Retriever breed, one that meets the requirements as set forth in the Official Standard.”
I recently read a disingenuous statement from someone who is deeply involved in breeding dilutes, a condition which has been festering in a few lines which are considered by Labrador Clubs around the world of being crossbred with Weimeraners. The source article involves something the diluters refer to as the “Improvement Movement”. Since the quality of these dilute lines are so inferior, their promoters realized a few years ago that in order for their dilute dogs to even remotely compare to standard Labradors, they needed to inject their stock with the superior, pure Labrador bloodlines. To accomplish this, they use any means they can to get access to breeding with Labrador Retrievers who conform to the standard. Many people, myself included, have had first hand experience with their underhanded methods, going so far as to lie about their involvement with any diluters in order to project an image of respectability and responsibility in the Labrador breeding community. Their statement: “breeders who embrace the “Improvement Movement” are taking every necessary step to combat the original complaints of non-supporters by improving the health, genetics and pedigrees of their dogs” sounds all well and good until you actually think about just WHY they need to improve what they have and what would happen to the recognized Labrador gene pool if the diluters carry out this plan. The diluters openly admit they need to “improve” and the primary way they hope to achieve this is by breeding into the pure Labrador lines of those Labrador breeders who do not breed dilutes. This would result in the inferior genes of their diluted dogs being insinuated into the superior, dilute free bloodlines of those Labradors who conform to the standard and who compete successfully in conformation and performance events.
The statement above somehow tries to describe the long standing Labrador community as “non-supporters”, since we do not condone the deliberate breeding of disqualifying faults, and the dilution of our superior bloodlines by cross breeding with dilute carriers and dilute affecteds. These “improvement movement” diluters more frequently refer to the ones referenced as “non-supporters” as “haters”, “Nazis”, and employ even more disparaging and offensive adjectives when addressing us and speaking about our position in preserving and protecting the integrity of the breed we have known as the Labrador Retriever long before any of us ever heard of a “silver” or other dilute affected dogs which are being represented by the diluters as Labradors.
In 1985 the first dilute affected “Labrador” in the entire world to be registered in accordance with a here-to-fore unrecognized coat color was registered by the AKC as “silver”. This color was unprecedented in purebred Labradors worldwide and prompted a field interview with the dilute breeder by the AKC, whose representative advised the breeder to simply register the dogs as “chocolate”. The rep later admitted that he had erred grievously in this suggestion and regretted his actions. The AKC has since limited the color options for Labrador Retriever registrations to the three allowed “standard” colors of Black, Yellow, and Chocolate. The LRC has steadfastly maintained that any color other than those described in the Standard for the Breed are serious faults and are to be disqualified.
Diluters, however, continue to ignore and flaunt the standard and insist that through their efforts, the AKC standard will be changed to include the alien colors produced by these dilute affected dogs. The diluters maintain fanciful claims of interbreeding with Saluki, SharPei, NewFoundlands, Castro Laboreiro, Mastiffs of various breeds, unidentified breeds of Foxhound and Collie, Border Collie, and numerous other breeds they say are the source of the dilute condition. Continuing even today, unfounded and ugly statements such as, “In fact those breeders had scads of crazy colors born all the time. They just killed the puppies immediately instead of putting them on Facebook.” accuse breeders and the LRC to be guilty of falsifying and destroying records to conceal the longstanding presence of dilute affected colors within the established Labrador breed.
Rather than abide by the standard for the breed which are the guidelines for which all Labradors are to be bred, and which responsible breeders do, the diluters ignore the standard and aggressively pursue their own agenda. The diluters cast blame for the dilute controversy upon what they have called the “new powerful LRC council” reacting to the rising popularity of the dilute designer colors by wanting the dilutes to disappear because the LRC does not “want ‘their’ dirty little secrets revealed in color.”
Universally, the Labrador breed is now, as it has always been, described as being Black, Yellow, and Chocolate. Breeding dilute dogs produces colors which are not, and have never been, described in any standard for the breed in any country which maintains a Labrador stud book or a kennel club. As responsible breeders, our primary duty is to preserve and protect the breed as it is described in our breed standard. Anything less is unforgivable.
ShadowGlen Labradors, reg.