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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Labrador Retriever: Training & Show Biz

The Labrador Retriever is a very handsome dog. He has sturdy fore quarter and sleek powerful hindquarters. He is so intelligent that it appears that he might just speak at any moment. His movements are swift. His keen dark eyes take in every development that is taking place around him. His temperament is unflappable. He looks like he is wearing a smile at all times. He is a wonderful hunting dog and also makes an excellent family pet.

Is it any wonder that he ranks high on the popularity list of dogs in the USA? In the year 2002 there were more than 1,540,000 Labrador Retriever registrations with the American Kennel Club.

45,000 litters were also registered with the AKC that year. With such a favorable reputation this breed is a hot favorite in the show ring. His intelligence also makes him a favorite for competitions too.

Registration

If you want to make your Lab into a show dog, the first thing to do is to register him with a Kennel Club. If he is a pure pedigree then you must register him with the American Kennel Club (AKC). AKC registration does not ask for the dog to be neutered. But if a female is in heat she cannot enter a competition.

What happens if your dog looks like a pure bred but you have no papers to prove that he is a pure bred? Well, there is a way out. You can get an AKC Indefinite Listing Privilege or ILP registration. This is indeed a blessing for dogs from animal rescue shelters. But AKC demands that such dogs be neutered.

Obedience trials

You can take your Lab for obedience trial competitions. Here are some of the maneuvers that you will have to go through with your dog.
  • 1 Walk with your dog at your heel in a particular manner.
  • 2 Take turns to the right and to the left upon command with your dog.
  • 3 Walk at different paces with your pet – normal, slow, fast, or halt in any random order.
  • 4 Your dog should sit when you stop.
  • 5 These maneuvers will have to be done with the leash and without the leash too.
  • 6 Other commands include walking with your dog in the figure 8 around two people standing at least 8 feet apart.
  • 7 The following exercises will also have to be done – sit, down, and stand for scrutiny by the judges.
  • 8 You will have to summon your dog from a sit or stay position.
  • As he approaches you, he will have jump when you ask him to do so.
  • 9 On reaching you, he will have to come to heel, and then sit down.

Dog shows

Dog shows are platforms on which the best of breed can be judged. This is accomplished by comparing each dog with the ideal physical standards of that particular breed. The dogs that come closest to ideal breed standards are much sought after for breeding purposes. The temperament of the dog is also judged in these shows.

Following are some of the vital personal statistics for a Labrador Retriever.

Height - Dogs 22-24 inches (56-61 cm)
Bitches 21-23 inches (53-58 cm)
Weight - Dogs 60-75 pounds (27-34 kg)
Bitches 55-70 pounds (25-32 kg)
Some males can grow to 100 pounds (45 kg) or more.
Life Expectancy 10-12 years
Coat Short and dense
Color Yellow, black, or chocolate coats
Personality Outgoing
General Stable dog with plenty of energy.
Adjusts easily to new surroundings.

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