Labrador Retrievers
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Description Of A Labrador Retriever: Part 2

It is important for the Labrador Retriever to be well balanced. He should not be as tall and thin as a pointer, and he should not be as short and fat as a potbellied pig. No one feature should be so prominent as to detract from the total picture. If you look at a Labrador and notice only his huge head, the dog is probably unbalanced. If you look at a Labrador and see only his big feet or a long scraggly tail, you are probably not looking at a good specimen of the breed.

The ears should be set off the side of the skull, not too high and not too low. They should be of medium size, hanging so that the bottom tips are about two inches below the eyes. The ears should not be so big or so small that they draw attention to themselves. And they should never be long or folded as they are on many hounds.

The Labrador's eyes are where we see that irresistible, sweet, kind and alert expression. Some are shaped like a rounded diamond. Although some round eyes can be attractive, they should not resemble the round eyes of a Cocker Spaniel, nor should they be too almond-shaped. A good color would be a warm brown-eye on all three colors (black, yellow or chocolate), maybe a bit darker on a yellow Lab. If the eyes are too light, the dog's expression will be ruined. There should never be a harsh or mean look about a Labrador. When you look into a Lab's eyes, you should feel instant friendliness. Usually, the moment your eyes meet, the Lab's powerful tail starts wagging automatically.

The desirable Labrador head should sit on a strong neck of medium length. If the neck is too short, the dog looks as if his head is sitting on his shoulders; if the neck is too long, the dog appears elegant, like a setter, which is not correct. There is nothing elegant about this dog. He is agile, strong, and sturdy.

As you continue down the neck, past the withers, the top line (the back) should be rather level, never sway-back or sloping to the degree that a Setter's back does from the neck to the rump. The chest should be deep with well-sprung ribs like a barrel. The shoulders should be long and sloping.

The correct look requires long bones that form a ninety-degree angle as you look at the dog from the side, from the withers, to the sternum, to the elbow. The front legs are well underneath the dog, allowing a prominent breastbone to show and creating the picture of a powerful chest.

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