at Thornwood Labradors, are firmly committed to preserving the
ORIGINAL Labrador Retriever. This is the dog that made the breed
famous to begin with, and is seen throughout other countries in
the world as they were intended to be: a versatile, athletic dog
built to stand up to a day's rigorous activity, and possessing a
calm, loving temperament. A dog just as adept at home, caring
for your children, as he is working in the field, or playing
frizbee with your family. Here in the United States, they are
most certainly still to be found, but due to many years of puppy
mill and backyard breeding, they are the exception, not the
wonderful ORIGINAL Labrador is our love here at Thornwood, not
our business. We work hard to preserve it, through a continuing
improvement of our knowledge of the correct genetics of the
breed, and a constant search throughout the country for
individuals who possess them. To that end, we strongly encourage
you to take your time in choosing a puppy or adult dog to add to
your home. Talk to a variety of breeders. Learn as much as you
can about the breed before you make a decision. You are
certainly welcome to call us and we will spend as much time as
you need helping you learn about the breed, locate other
reputable breeders, registries, information sources, and clubs
with which to continue your research.
integrity and correctness of the breed is important to us here
at Thornwood. If we can assist you in choosing a well-bred,
correct Labrador, from a dedicated and ethical breeder, then
there will be one less poorly bred Labrador born, and our time
will be well spent!
certain traits that separate one breed from another. Some of
these things are esthetic (the outward appearance of the dog),
and some are to be found in the temperament of the breed. Bear
in mind that when a breed reaches a great degree of popularity,
people jump on the band wagon to breed for a profit motive,
without any regard to preserving the very traits that brought
about that popularity. Just ONE year in that standing is very
hard on a breed. The Labrador Retriever has been the number one
breed in popularity in the United States for a great MANY years!
Enormous indiscriminant breeding has altered the outward
appearance of the Labrador most certainly.
SHOULD see, and not nearly often enough actually DO, is a
substantial medium sized dog with good bone, tons of muscle, a
broad back skull and muzzle, wide set eyes (a "kind"
expression), a proper "double coat," and a thick "otter" tail,
carried straight out from the back, where it can act as a
"rudder" in the water. A female at maturity will be about 22
inches at the shoulder, and 65 pounds. A male will be about 24
inches and 80 pounds. The only accepted colors are black,
chocolate, and yellow (in shades from very light cream to a deep
fox red). Beware the breeder who offers you a "rare" color. All
other than black, chocolate, and yellow are considered mismarks,
and are not registerable colors.
This is a
very athletic, well muscled breed, not light boned or 'weedy'.
The body 'type' has most certainly been lost with poor breeding
over many years, but that's not the worst of it.
temperament that made Labradors famous in the first place is
calm, biddable, and easy to live with... a dog that is
wonderfully easy to train, NEVER aggressive, and a pleasure to
know. Correct Labrador temperament is trustworthy and
dependable. That temperament has been all too often lost with
poor breeding, and the result can be a hyper,
bounce-off-the-walls animal, occasionally even exhibiting
aggressive behavior. Absolutely wrong for a Labrador, but
woefully common. If you are hoping to add a dog to your home,
that individual could be with you for 12 to 14 years. Take the
time to make an informed choice now, and those will be years of
warmth and friendship, not regret! Correct Labrador temperament
is the hallmark of the breed, the major reason for their
popularity, and should be the FIRST consideration of any
reputable breeder will solidly stand behind a puppy or older
dog's health, in that it will be sound to your veterinarian's
exam when it arrives, and will not want you to keep a puppy or
older dog that you do not like or want, for whatever reason. It
is, however, up to you to KEEP that individual healthy!
Gentically speaking, you should expect your breeder to have done
the best they can in starting with sound parents. That's all
anyone CAN do! Beyond that, each breeder will handle guarantees
in his or her own way.
CERF (eye clearances), and OFA (joint clearances). A reputable
breeder will have them. There is a
link on this site to those registries, so that that you can
learn more about them.
interesting point for your consideration: take a close look at
the involvement of the breeders you interview, with their dogs
OUTSIDE the whelping box! Because a dog is doing well in the
show ring , for instance, does NOT make a "prissy" dog. The
things that win in the show ring are exactly the things that
will contribute towards giving you a sound companion at home.
Good structure, balance, and movement not only look good to a
judge, but they produce an individual who's body parts are each
doing the job they were intended to do, not having to compensate
for a knee, or hock, etc., that isn't shaped well enough to take
it's share of stress. If you intend to hunt, then that correct
double coat is essential to keeping the dog warn in cold water.
You will find a vast number of champions in the show ring also
have field titles. The ORIGINAL Labrador can, and does, do it
that you are realistic about the time that a puppy will take,
especially in the beginning. Those early months can be some of
your most treasured memories, if you are prepared... or a trial
if you are not. Your breeder should be there to help you plan
ahead. You will find a list of reading material that we endorse
in our "library."
the Labrador is universally understood to be wonderfully
adaptable, one breed is not suited to everyone... learn enough
to be sure that a Labrador is the right breed for YOU! A good
breeder will ask you enough questions to help you make a
decision. For instance, if you live in an apartment, a much
smaller breed would be more likely to suit your needs. If you
have VERY young children, or a baby on the way, this might not
be the right TIME for you to add a dog to the family. If you are
looking for an aggressive guard dog type... this is the wrong
Where To Go
you find those breeders to interview and learn from? A very good
place to begin is by talking to people referred by our National
Club, AKC, or a Labrador club near you. There are
links provided on this site to help you locate them. These
links can also assist you in locating AKC sanctioned
conformation and obedience events, hunt tests, and more!
feel comfortable in calling or E-mailing us for assistance.