The most bred dog in the United States and England, the Labrador Retriever grows in popularity in Brazil.
Appreciated in the world for his versatility, the Labrador Retriever has gained enormous space in countries where the legislation punishes severely the owners of dogs which attack people. In the United States and England, for exemple, it has been the leader for several years, in number of puppies registered.
One of the basic reasons for the success of this robust dog, with docile expression, is the fact that its size impresses, but it is extremely gentle, without being shy. There are other reasons, like its strong desire to serve man, obedience, discipline in the house, attachment to owners and family members, sharpness and ability to adapt, becoming a companion for any kind of situation and a good alarm dog. The short and non-smelling coat requires no grooming. His qualities go beyond that, though, including the ability retrieve fish and waterfowl, the original characteristic of the breed, plus being a police dog, guide dog for blind people, and sports companion. What else could one with for in a dog?
The foreign "Labrador phenomenon" has reflected in Brazil: there has been a significant growth in the search for this breed. "The year has barely started and I already have puppies reserved until December," says Brasilina Maria Cruz, breeder at the Kennel Newfoundland Alpes, in São Paulo. But though the popularity is exciting, it is also a cause for concern. "The Brazilian breeding is more consistent, but on the other hand, there are unexperienced people, too. Lately I've seen individuals with a restless temperament, and incorrect appearance, demanding more attention at the time one purchases puppies," comment André and Marilene Speck, from Kennel Andrea's Speck, São Paulo.
In Brazil, as well as in the United States and England, the yellow is the favorite out of the three colors of this breed. What do you know. The black dogs, currently second in the preference, were the favorite and the only ones accepted since the breed got to England in the beginning of the 19th century. Even in the 20th century, there were people eliminating the yellows. But some enthusiasts founded, in the 20's, the Club of the Yellow Labrador, and wrote down their own standard. Finally, in 1959, the color was officially accepted (breed has been recognized since 1940). As for the chocolate, it is inclined to breed puppies with problems such as light coat, lacking brown pigmentation around the nose, lips and eyes. When breeding chocolates, the breeder should introduce a black individual, avoiding the sequence of several generations of chocolates, as explained by Romy Gottlied from Zack's Kennel, in Cotia, SP. When yellow and chocolate dogs are bred, the yellow ones may also present pigmentation problems. Gwan Broadley, English breeder from the Sandylands Labrador Kennel, says that the best chocolate broods com from breedings of black and chocolate dogs.
There are two bloodlines of the Labrador Retriever. The British one, more robust, and the American, less compact, and more agile to retrieve hunter's catches. From 1993 on, the American standard disqualified the individuals who weren't withing the minimum and maximum height allowed, taller than the British standard, adopted by FCI, and therefore, in Brazil also. Cecilia Gonzaga, from Kennel Interagro, São Paulo, comments, "because of this decision, individuals from the British bloodline can be disqualified in the USA." As for temperament, the British is considered better, because it tends to be calmer and obedient, according to the American breeders Carol Daigler, Grace Morris and Gill Itkowski.
Purchase of Puppies: Compact structure, short
trunk and wide chest, with brown or light brown eyes. Colors at birth are
permanent, and a small white spot is allowed on the chest. In the yellow, the
tonalities vary from the light beige to the red (fox). The breed, as other large
breeds, is subject to hip dysplasia (ask for an X-ray of the parents to lessen
risks of buying an individual with inclination for this disease), as well as
progressive atrophy of retina. Tail should be wide at base and narrowing towards
Size: British standard, FCI (adopted in Brazil) - 56 to 57cm for males, and 54 to 56cm for females. AKC standard - 57,15 to 62,23cm for males, and 54,6 to 59,69 for females. Any variation over 1,27cm under or above established limits causes disqualification.
We would like to thank the breeder for the interviews, and
Brazilian breeders for the text review.
Research and text: Flávia C. Soares. Text editor: Marcos Pennacchi
Picture: Luiz Henrique Mendes
Owner: Zack's Kennel