British Labs pros/cons?

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British Labs pros/cons?

Postby Anthony K. » Thu Dec 22, 2005 7:21 pm

Was wondering if anyone had any experience with good or bad with British labs. A co-worker is looking in to making a purchase in the near future and debating wether to go british or american. He is looking for a calmer dog that will do the occassional hunt but be more of a good pet/companion.
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Postby orhunter » Thu Dec 22, 2005 8:49 pm

I'll let somebody else break the ice on this one.....
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British Labs

Postby bill10979 » Thu Dec 22, 2005 9:30 pm

Alot of folks have a (mis)conception of Brit Labs to be short legged, low drive version of the American version, I dont think that is entirely true.
My experinece is limited, Ive only seen some hunt photos-nice looking dogs by the way, and talking to my Uncle who hunts over there frequently.
Their trial Labs are very nice built dogs-they demand complete obedience and steadiness from their dogs-they cant whine(or theyre disqualified) and they must retrieve all birds in a trial-failure to do so is disqualification. The shoots are quite expensive and the reason for the importance in finding game. If I were hunting the dogs, Id look at a trial type line. Folks advertise "British" Labs and that means nothing. What stock is the dog from, are they used as hunters and how do they measure up as hunters. A dogs build tells you how he moves. Ive seen some real crappy looking ones, Ive seen some very nice athletic looking ones that Id probably own, were I so inclined.
I have a post below this of a British trial and how its judged. Its very strict and seems to resemble a German type evaluation on wild game only with heavy emphasis on retreive of cripples and steadiness. Thata all I can comment on-not my areas of expertise at all, mind you, just what little I know.
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Postby Az Draht » Mon Dec 26, 2005 1:18 pm

I have read nearly every thread on British v U.S labs on several boards when I was researching getting a lab and here is what I learned or the opinion I developed.

The British have the same spit in their lines between field and show as the Americans do. The British field dogs resemble American field dogs much more than they do show dogs. If by British dog you mean the "big blocky head" type, you would be more likley to find it in the show lines whether British of American.

As Bill explained the British have different requirements in thier field test than the Americans and a result their training and breeding programs are different. I believe the British do a better job of following a breeding program that will result in a well rounded dog rather than just the "bigger, stronger, faster" dog that the Americans breed to win field trials. For instance, I have seen many posts by British breeders that say they will not breed a noisy or gunshy dog. I do not recall reading anything like this from American breeders. It seems to me that if the American dog has "drive", can mark to 400 yards, and has goody eyes and hips, the dogs faults will be tolerated and trained through, it will compete and if it wins, it will be used to breed many litters of puppies. What I have seen from the Americans is to label the British dogs as first "pigador" and lately as "marketing ploys"

A downfall to the "British lab" is that the breeders here in the U.S. are awfully proud of their puppies and command an unrealistic price for them. Also some of the kennels breeding restrictions and such would discourage me from buying one. The way I understand one kennels policy is that the kennel is basically a co-owner of the pup and maintains all breeding rights. That is after you fork over $1200-$1500 for the pup.

Of course following all those discussions gave me a headache and turned me off of lab breeders, and since I added quail to my hunting and learned that I like a structured breeding program, I chose to go with the versatile Drahthaar.
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Re: British Labs pros/cons?

Postby hunchaser » Sat May 12, 2012 9:54 am

I run both N.A and UK labs. The advice already given is 100% correct. You have to be careful as there are a lot of show dogs out there being sold as hunting dogs. Do your homework.

The main differecnces between my 3 imported UK dogs - all with strong hunt lines - and my N.A. dogs are:
1. The UK dogs didn't require any FF. The retrieve, return and delivery to hand comes right out of the box.
2. My UK dogs all have super soft mouths.
3. Intelligence - Not much difference between The UK and NA labs.
4).Trainability - same.
5).Desire - About the same but the NA dogs seem to hit the field a little harder. Small difference.
6). Willingness to please - same.

The NA labs are better at marks. The UK labs use there nose more and have a better hunting pattern. As far as training goes the UK labs are softer but you don't have to train hard. They just seem to get the point.
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Re: British Labs pros/cons?

Postby ryanr » Mon May 14, 2012 9:54 am

The advice given is really good. Avoid most of the (entirely) show lines, like you would for any hunting dog breed, and do your research and you'll be fine. British labs aren't necessarily a particular look but rather a training and temperament type. Though they do tend to have a blockier head and muzzle and the classic thick, otter-lke tail that all Labs are supposed to have. They tend to be quieter, calmer and maybe a tad more easily trained or more biddable. For instance, they're retrievers so why on earth would you have to force-fetch them and British Labradors aren't normally force-fetched. A well-bred British Labrador is going to have as much drive to hunt as any American Labrador.

My Labrador was from a bit mixed lines, British and American. He was a bigger, taller Labrador but with a big, blocky head, and thick tail (without any curl, I hate seeing that in Labradors because they shouldn't have it.) He was very cooperative and quiet and hunted for me (as opposed to for himself) and used his nose very, very well. He naturally quartered and never really ranged out of gun range. Hunting with a calm but purposeful dog that wants to until for you is a joy to me because you're hunting instead of having to constantly direct the dog. I've hunted with guys that are non-stop on their dogs, hollering and directing the dog every second. It's no fun for me. My Labrador was 100lbs of solid muscle and he was an exceptional house dog and was extremely calm and careful around kids, especially small children. I have 12 nieces and nephews and most of them were toddlers and young kids when he was alive. People would comment on how calm and watchful he was around kids.
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Re: British Labs pros/cons?

Postby Kiger2 » Wed May 23, 2012 10:20 pm

Really guys, Force fetch is far more than holding birds, thats why we do it.

Americans hunt differently than the british. We have different needs. Thats why we force fetch! We end up with a much more usable tool.

American Trial dogs get tested on steadyness also! They break there are out, too much noise they are out.

If I were looking for a dog that could handle blinds and the type of hunting we do in america, I would keep the odds in my favor and choose a dog that came from a line of dogs successful in doing that type of work.

A gunshy dog wont make it in the trial world, so wont be bred, Duh!!!!

Americans are not building bigger dogs. The dogs need to be athletic to compete, but there are not very many 100 pounders running. Thats why our retrievers can excell chukar hunting, because they athletic with a ton of drive.

If I were looking for a dog that could handle blinds and the type of hunting we do in america, I would keep the odds in my favor and choose a dog that came from a line of dogs successful in doing that type of work.
If hes just looking for a pet with occaisonal hunting, I dont think he needs to spend to get a english lab. Should be able to find lots of dogs right here that fit the bill.
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