As many of you know, Riley competed in the Licking River Kennel Club's “Land of Legend” All-Breed Dog Show last weekend. While we have spent time competing in the Obedience Trials, this was our first time in the Conformation Ring, where she was evaluated by how well she meets the breed standard.
Why is Conformation Important?
As Labrador Retriever breeders, we have a tremendous responsibility to the breed. Our goals are to create healthy, well-tempered Labradors that conform to the breed standard. Who doesn’t think their dog is the best dog ever? However, we have a duty to take an objective look at our dogs’ strengths and weaknesses before making breeding decisions. The Conformation Show is an event where we can do that as dogs are evaluated on their appearance, structure and assessed for their overall ability to produce quality, purebred puppies when it comes time to breed.
What are the Judges Looking for in a Labrador Retriever?
There are distinctive characteristics of a Labrador that all judges are looking at in the Conformation ring. Here are some highlights:
Head/Face: The head should be broad and clean-cut with a well-defined stop and a powerful, not pointed muzzle.
Eyes: The eyes should be medium in size and express intelligence and good temperament. Acceptable colors are brown or hazel.
Bite: They have a medium length jaw with strong teeth and a complete scissor bite.
Body: Their bodies are wide and short-coupled, with a straight topline. Their forelegs are straight and well boned, and their hindquarters are well developed with a well turned stifle, and not sloping towards the tail.
Paws: They have compact and round paws.
Tail: Their tails are often described as an otter tail, and it should be thick toward the base and gradually taper to the tip.
Coat: They should have a short, dense coat with weather-resistant undercoat. Acceptable colors are black, yellow or chocolate.
Gait: Their gait should cover adequate ground with a straight and true stride from front to rear.
Here at Ashling Place Labradors, we make it our priority to focus on the whole Labrador package in our breeding practices: the health of our Labs, the temperament of our Labs, and how well they conform to the breed standard - in that order. Who doesn’t believe their dog is perfect, right? However, we recognize that there truly is no such thing as a perfect dog and as responsible breeders, we must objectively look at our girls strengths and weaknesses so that we can diligently find the right match when choosing a partner for future litters.
Check back next week as we will be talking about genetic testing and why it's important to choose a breeder who values that in their practice, finding the right dog food for your canine companion, and some helpful training tips.
We are celebrating a major accomplishment here at Ashling Place Labradors today! Ms. Riley has earned another accolade and added a new AKC title to her name: CGC. If you are not sure what that stands for, it means that Riley has earned her Canine Good Citizen® certification by demonstrating that she is a well-mannered dog capable of being friendly in the company of strangers, following basic commands, and demonstrating restraint in the presence of other dogs.
The certification is a two-part process. First, Riley is evaluated by an official CGC evaluator on her ability to complete 10 tests (visit http://www.akc.org/cgc-pledge/ to learn more) and then the second component requires that I sign a pledge to be a responsible dog owner.
Being a dog parent carries a ton of responsibility. Not only are you responsible for providing them with food and shelter, but our loyal companions depend on us to keep them safe, healthy, and happy. This includes exercise, playtime, and especially training. Time spent in all these areas will only help to strengthen the bond between you and your dog.
We are so proud of Riley as she continues to demonstrate her intelligence and good-nature. We also want to send a big shout out to Kim at Rockmill Labradors, who served as our CGC evaluator and who has also been a great help to us since we first brought Riley home. We are so grateful to her for her time, kindness, and dedication to the breed.
We’d love to hear your training stories too! Please don’t hesitate to post about your pet-kid’s accomplishments in the comments below!
And always remember...
“Happiness is a warm puppy.” - Charles M. Schulz
Here at Ashling Place, we strive to live a healthy life by eating healthy and keeping physically active. This philosophy does not just apply to the humans in our household, but also our dogs. We care deeply about the health of our furry friends and in addition to giving them plenty of time for chasing tennis balls and swimming in the lake, we also strive to ensure that they are receiving the most nutrition out of the food they eat.
As Labrador breeders, we had to make a critical choice in foods when considering the specific dietary needs of our breed. Labs are very sensitive to various food allergies, so it’s very important that we save our clients and their pets from suffering the heartbreak of a sub-par diet that may plague their new family member with a multitude of health issues including allergies and GI issues.
There are a number of brands available and it can be overwhelming when trying to find the best food for your favorite companion. With companies merging and all the pet food recalls, how do you know what is best? We understand your challenge, and after researching a number of brands, looking at all the options, we feel we have finally found the right food that we can trust and feel confident in feeding to our dogs.
With veterinarian Dr. Jane Bicks as the pet product formulator, Life’s Abundance was founded almost 20 years ago. Life’s Abundance Grain Free All Life Stage Dog Food is not only grain-free, but it also contains important pre and probiotics that aid in your dog’s overall GI health and digestion. These key ingredients, including several other needed vitamins, also support your dog’s overall immune system. This food is one of only two I know of that have never had a recall, nor stooped to using the latest cheap ingredients as so many other premium kibbles have in the past couple of years.
We believe so strongly in LIfe's Abundance that I am now a Field Representative for them. If you care about ensuring your pet-kids are getting all the important nutrients they need, or if you are interested in taking a Wellness Assessment for your furry companion, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hello and welcome to Ashling Place Labradors, home of Stella, Maggie, and your favorite blogger, Riley from "Living a Life of Riley". Riley and I had a tremendous amount of fun over the last two years sharing the tales of our adventures with all of you who loyally followed our blog. While we are sorry to put that blog to rest, we hope that you continue to follow our journey as we take a turn onto the new path leading to the creation of Ashling Place Labradors.
Those of you who know us well, also know that we are loyal labrador lovers. Over the course of many years, we are excited to see our dreams come to fruition. We worked hard to create a place where we could live gently off the land, while sharing its blessings with all those in our lives. Moving from the city to the country was a learning curve, but it was a move that gave us a multitude of opportunities to grow. All of our hard work and brought us to this point and we are excited that we have finally created the perfect oasis for raising America's favorite canine breed...the Labrador Retriever.
Our journey began nearly two years ago when Riley entered our lives, and many of you have been sharing in our escapades since that time. Our adventures will continue and we hope that you stick around for the show.
And always remember...
“Happiness is a warm puppy.” - Charles M. Schulz