|In 2004 there were
41,659 working, showing and reproducing Labradors in the database.
They were born between 1870 and 2004.
13,061 of them (31%) are black.
11,132 of them (27%) are yellow.
2,853 of them (7%) are chocolate.
Colour unknown: 14,613 Labradors (35%)
|The 41,659 working,
showing and reproducing Labradors in the database come from 40 different
|The Top Ten producers:
1. Sandylands Mark (1965)
2. Kupros Master Mariner (1983)
3. Sandylands Tandy (1961)
4. Lindall Mastercraft (1980)
5. Charway Ballywillwill (1978)
6. Sandylands Rip Van Winkle (1980)
7. Ingleston Ben (1926)
8. Follytower Merrybrook Black Stormer (1969)
9. Sandylands Tweed of Blaircourt (1958)
10. Fabracken Comedy Star (1979)
|The graphs above show
the increase of the Labrador population from 1870 to 2000.
From 1870 to 1900 112 working or reproducing Labradors were registered in the database. 111 of them were black, one of them (Ben of Hyde, born in 1899) was yellow. No chocs were registered in those years.
In the years from 1921 to 1930 the Labrador population was more than doubled, compared to the previous decade. 1,178 working, showing or reproducing Labradors were registered in the database. 963 of them were black, 212 of them were yellow, and 3 of them were chocs.
The years of crisis
preceding WWII, the war itself and the difficult years that followed, were
the main reason for a decrease of the Labrador population.
The increase persisted
until its official (not realistic) all-time high in 1996. From 1991 to
2000 11,695 working, showing or reproducing Labradors were registered.
4,943 of them were black, 5,035 of them were yellow, and 1,717 of them
|The decrease of the
figures above does not represent a decrease of the Labrador population
overall, and it certainly doesn't mean that the Labrador's popularity is
declining. It simply means that less people had their Labradors registered,
less Labradors took part in working tests or shows, and less litters from
working or showing Labradors were registered.
However, that might be a serious problem, because this way the gene pool is narrowing. Some Kennel Clubs and Labrador Clubs think that it is necessary to come up with more and more rules and regulations, and although they advocate widening of the gene pool, the effect of these powergames is exactly the opposite.
|Same graph as the
one above, now visualised with the part of the Labrador population edging
away because of stricter and sillyer rules and regulations. These figures
might not be applicable to your country, but they are applicable to the
registered population of the working, showing or reproducing Labradors
as a whole.
Of course these are estimates. There is however no sign whatsoever that the popularity of the Labrador retriever has decreased since 1996. To the contrary, we saw the popularity of the Labrador, especially the chocolate variety, increase dramatically since that year.
Market mechanisms are at work. It's all a question of supply and demand. If respectable breeders for whatever reasons aren't able to supply, people will turn to "breeders" who can. Official pedigree certificates aren't that important, at least not for everyone, and most people just want a nice dog that looks and acts like a Labrador.
Do we mind? Yes, we do. Because in the long run this might prove to be the end of the Labrador's popularity. Pollution of the population means increasing behaviour problems (aggression) and health problems. Before you know it, people will have forgotten what a real Labrador should look like, and they will mistake the mean, cripple, ugly bastard from across the street for a real Labrador.
So let the respectable breeders keep their own responsibility and don't take it away from them by inventing more and more rules and regulations. Please keep in mind that respectable Labrador breeders breed Labradors because it is their hobby, and they are willing to put a lot of time, money and effort into their hobby. Unless you, committee members, think you are so important that you should impose your silly rules on these breeders and make their lives miserable. Remember that they're not in it for the money, they're in it because their heart and soul is with their beloved Labrador retriever. And so should yours.