The National Labrador Retriever Breed Council brings together Labrador Retriever enthusiasts, breeders and owners, who work together on things of interest to the breed. The council acts as an overall arching body of Dogs Australia Labrador Retriever Clubs
Sylvia Power is the former president of the Labrador Retriever council and was in the role for 10 years. Sylvia is currently the President of the Labrador Retriever Club of Victoria “Breeds that are popular numerically generally have a breed council, like the German Shepherd, Rottweiler and Golden Retriever National Breed Councils.”, she said.
Breed council meetings allow state breed clubs to get together discuss breed-related issues. State clubs are run by grass-root members in each state who may have Labradors or an interest in them.
“Looking at it like a pyramid, Dogs Australia is at the top, the breed council, the state bodies, and then the general membership.”
“Before anything is determined, input from the grass root members of clubs is required, sent to the state body, who pass that to the breed council which then goes to Dogs Australia.”
Formed in the year 2000, that same year the National Labrador Retriever Breed Council appointed a state club to run its first national championship show.
“The Breed Council appoints one of the state Labrador Retriever clubs to run a national championship show every two years.”
People come nationwide and overseas to the national shows, although this has been limited due to covid-19.
The president is elected based on experience, someone who has good knowledge of the breed and has been amongst the breed for some time.
The people involved are appointed as delegates from the state clubs with an annual general meeting held. A president and secretary are appointed through an election.
“Currently the president of the National Labrador Retriever Breed Council is Kyle Charnock, and the secretary is Bev Jones.”
The national show is a big event that always has a large attendance. The show encourages Labrador Retriever enthusiasts to come to see their friends, dogs from all over the country and how the breed is developing.
“They have the opportunity to have their dogs evaluated by breed specialist judges from overseas and compete in dog sports against dogs from other states.”
The most important duty of the breed council is to determine and oversee hereditary disease testing regimes relevant to the Labrador Retriever breed.
Since 2002, Labrador Retriever litter parents are required to have their hips and elbows x-rayed and scored before the litter can be registered.”
“In the last 15 years the most important tool for controlling hereditary diseases is the use of DNA testing.”
To decide testing tools the breed council combines input from the state clubs and makes decisions on what is recommended. A national survey of Labrador Retriever owners is then completed.
The breed council makes a recommendation to the Dogs Australia Canine Health Committee which then goes to the Dogs Australia board.
Apart from the hip and elbows x-rays and scoring requirement by Dogs Australia to register Labrador Retrievers, the breed council recommends hip and elbow scoring of sire and dam, clearance of eyes through the national eye scheme, ACES; DNA tests for some diseases and heart clearances.
“Through DNA testing, progressive retinal atrophy has been wiped out of the breed in Australia, which is impressive.”, she said.
The Breed Council drew up a breed standard extension as an educational document for Labrador Retriever breeders and trainee judges.
“It’s a detailed version of the breed standard for people wanting to know more about the details of a Labrador Retriever’s conformation.”
The Breed Council also offer a puppy guide to assist the general public find their new family member.
Dogs Australia members can benefit from being a member of their state Labrador Retriever club by getting information from the breed council on shows, dog sports, health, breed standard and breed standards extensions.
Rescues and rehoming are looked after by the state Labrador Retriever clubs, rather than the National Breed Council.
“It would be inappropriate to shift dogs from state to state as often trial periods are required.”
“The Labrador Retriever Club of Victoria has many people come to us looking for a Labrador that needs a home and there have been many really successful outcomes.”
Image credit: Kirsten Enni