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Why a Pointing Lab
and is there a difference between Pointing Labs and Labrador  Retrievers?

Why a Pointing Lab?: Testimonials

Why choose a Pointing Lab?  Because you get a purebred AKC registered  Labrador Retriever which can also point birds, flush birds and retrieve birds in the field as well as serve as a waterfowl retriever and a great house dog and companion. Versatility. 

Pointing Labs are  purebred  AKC Labrador Retrievers which have been selectively bred from other purebred Labs which have shown a propensity to point. So no, there is not difference in the breed. Pointing Labs still enthusiastically retrieve, they still are very gentle companions as most Labs are...but  when properly trained to refine their inherent pointing traits they bring a whole new dimension to hunting upland birds.  They have NOT been crossed with pointers.  Obviously pointers have also been selectively bred to point just as Pointing Labs have, but for many more generations and in many other variations and breeds.  (Pointers also retrieve upland game but do not do too well as waterfowl retrievers, which Labs were bred to do originally.)  Waterfowl bred Labs were later bred to hunt and flush upland game birds and in the past few decades breeders have developed lines that also point. Our first experience with  a Lab which pointed was Ben, a hard hunting black Lab who after a year  of hunting pheasants and sharptails decided he would start pointing. When hunting along side German Short Hairs that other family members owned he always worked harder and found birds the other dogs missed. This was thirty some years ago and we have only owned and hunted Pointing Labs since. As the genetics became more and more refined the better our dogs did in the field. Pointing Labs are particularly popular in the upper midwest and western states where both upland and waterfowl hunting is a lifestyle and labs are treasured house dogs and companions.  AKC registered Pointing Labs are for the hunter who wants a versatile hunter with the characteristics of the most popular dog breed in the US and have been for generations. We are proud to offer these dogs to the public and we are confident that no better genetics can be found in the region. The American  Pointing Labrador Association  was formed to maintain  standards, trials and title qualification  established. As you can see great emphasis has been placed on keeping a lab a lab in all aspects including structure, intelligence, gentle nature and hunting and retrieving drive.  The genes are there to bring out the pointing instinct.  But as with all breeds these instincts need to be  trained and refined with  each dog.  My personal opinion is that these pointing instincts are derived  from and passed down from  the  common ancestor of all dogs, the wolf. Wolves  also use a pointing, or alert posture just before pouncing on smaller prey. We see the same behavior in many canine species such as fox and coyote as well.  Thus recent and responsible  selective breeding of labs which show a propensity to point while maintaining all the great qualities of the Labrador Retriever breed is our goal and that of APLA breeders of Pointing Labs across the country.   We are not trying to breed a new type of pointer, if that is what a person wants get a German Short Hair or other specialty breed. If you want a traditional purebred AKC Labrador  Retriever  that also has the instinct to point then check out a Pointing Lab from a reputable breeder who can show you the history of each sire and dam along with the titles and tests  passed and awarded. We do not strive to produce field trial dogs , we breed for traditional Labrador qualities. Intelligence,  trainability, attitude, drive, pointing instinct, retrieving on land or water, gentle nature in the home. In short, a versatile well adjusted Labrador and everything that entails.  

Below are a few videos that show what a Pointing Lab can do!  When it comes to training your Lab puppy we highly recommend the training videos produced by Gary Buys of Poudre River Gundogs.

From the APLA website:

The objectives and purpose of the APLA shall be:

  1. Identify, certify, and promote a strain of Labrador Retriever that points game as a natural act while retaining the Labrador's traditional superior ability to retrieve game on land and in water.

  2. Promote favorable national exposure for Pointing Labradors.

  3. Sponsor certification, intermediate, and master level tests to identify Pointing Labradors and to judge their abilities.

  4. Promote ethical and effective breeding and training of Pointing Labradors.

  5. Accumulate data, and where possible promote studies, which may help understand the genetic basis for the tendency of some Labradors to point game.

  6. Promote sharing of information and training among members of the APLA.

"The purpose of APLA’s Certified Pointing Retriever Test (CPR) is to evaluate a combination of basic natural abilities and basic trained behaviors in the upland field and waterfowl retrieves. Natural abilities and trained behaviors are equally important components of a good hunting companion. To score well in this test the dog must respond to basic obedience commands and have had enough exposure to hunting upland birds and water retrieves to show beginning proficiency in each. There is no minimum age for dogs running this test. The test will have two working parts: Upland Work and Water Retrieves. Testing will be scored on a noncompetitive basis on a zero to five (O to 5) scale in one half (1/2) point increments in each of seven (7) categories, for a maximum score of 35 points. Any dog scoring a one and one-half (1.5) or lower in any category of testing will fail immediately and will not be allowed to continue the test. The seven scoring categories are: NOSE, COOPERATION, DESIRE, SEARCH, POINT, LAND RETRIEVES, and WATER RETRIEVES. Nose, Cooperation, Desire, and Search will be evaluated throughout all parts of the test. Point will be evaluated in the Upland Field. A minimum total score of 21 of the 35 possible points is required in order to pass the test."

"The purpose of APLA’s Advanced Test is to provide a format for Pointing Labradors to demonstrate a significantly higher level of natural abilities and trained behaviors than are evaluated in the Certified Pointing Retriever Test. The tested abilities and behaviors are important components of a proficient hunting companion. 

To score well in this test the dog must respond to its handler’s commands and must have had enough exposure to hunting situations to demonstrate that it is a good working pointing retriever. A dog must be a Certified Pointer (CP) or a Certified Pointing Retriever (CPR) before running the test."

"Master/Grandmaster Pointing Retriever Test (MPR/GMPR)

The purpose of APLA’s Master level test is to provide a format for Pointing Labradors to demonstrate the highest level of natural abilities and trained behaviors that the American Pointing Labrador Association tests. To accomplish this, all dogs entered are tested on Upland hunts and on both land and water retrieves and blinds. They are then scored on a noncompetitive basis in ten (10) categories. These categories are NOSE, COOPERATION, DESIRE, SEARCH, POINT, STEADINESS TO WING AND SHOT, LAND DOUBLE, WATER DOUBLE, LAND BLIND, and WATER BLIND. Nose, Cooperation, and Desire will be evaluated throughout all parts of the test. Search will be evaluated throughout all parts of the test except the Blind Retrieves. Point and Steadiness to Wing and Shot will be evaluated in the Upland Field. The tests are designed to prove at a high level the versatility of the Pointing Labrador as an all around working dog, bred and developed at the highest levels both for upland bird hunting on a variety of species and for waterfowl hunting."

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