I have heard a lot of controversy over the size of lab heads. The trend seems to be pushing towards the very large blocky style heads. The "standard" leaves room for interpretation. Just wondering what the opinions are on this forum. Pictures would be great if you have any.
Well personally i would desire a large head but i've seen some labs that have extremely large heads and it gets to a point where they dont even look like labradors..At the end of the day it all has to do with the subjective opinion of the judge .
I think the controversy arises when people start breeding for a very hard/intense expression (on an "over-done" head) that resembles a rottie vs. a softer expression, regardless of how big the dog's head is. I wish I could find a good photo of a rottie-type head on a lab for you. It is really quite remarkable that a lab can have such an intense expression. Big/blocky heads don't necessarily have to resemble a rottie.
~Julie, Rogue, Monty, and Eddy~
"The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue." -Anon
If you study photos of Labs from the past, you cannot help noticing the difference in propotions with heads of today. Firstly the head-to-body ratio was very different. Then the proportions of the head itself: the rectangle with length more important than depth has given way to a square in which, heaven forbid, depth is sometimes greater than length. There seem to be three distinct areas where heads are going in, for me, the wrong direction - skull & stop, cheeks and muzzle.
One of these areas is really adequately covered in the standard: cheeks. Here at least, the consensus is that cheeks should not be fleshy. It's clear what we are looking for, but it doesn't mean that the problem no longer exists.
In the 1916 standard, we read: "The skull should be wide, giving brain room; there should be a slight stop, i.e. the brow should be slightly pronounced so that the skull is not in straight line with the nose." When the LRC of GB wrote the blueprint for our breed back then, they had the working abilities in mind and arguably required a "wide" skull in comparison with the Flat Coat. Surprisingly, today's British & FCI standard requires a broad skull with a defined stop - as the stops get stronger and the skulls broader and bulbous over the brows, the whole balance of the head changes and takes on a coarseness that is not typical of the breed. Added to that, small close-set ears perched on the top of this grotesque skull and the end product is really foreign.
The old St. Johns Dog standard called for jaws long enough to carry a hare. The present standard calls for jaws of medium length, powerful not snipey. Well, snipey jaws are certainly no longer the norm in bench Labs but deep snouts are certainly not uncommon. Some of them even grunt!!!
Yet there is such quiet class and beauty in a well molded head, the skull and muzzle of equal length and on parallel planes broken by a moderate stop, typical Labrador eye shape with no roundness and a well-worked muzzle with a large wet nose! Hope we'll never lose that!
Here is a mother/daughter photo which illustrates my opinion to a point. The daughter (sitting) will never have the nobility of head that can be seen in her dam. She doesn't have a hard head, her expression is gentle but the planes are wrong, her skull is too round and her muzzle is short. Although I bred her - and she has done her share of winning - this is not the head I breed for.
Nice comparison JP.Originally Posted by JP
After attending a bunch of shows in my area and getting to know what breeders have in their kennels, I learned that most judges are putting up a more moderate head. I personally like the "overdone" head.
Will I win at shows with this type of head. Prolly not, because the majority tends to favor the moderate head. But, when all is said and done, I have to live with these animals. I want to be able to look into my yard and love, not just like, what I see.
Here is a picture of my boy Blizzard. Most people say his head is overdone.
I have had people stop and ask me where I got him, because they "love" his head. But then again, they havent been around the block to see CH. So an so's head. Completely different.
Blizzard is a great looking dog however i am not sure that in my subjective opinion I would refer his head as a specimen example to the breeding standard. One of the labs that i like with a big head is Int Jr Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff here is his pic however for some even he is pushing it a bit too far.
I don't like the term "overdone" as it is very subjective. *Size is not only what makes a head overdone in my opinion, it's more expression, overall shape, and muzzle length. *What makes a "Rottie" head or a coarse expression in my opinion is a short and wide muzzle, very round between the ears, short and/or high set ears, and small beady eyes in relationship with the rest of the foreface (the eyes are not small per se but are when compared with the very wide part of the head between the eyes.
JP's illustration and description is excellent and I agree. *I prefer a "sporting" dog head over a working type head. *I do like a larger head with a round backskull but also good sized thick ears and a longer muzzle.
I have seen people describe a head as "gorgeous" and even "unforgettable" in one dogs' ad when to me it's very ugly because it's much too coarse. * *
I prefer the bitch's head who is lying down over the sitting daughter as well, however I do like both heads.
I too have a mother/daughter team who are different. *I prefer the daughter's head who has a longer muzzle and is not as "square" as her mother. *A lot of people love her mother's head and although she is cute and has a kind expression I think her muzzle is too short and her backskull too broad in relation.
Mother Scout is on the right and daughter Wigeon on the left.
heads are very subjective. i like jp like a more old-style moderate head. any excess to me is not correct.
♣ Laura ♣
I like Labs to look like Labs. If a head resembles any other breed, then it is not correct...no matter how much you like to look at it in your back yard. I really don't like the harsh rottie look myself.