A discussion started today (on the thread about fox red puppies) about the ideal conformation of working Labradors and I thought it would be an interesting topic for a thread. I wonder if we can have a rule though? Before you hit 'reply' just check your post to make sure that it is free of irrelevant negative comments about show line dogs or working line dogs (fine if it's a relevant comment that's part of the debate, but not if it might just be interpreted as a 'dig' at the type of dog you don't own). That way, we keep the debate on topic. it would, I think, be helpful if we all had read the same versions of the breed standard: The UK 1916 (which specifies Labradors are black ) and today's UK breed standards are described here: http://www.thelabradorretrieverclub.com/Articles/Coulson/Breed Standard 1916.htm And for Australia the extended breed standard is here: http://www.nationallabradorretrieverbreedcouncilaustralia.com/breed-standard-extension.asp The issue is this: some people say the breed standard is irrelevant to working lines dogs. People with show line dogs, wonder how that can be the case. And if the breed standard is irrelevant to working line dogs, then what does a 'good' working line dog look like? I find it hard to accept that all working line dogs have an ideal conformation even if there is a wide variation in what is fit for purpose - it's easy to spot conformation that looks basically unsound, cow hocks and very straight upper arms for example, and while it very may well be the case that a dog with this conformation could do 6 or 7 or even 20 retrieves to win a Field Trial while relatively young, that's not the same as saying this is the kind of conformation that is desirable in the working dog. Or, if it is, then it would be good to understand why. It seems (to me anyway) that it is not the case that any conformation will do, or is suitable, there is at least a basic structure and soundness that is required. So if it's not the angulation etc described in the breed standard then what is it? How does someone setting out to buy a working line dog judge what good looks like in their future working line dog?