According to some Lab-lovers, the breed's familiar friendliness might hurt it in the arena:
Breeder Deborah Weinman notes that Labs don't have the eye-catching, lanky stride of a pointer, for instance, as they circle the judging ring. Breeder Emily Magnani wonders whether some breeds' elaborate grooming can help them make an impression, compared to relatively what-you-see-is-what-you-get Labs.
Heidi Kellerman, who breeds both Labrador and golden retrievers, feels the very qualities that endear them to pet owners might not get them points in shows.
"A Lab and a golden retriever are truly the dog you can live with," Kellerman told the AP. "I think maybe it's taken for granted." Taken for granted by show judges, maybe -- but not by the thousands of Americans that consider their Labs to be members of the family.