It’s statistically proven that Americans love the Labrador Retriever — since 1992, they have been the most popular dog breed in the U.S. The medium-sized dogs are known for their thick, weather-resistant coat, “otter” tail, and human-oriented personality. Who doesn’t love a Lab?Turns out, the elite Westminster Dog Show. Since its inception in 1877, the Labrador breed has never won Best In Show.
And not only have they never won, but they’ve never even made it past the Sporting Group. Going into this year’s show, which starts today, Labradors are once again the underdogs of the competition with odds set at 450-to-1 of winning, according to the Wall Street Journal.
One reason for their unpopularity in the competition could be their lack of a longer coat and quick gait, two things that usually catch the eye of a judge, writes the WSJ’s Ben Cohen. Their personalities are equally un-flashy, as Labs characteristically do not vie for the spotlight with their human handlers.
Others blame the high standard of the Labrador breed set in 1994 by the Labrador Retriever Club. Dogs at the Westminster competition are not compared against one another, but against their breed standards. The Labs in particular are known for their rigid appearance guidelines, and can be disqualified for a number of minor traits including: having a pink nose, deviating a half an inch or a pound from the desired height/weight range, or having a tail that curls or is deemed too long or short.
50-four Labradors will be strutting their stuff for the judges this year in Madison Square Garden’s ring for Best in Breed this Tuesday. The winners of the Sporting Group and Best In Show will be announced later that same day.
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