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Explore Labradors Pointing Traits: Can They Point?

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Do Labradors Pointing

Imagine discovering that your Labrador, traditionally known for its fetching abilities, starts pointing like a seasoned bird dog. Surprised?

Many owners are unaware that some Labradors possess this unique trait, blending the best of both worlds: the Retriever’s loyalty and the Pointer’s precision.

This article delves into the fascinating world of pointing Labs, a phenomenon that not only highlights their versatility but also challenges our conventional understanding of breed capabilities.

Whether you’re a seasoned hunter or a curious pet owner, understanding this aspect of Labradors can revolutionize your training approach and enhance your bond with your dog.

Why is this important? With a rising interest in versatile hunting dogs and a continuous desire to deepen our connection with our canine companions, exploring the potential for Labs to point not only satisfies curiosity but also addresses a growing demand for multifaceted working dogs.

As you navigate through the insights and stories shared here, you’ll uncover the layers of potential lying within your loyal friend.

Do Labradors Point?

Labradors are primarily recognized for their retrieving skills rather than pointing, a trait more commonly found in breeds such as Pointers and Setters.

Some Labs demonstrate the ability to point, showcasing versatility in their hunting capabilities.

This ability is not widespread among the breed but exists in certain individuals due to genetic variations.

Selective breeding plays a significant role in nurturing this trait. The American Pointing Labrador Association emphasizes breeding programs that enhance natural pointing instincts in Labradors.

Only a few Labs carry the pointing gene, making it a unique attribute among selected individuals. Training plays a crucial role in developing these skills in Labs with the potential to point.

Pointing behavior has historical roots dating back to the 17th century, primarily for bird hunting. Labs were later introduced in America for waterfowl retrieval but some also excel in upland gamebird hunting.

This dual capability makes them exceptional in various hunting scenarios.

Not every Labrador possesses the natural inclination to point. It is a specialized trait that requires both genetic predisposition and targeted training to fully emerge.

Labs with the ability to point can effectively hunt, point, flush, and retrieve, displaying a remarkable range of hunting skills.

The Pros and Cons of Labradors Pointing

The Pros and Cons of Labradors


Labrador pointing dogs have a unique skill set that not only sets them apart from traditional Labradors but also increases their effectiveness in hunting and retrieving operations where pinpointing the location of game or objects is critical.

Their ability to point greatly enhances their value in the field, making them invaluable partners to hunters, improving the efficiency and success of hunting expeditions.

Featuring exceptional versatility, these dogs excel in a wide range of activities beyond simple retrieving. Such as taking part in competitive field trials and undertaking complex search and rescue missions, demonstrating their extensive utility.

Their high intelligence and learnability facilitate mastery of pointing and other skills with remarkable efficiency, allowing them to respond well to training and adapt to a variety of working conditions.

This adaptability is also manifested in their ability to work closely with people in a variety of roles. This includes field trials and assistance dogs, where their ability to work in sync with their handlers can be life-saving or significantly improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.


Pointing Labradors, despite their talents, deviate from the breed’s traditional role as retrievers.

This shift often sparks debate among breed enthusiasts who prioritize Labrador’s original retrieving function, highlighting the importance of preserving breed standards.

Training these Labs to the point requires specific expertise and patience. This complexity means that trainers must invest more time and resources, which could limit accessibility for some owners.

In hunting scenarios, a Pointing Labrador’s decision to point rather than retrieve can confuse. Such unpredictability may interfere with hunting strategies, emphasizing the need for clear training goals and expectations.

Pointing Labradors are rarer than traditional retrieving Labs. Their scarcity makes it harder for interested individuals to find and work with these dogs, potentially limiting the spread of their unique skills.

While Pointing Labradors offer notable advantages due to their versatility and intelligence, the challenges they present in training and fieldwork must be carefully considered.

These factors influence the decision-making process for prospective owners and trainers, highlighting the balance between benefits and challenges.

How to Train Labrador to Point?

Training a Labrador to Point

Ah, the joy of training a Labrador to point! It’s a rewarding journey that enhances the bond between you and your furry friend, not to mention transforming your Labrador Retriever into a valuable hunting companion. But where do you start? Right here.

1) The Importance of Starting at a Young Age

Training a Labrador to point begins when they’re still a puppy. This young age is when Labradors are most receptive to learning new skills. Their enthusiasm for life and instinctive curiosity make them eager students.

Begin with basic obedience training and leash walking to establish control and create a solid foundation for future learning.

Training equipment like check cords can be useful during this stage. The goal is to create a safe and positive learning environment for your furry companion.

2) The Use of Positive Reinforcements

Positive reinforcement plays a crucial role in the training process. Reward-based training, where your Labrador receives a treat, verbal praise, or a good belly rub for correctly responding to a command, encourages enthusiastic participation and consistent results.

Patience is key. Not all Labradors will grasp commands immediately.

It’s important to maintain a positive attitude, consistently reinforcing good behavior and gradually building on the skills learned.

Check out the video below to learn more information about this method:

3) The Role of Natural Interest and Instinct in Training

A Labrador’s natural interest and instinct are invaluable assets during training. Whether it’s their instinctive alertness to prey or their natural love for retrieving, these traits can be harnessed to teach the pointing technique.

Harnessing these instinctive behaviors often involves introducing your Labrador to a hunting situation in a controlled environment. This could mean using real birds or decoys for scent detection exercises or playing fetch games to stimulate their retrieving instinct.

Always ensure the safety of your Labrador during these exercises. After all, training should be a fun and enriching experience for your dog.

4) The Whistle Method, the Natural Method, and the Hold Method in Training

Several training methods can help your Labrador develop its pointing skills:

1) The Whistle Method

This involves training your Labrador to respond to whistle commands. For example, one sharp whistle blast could mean ‘stop,’ and two short blasts could mean ‘come.’

2) The Natural Method

This method involves letting your Labrador explore their environment naturally, then reinforcing the behaviors you want to see, like pointing or retrieving. It’s a slow process, but it respects the instincts of your Labrador.

3) The Hold Method

This method trains your Labrador to hold an object, usually a bird or a decoy, in their mouth without biting down. It’s an essential skill for a hunting dog to prevent damaging the game.

Training MethodsUse
Whistle MethodTeaching specific commands using whistle signals
Natural MethodReinforcing natural behaviors in a controlled environment
Hold MethodTeaching the dog to hold prey without biting down

Keep in mind that these methods are not exclusive and can be used in combination for best results.

Also, progress might be slow and challenging at times, but seeing your Labrador pointing and retrieving with confidence will make all the effort worthwhile!

Pointing Labrador Breeders

Choosing the right pointing Labrador breeder is not just about getting a pup. It’s about ensuring that your future hunting companion is healthy, well-bred, and has a suitable temperament.

So, what should you look out for in a good breeder, and who are some of the recommended ones in the field? Let’s dig in!

The Importance of Choosing the Right Breeder

A good Labrador breeder is passionate about their dogs, emphasizing health, temperament, and adherence to breed standards.

They’re committed to breeding healthy pups and preserving the unique traits of pointing Labradors. Here are a few hallmarks of a reputable breeder:

  1. Health Tests: A conscientious breeder ensures all their dogs undergo necessary health tests and is transparent about their health records.
  2. Knowledgeable: Good breeders are knowledgeable about pointing Labs. They can answer your questions about the breed’s characteristics, health issues, and training needs.
  3. Visitation: Reputable breeders usually allow you to visit and meet the puppies, and their parents, and see the conditions they are raised in.
  4. Follow-up Support: A responsible breeder continues to show interest in the puppies’ welfare even after they’ve gone to their new homes. They offer advice and support on training and health issues.
  5. Professional Affiliations: Membership in professional clubs and organizations, such as the American Kennel Club, is often a good sign of a breeder’s commitment to maintaining breed standards.

A good breeder is concerned about the welfare of their puppies. They’re unlikely to sell you a pup without asking you questions about your living conditions, experience with dogs, and how you plan to take care of the puppy.

Some Recommended Breeders

While there are numerous reputable pointing Labrador breeders out there, we recommend starting your search with the following:

  1. Kellogg Kennels: Renowned for their pointing Labradors, the Kellogg Kennels have a long-standing history in breeding these versatile dogs. They’re a great starting point for anyone interested in this specialized breed.
  2. Tiger Mountain Pointing Labs: Based in Washington State, they’ve been producing well-rounded, field-proven, pointing Labs since 1980.
  3. Highland Meadows Kennels: Located in Colorado, Highland Meadows Kennels is dedicated to breeding pointing Labradors that excel both in the field and as family companions.
  4. Black Forest Kennels: They’ve been breeding pointing Labs since the 1990s and have a great reputation for producing reliable hunting companions.


In conclusion, while not all Labradors showcase the unique ability to point, those that do offer a fascinating blend of traditional retriever skills and the specialized prowess of pointing breeds.

This combination can make your hunting expeditions or fieldwork more versatile and exciting. However, remember the commitment to training and the potential challenges you might face.

If you have a Pointing Labrador or are considering training one, we’d love to hear about your experiences.

Share your stories and join the conversation on this intriguing aspect of Labrador’s capabilities!

Daniel Rowe
Daniel Rowe
Daniel is an experienced writer who specializes in canine topics. He has gained firsthand knowledge from years of research and engagement with dogs. This has given him deep expertise in breed profiles, behavior insights, and more. Fellow dog enthusiasts recognize Daniel for his authoritative content. He is dedicated to sharing reliable and trustworthy information. He is committed to enriching the lives of dog lovers through his writing.
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