Conformation Certificate

The Conformation Certificate
Revised January 2005

Offered by The Labrador Retriever Club, Inc.

The Conformation Certificate offered by the Labrador Retriever Club, Inc. is a non-competitive conformation evaluation program open to all Labrador Retrievers, including spayed and neutered dogs.

A Conformation Certificate will be awarded to any Labrador Retriever over (1) one year of age that passes a conformation examination sanctioned by the LRC, Inc. and officiated by an approved American Kennel Club conformation judge or provisional for the the breed.

Labrador Retriever specialty sweepstakes judges or Sporting Group judges for American Kennel Club events are also eligible to officiate. Labradors will be judged in accordance with the Standard and it is hoped that exposure to such evaluations will help to promote an awareness of desirable Labrador Retriever breed type.

The evaluation should demonstrate that a dog possesses the basic attributes of a Labrador Retriever. The Evaluation Sheet contains nine (9) conformation and temperament categories for a judge to consider on a numerical basis.  Each dog will be scored in each category using the one (1) through three (3) point system described.

To receive a Conformation Certificate a dog is required to have a total score of eighteen (18) or better and demonstrate in the mind of the judge a sixty-five (65) percent likelihood of conforming to the characteristic as described in the Standard. To assist in determining if a dog is worthy of receiving a CC, a judge should consider the following:

  A. Does the dog possess the basic attributes of a Labrador Retriever?
  B. Would the dog under examination exhibit a majority of breed characteristics?
  C. Would the dog under examination be excused for lack of merit?
  D. Does the dog possess any disqualifying characteristics?

         General disqualifications apply, such as: freedom from lameness, blindness, deafness or change by artificial means. Dogs noted to possess a disqualifying fault shall not receive a Conformation Certificate. Disqualifying faults should be noted on the score sheets and all score sheets must be returned to the Labrador Retriever Club, Inc. Program Coordinator. 

         Dogs that have not passed a Conformation Certificate examination at a prior event are eligible to participate in subsequent evaluations unless disqualifications are noted at three separate examinations by any combination of three different judges. Participants should be aware that, like the Working Certificate, not all dogs entered will qualify for a Conformation Certificate. 

         The Conformation Certificate is not an official title, but should be considered an accomplishment similar to the LRC, Inc. Working Certificate. It is an opportunity for owners of Labrador Retrievers who are not interested and/or familiar with competitive conformation events to have their dogs evaluated and recognized as having basic Labrador Retriever conformation characteristics. 

         Conformation Certificate examinations are designed to be held in conjunction with performance events such as hunt tests, field trials or agility and obedience trials. An unofficial Premium List should be sent to prospective participants, however additional participants may be allowed to enter at the time of the event if they choose. While the program is under evaluation, The Labrador Retriever Club, Inc. will be solely responsible for conducting all Conformation Certificate evaluation events. A fee to cover judge's expenses or the cost of arranging for this event may be charged.

A special note to judges: 
         The Labrador Retriever Club, Inc. urges all judges to reread the Standard of the breed carefully before each event. Conformation Certificate judges should consider carefully those unique characteristics that define a Labrador Retriever when making CC evaluations. Judges are required to sign an Affirmation Statement. Like a dog show, judges should faithfully and impartially take on this task. Copies of the Standard will be available for judges and participants before evaluations begin. 

          Judges are free to conduct the examination of dogs by any means they so desire and, as a means of education, should be prepared to give a verbal explanation of their decision to each handler if requested and time permits. Should a judge feel more comfortable with conducting the evaluation in a traditional show ring setting, adopting the same movement patterns, participants must be prepared to comply with this format. Judges are free to conduct examinations as formally or as informally as they like. However, dogs' names and breeding should remain unknown to the judge until after the event. We urge that judges keep the event casual and, if appropriate, make suggestions to handlers so they show each dog to its best advantage. 

         Overall, this should be a less formal event than a licensed dog show. Casual clothing for handlers and judges is appropriate. When an evaluation is held in conjunction with a hunt test or field trial consideration will be given for animals that may have just performed in the field and handlers need not change clothing.


Participants whose dog has passed a Conformation Certificate evaluation will receive a Conformation Certificate from the Program Coordinator. As this is not an AKC official title it cannot be included as part of your dog's official name, but it can be listed as an accomplishment. Upon verification of qualification, a certificate will be issued. 

Conformation Certificate Program Coordinator:
Nancy Brandow