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The American Pointing Labrador Association ("APLA") is a dynamic organization, focused on the pointing Labrador Retriever and its keen abilities to hunt, point, and retrieve game birds, like no other dog can.

If you like to train, travel, and hunt with some of the best pointing Labradors in the country, then this organization is for you!

You will discover that the APLA is a national experience bringing members from all over the country together for a common purpose: the love, admiration, exhibition, and promotion of the pointing Labrador Retriever.


There are many stories from the 1940s and 1950s, as well into present time, of someone who had a Labrador Retriever for waterfowl hunting that surprisingly pointed a pheasant or quail in the upland. You may have been surprised yourself to have seen this trait.

Many Labrador Retriever enthusiasts looked at the trait as a fault that needed fixing. Some still do. In the early 1980s, a small group of hunters from Colorado, Nebraska, and Indiana were brought together because of this strong “pointing” trait they were observing in certain Labradors.

Sir Hershey of Surrey was one of those dogs that, arguably, started it all……”for making us believe”1. He, as well as a few others, will be found somewhere back in the lion’s share of today’s pointing lab pedigrees.


So in the early 1980s, these hunters organized and founded the APLA. Early testing standards were simple and straight forward. Stakes were Certified, Intermediate, and Master levels. Birds could be pheasants, chukar, or quail. Planted birds were marked with small flags identifying their location.

In the Certified level, dogs were required to demonstrate one 5 second point, and retrieve the shot bird to hand within one reasonable step. Two water retrieves, as singles, were also required, just as current rules require.

The Intermediate level required at least one 10 second point, a double water retrieve, and a double land retrieve. The dog was required to be steady for the retrieving series but not the upland series.

The Master level retrieving series required a double mark and retrieve, with the addition of a blind retrieve on both land and in water. A diversion bird was also used. In the upland, 1 pheasant, 2 chukar, and 2 quail were planted. Only one point, steady to wing and shot, was required. However, then, a remote sit may have been required by the judges at any time. That requirement may have failed as many or more dogs than all of the retriever work combined. Early on, Master dogs could catch and/or chase birds without being failed!

By the end of the 1990s and early 2000s, the organization decided to raise their standards. Flags at upland bird placements, remote sits, and the one bird pointed pass were eliminated. Master dogs could also no longer grab or give chase to upland birds. Multiple points were required in the upland field.

Over the past two decades, the popularity of the versatile “pointing” Labrador Retriever has grown exponentially. Care in quality breeding, and the fact that these dogs are now showcased in APLA hunt tests from coast to coast has helped to bring the pointing Labrador into the mainstream of Labrador Retrievers.

Today’s Pointing Labradors compete at every level. Titled APLA dogs are successfully running in other sport dog venues, achieving Mater Hunter titles (MH AKC), Hunting Retriever Champion (HRCH UKC), and Field Champion (FC AKC) as well as others.

In 2021, the APLA implemented its first annual national event for the organization. The Triple Crown, which our highest level dogs are held to a “higher” Master standard, with an increased level of difficulty in the retriever series, is held once a year on Labor Day weekend.

The Labrador Retriever has been the most popular breed in the United States for 30 years running, as of 2022. The popularity of our Pointing Labs is a sizeable part of that.

We hope we have piqued your interest. All of our test rules, organization bylaws, and a page to join this organization (as well as much more) are literally at your fingertips. We would love to have you! Feel free to reach out to the Membership Committee with any questions.


  1. From the “Acknowledgements” in The Pointing Labrador, 2001

APLA Bylaws

APLA is governed by its Bylaws.  Click the link below for the current Bylaws.

APLA Bylaws