He's a great upland dog. Amazing nose, ranges out to about 60 yards, does a very thorough job hunting the terrain, understands how to work running birds and keep them in gun range-and he is enough of a gentleman to point and hold the birds until everyone is ready to flush and shoot. In addition, he is the local go-to dog for Canada geese hunts (they are his favorite). He loves the water and is a strong swimmer.
As far as desire to retrieve? He would rather retrieve than eat, which is saying quite a bit for a lab.
I have hunted him with pointers and shorthairs, both foot dogs and horseback trial dogs. He doesn't go as fast, or out as far-but I get to watch him work, and I don't need a beeper or GPS collar to find him. And he finds and points birds after the other dogs have run through the area....
To me, it is a simple matter of preference-do you want a pointer or a flusher? Otherwise, a lab is a lab-look for the best bred litter you can afford. Both my dogs have FC-AFC sires and titled dams....one is an MH, and one a JH who is a working guide's dog (who's parents are a MHR MH and a littermate to a NAFC-FC and a bunch of other FC-AFC dogs).
Some labs point. Get over it