Iíve never suggested that Labs that point are any less capable retrievers than any other Lab. Iíve even started to think itís possible that the degree of control expected by the retriever games may be a factor in prompting the tendency.
One thing you will never see from a spaniel trainer who is concerned w/ a bold flush is stopping a dog when heís got a nose full of scent, but in the retriever world itís common to see a handler stop his dog at the end of a blind just as the dog gets down wind of the bird so he can demonstrate control before he lets the dog pick it up.
Recently, Iíve seen a number of Boykin spaniels that have been training for retriever hunt tests coming to do spaniel training and the tendency to ďpointĒ is very prevalent Ė maybe as many as 1/3 of them show at least a hesitation before flushing & some go full on staunch point. Unfortunately for them, in the spaniel games this is considered a disqualifying fault due to concern that any hesitation gives a running bird an advantage.
When you look at the pointing tendency from a spaniel trainerís perspective, itís "a bug-not a feature" and yes, it shows up in even the best lines of Field Trial Springers & Cockers. Typically, itís attributed to training error (ie. too early/harsh intro to steadiness or planting birds too tight in training, etc.) but regardless of the reason, a dog that shows any hesitation will not place in a trial thus reducing the likelihood of it being used as breeding stock for the future and yet in nearly every trial, I see a dog or 2 with some degree of hesitation.