And maybe you all can suggest more qualities I haven't considered. But here is my list (and the way I define the terms) in no particular order:
Drive (not an indifferent molecule in his/her body. Wants the retrieve more than anything else at that moment, implies intensely focused power.)
Style (see "drive" above but add a thrill to watch)
Tenacity (doesn't hold a grudge. Wants to work even after receiving a correction. Not a drama queen)
Trainability (very much connected to tenacity above... but add a genuine desire to please)
Good looks (a dog that has the chiseled labrador head and an athletic body)
Off switch (can relax when appropriate)
Solid health (obviously)
Superb marker (That part of marking that is hard-wired... the neurological eye-brain connections)
Water lover ("aquatic")
"Sagacity" (smarter than his/her handler)
I'm not sure in what order I'd put these. I am picking forum members' brains pre-emptively. One of my old boys won't be with us for much longer and I'm trying to keep my eye on the future. When the time comes I'd like to know which studs throw pups with the best assortment of the best genetic gifts.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
PS: I would hazard a guess that this is well plowed ground on this forum, but as seasons come and go, particular lines emerge as true winners. I'm not familiar with the most sought after studs... so if you have some ideas...