The Labrador Retriever is currently the most popular dog breed in the U.S., according to the American Kennel Club. This breed is well known, not only as a family companion but also as a versatile working dog. Many Labradors today excel in disability assistance (including therapy), detection work, search and rescue operation, show competition, and sports.
This breed’s gentle, friendly, and easygoing nature makes it a good dog to be around people. A lot of Labrador owners can attest to how remarkable this breed can be, as a loving and devoted companion. Read on to learn more about the Labrador.
Labrador Retriever Dogs and Puppies
What is a Labrador Retriever?
The beautiful and easily recognizable Labrador Retriever has proven a lot to gain such a wonderful reputation. Is this the dog breed you’re looking for? Find out more in this article.
Where does the Labrador Retriever come from?
The Labrador Retriever come from Newfoundland, Canada, and was originally used as a gun and retriever dog. The breed may have been the descendant of the St. John’s dog, which was crossbred with the Newfoundland and other small water dogs in the area.
Labradors (or their ancestors) may have started working with the local fisherfolk in this northeastern Canadian island as early as the 1700s.
Some wealthy Englishmen took notice of the retriever dog variety from Canada and had some of these dogs imported from Newfoundland to England. These dogs were developed to be gun dogs because of their ability in waterfowling. The modern Labrador Retriever breed is considered a descendant of this line of gun dogs.
What does a Labrador Retriever look like?
The Labrador Retriever is a medium-sized breed (leaning towards large) with a strong and well-balanced stance. Even if the Labrador conveys an aura of strength, it’s not at all fierce or intimidating. In fact, it always wears a kind and friendly expression.
This breed has a distinctive two-layered, water resistant coat, which is perfect for its role as a retriever dog. The double coat protects the Lab from the cold, as it wades into the water to collect game. The top coat is sleek, short, and straight. While the undercoat is soft and dense. Colors come in the shades of yellow, chocolate, and black.
The Labrador Retriever’s uniquely webbed toes allow them to swim efficiently. This breed also has a distinctive ‘otter’ tail, which is thick at the base and tapered at the tip. This tail serves as a rudder as they swim.
This breed’s height and weight:
- Male – 22.5 to 24.5 inches, 26 to 36 kg
- Female – 21.5 to 23.5 inches, 25 to 32 kg
Breed standards indicate a Labrador Retriever should have:
- A broad head
- Brown or hazel eyes surrounded by dark, pigmented rims
- A black or brown nose (can be faded but still pigmented and not thoroughly pink)
- Strong and powerful jaws
- Folded ears that hang close to the head
- A strong haunch, which allows them to leap into the water easily
According to the American Kennel Club, “The Labrador Retriever is a strongly built, medium-sized, short-coupled dog, possessing a sound, athletic, well-balanced conformation that enables it to function as a retrieving gun dog.”
What is the Labrador Retriever like?
Labrador Retrievers have very pleasing personalities. And this is why they make such terrific companions. They’re kind, friendly, even-tempered, and get along with almost everyone—adults, children, other pets and animals, even strangers.
Because of their eager-to-please attitude, they’re quite responsive to training. Moreover, they’re intelligent and adaptable. They can follow instructions effectively, and can also complete tasks through their own initiative. Labradors can work efficiently as guide dogs, detectors and trackers (they have a great sense of smell), and rescuers (they can swim well).
Few things owners should know about the Labrador Retrievers:
- They have a huge appetite.
- They’re playful and energetic.
- They thrive in athletic activities.
- When they’re bored (and lack exercise), they tend to be destructive, and may chew on stuff.
- They love to swim.
- They are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia.
Labrador Retrievers, in short and simple words, are:
Are Labrador Retrievers good guard dogs?
No, they’re not good guard dogs and watch dogs.
Labrador Retrievers are bred to be family companions, as well as working dogs. They’re good-natured and eager-to-please—traits not exactly ideal for a guard dog. Aggression among dogs of any breed is mostly undesired, but guard dogs need to have an intimidating streak to function effectively. This breed is simply too easygoing and friendly to be a breed of guard dogs.
What is the lifespan of a Labrador Retriever?
The average lifespan of a Labrador is 10 to 12 years. But some Labs live longer than 12 years and some, sadly, can’t even reach 10 years.
It’s not like owners can control when their pets die. But they can do something to contribute in potentially increasing the lifespan of their dogs. Here are some of them:
- Do a good background check on the puppy’s lineage. See if the line has a satisfactory health history and a longer life expectancy.
- Give pets adequate exercise.
- Feed pets some homemade dog food. Kibbles and canned dog food can contain harmful and unnecessary ingredients.
- Visit the vet for occasional checkups.
- Give pets the necessary vaccines.
When can a Labrador Retriever be trained?
Eight-weeks-old Labrador puppies can already be trained. But owners must remember puppies this age can’t handle a lot of training. Simple and fun training activities will do at this point.
Owners can keep a puppy training schedule to track if their puppies are at the right age and stage of their training. They must also remember to use positive reinforcement methods in training Labrador Retrievers.
How much do Labrador Retriever puppies cost?
Labrador Retriever puppies from well-known breeders can cost USD $1,000 (even much more). Opting to adopt puppies can cost considerably less, at around $300 to $400.
Expenses keep coming once the puppy has been acquired. But the cost of owning a dog hardly ever matters if you truly love having your pet around.
Are Labrador Retrievers hypoallergenic?
No. The Labrador Retriever isn’t considered hypoallergenic. This breed sheds moderately, but tend to shed more than usual in the fall (when it prepares its coat for winter) and spring (when it sheds off the winter coat).
Take note that no breed is completely non-allergenic. But some dogs shed relatively less than most breeds and are considered hypoallergenic dog breeds.
What are silver Labrador Retrievers?
The appearance of silver Labrador Retrievers caused some stir among dog enthusiasts. Many of the kennel clubs today just acknowledge Labradors with coats in the shades of yellow and brown, and black.
Silver or gray Labradors may have been the result of crossbreeding. Some of them may have simply been born with a diluted color. The silvery or grayish shade may just be variants from the colors common in the breed.
Learn more about the Labrador Retriever in this video from Animal Planet:
Good-looking, intelligent, lovable, with a pleasant disposition, it’s no wonder the Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog in America. But this breed is not exactly for everyone. A Lab is energetic and playful and needs daily exercise. Some people are simply not just up for this. But if you are, it is very likely that you would find this breed an amazing pet.
What are the qualities you like most about the Labrador Retriever? Share your thoughts with us by writing a comment in the comment section below. Read more Dog Breed Journal posts. Click here.
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