Labrador Retriever - Breed Information
The Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog breed in America and for a good reason. They are loyal, affectionate and possess a playful personality that has captivated the hearts of dog lovers all over the country.
Of course, if you are looking to get a Labrador Retriever for a pet, then you have a responsibility to know as much as you can about the beloved dog breed. Doing so ensures that you can provide the best care and that the dog suits your home and lifestyle.
Labrador Retrievers belong to a group of sporting dogs that live for up to 10-12 years. They grow up to 24 inches in height and weight up to 75 pounds. Their short, straight and thick coats can be black, yellow and chocolate.
Bred to hold up against the icy Newfoundland seas, Labs are strong, steadfast swimmers who can tolerate cold water for extended periods of time, Today, these dogs have a far more extensive role, specifically in search and rescue, drug detection, water rescue, tracking. Their friendly personality also makes them excellent service and therapy dogs.
Labrador Retrievers originated in Newfoundland sometime during the 16th century. Early European settlers needed a dog that can take to the ocean and help them recover their fishing nets. As a result, they imported the St. John Water Dog (also known as the Lesser Newfoundland) - the forbearer of today's Labrador Retriever.
As more people moved to Newfoundland, they introduced other dog breeds into the region. One of them is the Portuguese Mastiff which was crossbred with the St. John’s Water Dog to produce some of the first few Labrador Retrievers in the region.
Unfortunately, the lesser Newfoundland dog breed became extinct in the 1980s due to restrictions and heavy taxes on dog ownership at the time as well as strict laws on importing animals to the UK. Labrador Retrievers, on the other hand, flourished in England thanks to the Duke of Malmesbury who took great interest in refining and preserving the dog breed to the type we see today.
Intelligent, playful and highly affectionate, Labs have among the best temperaments of all the dog types. Their gentleness is somewhat legendary as they are said to be able to carry raw eggs in their mouth without breaking them. Provided these positive qualities, Labs are ideal household dogs, providing loyal friendship to grownups and children alike.
Potential Health Problems
Because of the type's appeal, the Labrador Retriever has been overbred, which has enhanced the genetic illness to which they are predisposed. The most common issues are:
- Luxating patellas and elbow
- Hip dysplasia
- Eye problems such as cataracts and retinal dysplasia
Care and Grooming
Active dogs who are unfortunately susceptible to obesity, Labs need a great deal to maintain good health and prevent bad behavior. Owners need to spend at least an hour of daily walks, swimming or running to keep them happy. Although reasonably quiet, Labs will bark at times which can develop into annoying, excessive barking if they aren't provided with enough workout and mental stimulation.
Regarding upkeep. Labs will blow their coat seasonally but still shed continuously, so they have to be brushed once a week, ideally more frequently. The only other grooming they need is a nail trim and an occasional ear cleaning.
Check out the exclusive Labrador Retriever calendar on our store.