Surely, one of the most popular dog breeds in the world is the Labrador Retriever. Labrador Retrievers are extremely loyal and sweet-tempered dogs that live to serve their family. Labradors, like their ancestors, are still good-natured and hardworking dogs. Today, they are mostly used as retrievers for hunters, assistance dogs, dog show competitors, and much more. This dog is also known as a Lab. They are muscular and athletic dogs with short coats, keen intelligence and they possess a great amount of energy. If you are looking for a dog, Labrador Retriever may just be the perfect choice for you, but before you start searching for Labrador Retriever breeders, take your time and learn everything there is to know about this breed. This way you can decide easier if this is the right dog for you and your lifestyle.
FUN FACT: In the movie “Marley and Me” from 2008, Marley was portraited by Labrador Retriever puppy who was the main star of this movie.
21.5-24.5 in (54-62 cm)
55-80 lb (25-36 kg)
The breed originated on the island of Newfoundland and was originally called St. John’s dog. Labrador Retrievers (or Labs) were bred to help local fishermen, mostly to retrieve fish that had escaped a fisherman’s net. Labrador Retrievers are muscular and athletic people-oriented dogs.
Many people believe that St. John’s dog was bred with the small local dogs and with the Newfoundland dog. One English sportsman noticed these dogs and he imported a few Labradors to England so they can serve as retrievers for hunters. These dogs were almost extinct in the 1880s but because of the Malmesbury family members and other English fanciers of this breed, they manage to keep this breed alive. Because of government restrictions in Newfoundland, this breed disappeared at that point. Families were only allowed to keep one dog, while owning a female dog was highly taxed and because of that, they removed female puppies from litters.
This dog breed managed to survive in England as the Kennel Club recognized it in 1903. British Labradors were imported in the US during the 20s and 30s to establish this dog breed. This breed became widely popular after World War II and since then it's popularity is constantly on the rise and they are on the top of the most popular dog lists for the past 30 years.
Labs today are great working dogs in the field of detection, especially drugs and explosives, they are great therapy and assistance dogs, and remain one of the most popular retriever breeds for the hunters.
FUN FACT: The Labrador Retriever has been split into two different types of Labs – the American Labrador and the English Labrador. The American Labrador is bigger, and it was created for working purposes and the English breed was bred for dog show purposes.
Dog Breed Characteristics
Labradors are a medium-sized strong dog with an athletic build and especially strong tail. Their head should be broad with pronounced eyebrows and their jaw should be strong and powerful.
FUN FACT: Labrador Retrievers love to eat and will devour everything they find. This is why the breed is prone to obesity so anyone having a Lab should limit its treats, give it plenty of exercises and secure a balanced diet for the dog.
This dog breed was officially recognized by the FCI in 1954 and they belong to group 8 (Retrievers, Flushing dogs, Waterdogs) – section 1 (Retrievers). Ideal height for male dogs at the withers is 22.5 - 23 inches (56 – 57 centimeters) and for females 21.5-22 inches (54 – 56 centimeters).
Male Labrador Retrievers can grow up to 22.5-24.5 inches (57 - 62 centimeters) and gain 65-80 pounds (29 - 36 kilograms) and female Labs can grow up to 21.5-23.5 inches (54 - 60 centimeters) and gain 55-70 pounds (25 - 31 kilograms). They belong to the Sporting group and they were officially recognized by the AKC in 1917.
Grooming and care
They have a two-layered coat that comes in yellow, black, and chocolate color. The topcoat is short and thick, while the undercoat is soft and weather-resistant. Black coated Labs were favorite among early breeders, but over the years, yellow coated ones have become more popular. This breed sheds a lot. It is necessary to brush a Labrador as often as possible, especially when it’s shedding season. They will need a bath around every two months to keep him looking good. If your dog rolls into something really dirty, you will have to bath them more often. His teeth need to be brushed a few times a week to remove built-up tartar and to secure good and healthy gums. Trim their nails as needed and check their ears regularly for any redness, wax buildup, or bad odor which can indicate an infection. Because Labs are prone to ear infections you should clean their ears after every bath, swimming or any time your dog gets wet and that will help prevent infection. To be sure that your adult dog enjoys and is patient with all this stuff, you will need to start with these things while it is still a puppy so it has enough time to get used to it. If you make it a positive experience with loads of praises and awards, you can be sure that your dog will enjoy these grooming activities when it grows up.
FUN FACT: Ear infections are common in this breed, so you must check your Labradors' ears weekly. After checking them, wipe them out with a cotton ball ear cleaner to help prevent the infections.
Because of their sweet and calm nature, and the fact that they learn fast, these dogs are often used as therapy and/or rescue dogs, whose primary purpose is to help people. They are trained to serve as guide dogs for blind people, or as service dogs for handicapped people and people with special needs. Because of their excellent sense of smell, these dogs are also used for hunting purposes or for helping the police (they can smell out drugs easily).
FUN FACT: Russian president Vladimir Putin had Labrador Retriverd named Konni.
Labs are very energetic dogs that require a lot of daily exercise to be happy and healthy. If you don’t provide your dog with enough exercise he can become hyperactive and destructive. What this dog breed loves the most is swimming and retrieving. They make a great hunting companion. You mustn’t over-exercise your puppy. They are considered “workers” and they will exhaust themselves so it's up to you to say when the playing time is over. If you over-exercise your puppy he can develop joint problems later in life.
Labs are great competitors in canine sports such as obedience, agility, dock diving, and tracking.
FUN FACT: Many famous people owned this dog including Bill Clinton, Kevin Costner, Drew Barrymore, Anne Hathaway, Mary Kate Olsen, and many more.
Labrador Retrievers are a very friendly breed that socializes well with other dogs and humans, including children. They are playful and energetic. One of their favorite amusement is swimming. Labs enjoy the water and everything connected to it. Many people think that because they are so good they don’t need socialization and that is completely wrong. As with all the other dogs you will need to start to socialize your dog while he is young because a small cute puppy will soon be grown up and if not raised right, you will not like his behavior. Luckily, these dogs excel in obedience training. You will need to expose your dog to a variety of situations including different people, places, and sights so that your dog will get experience and get used to it. If you are a new dog owner and don’t know how to properly train and socialize your dog we advise you to search for an expert who will show you the best methods that will work for you and your dog.
Like all other retriever dogs, they like to carry something in their mouth and that they can chew stuff. That is important that you secure him with chew toys if you don’t want him to chew your furniture. If you let them alone for too long they can become destructive and start to dig or chew things. They are very devoted family dogs that need to be included in all family activities if you want them to be happy.
Lab and kids
This dog breed is excellent with kids. They will enjoy doing everything with them. It's not uncommon to see Lab dog wear a party hat at the child's birthday party. But no matter how this dog is good-natured you will still need to teach him how to act around the kids – and most important you will need to teach your kids how to play and interact with the dog. With all that you can be sure that they will get along and enjoy each other's company.
Labrador and other dogs
If this dog is exposed to many dogs and other animals from the puppyhood he will get along with all of them. By nature, they are not aggressive so it is not a hard job to teach them to be good around other dogs and animals. They especially love other pets in the household if they are raised together from the start.
Labs are generally healthy dog breed with a life expectancy of 10-12 years. They are prone to some health problems that every new dog owner should be aware of. These dogs are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, eye conditions including progressive retinal atrophy (an eye disease that includes the gradual deterioration of the retina. At the begging of disease dogs become night blind and as the disease progresses they will lose and their day vision), hearth disorders, hereditary myopathy (affects muscles and the nervous system. The puppy that is diagnosed with this disease will always be tired and stiff when he walks. In some cases, he could even collapse after exercise. Because there is no treatment to this disease only thing you can do is give your dog rest and keep him warm), gastric dilatation-volvulus (bloat), ear infections (because Labs love water they are prone to ear infections), cold tail (it is a common disease to Labs and other retrievers), etc.
Because these dogs are prone to some health problems you can perform a few health tests to be sure that he is healthy – hip and elbow evaluation, ophthalmologist evaluation, and EIC DNA test.
These dogs are also prone to obesity and that’s why its extremely important to train your dog regularly. You need to pay attention to the correct amount of food you are giving to your dog. These dogs usually have a big appetite and if you let them they will eat more than is good for them and their stomach. Also, you need to be careful with the number of treats you are giving your dog. If you want to be sure that your dog is not obese you should be able to feel his ribs but you should not be able to see them. This is the easiest method to check if the dog is obese.
Exercise-induced collapse can occur when the Labrador is young. The DNA test will allow breeders to identify carriers. With these results, they will plan their breedings so they could avoid producing this disease.
If you are looking to buy a Lab puppy, make sure you buy it from reputable Lab breeders who can guarantee you that the dog is free of genetic diseases and that it has sound temperament. Many people are breeding Labrador (which explains why is there so many of them), but not all of them are responsible and/or authorized by proper authorities. Labs vary depending on what breeder you choose. Some breeders aim to breed a perfect Lab for working purposes, others want to get as close as possible to the ideal Lab look, so the dog can compete in dog shows. Some of the breeders aim for both.
These are great companions that will fit into any family as long as they are giving love and attention to the dog. No matter if you are the first time or an experienced owner this dog breed is for everyone. Devote your time and socialize and train your dog from the puppyhood and we assure you will in return get an obedient dog who will enjoy spending every minute with you and your family.
World Dog Finder team