The Labrador Retriever is one of the friendliest dogs that you may find in the world. It is a type of hound which was developed as a helping dog at first. Its helpfulness remained firmly fixed in its DNA and it still serves to help people in various needs. They were originally used by fishermen for hauling various things and heavy loads.
Today they have a multipurpose and even have a use to help the handicapped. You can also see them in a lot of dog shows and competitions due to their intelligence. But they even have a more noble purpose and that is to be rescue dogs. Finally, as their name says, they are good in retrieving stuff which is useful during hunting and they help their owners and retrieve the prey which is being hunted.
The Labrador Retriever is a very popular dog in many countries. It is the top dog in popularity in the US, Canada and the UK. Besides being called a Labrador Retriever people also call it just a Labrador or simply a Lab.
Labrador Retriever History & Origins
The Labrador Retriever originates from the islands of Newfoundland in today’s Canada. In order to create the Lab that we have today the settlers of the area used the St. John’s water dog and crossbred it with a mastiff. The St. John’s dog was actually a breed which was also created by the settlers of the area but its background is not familiar. It is thought that they used some random breeds from ones that they brought from England, Ireland and Portugal. The idea was to create a working dog that will help them pull out nets from the water and retrieve things for their masters.
Mixing this breed with a mastiff, probably brought to the island by some Portuguese settlers, resulted in two breeds, the Greater Newfoundland and the Lesser Newfoundland. The latter will become the forefather of the Labrador Retriever that we have today. You can also see it from the coat markings which the breeds share as the Lesser Newfoundland had a shorter coat and also had a medallion on his chest, which can also manifest in some Labrador breeds today.
Characteristics & Temperament
The Labrador Retriever is probably one of the most good-natured dogs that you will find. It has a loveable personality and is very cheerful. Some would say that this dog looks as it is always smiling. The Labrador is friendly, eager to please and very outgoing and makes for a perfect pet and a great family dog.
It is fairly easy to train one but it is still important to do it properly. Labrador Retriever dogs have an inherited working mentality, which means that they have a lot of energy that they need to expel. If you do not train the dog from early age you will have problems with it when it gets older. So make sure to provide the dog with a lot of things to do. They need activity, both physical and mental, and that way you will create a well-rounded dog.
They are highly intelligent and are a great dog to hand out with your kids. They will protect them if needed and will create a relationship with their masters and families. There are some variations on the activity level for individual dogs. Some will be very rowdy while others will be more relaxed. This depends on the personal characteristics of an individual dog.
Appearance, Colors, Size
The working dog Labrador Retriever is a medium-sized dog. The male Labradors will grow to somewhere around 22.5 to 24.5 inches in size and weigh about 65–80 lb. Females are usually 21.5 to 23.5 inches tall and weigh about 55–70 lb.
There is a difference between Conformation and Field Labradors. The former ones are a bit stockier and shorter and were bred as medium sized dogs. The latter, on the other hand, have a lighter frame and are longer. Confirmation ones have a fuller face while the Field Labradors have a longer nose. Both of them have a long coat with straight hair. The tail is very broad and strong. They still have a characteristics of a water dog and you can see that on the webbed toes on their feet which makes them very good swimmer. Their coats are also waterproof, which helps them additionally while swimming.
The Labrador Retriever comes in one of three given colors, black, or a solid black type, yellow, a hue somewhere between cream to fox-red, and chocolate, which is medium to dark brown. There are also ones that have a silver color, but the purity of those Labradors has not been confirmed and are still not according to standard.
Labrador Retriever Health
There are no formidable issues with health of a Labrador Retriever that you have to think about. The breed is relative healthy and it has been established that their lifespan is 12 years. But, some have managed to last up to 19 years. This means that there are some instances where health varies.
There are still some inherited issues that can harm a Labrador and they also have problems with obesity. The conditions that you have to watch out for include elbow dysplasia, luxating patella, progressive retinal atrophy, retinal dysplasia, hereditary myopathy, some autoimmune diseases and deafness.
Obesity is another thing that you have to watch out for. Labradors like to eat, so without a proper diet and a lot of exercise you run the risk of allowing your dog to have nutritionist problems. Make sure that you watch how and what they eat.
Grooming & Shedding
Depending on the climate and where you keep your Labrador Retriever, the breed will shed differently. Actually, they tend to shed moderately all year round, but will always have two larger shedding periods per year. They shed considerably and what they make up with their good nature they lack with the amount they shed.
Due to their heavy shedding, you will have to groom your dog as much as you can. Daily brushing is necessary to remove the dead hair, but also keep the coat nice and neat. Bathing is also necessary once in every two months. Some would say that this is excessive but it means that the coat of your dog will be fairly nice and it will make your dog smell good. Brushing your dog’s teeth is needed two or three a week while trimming the dog’s nails is supposed to be done twice a month, at least.
Labrador Retriever Price and Breeders
The availability of a Retriever Labrador has grown in modern times. Because it is one of the most popular and numerous types of dogs, there are breeders found in all the major countries. Canada, UK and the US are the leading ones that offer quality dogs of this breed. But if you want to get one of your own you will still have to pay a sum between 800 USD and 1,200 USD, depending on the background of the dog.
Labrador Retriever Rescue
Various rescue organizations exist today and can help you find a Labrador Retriever. Its popularity and it being one of the most gentle and lovable dog in the world makes it also the most desirable one. If you have a need to get one but do not know if it will cost you too much, try to adopt or save one. National Labrador Retriever Club, Inc. deals directly with this and you may try to ask them about getting your own Labrador Retriever this way.