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Life Span:~10 to 12 years
Litter Size: 5 to 9
Country of Origin: Canada, United Kingdom
Size: Male Labs typically stand, at the withers, from 22.5 to 24.5 inches and females should stand 21.5 to 23.5. The males weigh on average between 65 and 80 pounds and females should weigh 55 to 70.
Coat: Labs sport a double coat that protects from cold and wet conditions that retrievers encounter while hunting. The undercoat is soft and weather-resistant while the topcoat is short, straight, and thick. Labs come in three colors: black, chocolate or yellow. Red and polar white are variations of a yellow lab, and breeders who charge a premium for these “rare” colors are simply trying to take an uneducated buyer for a ride.
Character: The Labrador Retriever is medium in size, strong, athletic, and well balanced. They are friendly, outgoing, and possess an extremely sweet personality. There are two types of Labrador: The American, which is tall and lanky, and the English, which is more thick and heavy. This sporting breed is adept at hunting and retrieving. Labrador Retrievers are revered as companions and highly respected for their loving nature.
Appearance: The Labrador Retriever is a robust and handsome looking dog. The sturdy body is muscular with a level top-line, long front legs and a long tail. The broad head has well spaced dark eyes, triangular ears that hang close to the head, and a wide nose. The water-resistant double coat is short and sleek, and the coloring tends to be black, yellow or chocolate.
History: Labrador Retrievers originate from Newfoundland in Canada, where they were used for hauling fishing nets to shore by jumping overboard into cold waters, as well as stray fish and water birds. At the time two breeds emerged from the St. John’s Water Dog: the Greater Newfoundland and the Lesser Newfoundland. Fishermen marveled that these smaller Newfoundlands kept their can-do attitude even after long days retrieving nets from the sea, playing happily with children back when returning to shore. Eventually the breed made its way to England, and by 1903 and 1917, the English Kennel Club and 1917 by the American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed, respectively.
This very versatile breed has a range of talents including retrieving, hunting and tracking, they make good watchdogs, and they are also used by the police for detecting illegal drugs and as guide dogs for the blind. In addition to that, they make fine family pets.
Health Issues: The most well known health issues are related to the malformation of hips and elbows (hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, respectively). Eye diseases such as progressive retinal atrophy and cataracts are potential concerns. So is exercise-induced collapse, a muscle abnormality that affects the dog’s strength, stamina and movement. Other health problems that may affect the breed include heart disease, an orthopedic problem called osteochondrosis, panosteitis (growing pains), epilepsy and allergic skin disease.
Temperament: The Labrador Retriever has a strong hunting instinct and loves to roam. They are active, but calm and obedient if trained properly. Swimming and retrieving are the favorite activities of this breed, and they make good hunters on the field, and wonderful swimming companions. Regular exercise is a must to keep them fit. Labrador Retrievers are keen on learning, easy to get along with, affable types that get along well with other animals, children, and just about anyone they meet. This gregarious temperament makes them a top choice for families, but not an especially good choice for guard dog duty.
Care: Labrador Retrievers need plenty of exercise and should not be kept in a locked space. Minimum light brushing of the Labrador Retriever's coat every once in a while will keep it in great shape. Labrador Retrievers needs daily contact. Labrador Retriever puppies are easy to raise and train and should be introduced to people at an early age. Beware of overfeeding your Labrador Retriever as it is easy for them to become lazy and obese.
Training: Labrador Retrievers have energy to spare and are not well suited for couch potatoes. They are also rather large and clumsy, so apartments are not the best living arrangements for this breed. Homes with yards and lots of room to romp are the most ideal setting to raise a Lab.
Activity: This breed is easily trained. Early socialization and basic obedience are recommended. The Labrador Retriever is very strong and must be taught not to pull on their leash. They do not respond to harsh or heavy-handed methods. The Labrador Retriever needs fairness, firmness, consistency, reward, and respect. They excel in tracking, police work, search and rescue, agility, competitive obedience, guide for the blind, and as service dogs for the disabled.