The Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever is the most sought after dog breed of all time. They are known to be excellent companions, athletic, intelligent, and good-natured.
The Labrador Retriever is the first choice for a family dog as they are loyal and affectionate, and can be trusted around small children.
Their good character and intelligence also makes them ideal companions for the blind and physically handicapped. Labrador Retrievers are also trained to assist patients who are in therapy.
Origin & History
The modern breeds of Labrador Retrievers trace their origin from an island in Canada called Newfoundland. This particular breed of Labrador is thought to have developed from the now extinct St. John’s Water dog which was crossbred with the Portuguese Mastiff. The result was the Newfoundland breed with which the Labrador is closely related in terms of stature and temperament.
In the early 19th century, the breed was imported to England. They were then crossbred with other Retrievers, Setters, and Spaniels resulting to the modern breed of the Labrador Retriever. The ‘Labs’ became a favorite assistant in waterfowl hunting and the likes as they have excellent retrieving abilities and their coat can repel water.
Details & Specifications
The average height of typical Labrador males is around 24 to 28 inches (measured from the withers), for females it’s around 21 to 24 inches. In general, males are often heavier than females with weight ranging from 65 to 85 pounds.
Weight of females on the other hand, ranges from 55 to 70 pounds. Their coat color is either solid black, chocolate brown, or golden yellow. They are considered medium-sized breed with an athletic build.
They have muscular long necks with laid back shoulders which are perfectly perpendicular to their upper arm. This form is the reason why Labrador Retrievers have long forward reach and superior mobility in their forelegs.
Labradors rarely cause any trouble or stress with their owners. Their high intelligence makes them easy to train to perform various tasks. They are good companions to children and to persons with disabilities as they do not get too aggressive. However, this makes them less efficient guard dogs. Labradors are playful and active, therefore they should be given freedom to explore their surroundings.
Labradors are hard-headed dogs but at the same time they are also pleasers. Labradors want to be in charge at all times and when among a pack of dogs, they will usually assert their dominance.
When training the Labrador, the owner must assert dominance without showing anger, as they are keen in sensing the owner’s feelings. When the Labrador senses the owner’s approval of his behavior, he will show his pleasure in the approval by wagging his tail. Labradors have a short attention span so training should be repetitive and consistent.
Caring & Nurturing (Haircut, Fur treatment, washing…)
The smooth double coat of Labradors should be groomed regularly with a firm bristle brush. They are average shedders and should only be bathed when necessary. Most love water so there shouldn’t be any problem bathing them. However, Labradors who dislike water can be trained by praising the dog whenever they are bathing.
Labradors are energetic dogs and should be taken on frequent brisk walks. However, the owner must maintain the lead when walking. This is to control the Labrador’s assertiveness and need to dominate.
Labradors are prone to Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, Osteochondrosis (OCD,) and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA).
Food, Equipment & Games
Rubber chews and bones are necessary to improve dog’s teeth. Because Labradors are especially active and playful, durable, non-toxic chew toys are recommended.
It is difficult to control eating habits of Labradors; therefore it is necessary to give them a well-balanced diet. Labradors can be trained to eat vegetables such as broccoli and carrots. Provide them with high-calcium food as they need this for their highly active lifestyle.