Labrador Retriever

Reliable family companion

Labrador Retriever

By Toni Grzunov - Last updated on March 20th, 2021

All You Need To Know About The Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers are one of the most well-known dog breeds in the world. Many families decide to get them as pets because of their intelligence and gentle personality. 

Labs were bred to be good working dogs, as well as friendly companions. Their original purpose was to help fishers to retrieve fish, haul nets, and fetch ropes.

Nowadays, they retained their hardworking temperament but have also been recognized as loyal and gentle. Labradors are currently the most popular dog breed in the United States. They often work as retrievers for hunters, can be assistance dogs, or even show competitors. Sometimes they are used as search and rescue dogs as well.

Fast Facts

Group - Sporting 

Height - 22-24 Inches (male) 21-23 Inches (female)

Weight - 65-80 Pounds (male) 55-70 Inches (female)

Hair Length - Short

Shedding - Moderate Shed

Lifespan - 10-12 Years

The Appearance of the Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers are medium-sized dogs that look athletic and strong. They are easily recognizable and are one of the most well-known dog breeds. Still, sometimes people can mistake them for Golden Retrievers

Labrador Retrievers, or Labs for short, are a short-coupled breed. That means their body length is equivalent to or barely longer than their height. They have a strong back and a wide loin which makes them quite flexible. 

The neck of a Labrador Retriever is long and muscular, rising in an arch from the shoulders. Their underbelly is straight, muscular, and sturdy. The shoulders of a Lab are laid-back and form a 90-degree angle with the upper arm. 

Labrador Retrievers have straight, strong legs. The tail of a Lab is thick at its base and becomes thinner towards the tip. It is easily recognizable and closely resembles that of an otter!

The eyes of these dogs are medium-sized and brown or hazel in color. They are set far apart and are kind and expressive. 

Their ears are set far back and low on the skull. They hang close to the head, similar to those of a Golden Retriever

They have a double coat, and the topcoat that is straight, short-haired, and extremely dense. It has a specific shine that will be immediately noticeable in dogs that were properly groomed. Their undercoat is water-resistant and soft.

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What colors does a Labrador Retriever come in?

According to the breed standard, the three accepted colors of a Labrador Retriever are:

  • Black
  • Yellow
  • Chocolate

Other than those three colors, you may run into a silver Labrador, although some would dispute their pureness. They are not considered an official variety of this breed. Whatever the case may be, we are certain you will love these dogs no matter the color they come in.

All about the Labrador Retriever personality

You can describe Labrador Retriever as extremely sweet-natured. They are outgoing, want to please their owners, and easily become friends with other animals and people.

They are also known to be highly intelligent. Labs have a well-developed sense of smell and can trace any scent to its origin. This is why they are often used as detection dogs by the military and the police. The brave Labrador hunts down all types of smugglers, black marketers, and terrorists!

Labradors were bred to retrieve game while hunting. They have a soft feel to the mouth and love to chew on objects often.

This breed is known to be fantastic family dogs. They are even-tempered and get along with children of all ages. They also make friends easily with other animals. If you are on the fence about getting one as your pet, there is no need. 

Still, despite making excellent pets, Labradors will remain athletic and fast. They love having fun and rarely show fear towards anything. This may require some training before it gets out of hand.

Socialize your Labrador puppy early to make sure it grows into a well-trained adult. They love to show their enthusiasm and are generally quite playful. These dogs will love retrieving a ball and will never get enough of it! Naturally, other activities such as flyball or frisbee will also make them happy.

Labradors are not noisy dogs and will rarely bark. They trust strangers, which makes them bad guard dogs.

Labs are curious, and they will enjoy following people around, asking for attention and food. Their intelligence can’t be overstated. They learn easily, and Stanley Coren ranks them as No. 7 in his book The Intelligence of Dogs. All of this makes Labrador Retrievers an ideal family dog. 

Is a Labrador Retriever easy to train?

Since they are brilliant, these dogs are easy to train. Their eagerness to please helps in that regard.

You will need to train them due to their high energy. Labs are active because of their working heritage. They require physical and mental activity to remain happy. While some Labs are more laid back than others, all require a certain degree of training.

Early socialization helps. You should expose your Lab puppy to different people, places, and situations while still young. Ideally, you want to do so between the ages of seven weeks and four months.

You should start obedience training early on, and they will grow into a well-mannered adult dog. Puppy training classes are helpful. They will be a part of the socialization process and help you correct your dog’s bad habits. 

Labrador Retrievers are intelligent, devoted, and should be included in a variety of activities. These will all help with their training.

Now that you are familiar with Labrador Retrievers’ temperament, it is about time we talked a bit about grooming. 

How much Grooming does a Labrador Retriever need?

Grooming is relatively easy with Labs, but you should be aware that these dogs shed quite a bit. It would be best if you could brush them every day, especially when they are shedding. Also, buying a high-quality vacuum cleaner is a good idea to remove the hairs that will undoubtedly appear all over the house.

Seeing how they do shed a lot, these dogs are not hypoallergenic, so they are not the best for people with allergies!

Your Lab will need to be given baths approximately every two months. This will make sure your pup always smells nice and looks clean. Since they are playful, they might end up rolling in a mud puddle occasionally. If that happens, it makes sense to bathe them more often!

You will need to brush their teeth at least twice a week to get rid of the nasty bacteria. The more often you can do it, the better since you want to avoid gum disease.

Nail trimming should be done at least once a month. If you can hear your dog’s nails clicking on the floor, that means they are too long. By trimming their nails, you will prevent them from scratching you while playing. It will also keep their feet healthy!

Ear infections are quite common with this breed, so make sure to clean them every so often. Use a cotton ball dampened with an ear cleaner and gently wipe the ears out.

It would be best if you could start grooming your Labrador when they are still young. That way, they will get accustomed to it, and it will be easier to do once they have grown! They will see this as a positive experience if you reward them each time!

The Health and Fitness of the Labrador Retriever

Just like most other large dog breeds, Labradors are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia. This is a common problem, and most dogs are screened for it while they are puppies. Getting your Lab from a reputable breeder will help you avoid this issue.

They can suffer from other health issues, including different eye problems. Some of those are PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) or blindness. Other common conditions include EIC (exercise-induced collapse) and TVD (Tricuspid valve dysplasia). 

EIC is a genetic disorder that causes some breeds to collapse after training. Make sure to visit the vet regularly to prevent any of these from occurring. TVD is a heart defect that results in incomplete tricuspid valve closure. This can cause heart failure. A vet can diagnose this disease.

You should encourage your Lab to exercise regularly. If they don’t do so, they tend to bloat. This condition happens when gases, fluids, and solids build up inside the stomach of the dog. If they can’t be eliminated, this condition can be fatal. Keeping your dog active will prevent this!

The Nutrition of the Labrador Retriever

The recommended feeding method for a Labrador Retriever is by giving it two meals daily. The amount of food depends on the dog’s size, age, activity level, and metabolism. 

You should make sure that the dog food you buy for your pet is of the highest quality. Don’t leave large amounts of food in the feeding bowl all day. Measure the amount precisely and give them two meals daily.

These dogs can grow extremely fast while young, which makes them susceptible to bone disorders. You can avoid this by feeding them a low-calorie diet with high-quality foods. This will prevent them from growing too fast.

Where does the Labrador Retriever come from?

Labrador Retrievers are the traditional waterdogs of Newfoundland. They were employed as fisherman’s mates and duck retrievers during the 1800s. English nobles discovered these dogs while visiting Canada and brought them to England.

They refined the breed during the second half of the 19th century. Labs kept the physical traits that were needed for their original purpose. Initially, these dogs were assigned to fishing boats to retrieve the fish that came off the trawl.

Their tail helped them while swimming, and it is one of their main hallmarks. The Kennel Club recognized this breed in England in 1903. The first Labrador Retriever registered by the AKC was in 1917.

5 Labrador Retriever Mixes you would like to know about*

Dog crossbreeds or mixes are sometimes called designer dogs. The name fits since you are “designing” a new dog by mating two purebred dogs. It has become popular in recent times, and more and more breeds have several noteworthy crosses we could write about.

The thing with mixed puppies is that it is hard to know which characteristics they will inherit from their parents. You should research as much info as possible on the parent breeds to understand what you can expect. This way, you will find a mix that has all of the characteristics you want and love.

Read on to see the most popular Lab mixes:

*Not all breed mixes are equal in quality! neither condones nor endorses any example of unethical and unhealthy crossbreeding. We encourage everyone to research in detail before they choose to get a crossbreed. 

Questions people often ask about Labrador Retriever

  • +Are Labs good house dogs?

  • +Do Labradors get aggressive?

  • +How often should a Labrador be walked?

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