Active, Warm, Outgoing, Loyal, Gentle
- Height21.5-24.5 inches
- Weight55-80 lbs
- Lifespan11-13 years
Although it may seem reasonable to assume Labrador Retrievers came from Labrador, Canada, they actually originated from Newfoundland in the early 1800s. It’s believed that Labs were used in many capacities by the local fishermen. Labrador Retrievers are excellent swimmers as a result of their webbed paws and water-repellent coat. This breed is consistently ranked as one of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S. Labs were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1917.
Labrador Retriever Appearance
The Labrador Retriever is a medium-sized dog with a sturdy physique. These dogs can grow to be 21.5-24.5 inches tall and weigh between 55-80 pounds. Labs have a wedge-shaped head, slightly pronounced eyebrows, a strong, powerful jaw and an otter-like tail.
Labrador Retriever Temperament
Labradors have a reputation for being one of the most friendly dog breeds. Labs are also characterized as intelligent, highly affectionate and sweet-natured. In addition to being wonderful family companions, Labs also excel as therapy and service dogs. Labrador Retrievers get along well with both people and other animals. These dogs are among one of the best dog breeds for children.
Grooming Your Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retrievers are easy to groom with their short-haired double coat. They have a coarse, outer coat and a dense, soft undercoat designed to keep the Labrador warm. A Lab’s coats can come in three standard colours: chocolate, black and yellow. Labradors shed all year round and typically “blow” their coat every spring and fall. Labradors should be brushed daily or at least once a week to keep their coat healthy and shiny. Labs also need regular nail trimming, ear cleaning and dental care.
Give your dog a shinier coat with fresh food
Training & Exercise for Labrador Retrievers
Early socialization and training are vital to ensure your Labrador grows into a well-behaved adult. Labs are devoted, intelligent and eager to please their owners. It’s recommended that you start with basic obedience training before moving to more complicated skills. Labrador Retrievers respond well to positive reinforcement and reward-based training.
Without enough exercise Labrador Retrievers can become hyperactive and destructive. This energetic breed needs lots of daily exercise in order to be happy and healthy. Labradors love swimming, retrieving games like fetch and brisk walks around the neighbourhood.
Health Considerations for Labrador Retrievers
The Labrador Retriever is a generally healthy breed with an average lifespan of 10-12 years. To ensure your Labrador Retriever gets the most out of these years, it’s important to be aware of some of the common health issues Labrador Retrievers are prone to, including elbow and hip dysplasia, bloat, hereditary myopathy and progressive retinal atrophy.
Elbow & Hip Dysplasia
Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is one of the most common canine ailments. It’s a genetic condition that causes an abnormal formation of the hip socket, which can eventually lead to lameness and arthritis of the joints. Elbow dysplasia occurs when a Labrador's elbow does not fuse properly during their development.
Dysplasia is typically hereditary that can be magnified by factors including excessive growth rate, age, types of exercise and improper weight and nutrition. While mild conditions can be managed with prescription medication and physical therapy, more severe cases could require surgery. To prevent or reduce the severity of elbow and hip dysplasia, it’s important to ensure your Labrador Retriever gets a proper diet and the right amount of exercise.
Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus Syndrome (GDV or Bloat)
Bloat, also known as gastric dilatation and volvulus syndrome, is a life-threatening disorder most commonly seen in large, deep-chested breeds, including the Labrador Retriever. This condition is caused when the dog’s stomach fills with air and twists. This cuts off the circulation of blood and can be deadly if not corrected. Some of the signs of bloat to be aware of in your Labrador include salivation, obvious pain, a distended abdomen and retching. Ways to prevent this condition from happening to your Labrador Retriever include encouraging slower eating, providing easy to digest dog food and refraining from exercise immediately after eating. If you suspect that your Labrador Retriever has bloat, immediate veterinary attention is required.
Centronuclear myopathy is a hereditary muscle disease found in Labrador Retrievers. This condition causes loss of muscle strength and control. Signs to be aware of in your Lab include muscle weakness, abnormal gait/ posture and exercise intolerance. Although there's no cure for this disease, your vet will be able to share the most effective ways to limit the severity of the symptoms.
Obesity can be a significant health problem in Labrador retrievers. This condition can be caused by lack of exercise or overfeeding your Labrador. Excess weight can put pressure on the joints and exacerbate other health problems. A great solution to keep your Labrador’s weight in check is to balance mealtime and provide adequate exercise.
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) occurs when the retina of a Labrador’s eye starts to deteriorate. Some dogs may experience total blindness, while others remain unaffected but can be carriers of the gene. There is currently no treatment that can cure this disease; however, you can learn to spot the signs early to ensure your Labrador continues to live a fulfilling life. Some common signs to look for include night blindness, bumping into objects and inability to follow hand signals/commands.
It’s important to monitor your Lab’s vision to detect various eye conditions early on, especially in the first years of their life. It’s recommended that you have your Labrador’s eyes checked by your vet on a regular basis.
What Makes a Labrador Retriever Unique?
The Labrador Retriever almost went extinct
Before becoming one of the most popular breeds, the Labrador Retriever almost went extinct. In the 1800s, Newfoundland put a tax on them. At the time, the government wanted to encourage people to raise sheep. Heavy licensing was put in place, which limited families to only one dog per household. These laws resulted in the extinction of the St. John’s water dog in the 1980s. However, Labradors persisted in England as hunting and family dogs.
Labradors have “gentle mouths”
Labrador Retrievers were originally bred for hunting and retrieving. They naturally have gentle jaws and soft mouths, which allows them to pick up and handle delicate objects carefully.
Labrador Retrievers are the most common guide dogs
Labrador Retrievers are one of the most popular breeds used as guide dogs in the world. Labs are loyal, intelligent and easy to train. These dogs have a strong desire to please and love having a job to do. Labradors are very versatile and can adapt to various environments.
Why NutriCanine Is Great For Labrador Retrievers
Top 10 Facts About Labrador Retrievers
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