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Breed Labrador Retriever
  • Breed Group
    Sporting Group
  • Temperament
    Active, Warm, Outgoing, Loyal, Gentle
  • Personality
    • Height21.5-24.5 inches
    • Weight55-80 lbs
    • Lifespan11-13 years
    • EnergyHigh
    • GroomingLow
    • SheddingHeavy

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever Facts and Best Dog Food - NutriCanine

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.

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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.

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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.
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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. 

Hereditary Myopathy 

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

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.   

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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. 

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Why NutriCanine Is Great For Labrador Retrievers

  • Best Dog Food for a Labrador Retriever Puppy (1-4 years)

    The best dog food for your Labrador Retriever puppy will be high quality and nutritionally complete to ensure they grow into a healthy adult. Labradors will typically reach their full adult size around 12 months old. When choosing the best dog food for your Labrador, it can help to understand the special needs of this particular breed. For example, Labradors are prone to certain health conditions, including elbow and hip dysplasia. Choosing a dog food that contains well-sourced protein, nutrients, and a proper amount of fat will help in the development of healthy bones and joints. It’s also important to consider dog food that is free from any fillers and artificial ingredients, which can help reduce the risk of feeding allergies. The best dog food for your Labrador puppy will support healthy growth and consider the breed’s health concerns.

    As your Labrador puppy is still in the process of development, another factor to consider is the consistency of their dog food. Your Labrador will have an easier time digesting soft dog food as opposed to hard dry kibble. NutriCanine’s nutrient-dense and easily digestible meals are developed by a dog food formulation specialist for an incredible flavour and texture that your Labrador puppy will love. Our dog food recipes offer complete and balanced nutrition for your pup, with human-edible animal proteins and our unique blend of highly digestible fruits and vegetables. All our dog food recipes are freshly prepared with no hormones, no antibiotics, and no artificial preservatives, colours or flavours.

  • Best Dog Food for an Adult Labrador Retriever (5-7 years)
    When selecting the best dog food for your adult Labrador, it’s important to ensure their nutritional needs are met without going overboard on the calories. As Labrador Retrievers are prone to obesity, high-quality and well-balanced dog food is essential to maintain a healthy body weight. The ideal dog food for your Labrador will include lean protein such as poultry and fish, low-moderate fat content, wholesome ingredients, and plenty of vitamins and nutrients. At NutriCanine, we will take the time to learn about your Labrador and create a customized meal plan for their unique nutritional needs. Our dog food recipes come pre-portioned and ready to serve for a mess-free mealtime! NutriCanine dog food recipes are freshly prepared with real, human-edible, locally sourced ingredients.
  • Best Dog Food for a Senior Labrador Retriever

    Once Labradors reach seniority, their energy levels begin to slow down considerably. It’s important to feed your Labrador dog food that contains high-quality ingredients and is low in calories and fat. Due to the fact that Labradors have a higher risk of obesity it’s crucial that their diet is tailored to their age and health needs. NutriCanine’s raw dog food recipes are specially formulated to accommodate your senior dog’s nutritional needs; however, our gently cooked line might be easier for an older dog to transition to if they’re not accustomed to fresh dog food. Our fresh dog food comes in a variety of delicious recipes that your Labrador will absolutely love, including high-quality proteins like chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, and chicken and salmon.

    There are numerous health benefits when feeding your Labrador a diet of real, fresh dog food. With complete and balanced nutrition from NutriCanine, you’ll start to see health benefits in your senior Labrador, including improved digestion, fresher breath, more stable energy levels, reduction of allergies and intolerances, brighter eyes, fresher breath, cleaner and whiter teeth, a stronger immune system, a thicker and glossier coat, less flatulence, and firmer stools, to name a few. Our dog food recipes offer complete and balanced nutrition for your Labrador, with human-edible animal proteins and our unique blend of highly digestible fruits and vegetables. All our dog food recipes are freshly prepared with no hormones, no antibiotics, and no artificial preservatives, colours or flavours.

  • Best Dog Food for an Overweight Labrador Retriever
    Labradors are prone to obesity. It is therefore important for owners of the breed to maintain a close eye on their weight and calorie consumption. Proper exercise is important and dog food that’s low in calories. There are numerous health benefits when feeding your Labrador a diet of real, fresh dog food. With complete and balanced nutrition from NutriCanine, you’ll start to see health benefits in your Labrador, including improved digestion, fresher breath, more stable energy levels, reduction of allergies and intolerances, brighter eyes, fresher breath, cleaner and whiter teeth, a stronger immune system, a thicker and glossier coat, less flatulence, and firmer stools, to name a few. NutriCanine dog food recipes also come pre-portioned, making it easy to track and control your Labrador’s calorie intake.
  • Best Dog Food for a Labrador Retriever with a Sensitive Stomach
    Selecting which dog food to feed your Labrador with a sensitive stomach is made easy with NutriCanine. Our gently cooked dog food recipes are specially designed to meet your Labrador’s nutritional needs. With a variety of protein-forward recipes to choose from, a great starting point is our gently cooked beef recipe as it would respond well to your Labrador’s sensitive stomach. This unique blend contains antioxidant-rich berries and highly digestible rice, the perfect formula to strengthen your Labrador’s immune system while reducing any allergies and intolerances. NutriCanine’s meals are freshly prepared with real human-edible, locally sourced ingredients. NutriCanine’s dog food is always free of hormones, antibiotics and preservatives.

Top 10 Facts About Labrador Retrievers

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NutriCanine Meals

Raw

NutriCanine raw recipes contain a unique blend of highly digestible fruits and vegetables. Our raw recipes offer complete and balanced nutrition, ideal for all dogs of all ages and sizes. The transition to raw tends to be easier for younger dogs and high energy dogs.

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Gently Cooked

NutriCanine gently cooked recipes are great for all dogs including picky eaters, sensitive stomachs, or senior dogs with brittle teeth. Our recipes are safe enough for humans to eat but specially designed to meet your dog's nutritional needs.

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