Labrador Retriever | Ultimate Guide | Breed Information
Labrador Retriever is considered to be the most popular breed of dogs in the world according to the number of registrations. A Labrador Retriever is very versatile, ranging from being a companion dog to a search and rescue dog. Labradors are great sniffers as well as sound therapy and assistance dogs. They enjoy jogging (health permitting), swimming, hiking, and other physically involving activities. They are intelligent and relatively easy to train. They are “easy keepers” and if not exercised, can become overweight. Labradors are excellent family dogs because they do want to be with people and do not do well as kennel dogs.
Labradors are usually happy to greet company but do tend to be protective of their families and homes. With a strong retrieving instinct, if not under proper guidance can turn into destructive chewers. Therefore, giving them a toy to keep their mouth full is a good move!
Origin: the United Kingdom and Canada
Avg Price in India: Rs.5000-RS.30,000
Breed Group: Sporting Group
Life Expectancy: 10-12 Years
Height Range: 22.5-24.5 inches (male), 21.5-23.5 inches (female)
Weight Range: 65-80 pounds (male), 55-70 pounds (female)
Colors available: Black, chocolate, or yellow (ranges from pale yellow(nearly white) to fox red)
Temperament: Friendly and Active
Good for First-time Owners: 3/5
Since Labradors are very friendly, they easily get along with new owners and are easy to train.
Energy Level: 5/5
These dogs are super-energetic always reading for stamina-consuming activities like hiking or hunting.
Exercise Needs: 4/5
Since they are naturally very energetic, they require lots of exercises every day or else can adapt to destructive behavior. They need at least 40 to 60 minutes of exercise a day.
Affection level: 5/5
Labradors are protective about their families and those around them but are usually happy to greet people.
Kid Friendly: 5/5
Labrador Retriever has low aggression and is outgoing and intelligent. Hence they’re great with children.
Ease of training: 5/5
With high energy levels and look out for activities, Labradors are easy to train.
Tendency To Bark Or Howl: 3/5
Labrador develops obnoxious levels of barking and other destructive and undesirable behaviors if he is untrained or unsupervised.
Amount of Shedding: 4/5
They shed copiously throughout spring and autumn seasons as well as with monsoons around the corner.
Protection ability: 3/5
Retrievers are friendly even to strangers, which makes them lack protective ability as compared to other breeds.
Grooming needs: 1/5
Labradors are easy-to-take care of and do not require fancy grooming regimes.
It is not easy to have them in an apartment, but it is very much possible if you want to.
Adaptability: Score: 5/5
Potential of weight gain: Labradors love to eat. Treats can be an essential aid in training, but giving too much can cause obesity.
Wanderlust Potential: 3/5
Labradors as a breed are exploratory. They often follow both people and pleasing scents for food. Therefore, they can often “vanish” pursuing something interesting and become separated from their owners. Hence a bored labrador can turn into an escape artist with the right stimuli.
The ancestors of the present breed of Labradors are said to have originated in Canada. The breed St. John’s water dog, that emerged through ad-hoc breedings by early settlers of the island in the 16th century is said to be the founding breed of the Labrador. Later on, being brought to England, they were “the Labrador” after the geographic region as they were ‘retrieved’ from the Labrador Sea. The dogs were known for their agility, speed, and a keen sense of smell. In the early 20th century, they made their way back to North America and were imported by American sportsmen who admired the dogs for their adaptability and work ethic all of which lead to a surge in breed’s popularity.
Labrador retrievers are solid and sturdy. They have a strong body, are almost square in appearance with sturdy legs. Their body structure can make them seem larger due to its sturdiness. Weights range from 38kg for a large male to 25kg for a smaller female.
Labradors are easy to recognize due to their drop ears, broad head, and large and expressive eyes. The thick but relatively short and water repellent double coat and the well known “otter tail” are considered to be the trademarks of the breed. The thick and sturdy tail and the feet with long skin between the toes aids Labrador in swimming. Colour can range from black through chocolate to a red/yellow or even almost white.
The Labrador retriever is considered to mature moderately fast, reaching adult height from 6 to 12 months.
Hip and elbow displacement and malformation are major critical health concerns with Labradors. Eye diseases such as cataracts and PRAs are also common. Heart diseases, an orthopedic problem called osteochondrosis, panosteitis (growing pains), epilepsy, and allergic skin disease are some of the other health conditions which may originate.
Labs often visit vets because of eating something inappropriate. It’s not unusual for Labradors to undergo multiple surgeries to remove hand towels, toys, and other items they’ve swallowed.
Cancer is also common in middle-aged dogs. While getting a puppy, ask the breeder about the lineage and any known illness. Remember that your new puppy requires protection from obesity and eating inappropriate objects.
2.5 to 3 cups of high-quality dry food divided into two meals will help keep track of your dogs diet and prevent obesity.
Note: Diet of a dog depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. An eye-test and a hands-on test will help you check if your dog is following the right diet. Looking down at him, you should be able to see a waist. Place your hands on his back and thumbs along the spine, spreading your fingers downward. You should be able to feel its ribs without having to press hard. If you can’t feel the ribs, the dog needs a diet check and more exercise.
Brush your dog at least once or twice a week. Since Labradors shed a lot, brushing will prevent more hair from lying around the house over furniture and clothes.
Labradors love to get wet. Bathing your Labrador with fresh water to remove chlorine or salt, which can on drying damage the coat, is a good option.
Just like humans, moisture can infect dogs too. Moisture can increase the probability of ear Infections. Therefore, ensure that ears are dried thoroughly after a swim or shower and use a vet-recommended ear-cleaner.
Trim his nails in every few weeks, and brush his teeth regularly for oral care and good overall health.
Wipe your dog’s eyes and clean its ears. Use mineral oil and cotton balls and, be careful not to get it in your dog’s eyes while applying.
Apply flea and tick preventative to complete your dog’s grooming ritual. If you are grooming your dog monthly, then this is a great time to remember to apply flea and tick preventative.