If you are considering getting a lab learn all about Labrador characteristics before you adopt one. The Labrador retriever, also known as Labrador or “Lab,” is among the most popular pets in the world and makes our list of best dog breeds.
Most people choose a lab due to its positive character traits such as reliability, trustworthiness, dependability, and the reputation of being a great family pet making our list of best dog breeds for kids.
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Labrador retrievers are naturally very sociable and they form strong bonds with their owners. However, they need a lot of mental stimulation and exercise.
Further, they can be over-bouncy and enthusiastic. Many people associate them with a huge appetite for food. If you are planning to adopt or buy a Labrador retriever, the information below is for you.
Labrador Retriever History
The Labrador retriever was introduced in the 1500s in Newfoundland, Canada. The Newfoundland dog breed was bred with small water dogs to create a new breed known as the Lesser Newfoundland or St. John’s Water Dog.
Fishermen loved the St. John’s Water Dog because it could jump into the icy water and catch the fish that fell off the hooks.
The breed lived in Newfoundland until the early 1830s, when it was exported to Poole, England. The Earl of Malmesbury liked the qualities of this breed and moved with it to the country.
In England, it was developed and refined, possibly with the flat-coated retriever input, into the Labrador retriever we know today. By the 1870s, the dog was very popular in all parts of England.
As the name suggests, the Labrador retriever was selected and bred for its exceptional retrieving abilities in the water.
British soldier and sportsman Colonel Peter Hawker claimed that the dog was smaller than the English Pointer, with a long head and nose, and a deep chest.
He also claimed that it had a short smooth coat, was more black, and was adept at swimming. In 1899, the yellow Labrador retriever came into being. The Kennel Club recognized it in 1903 and the American Kennel Club recognized it in 1917.
Duck hunters were among the people who used the dog due to its ability to work in all kinds of weather and various environments.
The intelligence of this dog and the desire to work with men have made it a popular pet. Further, it excels as a guide and service dog, scenting dog for customs, arson task force, and military dog. People use it for search and rescue, sports, and hunting.
Labs possess many endearing traits, such as ease of training, intelligence, and being great family companions. They mature moderately fast to reach an adult height within 6-12 months and fill out within 2 years.
Here is what you should know about this breed.
Labrador retrievers are strongly built medium to large dogs. Therefore, before buying one you should ensure that your garden and home have enough space to accommodate a large and lively pet.
A fully grown male will weigh around 65-80 pounds and measure 22-24.5 inches. A female will weigh 55-70 pounds and measure 21.5-23.5 inches.
Labrador retrievers come in three different colors, which are chocolate, black, and yellow. According to the Kennel Club, the correct colors for Labradors are wholly black, liver/chocolate, and yellow.
The colors of the yellow breed range from red fox to light cream.
Labrador Retriever Lifespan
Labradors are among the dog breeds with a long lifespan. On average, a Labrador can live for around 10 to 14 years. Keep in mind that the color of the dog you choose plays an important role in the lifespan.
A chocolate Labrador will live for around 10-11 years.
Personality of Labrador Retriever
The Labrador retriever is a sweet-natured breed. This breed is usually outgoing, friendly, and eager to please. In addition to the winning personality, the dog is easy to train due to its exuberance and lots of energy.
Due to their high food drive, food rewards at the end of every training session will help them learn very fast. Naturally, Labradors are working dogs.
Therefore, they need both physical and mental activities to stay happy.
How Much to Feed a Labrador
Labradors love food and are likely to put on weight if you provide them with inappropriate food or more food than they need. So, you will have to feed your lab nutritious food right from puppyhood to adulthood.
Research the food carefully and consult your vet if you are in any doubt. Provide the dog with 2.5 to 3 cups of quality dry food per day – divide it into two meals.
If you find you have a fast eater you may want to try using a slow feeder dog bowl.
Grooming a Labrador
While labs are low-maintenance dogs, grooming is important. Like many other dog breeds, they need weekly grooming to keep their skin and coats in the right shape.
Regular grooming will also prevent excessive fur shedding, which is common with Labradors.
Labrador Health Issues
Generally, Labrador Retrievers are healthy dogs, but like all other breeds, they are prone to some health conditions. They mostly suffer from heart disorders like (TVD) tricuspid valve dysplasia, epilepsy, hip dysplasia, and hereditary myopathy.
The dogs also face eye conditions, such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy. As a Labrador retriever owner, you have to be aware of another condition known as (EIC) exercise-induced collapse.
Large, deep-chested dog breeds are also known to develop bloat, which is a life-threatening stomach condition.
Living with a Labrador Retriever
Labs love their owners. They, therefore, love living and sleeping indoors close to their owners. Also, they like getting outside to play and they should never be left unattended for a long time because they can prove their naughty side.
They can dig and chew, so you will need many sturdy chew toys. If properly trained and introduced, a lab will get along with all other pets in the home, including small animals, cats, and other dogs.
The dog is bred for retrieving in shooting fields and therefore it has many special important qualities. For example, the dog has a gentle mouth that can carry delicate items carefully.
Furthermore, the urge of this dog to pick up items and carry them is strong. The scenting ability is extraordinary.