It’s hard not to love the Labradors: they’re big, friendly and full of life! Originating in Newfoundland, not Labrador, these dogs were bred to be the smaller version of the newfie dogs as the fishermen needed them to retrieve fish, pull small fishing boats through icy water and help in any task involving swimming
The breeders created a dog that loved to swim, had great stamina and has strong haunches to jump into the water. Since the name Newfoundland was already taken, they named the dog after the see they worked in: Labrador Sea. From there it was taken in England and the breed was developed as we know it today.
Like all retrievers, the Lab has webbed paws and these natural flippers make him the strongest canine swimmers around. His tail is otter-like – thick at the base and strong, acting like a rudder under water. The slightly oil layered coat keeps him warm, helps him float and it’s also drip-dry. Labs come in thee colors: black, chocolate and yellow. Black is most common and most successful in competitions. Yellows come next and they are the most popular labs as police dogs. Chocolates are the rarest. They have soft mouths: a well-trained Lab can carry a raw egg without breaking its shell. They have a unique ability to learn so you don’t have to be the best trainer in the world. You just have to make an effort and the dog will meet you half way and try to do the rest.
If you think of raising a Labrador, there are some things to take under consideration: although they can be wonderful adult companions, as puppies they are the mouthiest dogs. So you need to consider bite inhibition training from a very young age. They do tend to have a quite high activity level, he needs space to run, daily physical and mental challenges to keep it occupied, however; a bored Lab can get into trouble. Although robust, the Labs are prone to several genetic related health issued: hip dysplasia, retinal dysplasia (causing blind spots) and, like any athlete, they have problems with knees and elbows. The Labrador Retriever could be the most versatile god in the world. It will be a calm house dog, playful yard dog and intense field dog, all on the same day.
Life expectancy is 12 to 14 years. Grooming is minimal, but they shed moderately in the spring and fall. Labradors are athletes that adapt well in cold environments. They are very secure, comfortable, adaptable dogs. Although Labs can live outdoors in temperate climates, they are much happier indoors with their family. He is a great family dog, he loves to participate in the family’s activities. It’s hard to imagine a better dog than Labrador. Labs are easy to train and eager to please and it’s important to start training when they are young.
So, in general, Labradors:
– thrive in most environments
– although with high marks in health, they have: hip, elbow and joint problems
– are very easy to groom
– are easy to train
– are wonderful family pets.