The Labrador Retriever (also known as lab for short) was once also known as the St John's Dogs and they are the most popular breed by registration in the United Kingdom and United states. Originating from Newfoundland, Canada they were originally used to haul fisherman's nets to shore and were brought to England in the 1800’s. The labs loving and affectionate nature make them an ideal family dog and a loyal companion for life.
The males typically weigh 30–36 kg (60-75 pounds) while females are slightly smaller at 25–32 kg (55-70 pounds). Consequently, males are taller with usual height of 24 inches while females can grow up to 23 inches.
Labrador Retrievers are further divided into two types, i.e. the American Labrador and the English Labrador. The American type is taller and lankier then their English Counterparts which have thicker and heavier bodies. In either case, the Labrador is a muscular dog that is usually longer then it is tall, has a wide muzzle and powerful neck. The labs feet are webbed making them excellent swimmers.
Labradors usually come in a yellow, chocolate or solid black color with a water-resistant double coat that is easy to care for.
Labradors are a lively, reliable and highly intelligent breed that requires a lot of attention as well as mental and physical stimulation to keep happy. They are an extremely loving, patient and affectionate breed that does well with families and children. The English type of Labrador is calmer and more laid back then their American counterparts which are basically bred as working or field dog. The field lines are much more athletic and require firm handling when around people.
Due to their trusting natures, Labs are not recommended as guard dogs although they will alert you to any unseen noise.
3. Exercise requirements
Labradors are a highly energetic breed that requires a lot of exercise and mental stimulation in order to remain happy and not become a nuisance. This is a very important factor when deciding if a Labrador Retriever is the right breed for your family. If you are not the type who can exercise your lab properly then choose another breed as they can become destructive if not exercised properly.
4. Use as work dogs
The Labrador has been extensively used as working dog in various fields throughout the world. Their high trainability, intelligence and excellent sense of smell make them ideal detection dogs in police work, Guide dogs (almost 70% of all guide dogs in the USA are labs), disabled assistance, therapy work, carting and hunting.
Labradors have a double coat which is water resistant to some degree which is a great advantage for working labs in wetter climates. Labradors are moderate shedders and a bristle brush can be used to comb the dog. More attention is required on the dogs undercoat.
6. General Health
Labradors have a live expectancy of 13 years if kept healthy by feeding well and exercising moderately. Labs have a big appetite and can easily become obese if overfed and/or not exercised properly. Some of the inherited problems include,
- Eye Problems (corneal dystrophy, cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, retinal dysplasia e.t.c.)
- Hereditary myopathy which affect muscle tissue
- hip and elbow dysplasia
7. Recommended For
English type Labradors are recommended for families with average size yards or as show dogs while American type is recommended for hunting or other field work.