Other Names: Labrador, Lab
Dog Group Kennel Club: Sporting (AKC) Gundog (KC)
The Labrador Retriever is a large, powerful-looking dog with a blocky head, drop ears, a sleek, short coat, and a strong tail.
The short Lab coat is very dense and repels water, protecting the dog from chill. Coat colours include: jet black, pale to deep chocolate, and yellow, which can range from cream to russet.
Weight: 55 – 75 lbs
Average Life Span: 11 – 13 yrs
They need a lot of exercise. Unexercised they may be forced to alleviate their energy and boredom by turning to destruction. They are also known to love their food, and can put weight on easily, therefore this needs to be monitored. Ask your local vet for advice.
Labrador Retrievers are very intelligent and are easy to train. Training should be gentle and consistent. Early socialisaton with animals and people is required as with all breeds.
Weekly brushing is required to remove dead hairs and keep the coat healthy.
The Labrador Retriever is a loving, affectionate, lovable, patient dog. Highly intelligent, loyal, willing, and high-spirited. Lively and good-natured, they love to play, especially in water – for they love to swim. They have an excellent, reliable, temperament and are friendly, superb with children and equable with other dogs. They crave human attention. A good watchdog, but not a good guard. Labradors are known for their complete lack of aggression. They really just love people too much.
Labrador Retriever Issues
Bloat (gastric torsion), though not a hereditary condition, frequently affects many breeds including the labrador. This is a very serious condition. When a dog bloats, the stomach can turn and block, causing a build up of gas. Unless treated quickly, bloat can be fatal. Signs of bloat include futile attempts to vomit and to salivate. Bloat, which may lead to cardiovascular collapse, usually occurs when exercise too closely follows eating. The incidence of bloat may be lessened by feeding adult dogs twice a day and, of course, by allowing a dog time to digest before taking him for a run in the park.
Hip dysplasia, a malformation of the hip joint resulting in a poor fit between the head of the femur bone and the hip socket. This condition can be alleviated by surgery, at some cost to dog and owner. Because dysplastic dogs often produce dysplastic puppies, buyers should ask if both the sire and the dam of the puppy in which they are interested have been rated clear of hip dysplasia. Do not take yes for an answer without seeing a certificate, and ask for a copy to take to your veterinarian.
Elbow Dysplasia : Due perhaps to improper development (different growth rates) of the three bones making up the elbow, the joint is lax or loose and in mildly affected dogs leads to painful arthritis. Treatments involve surgical correction if possible, or medical management using aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs.
Cataracts: As with humans, dogs can get cataracts, but the presence of cataracts in young dogs, called juvenile cataracts, have a hereditary foundation. Cataracts are diagnosed by means of an ophthalmoscopic exam. If the dog is in good health, cataracts can be surgically removed with usually good results.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): is a family of diseases all involving the gradual deterioration of the retina. It is diagnosed by a retinoscopic exam or by means of an electroretinogram (ERG). Early in the disease, affected dogs become nightblind and lack the ability to see in dim light; later on daytime vision also fails. As their vision deteriorates, affected dogs adapt to their handicap very well, as long as their environment remains constant. Certain breeds are affected early in life, whereas in other breeds, PRA develops much later in onset.
Ear Infections: Because of their floppy ears and their love of swimming, Labradors can be prone to ear infections. Not all Labs get them, but many that do can be chronic about it. It is important to check your Lab’s ears regularly. The ear should be light pink or flesh-toned and clean, and there should be no odour coming from the ear or the ear canal.
Allergies: in dogs usually involves the skin but can also involve the ears, nose and other parts of the body too. The reasons can be many and it is difficult to pinpoint the underlying causes. Often it is a question of a reaction to some food or additive to the food formulation. Flea bites are a major problem with many dogs. When confronted with skin allergies, first, check for flea bites. Dogs are very sensitive to them and often mutilate their bodies by chewing the area, trying to get some relief. The best allergy test is intradermal skin testing, which is usually done by a veterinary dermatologist. It is possible to test for inhalant allergies using blood testing, but this is not yet considered to be as accurate as skin testing.
Labrador Retriever History
The Original Labradors were black dogs bred for water work, including collecting fish that fell out of the nets and retrieving waterfowl. These dogs originated in Newfoundland, Canada. In order to avoid confusion with the larger, heavy-coated Newfoundland dog, he was called the Labrador. The Labrador frequently accompanied fisherman across the ocean to England where they became a popular sporting dog. At one time Labradors were only black, now yellow has become more popular as has chocolate. They still remain one of the most popular breeds of dogs.