No matter how much someone knows about dog breeds, they usually know when they are looking at a Labrador Retriever because this breed has distinctive physical characteristics and is also known as one of the best all-around breeds in the world. They love to work as much as they love to play, so people of all ages usually love their Labs.
Labrador Retrievers are direct descendents of the Newfoundland and were originally bred to swim and retrieve fish for their owners. This is why they are known as some of the best swimmers in the world today and why some of their physical characteristics are perfect for moving quickly both on land and in the water.
The Labrador Retriever has many distinctive features, most of which make it a fantastic swimmer. Their strong hind legs and powerful, broad chest are a few of the things that make them excellent runners and swimmers, but you always know when you are looking at a Labrador Retriever when you see the otter-like tail. It is thick at the base and allows these dogs to swim even faster because it acts like a rudder in the water.
As far as size goes, the Labrador Retriever is considered a large breed. Males grow to be just about 2 feet tall and can weigh anywhere from 70 to 80 pounds. Females are usually a couple of inches shorter than males and end up weighing between 55 and 70 pounds.
Thanks to Imperial K9s Labrador Retrievers for the images used on this page.
Labrador Retriever breed information:
Labrador Retrievers have a short outer coat and a soft, thick undercoat. The undercoat does a great job of protecting this breed's skin, while the outer coat allows them to move through the water very easily.
There are three colors that Labrador Retrievers can come in: black, yellow and chocolate. Black labs are the most common, but any of the three colors can be found in any Labrador Retriever litter.
While Labrador Retrievers can end up being one of the best all-around family pets out there, it also takes a lot of work on the owner's part to get them to that point. These are very highly active dogs that need to find ways to use their high amounts of energy. This is why it takes an owner who knows how to work with this type of breed to get the most out of them.
One of the things that many people don't know about this breed is that Labrador Retriever puppies can bark a lot and they're also quite a bit more messy than most other breeds. This is because even at a young age they have a ton of energy and will use it in any way that they can. A good thing for potential owners is that they learn quite quickly when taught the right way, so these bad habits can pass, though most Lab puppies will bark and be excitable no matter what type of training they get.
Labrador Retrievers are loving towards children, but because of their size and playful nature, parents should make sure that they don't allow this breed to get too crazy around the young ones. They can knock them over on accident and can hurt them purely because of their large size. Of course, a well trained Labrador Retriever will know to stay under control when playing.
Labrador Retrievers are rarely aggressive with dogs or other animals, but owners should still be careful when introducing them to other animals. Because of their playful nature, they will try to approach anything that they think they can play with, which can be a problem if they approach an aggressive breed.
Labrador Retrievers were not bred to be guard dogs, so owners should not expect to get much out of them in this area. They might bark when a stranger comes to the house, but that it more out of excitement than a protective response.
As long as Labrador Retrievers get all of the exercise and attention that they need every day, it is okay to leave them alone in the house for short periods. Of course, they love being around their favorite humans, so it's not uncommon for Labs to let out their frustrations on furniture if they are alone for too long.
There are very few breeds around today that can outperform a well trained Labrador Retriever, but a lot of work must be put in to get them to that point. They are the types of dogs that really enjoy jumping up onto people when they want to play, so owners have to teach them at a young age that they need to be more gentle. When they get to be full-size, they can definitely hurt people and other animals if they continue this behavior.
It is much better to use positive reinforcement when a Lab learns something rather than punishing them when they do something wrong. Repetition can go a long way towards getting a Labrador Retriever fully trained, so owners have to be patient and will to wait a while for something to click in a Lab's head. Once a training connection is made between a Labrador Retriever and his or her trainer, the whole training process becomes a lot easier.
While it is okay to give a Lab a small treat every once in a while when they learn a new command, it's not something that they should get every time they do something right. They are prone to obesity when overfed, so it is better to use verbal and physical (petting) praise when training this breed.
The Labrador Retriever is one of just a few big breeds that have a ton of energy, so it is vital that owners schedule the time to take them on multiple walks or jogs every day. If they don't get this type of exercise, they will try to use that pent up energy in other ways, which could result in a destroyed house.
Labrador Retrievers are smart dogs, but they think they are puppies until they are around 3-years-old. This is nice when you are in a playful mood, but it also means that they don't realize how strong they are. Helping them to work off that energy will help to keep them calm around the house and will keep them from jumping up on people.
Labrador Retrievers are fantastic swimmers and they usually love the water, so it is a good idea for owners to find a way to get them to some body of water to retrieve or to just swim. It is a good idea to ease them into the swimming process when they are young so they are apprehensive once they get to adulthood.
One of the best bonuses with Labrador Retrievers is that they don't require as much grooming as other breeds because they have a coat that will do a lot of the cleaning for you. Of course, they will need a bath every once in a while to keep them fully clean and healthy.
Labs have a coat that seems like it doesn't even need to be brushed, but owners should brush them at least once a week to keep dirt and parasites off of their skin. Of course, this also helps to keep their shedding around the house to a minimum.
Other than regular grooming needs that all breeds need, owners should pay particular attention to their dogs' ears. They are susceptible to ear infections, so checking them at least once a week will lower the chances of them having any type of ear injury.
Labs are pretty healthy dogs considering how active they are, but they are prone to a few ailments. The most common health problems that they face are hip and elbow dysplasia. This is not surprising considering how much and how hard they run around throughout their lives. These ailments can be avoided if their workload is reduced as they get older.
For the most part, Labrador Retrievers live between 10 and 12, but there are many cases where they surpass those ages.
Who Should Own a Labrador Retriever:
It may seem like a Labrador Retriever would be the perfect dog for just about any person or family, but it is very important that they have at least one owner who has a lot of energy to be able to keep up with this breed. Someone who can take them on multiple walks a day is vital, but they also need someone who can run around with them and take them to a body of water every once in a while.
While it isn't totally necessary for owners to have experience training this type of breed, Labrador Retrievers do work best with someone who is willing to be patient and knows how to slow-train a very energetic dog. It is totally okay for them to be take to professional trainers, but owners who are willing to learn for themselves how to train their Labs on the fly are great matches for this breed.
Who Shouldn't Own a Labrador Retriever:
Labrador Retrievers are very active no matter if they are inside or outside, so people with smaller living spaces aren't the best match for this breed. They are okay in medium-sized houses with backyards, but anything smaller than that and there is a high chance that a Lab will break things around the house.
Owners who are away from the house a lot and/or don't have much time to spend walking and training their dogs are not good fits for this breed. There aren't many breeds that would be good matches for these types of people, but this is especially true when it comes to Labrador Retrievers because they have so much energy and have a need to socialize.
Labrador Retrievers are amazing animals, but the best ones are those that get the proper training and outdoor time throughout their whole lives. Labs are some of the best looking dogs around and are very playful to boot, so it's so surprise that their popularity continues to rise.
Labrador Retriever Breeders