The Labrador Retriever is a breed of dog popularly kept in many American, Canadian and British homes. Also known as ‘Labradors’ or ‘Labs’, these dogs are popular pets, and you may be considering bringing a Labrador into your home. But before you do, read up on the information below that includes everything you need to know about Labradors.
The history of Labradors
Initially, Labradors were known as Newfoundland dogs, which is a hint to where they came from – Newfoundland in Canada. Here, a new, small dog was used for retrieval and related jobs. These were the lesser St. John’s dog at first, but as they were brought to England, they became generally known as Labrador retrievers (Labrador is another region in Canada)
At first, yellow and chocolate labs did not gain acceptance and were often culled. However, as time went by, these types of Labradors became more and more common in the 20th century when they were finally starting to be registered.
The dogs are considered to be medium-large in size, with broader heads and light build. Labradors tend to shed with individual differences – some shed seasonally, whereas others shed throughout the year.
The hair is short in nature, and Labradors have strong tails along with webbed feet, which can make them out to be very good swimmers. There are two types of Labradors – show and work dogs, which differ in terms of their build and their coat.
What makes Labrador breeds?
According to most standards, these are criteria needed for a dog to be classified as a true Labrador breed dog:
- The size of the dog should be medium-large, and the length and height of the dog should be according to the breeding standards.
- The coat of the dog can either be yellow, chocolate, or black.
- A broad-set head, brown or hazel eyes, and ears that hang around the head.
- The dog should have a powerful build and strong jaws.
What work do Labradors do?
Labradors were initially bred as work dogs – and were primarily used for the role of retrieval, hence the name Labrador retriever. These dogs are highly intelligent and active, which makes them perfect as hunters, detectors, and trackers.
Because these dogs are friendly, responsible, and considered to have an exceptional ‘work ethic’, Labradors can be utilized as guide dogs, and need considerably less training than dogs like Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds. Because of their excellent abilities of swimming, Labradors are also used as water rescue dogs with lifesaving programs.
Characteristics of Labradors
The dogs are described to be kind and friendly and can do very well in families and around children. Unlike some breeds that are aloof and tend to be attached to just one person, these dogs tend to be friendly with a lot of people, even strangers – which means that they are not fit for guarding jobs, which require them to wary of new people.
And in addition to this, if you’re a multiple dog household, you don’t have to worry about bringing in a Labrador. Labradors aren’t just human-friendly, they often do very well with other dogs as well, and you can get that multi-dog house you always wanted with little friction.
Because of their high-energy personality, Labradors often need a lot of space to run, play, and have fun, making them unsuitable for a dreary apartment. However, these dogs are adaptable in their training and are suitable for people keeping a dog for the first time.
And another plus of Labradors is that they aren’t the kind to get scared of noise or sulk around when they aren’t the only ones getting attention. This makes them great dogs for families. However, this doesn’t mean they like being left alone, and may even display signs of anxiety upon being on their own.
Ease of training
Because of their high intelligence, these dogs should be easy to train, however, adult Labradors may be more difficult to train. This is why it is recommended to train them as puppies when they are highly energetic and eager to learn.
One habit of Labradors is that they tend to gnaw or chew on things, and need to be trained to not nip or bite. Labradors also happen to bark a lot by nature, and if you don’t want to be up all night because of their barking, you’ll need to train them again. Labradors are also curious and agile by nature – they sometimes can become excellent escape artists, which is why a lot of them tend to be stolen.
Ease of grooming
Labradors tend to shed a lot, which means that care has to be taken about their hair falling around the home. However, you don’t need to do much for the dog, just give them a brush and a bath every now and then and you’ll be good.
Labradors are highly playful, energetic, and excellent at retrieval. Unlike humans who tire after a single game, these dogs can play around for pretty much a whole day (which is why they need a lot of space and attention). This is why Labradors often do very well with children, who can stand in for your pup as the ‘playmates’.
They are also very excited, which means some training will be needed for them to display ‘disciplined’ behavior. Training, however, is important because as a result of their excited nature, if Labradors don’t get access to stimulants or space to play, they could become obese and be at greater risk of joint and hip disorders.
Because Labradors enjoy eating very much, they often demand food from their owners. This increased appetite in comparison to other breeds can be a problem, and so in order to prevent problems like obesity, it is important for the owner to be careful about what the dog may or may not be eating.
As a Labrador’s caregiver, you will also have to monitor his or her appetite carefully. A good idea when you are getting a Labrador is to keep a vet in the loop. This way, you can determine whether the dog is healthy, if he or she needs to have scheduled meals, or if the dog is getting the exercise it needs to stay safe.
Labradors are prone to some health conditions such as hip dysplasia, but the risk is lower compared to some other breeds. Before you get a lab, it is a good idea to consult with a vet about preventative measure and supplements. In addition, Labradors can be at risk for the development of knee and eye disorders.
How do labradors get their colors?
Labrador colors according to breeding standards are either black, chocolate, or yellow. However, other variants do exist, and some dogs may have white fur on their bodies. This may disqualify them as ‘true breeds’ but they are still technically Labradors. The interesting thing about Labrador coats is that the color of the coat is completely random.
You may actually find a couple of different colors within the same litter of labradors. This is because the coat color is decided because of complex genetics, which is completely random and hence produces litters of various coat types.
Bringing in a Labrador can be a great way to enjoy your time and bring you closer with the rest of your family, and these beautiful dogs will definitely bring something amazing to every single human they live with.