Labrador Retriever Dog Breed
Aliases: Lab, English Retriever, St. John\'s Dog, Black Water Dog
|Life Span:||10-12 years|
|Litter Size:||8 puppies|
|Group:||Sporting Dog, Gun Dog|
|Recognized By:||CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR|
|Color:||Black, Yellow, Chocolate|
|Male Height:||22-24 in (56-61 cm)|
|Male Weight:||65-80 lbs (27-36 kg)|
|Female Height:||21-23 in (53-58 cm)|
|Female Weight:||55-70 lbs (25-32 kg)|
General info courtesy of terrificpets.com. Additional information about this breed can be found on their website.
|Living Area:||Labrador Retrievers do not do well without some kind of yard for exercise. Urban apartments will work only on the condition that you can walk or otherwise exercise your dog on a regular basis. Suburban homes or even rural areas are usually the best in terms of space in order to keep your lab healthy. Rural areas with readily-accessible bodies of water (rivers, lakes, beaches or even ponds) are the best of all.|
The Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular and easily-identifiable dogs in the world. The dog is reasonably large, standing at about two feet at the shoulders and with an extremely heavy and muscular body. Labs have floppy ears, longish noses, long legs relative to their stocky bodies, and distinctive otter-like tails that help them to steer their bodies when swimming. They come in three basic color variations--chocolate, black, and yellow--with a wide variety of shades and hues within those basic colors, anywhere from a foxlike red to a nearly-white shade of lemon.
The Laborador Retriever\'s coat is short and hard to the touch. The coat is sometimes slightly waving across the dog\'s back, but is otherwise straight. Labs have a distinctive insulating undercoat of soft fur.
The Labrador Retriever, contrary to its name, most probably arose from the St. John\'s Dogs used for fishing in Newfoundland. The St. John\'s Dog would go out with the fishermen in their boats and retrieve distant lines or nets of fish, hauling them back to the boat. These early purposes for the dog are the most likely reason for the waterproof coat, rudder-like tail, high endurance, and love of swimming seen in the Labradors of today.
In the late nineteenth century, however, some of the St. John\'s Dogs were brought to land and trained as gun dogs for aristocratic hunting and retrieving. The more refined dogs became known as "Labrador Dogs" in order to distinguish them from the larger Newfoundland Retriever, developed for some of the same purposes.
The popularity of the newly-christened Labrador Retriever as a gun dog and sporting aid led to the breed spreading worldwide, and today the Labrador Retriever is a highly-recognized and distinctive breed in thousands, if not millions of homes around the globe.
The Labrador Retriever is a very active, excitable dog, bred for hunting and swimming and overall energy. This can make it an excellent family pet, and largely accounts for the breed\'s popularity--but it can also make the breed into a handful and a real challenge for inexperienced dog owners who don\'t know how to train and handle large, active dogs like the Lab. Although Labs are wonderful dogs once their owners understand how to deal with them, they can be the worst nightmare of people who think that a few pats on the head, a walk now and then, and lots of treats to keep the peace are a viable strategy for owning a dog of this breed.
Labs are extremely friendly. This can be a very good thing--it\'s easy to introduce your Lab to a new person without lots of barking or aggressive behavior--or a very bad thing--since the eighty-pound Lab will often express his or her friendliness by jumping on that same new person, sometimes even knocking them down. Although Labs are highly intelligent, they often get a reputation for being fools of the canine world due to their overexuberance and even hyperactivity. Labs also remain mentally immature for the first three years of their life, exacerbating the problem of their overfriendliness considerably. Careful training can get these intelligent dogs to think twice about their actions, however, and can make them "safe for company."
Labs also do fairly well with children, but you should be careful when allowing children to play with a Labrador Retriever--although the dogs would never knowingly do harm to any member of their "family", they can sometimes knock down and unintentionally harm a smaller child. As a rule, you shouldn\'t let children play with Labrador Retrievers without supervision until the dog\'s training is complete and the dog is well out of its puppy years.
Anyone who tries to use the Lab as a guard dog will likely be disappointed: although Labs can be moderate barkers in some situations, the breed is far too friendly and far too non-agressive to be effective at patrolling a property or running off strangers. Labs\' habit of barking can make them good watchdogs in some situations, but often at the cost of good socialization with family members.
Thyroid Disease - Medium Risk
The Labrador Retriever ranks #71 among all breeds for autoimmune thyroiditis prevalence. While this is not a high risk breed, there is still a good chance of disease transmission through breeding. Therefore, all dogs intended for breeding should be tested first.
|Rank Among Breeds||Number of Dogs Tested||Percent of Dogs With Disease|
You can download the full report (on all breeds) by the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. Here
Other Health Problems
Although generally healthy, Labrador Retrievers are still prone to the same hip and joint problems that plague most large dogs hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. They are prone to a few eye disorders as well Progressive Retinal Atrophy being the most serious. They also have large appetites and a tendency toward obesity which needs to be carefully checked by owners in order to keep the Lab generally healthy.