Now, we have to admit that we here at IndulgeYourPet feel a bit silly writing this article about the Labrador Retriever because let’s face it, if you’re not at least “vaguely” familiar with the Labrador Retriever dog breed, you probably don’t like dogs all that much!
The Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog breed in America. In fact, the American Kennel Club registers over 100,000 Labrador Retrievers in the United States each and every year, and that’s not even talking about all those Labs that go “unregistered” by the vast majority of dog owners.
Again, if you’re not at least somewhat familiar with what one of these guys looks like, we would suggest that you might want to ask your neighbor on each side of your house or apartment if they own one, because chances are they might!
Just because these guys are super popular and just because so many folks have found that the Labrador Retriever makes for a great family pet, this does not mean that owning one will be a good fit for you. This is why in this article we wanted to take a moment and discuss what it might be like to own a Labrador Retriever so that if you’re thinking about making one your own, you’ll have a better idea if that’s going to be a good decision or not.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!
Labrador Retriever Fast Facts
Country of Origin: Canada/UK
Original Purpose: Water retrieving
Height: 21.5 to 24.5 inches at shoulder
Weight: 55 to 80 pounds
Dog Breed Classification: Sporting group
Life Span: 10 to 13 years
Origin of the Labrador Retriever
Where does the Labrador Retriever come from?
Despite the fact that most American’s would like to think that the Labrador Retriever was originally “created” in the United States, truth is, this guy is from Newfoundland, Canada.
It was there that…
He was bred by the local fishermen from the small water dogs that were once abundant in that region. But this where things get a bit confusing because while the breed was first developed in Newfoundland, over time, the breed pretty much disappeared from there.
During the mid-1800’s many of these dogs were brought back to England where they became quite popular. Especially after 1899 when the first yellow Lab first appeared mixed in with a litter of black labs. And as you can imagine, that first yellow Lab became quite popular. So, popular that it is not believed that all modern yellow labs are decedents of this first recorded yellow Lab of 1899!
It was also…
Right around this time that the Labrador Retriever first became known as the Labrador Retriever, thanks to the efforts of the second Earl of Malmesbury and the sixth Duke of Buccleuch who developed the breed standard for the Labrador Retriever.
The earliest Labs…
Were used as Gundogs by English hunters to retrieve fowl during a hunting expedition. They were generally black in color. It was only much later, when Labradors of different colors were bred – Yellow Labs, Golden Red Labs, Chocolate-colored Labs and so on.
Was registered by the Kennel Club of England in 1903. He was brought to America in the early 20th century and was an instant hit with dog owners. This breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1917.
Today the Labrador Retriever remains the most popular dog breed by far in the United States, the UK and many other countries.
Physical Characteristics of the Labrador Retriever
The Labrador is a mid-sized dog that rises to a height of 21.5 inches to 24.5 inches. He is a very active dog and requires a lot of exercise. He needs someone to play with him for at least a few minutes every day, otherwise he can get bored.
Labs come in three colors:
- And chocolate.
They have a short, water-resistant double coat, which is soft on the inside and hard on the outside.
They are supremely…
Athletic dogs, that are powerfully built and have a muscular body. Labs are great looking dogs with a sharply defined face, strong jaws, expressive brown eyes and folding ears.
Now there are…
Some difference between the Labradors bred in the United States and those bred in the UK. Those bred in the U.S. tend to be smaller and lighter, more active and energetic than their British counterparts.
Temperament of the Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever has a wonderful temperament. He is smart, friendly and outgoing, and gets along well with anyone, including with strangers and other dogs. He is perhaps the most sociable of all dogs.
Labs are generally not affected by separation anxiety as much as other dogs. But it is important to train and socialize a Lab Puppy from as early as possible.
Great Family Dog, Yes…But…
Labradors are very warm and friendly, cheerful creatures that make for perfect family pets. But you wouldn’t want a Lab to be your Guard Dog or Watchdog…
….Because there is a risk that he might start wagging his tail at a burglar trying to break into your house if he was to offer him a treat or pat him on his head!
Field Labs vs. Show Labs
There are two types of Labradors bred in the United States – Field Labs and Show Labs.
There is a lot of difference in personality and temperament between Labs bred as show dogs and field dogs. Field Labs tend to be more rambunctious while Show Labs are calmer. If you have small children, it would be better idea to bring a Show Labrador home.
Labrador Retriever Training
Labradors are very easy to train. They are very smart and intelligent dogs and are capable of learning any new trick. They are always eager and enthusiastic about learning new things. They are responsive to the trainer’s commands and always look for ways to impress their owner or trainer.
Labrador Retriever Health Issues
Labradors are very healthy, energetic dogs and have a life expectancy of 10 to 13 years. But they are prone to obesity, so it is important to watch what they eat and how much they eat, and to make sure that they get enough exercise.
Also, Labs are vulnerable to certain inherited health problems and other disorders such as…
- Hip dysplasia (HD),
- Eye scheme,
- Retinal dysplasia,
- Hereditary cataract,
- Retinal pigment epithelial dystrophy (RPED),
- Elbow dysplasia,
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy.
Many of these conditions may not be life threatening, they can certainly become quite expensive to deal with particularly if they become recurring issues.
This is why…
We here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.
Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?
No, probably not. But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?
For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.