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! After all, the Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog breed in America.
The American Kennel Club registers over 100,000 Labrador Retrievers in the United States every year, and that’s not even talking about all those Labs that go “unregistered” by the vast majority of dog owners. So, if you’re not at least somewhat familiar with what one of these guys looks like, we suggest you ask your neighbor on each side of your house or apartment if they own one because chances are they might!
Because these guys are super popular and so many folks have found that the Labrador Retriever makes for a great family pet, this does not mean 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.
Labrador Retriever Fast Facts
Country of Origin: Canada/UK
Original Purpose: Water retrieving
Height: 21.5 to 24.5 inches at the shoulder
Weight: 55 to 80 pounds
Dog Breed Classification: Sporting Group
Life Span: 10 to 13 years
Origin of the Labrador Retriever
Even though most Americans would like to think that the Labrador Retriever was originally “created” in the United States, the truth is that this guy is from Newfoundland, Canada. There, he was bred by the local fishermen from the small water dogs that were once abundant in that region. But this is where things get a bit confusing because while the breed was first developed in Newfoundland, the species disappeared from there over time.
During the mid-1800s, many of these dogs were brought back to England, where they became quite popular. Especially after 1899 when the first yellow Lab appeared mixed in with a litter of black labs. And as you can imagine, that first yellow Lab became quite popular. It is so popular that it is not believed that all modern yellow labs are descendants of this first recorded yellow Lab of 1899!
It was also right around this time…
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. English hunters used The earliest Labs as Gundogs to retrieve fowl during a hunting expedition. They were generally black. Only much later, Labradors of different colors were bred – Yellow Labs, Golden Red Labs, Chocolate-colored Labs, and so on.
The Kennel Club of England registered it 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. The Labrador Retriever remains the most popular dog breed in the United States, the U.K., and many other countries.
The Labrador is a mid-sized dog that rises from 21.5 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 daily. Otherwise, he can get bored.
Labs come in three colors:
- And chocolate.
They have a short, water-resistant double coat, which is soft and hard on the outside. They are supremely athletic, powerfully built dogs and have a muscular body. Labs are great-looking dogs with sharply defined faces, strong jaws, expressive brown eyes, and folding ears.
There are some differences between the Labradors bred in the United States and those born in the U.K. Those born in the U.S. are smaller, lighter, more active, and more energetic than their British counterparts.
Temperament and Personality
The Labrador Retriever has a beautiful temperament. He is intelligent, friendly, and outgoing, and he gets along well with anyone, including strangers and other dogs. He is perhaps the most pleasant of all dogs. Plus, labs are generally less affected by separation anxiety than other dogs. However, training and socializing a Lab Puppy as early as possible is essential.
Great Family Dog, Yes…But Labradors are hot, warm, friendly, cheerful creatures that make perfect family pets. But you wouldn’t want a Lab to be your Guard Dog or Watchdog cause there is a risk that he might start wagging his tail at a burglar trying to break into your house if he were to offer him a treat or pat him on his head!
Field Labs vs. Show Labs
Two types of Labradors are 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. Feld Labs are more rambunctious, while Show Labs are calmer. If you have small children, bringing a Show Labrador home would be better.
Labrador Retriever Training
Labradors are very easy to train. They are brilliant dogs 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.
Potential Health Concerns
Labradors are healthy, energetic dogs with a life expectancy of 10 to 13 years. They are prone to obesity, so watching what they eat and how much they eat and ensuring they get enough exercise is essential. So, Labs are vulnerable to specific inherited health problems and other disorders such as…
- Hip dysplasia (H.D.),
- Eye scheme,
- Retinal dysplasia,
- Hereditary cataract,
- Retinal pigment epithelial dystrophy (RPED),
- Elbow dysplasia,
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy.
And while many of these conditions may not be life-threatening, they can become quite expensive, 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 to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.
Now, will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?
No, probably not. 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.