Labrador Retrievers – An Amazing Breed
Once you meet and interact with a well trained and socialized Labrador Retriever you will have no question as to why this breed has been the most popular dog in North America for over 20 years.
Friendly, outgoing, loving and devoted, it is hard to imagine a better combination of personality traits. However, owning a Lab is not always easy, and these are not the right breed of dog for everyone.
While there is one breed, the Labrador Retriever, like many dog breeds, has different lines. This is particularly true with the gun dogs, and working dogs where specific breeders will breed for show as well as working dogs.
In general, working breeds are smaller and less developed for specific physical traits, rather they are bred for retriever instincts that make them ideal in retrieving downed waterfowl. The show lines are bred to standards that typically make them taller and slightly heavier than the working lines. There is also a field trial line that is leaner, longer legged and more active than the other two lines.
Overall, most Labrador Retrievers that are sold by breeders are sold as show or companion dogs, not hunting dogs or field trial lines. These dogs will be about 24 inches at the shoulder and, when mature, will weigh up to 80 pounds, with males heavier than females.
General Physical Characteristics
Labs can range in color from yellow to brown (chocolate) as well as black. The nose should match the color of the coat, as should the eyes. Chocolate labs can have hazel eyes, which is a stunning combination.
The general body shape of the Labrador Retriever is solid and balanced. The coat is flat and straight, dense and very thick. The outer coat is water resistant and can be stiff and coarse.
The head is broad and carried high, with long pendant ears, bright, alert eyes, and an overall friendly look. The tail is moderately long and thin without any fringe and is carried high when the dog is in motion. It is also constantly wagging whenever people are around.
Labs love to play and they love to please. They are easy to train but can be easily distracted. They will quickly learn what they need to do, but they can be easily bored at having to do the same thing over and over again.
Training and socialization are important, but these are naturally intelligent and friendly dogs. They are usually very good with other dogs and animals, and they can be terrific companion pets for children of all ages.
Caring for Labrador Retrievers
A Lab will just require a weekly grooming session, but they will shed throughout the year. They should only be bathed as needed as the natural oils on the coat keep it healthy and shiny.
The one issue that all owners have to pay attention to with a Lab is the tendency to gain weight. Choose healthy treats such as carrots or a small bite of boiled chicken and make sure to provide routine exercise and activities for these dogs to prevent weight-related health issues.