Whether you’re looking at the chocolate, yellow, or black varieties, there’s one thing that all Labrador Retrievers have in common — their innate friendliness. It is almost impossible to find a Labrador retriever who doesn’t like making friends or being around people, which is also one of the reasons why it’s such a beloved breed for families around the world.
This breed is also considered the top choice for service dogs, simply because of their high level of intelligence, athleticism, and unwavering devotion. In this article, we will discuss some of the basic information that you should know about Labrador Retrievers – from their history and characteristics to their needs and care.
Table of Contents
- Where Do Labrador Retrievers Come From?
- Are Labs Good Family Dogs?
- What Colors Do Labrador Retrievers Come In?
- Raising a Labrador Retriever
- Adopting a Labrador Retriever
Where Do Labrador Retrievers Come From?
Contrary to what its name suggests, Labrador retrievers don’t really originate from Labrador, Canada. Instead, they were actually imported from Newfoundland into the United Kingdom in the 1800s.
Before their stint as service dogs in modern times, Labrador retrievers were actually used as fishing companions, thanks to their ability to jump into the water and retrieve fish for the fisher folk. Their webbed feet meant that they could easily navigate through the waters and easily swim to and from the boat in record time.
After their history as fishing companions, Labrador retrievers were also used as companion dogs for shooting trips, thanks to their agility and their knack for retrieving game for their hunter owners.
Are Labs Good Family Dogs?
Today, this breed has transitioned from its fishing background and shooting background to a more peaceful and laid-back role — as one of the top family dogs in the world.
What Colors Do Labrador Retrievers Come In?
Labrador retrievers come in a variety of colors, from the black and yellow varieties to the rarer hues of silver and brown. Black Labradors are considered to be the most common color of Labradors in the world, thanks to the way color is passed down through the breed’s genes. But yellow Labradors don’t fall too far back in numbers though.
On the one hand, brown Labrador retrievers are rarer, making them quite a sight to see every time you find one in public. Unfortunately, they are also as fragile as they are rare because of their allegedly short life spans and a handful of health issues. These problems are purportedly caused by an earlier attempt to increase their numbers but to the detriment of their health condition.
The same goes for the much rarer silver Labrador, which is a unique mutation of the brown variety. While silver Labradors are a sight to see, they are also predisposed to a number of issues, including “color dilution alopecia,” which may cause patchy fur growth in specific areas of their body.
Raising a Labrador Retriever
Are Labradors Hard to Take Care Of?
Labrador retrievers are generally low-maintenance dogs and don’t require extensive regular grooming. Their coats are waterproof and easy to comb through, which means that all they need is the regular bath and brushing to keep their fur healthy and shiny.
But, you may also opt for a few grooming sessions throughout the year at a professional pet groomer so that your dog can be pampered and get a full-body cleansing — from their ears to their tail.
However, when it comes to overall health, it’s best that you schedule regular veterinary visits to ensure that your pets are in peak health. Keep your pets’ vaccinations and preventives on time just to make sure that they’re protected from any illness that they may be exposed to when they’re out on a walk or socializing with other dogs.
Make sure to get full work-ups regularly just so that you’ll be able to prevent any illness that may be happening in the background. Remember: prevention is better than cure – and it’s also applicable for Labrador retrievers.
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While Labrador retrievers are relatively healthy and can live up to 10 to 12 years, they are predisposed to some disorders, including obesity, canine hip dysplasia, and osteochondritis dissecans. To prevent these or at least to lower your pet’s chances of suffering from these disorders, make sure that they get enough exercise each day and fortify their diets with all the nutrients that they need.
Do Labrador Retrievers Need Training?
All dog breeds need training! And with the Labrador retriever’s love of learning, it’s probably going to be an easy task. As a popular breed for service dogs, Labrador retrievers are very adaptable to training and are extremely patient. However, they can be very energetic and play-driven, which may be one of the challenges you might face when starting out with your routine.
As much as possible, start training your Labrador retrievers early on, starting with socialization training. Introduce your puppy to new people, places, other pets and other animals, so that they’ll know how to act around them without being too overactive or overbearing. But remember that you don’t want these experiences to be associated with an unpleasant feeling, so ensure that you’ll reinforce these introductions with treats and a lot of praise.
Once they’re at the right age, start planning an obedience program, starting with walking on-leash and the common commands of sit, stay, and fetch. These not only help your dog know how to behave out in public or when you’re at home, but these also give adequate mental stimulation.
Allowing them to get accustomed to walking on a leash should be a priority since Labradors have a tendency to run off if they see anything interesting, such as a curious critter or the glimpse of another dog. This will help you ensure their safety every time you’re out on a walk or running errands with them in tow.
Labrador retrievers are big people-pleasers, so there’s a big chance that they’ll enjoy their training sessions and learn the basic commands in no time.
Adopting a Labrador Retriever
A reputable breeder is the way to go here!
Given that you are here reading this article about the basics of Labrador retriever care, you are probably planning on adopting a Labrador retriever or you are a new pet parent to a Labrador pup.Your Labrador Retriever Puppy Month by Month, 2nd Edition: Everything You Need to Know at Each Stage of Development (Your Puppy Month by Month)
If you’re in the planning stages, there are just a few reminders you should heed:
- Ensure that you’re up for the responsibility of pet ownership. Pet ownership is a long-term commitment, and you should not take it lightly. You need to be ready to take care of a living, breathing puppy who has its own needs. Ensure that you can financially and emotionally take care of a pet so that they won’t be heartbroken if you change your mind after a few weeks or months.
- Adopt a pet from reputable and trustworthy breeders. Laws are now in place to regulate dog breeding and avoid the emergence of puppy mills. If you’re looking for a puppy, find trustworthy and registered dog breeders with the adequate paperwork, and with enough proof that all the dogs in their care are well taken care of and are kept in a safe and humane environment.
- Consider adopting from nearby shelters. While Labrador retrievers are well-loved by a lot of people, some puppies and dogs of this breed still end up in shelters and dog pounds all over the world. Before you commit to adopting a puppy from a breeder, try to visit your local dog shelter first and see if you bond with any of the pets that are up for adoption. Every dog deserves a forever home, and you might just be the pet parent that these dogs are waiting for.
Author: Donna, from ResponsiblePetBreeders.com.au, is a writer that has extensive experience in pet care and wellness. She aims to provide pet parents with useful, well-researched information that can help them give pets the best care and support they need.