The Labrador Retriever
Surely, one of the most popular dog breeds in the world is the Labrador Retriever. Labrador retrievers are extremely loyal and sweet-tempered dogs that live to serve their family. The breed originated on the island of Newfoundland and was originally called St. John’s dog. Labrador Retrievers (or Labs) were bred to help local fishermen, mostly to retrieve fish that had escaped a fisherman’s net. Labrador Retrievers are muscular and athletic people-oriented dogs.
Because of their sweet and calm nature, and the fact that they learn fast, these dogs are often used as therapy and/or rescue dogs, whose primary purpose is to help people. They are trained to serve as guide dogs for blind people, or as service dogs for handicapped people and people with special needs. Because of their excellent sense of smell these dogs are also used for hunting purposes or for helping the police (they can smell out drugs easily).
Labrador Retrievers are a very friendly breed that socialize well with other dogs and humans, including children. They are playful and energetic. One of their favorite amusement is swimming. Labs enjoy water and everything connected to it.
Male Labrador Retrievers can grow up to 22.5-24.5 inches and gain 65-80 pounds and female Labs can grow up to 21.5-23.5 inches and gain 55-70 pounds. Their life span is 10-12 years. They have a two-layered coat that comes in yellow, black and chocolate color. Topcoat is short and thick, while undercoat is soft and weather-resistant. These black coated Labs were favorite among early breeders, but over the years yellow coated ones have become more popular. The breed sheds a lot. It is necessary to brush a Lab as often as possible, especially when it’s shedding time.
If you are looking to buy a Lab puppy, make sure you buy it from reputable breeder who can guarantee you that the dog is free of genetic diseases and that it has sound temperament. There are many people breeding Labs (which explains why is there so many of them), but not all of them are responsible and/or authorized by proper authorities. Labs vary depending on what breeder you choose. Some breeders aim to breed a perfect Lab for working purposes, others want to get as close as possible to the ideal Lab look, so the dog can compete in dog shows. Some of the breeders air for both.
FUN FACT: Ear infections are common in this breed, so you must check your Labs ears weekly. After checking them, wipe them out with cotton ball ear cleaner to help prevent the infections.
FUN FACT: Labrador Retrievers love to eat and will devour everything they find. This is why the breed is prone to obesity so anyone having a Lab should limit its treats, give it plenty of exercise and secure a balanced diet for the dog.
FUN FACT: The Labrador Retriever has been split into two different types of Labs – the American Labrador and the English Labrador. The American Labrador is bigger, and it was created for working purposes and the English breed was bred for dog show purposes.
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