The Labrador Retriever is the most popular of all dog breeds in the U.S.
This large, handsome Retriever is solidly built with a deep and wide chest, short level back, and powerful hindquarters. The Labrador’s outer coat is short, dense and straight without any curl. The Lab’s undercoat is completely water repellent. Colors are solid black, yellow or chocolate brown; occasionally with a small white mark on his chest. Labrador males stand 22 to 24 inches tall and females stand 21 to 23 inches tall at shoulder height. Male Labs can weigh from 60 to 75 pounds and females from 50 to 70 pounds.
Labradors are members of the American Kennel Club (AKC) Sporting Dog Group.
These dogs shed a lot and are therefore not the breed for those with allergies.
Labrador Retriever History
This breed originated in Newfoundland, Canada where it was developed to help fishermen haul in their fish nets. Labs came to England in the late 19th century and were trained as outstanding hunting or gun dogs. Labradors have a good nose for tracking and are famous for their “soft mouth” that enables them to retrieve game without damaging it. Labs have excelled at competitive retriever field trials as well as guide dogs for the blind and for narcotics and bomb detection.
These purebred dogs have always been a popular breed and were recognized by the Kennel Club in 1903 and were recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1917.
This versatile breed was ranked 1st out of 154 dog breeds in 2021 AKC registrations.
There are not enough superlatives to describe this breed. Labrador Retrievers are one of the best family dogs in the world. The Lab is gentle, loyal, intelligent and extremely reliable with children. These Retrievers are not apartment dogs but can adapt well to city living if they are given sufficient exercise. These dogs love to swim and should be given lots of opportunities to retrieve sticks from the water in all kinds of weather. The Labrador is good natured and eager to learn and can be easily trained to do everything from competitive obedience and field trials to becoming a “seeing-eye” dog for the blind. Most Labs love to chew and they should be provided with lots of chew-toys that they can carry around in their mouths.
Some male dogs can be stubborn and try to dominate the owner. Early obedience training will make this breed much more manageable. Despite welcoming most burglars into your house, the Lab will let you know they are breaking in. Labs make pretty good watchdogs and do well with first-time dog owners.
Labrador puppies are extremely adorable! They are normally born in litter sizes of between six and twelve and you can expect to pay between $600 and $1,200 for an English Lab puppy. They will be ready to bring home at around eight weeks of age.
Due to this breeds popularity, finding a breeder should not be difficult. However, their popularity also means there are a lot of irresponsible breeders and puppy mills out there. Always ensure you are buying from a reputable breeder.
Labrador Retrievers are hunting dogs and do need lots of exercise which should include off-leash retrieving games.
Labs have a tendency to overeat and must not be allowed to become fat or they will lose their will to run and play games.
The Labrador is known for their athleticism with relatively high exercise needs. This is why they are best suited to active families where they can join in the fun. If your pup does not get enough exercise, they will get bored and turn to destructive behavior to show their annoyance. They love to play and interactive dog toys that you can use with them are a great way to keep them active.
You should be prepared to walk your Labrador for at least sixty minutes a day, with extra time for playing and training. They are great for taking walking and hiking too. Your Silver Labrador will love to swim as well, which you can introduce to them in a safe and clean environment.
The Labrador sheds a lot and needs regular grooming! You will need to brush their coat twice a week to reduce shedding and remove any loose hairs, but this should be increased to daily brushing during seasonal coat blow outs. You also need to trim their nails often to avoid overgrowth and check their ears regularly for infection. You should also check their eyes often too.
It is best to bathe your dog only when they need it, as these pups can have quite sensitive skin. Ensure that their coat is completely dry after bathing too, so they do develop any skin irritation. Try to brush their teeth everyday to avoid dental decay or disease. You can always use dental chews if this is easier!
Labradors should live for 10 to 12 years and have some common health problems including hip and elbow dysplasia, eye problems, low thyroid, heart disease, epilepsy and cancer. There is an overabundance of breeders trying to meet the demand and as a result there are poor quality Labs being produced. Ask to see the parents’ health clearances before buying.
FOOD AND DIET
Labradors love food, but this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be given a healthy diet. They are known to eat anything that is in sight and they can reach, so watch out! Labradors are known to be prone to obesity, so it is very important that you do not give them too many treats, watch the amount you are feeding them and make sure they get enough exercise.
You should give your dog dry kibble once they reach 8 to 9 months old. As a puppy, they should have four meals a day, which can be reduced to two once they reach adulthood. Most Labradors weighing around 60 pounds should eat around 4 to 5 cups of high quality dog food each day. Always remember to check the back of the dog food packet so you know how much of a specific food to feed your pup.
As a medium to large breed that loves food, the English Lab can be prone to bloat. You must know the symptoms for it because it can be fatal. To prevent bloat, ensure your Lab doesn’t eat too fast! You can put their food in a puzzle feeder to slow them down.
BEST DOG FOOD FOR THE LABRADOR RETRIEVER
We recommend the Purina ONE SmartBlend dry dog food for the English Lab. Formulated especially for large dog breeds, this recipe contains real chicken as the number one ingredient, ensuring that your dog gets all the protein they need to keep their muscles lean and strong. Also in this food there is a natural source of glucosamine that ensures your pups joints stay supple and healthy, which is very important for larger dogs.
With omega-6 fatty acids and vitamins and minerals, your Labrador’s skin and coat remains in the best condition and the antioxidant blend supports their immune system. All the ingredients are also high digestible in this food and there are no fillers.
Related: 100+ Cute Labrador Retriever Names