Life span: 10-12 Years
Height: 22 – 24 inches
Weight: 65 – 80 lbs. (male), 55 – 70 lbs. (female)
There are few dog breeds that are as popular as the Labrador Retriever and there is good reason for this. The Labrador is a high-spirited, medium-sized breed that makes for an exceptional retriever, gun dog, and companion. Not only are Labradors terrific in the field, but they are also very reliable guide dogs for the blind. Labradors have a dense coat that comes in black, yellow, and chocolate.
This loving breed is friendly with just about everyone, children, animals, and anyone you introduce them to! They love swimming and will always enjoy being with you. They dislike being left alone and might let you know in unwanted ways if left alone for long periods of time.
Their ears are medium sized and fold down, their tail is large and has a slight curve. Their eyes can be brown, light brown or hazel, with a black or brown nose. Their feet are webbed and their coat is short, straight and dense. Coat colors include black, brown and cream colored. The area around their eyes is black.
Originally named after the capital of Newfoundland, they were known as St. John’s Water Dog back in the 1700s. At that time their job mainly consisted of retrieving any fish that fell from fishermen’s nets. Records show that it was in 1820 that the breed was first exported to England. The second Earl of Malmesbury was the first to own a dog of this breed, and the third Earl of Malmesbury was the first to call them Labradors, after its place of development, the Labrador Sea. It was thanks to this family that the breed was saved when it neared extinction in 1880. However, they did become extinct in Newfoundland, given that they were only allowed to own one dog and it was highly taxed for it to be female. In England, however, it was officially recognized in 1903 and in 1920 they were exported into the United States.
This smart breed is loving with its family. They are extremely tolerant with children and get along well with other household pets.They enjoy spending time with their family and dislike being left alone. If left alone for long periods of time they will become loud and most likely resort to destructive behavior. They will accompany you to do anything and will be friendly with anyone you introduce them to, they actually love meeting new people! Even though they are easily trained, they will ignore anything you say if it meant they got food out of it, and if not walked on a leash might also ignore you to follow some scent, most likely food related.
This breed may suffer from many diseases, including:
- Acute Moist Dermatitis, or hot spots, is a skin condition in which a bacterial infection causes red and irritated skin.
- Cataracts, in which the lens of the eye clouds, causing partial or complete loss of vision.
- Cold Tail, in which the dog’s tail goes completely limp. It is thought to be painful, but does not last more than a few days, in which the dog may bite the tail.
- Epilepsy, a neurological disorder that can produce seizures.
- Gastric dilataton-volvulus, or bloat, is a mortal disease in which large chested dogs are affected by eating quickly, drinking lots of water and exercising after. This causes the stomach to inflate with gas and twist, making the dog unable to get rid of the excess air through vomiting, which impedes the normal blood flow to the heart. Its blood pressure then goes down and the dog goes into shock. Without proper, and immediate, medical attention, this could be fatal. Its symptoms may include: retching without vomiting, bloated abdomen, excessive salivation, restlessness, depression, rapid heart rate, weakness, etc.
- Hip dysplasia, a hereditary disease in which there is an abnormal formation in the hip socket, that may eventually cause painful arthritis. It may also be affected by the environment they reside in.
- Myopathy, which affects the muscles and the nervous system, can affect puppies as young as six weeks old, causing them to walk stiffly.
- Osteochondritis Dissecans, in which the cartilage does not grow properly in the joints, causing pain and stiffness. It is usually seen on the elbows and shoulders.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), in which the dogs may become night blind at first and progressively lose their day eyesight as well.
- Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia (TVD), is a congenital disease in which the tricuspid valve that is situated on the right side of the heart is malformed, and it may lead to death if the disease is severe.
This breed needs to be brushed weekly, with only occasional baths. Their nails need to be trimmed regularly, as well as their teeth brushed and ears checked for any dirt to prevent infections. They are highly energetic and need plenty of daily exercise. If they are not properly exercised they might resort to destructive behavior. Training should be easy given that they are highly intelligent and willing to please their owners. Early socialization and training lessons are a must for this breed.