One of the most popular breeds in the world, the Labrador Retriever is loyal, loving, affectionate and patient, making great family dogs. Highly intelligent, good-natured, very willing and eager to please, they are among the top choices for service dog work. They love to play, especially in water, never wanting to pass up the opportunity for a good swim. These lively dogs have an excellent, reliable, temperament and are friendly, superb with children and equable with other dogs. They crave human leadership and need to feel as though they are part of the family. Labs are easily trained. Some may be reserved with strangers unless very well socialized, preferably while they are still puppies. Adult Labs are very strong, train them while they are a puppy not to pull, and not to bolt out doorways and gateways before the humans. These dogs are watchdogs, not guard dogs, although some have been known to guard. They can become destructive if the humans are not 100% pack leader and/or if they do not receive enough mental and physical exercise, and left too much to their own devices. Like most gun dogs they usually go through a chewing stage as puppies. Show lines are generally heavier and easier going than field lines. Field lines tend to be smaller and have a slighter build than show lines but are very energetic and will easily become high strung without enough exercise.
The smooth, short-haired, double coat is easy to groom. Comb and brush regularly with a firm, bristle brush, paying attention to the undercoat. Bathe or dry shampoo only when necessary. These dogs are average shedders. Labradors com in three colours, black yellow and chocolate, with more working dogs being black and yellow, rather than chocolate.
Labrador Retrievers are energetic dogs, delighted to work and play hard. They need to be taken on a daily, brisk, long walk, jog or run alongside you when you bicycle. While out on the walk the dog must be made to heel beside or behind the person holding the lead, as in a dog’s mind the leader leads the way, and that leader needs to be the human. They will be in their glory if you give them a job to do. Labs gain weight easily, so do not over feed.
Once known as the “St John’s Dogs,” the Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular breeds in the world. The Lab is native to Newfoundland, where it worked side by side with fishermen catching fish that came loose from the lines and trained to jump into the icy waters to help pull in the nets. Specimens were brought to England in the 1800’s by English ships coming from Labrador. The breed was crossed with setters, spaniels and other types of retrievers to improve their instincts as a hunter. The Labrador is highly trainable and is not only popular as a family companion but also excels in: hunting, tracking, retrieving, watchdog, police work, narcotics detection, guide for the blind, service dog for the disabled, search and rescue, sledding, carting, agility, field trial competitor and competitive obedience.
Prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, PRA and eye disorders. Life expectancy is about 10-12 years