Species group: Sporting Group dogs
Other name(s): Lab; Labrador
The Labrador Retriever has been ranked as the most popular dog in the United States by the American Kennel Club for 25 years in a row. They're active, energetic, and seem to have the personality of an outgoing puppy for many years, making them well-regarded family dogs. Developed in Canada and then England to fetch waterfowl for hunters, these intelligent and active dogs love to get out there and play fetch with their humans. They're happy dogs who aren't annoyed by noisy, active families.
As an exuberant dog that must be trained not to jump up, they may not be right for fragile owners or for people who just want to kick back on the couch. Be prepared to keep those busy mouths supplied with chew toys.
Appearance / health:
Labs are medium-sized, strongly built dogs possessing a sound, athletic, well-balanced conformation. The head should be broad with a moderate stop and a slightly pronounced brow. The eyes should be kind and expressive and be either brown or hazel in color. The upper and lower eyelids of the yellow Labrador Retriever should be outlined in black. The ears should hang close to the head and be set slightly above the line of the eye.
The muzzle should be on the same (parallel) plane as the skull and should be of a length approximately equal that of the skull. The lips should not be squared off or heavy but curve gracefully back giving the Labrador the appearance of having a slight “smile”.
The Labrador’s tail is a distinguishing feature of this breed. It should be quite thick at the base; it should also be flat underneath at the base and then rounding as it gradually tapers toward the tip. It should be of medium length and thickly clothed all around, free of feathering, with the short, dense coat thus giving the tail the peculiar rounded appearance that is described as the “otter” tail.
Labrador Retrievers are relatively low maintenance dogs. A weekly brushing with a firm bristled brush, followed by a wipe down with a rough towel is sufficient to keep the coat clean and promote healthy coat and skin. Brushing, including the use of a tool such as an undercoat rake, several times a week will be necessary during shedding periods. Labrador Retrievers having proper coats are heavy shedders during the twice yearly shedding seasons and healthy dogs do shed some hair throughout the year. Unless the dog get into something foul smelling or staining, Labradors should not be bathed. Unnecessary bathing strips the natural oils from the skin and coat and can cause problems. Labradors should never be shaved down in hot weather. The coat protects the from heat and sun and insect bites. Toe nails should be kept short by regular clipping.
A daily brisk walk, in addition to the usual walks for elimination purposes is required to keep the dog physically fit and mentally stimulated. Investigate and consider the now popular dog parks as a source of exercise and socializing for your dog. But this is recommended only for the adult dog that has had some training and is generally obedient.
Labrador Retrievers are subject to Hip and Elbow Dysplasia and the breed is subject to inherited conditions of the eye, such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Retinal Dysplasia, some forms of inherited cataracts and other conditions which can cause problems with vision, including blindness. When buying a puppy ask if both parents have been certified by OFA to be free of hip and elbow dysplasia and registered with CERF as having been examined by a board certified ophthalmologist and found to be free of hereditary eye problems.
Labradors are also subject, though not in great numbers, to anterior cruciate ligament tears and ruptures, tricuspid valve dysplasia (a debilitating heart condition), hypothyroidism, allergies (food and environmental), and epilepsy. Reputable breeder test potential breeding stock and avoid using any dogs which exhibit any of the forgoing health issues.
Behavior / temperament:
Being developed and bred to be retrievers, Labradors are naturally “mouthy”. They will attempt to carry in their mouths anything from clothing to the human hand, arm, ankle or foot, usually with a gentle mouth but they do have to be trained to leave those objects not meant to be retrieved. Because of this mouthiness biting accidents do occur. For that reason the interaction between children and dogs must be supervised. Labradors are intelligent and generally easy-going with strangers, which makes them unsuitable as guard dogs. This intelligence, good temper and activity level are reasons why Labradors have been found to be ideal as detection, therapy, search and rescue and guide dogs. Labradors should never be either shy or aggressive. Labradors have been developed to want to be with humans and other animals. Because of their basic nature, Labradors get on well with other domestic animals. Because of their intelligence they are easily trainable and should be trained because that same intelligence will create chaos if the dog is allowed to grow up untrained. The Labrador Retriever very much reflects the time and attention given it by its owners.
Labs are an intelligent breed, and are never shy or aggressive. They like human company and would not like to be left alone for more than few hours. They are affectionate and devoted toward their owner with a strong will to please. Labs are very playful and are quick to join family members in any type of activity.
Most Labrador Retrievers love to work and to learn, if only to be in the company of their owner. Labradors often believe they know best so training must be consistent in vocabulary, correction and most important, in praise. If you have never trained a dog, it is suggested that you obtain a referral obedience training classes conducted by an experienced instructor. Your veterinarian, local shelters or the breeder from whom you purchase your Labrador can make recommendations.
Remember that the breed was developed for hunting purposes and a noisy hunting dog would be counterproductive. Adult Labradors will bark at the approach of strange cars or people onto their property. In general, the Labrador is not a barker and should not be thought of as a potential watchdog.
exceptional family pets, excelent service dogs, good hunting dogs, affectionate, energetic
joint problems, hyperactive, hard headed pet, heavy shedder, exercise requirements, hip dysplasia
strict feeding schedule, Labs LOVE water, muscular dogs, weather resistant coat, insane drive
A really great family dog.
Labrador retrievers are usually really great around kids. I would be careful around small children because they can get super excited and jump, knocking little ones over. They are really great dogs for older kids who can play fetch and run with them outside. They are super eager to please and get upset if they sense you are mad. In this way, they can be great candidates for training. They also tend to get overweight and love to eat. In the clinic, I saw many Labradors come in for ingesting some foreign object. This also means they require daily exercise. Our Labrador, Timber, was such a sweet dog, but was not incredibly smart. She wanted to please us, but wasn't always the sharpest tack. Overall a great breed, and can be great for people that have never owned a dog before..
From L Sand CVT Feb 24 2018 3:50AM
Hard e-collars are THE best way to prevent your pet from messing up their incision site
Hard e-collars are very effective at keeping dogs' mouths off their incision sites. These are the cheapest and most effective way of reducing incision site complications. I send every surgery patient home with an e-collar. These surgical procedures are often performed on younger patients that are very prone to trying to lick their incision sites..
From Rachel_Muur_DVM 2 days ago
Counter conditioning works on changing a dog’s emotional response to another dog approaching his food. Although guarding food is a normal behaviour, it doesn’t mean you have to accept it because it can lead to dangerous situations. How can you have one dog feel happy instead of aggressive when another dog is getting food next to him? If two people work on this at a time, and both dogs are on leash far enough apart, you can give a treat to the docile dog and immediately after to the aggressive one, until you notice that the latter is anticipating a food treat when the docile gets one. Once you see that the aggressive dog starts looking happy and relaxed, move the dogs closer.
Counter conditioning and desensitization techniques are frequently used together.
You can desensitize your dog by gradually exposing him to its triggers and creating positive associations with them. Give your dog a reward when exposing him to his "menace". if your dog is triggered by another dog being fed near him or a person approaching to his plate, sit with your dog while the other dog is in view. When your dog is calm, reward him with a tasty treat.
If any of these does not work, specialists are the right people to handle the problem.
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