A Veterinarian's Guide to Labrador Retrievers

Labrador Retrievers and Labrador Retriever Puppies

labrador retrievers

The Labrador Retriever has won the hearts of families across the United States. Labrador Retrievers are America’s most popular dog breed. There’s no question as to why. This dog breed loves their family and it shines through their constant eagerness to please.

The Labrador Retriever is known as America and the United Kingdom’s most popular dog breed. Labs were first recognized in Newfoundland, Canada in the 1500s. Their popularity in America didn’t grow until hunters and farmers saw the breed’s eagerness to work in the 1900’s. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the breed in 1917.

The Labrador Retriever’s Appearance

Labrador Retrievers are medium-sized dogs with an overall athletic appearance. A male will grow to a height of up to 24.5 inches, and a female could reach a height of up to 23.5 inches. Male dogs may weigh up to 80 pounds, and females could tip the scale at 70 pounds.

When these dogs are in optimal condition, they have strong muscles throughout their bodies and little fat.

This breed has a dense coat, with short and straight hair. Coloring can vary among the three different color variations. Yellow Labs may range between a light cream color and a darker color with hints of red.

Sometimes, yellow Labs also have color variations on their backs, ears, or underparts. Chocolate Labs can be either light or dark in color, but no other variations usually occur in the coat. Black Labs are plain black with no range or variation in the color.

labrador retriever puppies

Labrador Retriever Temperament and Training

Labrador retrievers tend to orient themselves to their owners. They need human attention, and they are happy good-natured canines.

These dogs fit in well with families of varying sizes. These dogs work well with a single owner or with large families. Their patient nature makes them ideal for families with children. They also get along well with other dogs and other types of pets in the same home.

With ongoing socialization between the dog and family members, most Labs integrate successfully into a home to become loved and loving members of the family.

These dogs are highly intelligent, so they respond well to training. When young, they're usually exuberant and energetic. This high level of activity makes it important to train them from a young age.

Labrador Retriever’s Exercise Needs

Labs also need ample space to run and roam. The ideal lifestyle for this breed would involve having the run of the house to explore and daily opportunity for running and playing outdoors. A Labrador will get enough exercise without human participation if the dog has access to a large, fenced yard with a companion dog.

These dogs need daily exercise to stay healthy. Exercise helps prevent obesity and behavior problems. Walking the dog is one common form of exercise, but they also like to play. Toss a Frisbee or ball to your dog for a game of fetch.

An obedience class can also be an effective exercise. When dog boarding is necessary, find a dog sitter with excellent references and accommodations to ensure the best care for your pooch.

Labrador Retriever Diet Needs

Labradors need to eat a variety of foods to get all of the vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats they need. Dog foods can combine all of these components, but it's important to choose a high-quality brand.

Avoid a dog food with the majority of the ingredients coming from corn or wheat byproducts. Don't feed your dog a diet that consists mainly of human foods.

5 Fun Facts About Labrador Retrievers: America’s Most Popular Dog Breed

1. Some unique physical features make the Labrador Retriever a great swimmer. The closest thing you may get to a mermaid in the canine world is a Labrador Retriever. Although they don’t have fins or gills to breathe underwater, they have webbed toes. Pair the breeds webbed-toes with a tail shaped like an otter’s tail, you have a breed that is an excellent swimmer.

2. Labrador Retriever’s come in more colors than chocolate, black, and yellow. When most people think about the color of a Labrador Retriever they seem to think that they are either chocolate, black, and yellow. Some labs actually may sport a silver or fox red coat.

3. One job a Labrador Retriever does very well is helping people. While most Labrador Retrievers are family pets now, the dog breed first began as working dogs. Which makes the breed a great asset to farmers and hunters. They are eager to breed and love people. Their eagerness to work and please makes them great guide dogs. The Guide Dogs of America state that 70% of their guide dogs are, in fact, Labrador Retrievers.

4. LIFE Magazine featured a Labrador Retriever in a 1938 issue. In the 1930s, LIFE Magazine featured a Lab known as “Blind of Arden”. He graced the front cover of the magazine on December 12, 1938. Blind was owned by Averell Harriman, the 48th Governor of New York. This stunning Lab was the first dog to ever make the cover of LIFE Magazine.

5. The Labrador Retriever became extinct for a short period of time. In the 1880s, the government of Newfoundland, where the majority of Labrador Retrievers were found at the time, began to add restrictions on owning dogs. Newfoundland also charged homeowners hefty taxes if they owned dogs. This resulted in many people no longer owning Labrador Retrievers. Leading to almost an extinction of the popular dog breed.

Adopting a Labrador Retriever

Since they are one of the most popular breeds, they're also a breed that frequents animal shelters. If you think your home would be perfect to add a Lab to the mix, considering adoption is a great choice.