The Labrador Retriever is without a doubt one of the favorite companion dogs in the world. The proof is that the number of specimens registered each year increases exponentially in many countries, so that the breed enjoys great health and popularity.
All this good reputation is mainly due to an exceptional temperament, where intelligence, energy and kindness stand out. The Labrador Retriever has the ideal characteristics that every animal should have, and that is why it is recommended as a pet for people of all types and ages, although it also offers unbeatable results as a working dog.
Although we generally talk about a kind, docile and very patient dog, we should know that he is also a tireless friend who will need long hours of exercise and games to stay in shape and avoid being overweight, a common problem in this breed.
A Labrador is not only a mirror of the owner’s soul, he is also a reflection of our secret desires. Upon entering your home, a Labrador will forever become a devoted friend and comrade for your family.
If you are thinking of adopting a labrador retriever dog, it is very important that you first pay attention to the characteristics and character of this animal to carry out the education, training and care it needs, as it s is a particularly intelligent and active animal.
Discover in this breed sheet of ‘ Pets Feed ‘everything about the Labrador Retriever, one of the most beloved dogs in the world:
Origin of the Labrador Retriever
Despite its name, which refers to the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the International Cynological Federation (ICF) recognizes the origin of the Labrador Retriever in Great Britain. However, the history of this popular breed is related to the island of Newfoundland and specifically to the Canadian city of San Juan (Saint John).
It is likely that the St. John’s dog, the direct ancestor of the Labrador Retriever, was a descendant of British water dogs. These water fishermen were reportedly taken to the island of Newfoundland by English fishermen. On the island, the San Juan dog, used by fishermen to help them in their fishing activities, has been developed by dragging lines of fishing nets on the shore.
These dogs had to be tough, hardworking and good swimmers. They also had to have dense fur that would protect them from the icy waters of the north and thick tails acting as a bar. The smallest variety of San Juan dogs would have given birth to different breeds of retriever dogs, including the Labrador Retriever dog.
In the mid-nineteenth century, St. John’s dogs were exported to England, where a handful of breeders used them to obtain the “perfect” retriever dog. Thus, after several generations and a careful selection, the dog Labrador Retriever was born in England. During the first two decades of the twentieth century, the morphological bases of the breed were established in England, as we know it today. At that time, several collectors were already registered at the Kennel Club in England.
Labradors were imported to the United States during the First World War. The Second World War had disastrous consequences for this breed, as for all other breeds, and dog breeding was relegated to a lower level.
After the Second World War, the Labrador Retriever began to gain popularity. Gradually, he showed his great qualities as a hunting dog, but what got him the most popularity is his good character, associated with its pleasant appearance.
Today, the dog Labrador Retriever stands out in many activities. It is one of K-SAR’s favorite dogs (search and rescue dogs), as a guide for the blind, assistance dogs, therapy dogs and the most popular dog pet in the world.
Characteristics of the Labrador Retriever
Without a doubt, the main characteristic of the Labrador Retriever is its great sense of smell, its capacity for work and its desire to always please its human companions. And it is a dog trained for that, which has a solid and broad body, with a short but very robust back. Its members are also tall and long, of great strength and able to move in any terrain and situation, even in water. It is a very well proportioned animal, with a large but not too large head, drooping ears on each side of the head and a powerful tail which starts wide and narrows until the end.
The Labrador Retriever is medium in size, very muscular and compact. Genetics are very special in this animal and can sometimes have unexpected effects on the pigmentation of their skin. It is not all that strange to find a specimen of labrador with clear eyes or the pink truffle, because these animals tend to carry recessive genes which mix colors.
The Labrador is a medium-sized breed that should not exceed 57 centimeters in height to the withers, and that generally has a minimum of 54 centimeters. As for the weight, it is generally maintained between 25 and 35 kilos, from which it follows that it is a very muscular and strong dog. It can be difficult to handle due to its power and high energy, as it is a much more robust dog than it seems at first glance.
Among the characteristics of the Labrador Retriever, the coat stands out without any doubt. The Labrador coat is very special. It is a short and very dense coat, rough to the touch, which offers total protection to the animal and which is waterproof, which is very useful when the dog enters the water, which happens quite often if he has the opportunity.
As for colors, there are mainly three varieties in this breed. It is possible to find black labrador, chocolate labrador and yellow. In yellow there are different shades, although the most common is the cinnamon labrador. It should be noted that beyond the color, the labrador is always short-haired. If a long haired specimen was found, we would speak of a Golden Retriever.
On the other hand, it is almost impossible to control the genetics of color to obtain puppies of one shade or another. Puppies of all colors can be born in the same litter, that is to say that the genes have their own unpredictable code, it only remains to wait for the surprise to observe how will be the labrador puppies at their birth .
Is the Labrador Retriever the same as the Golden Retriever?
The most direct answer is no. Despite all the similarities between these two breeds, they are very different dogs that must be known and understood separately. Because of their physical appearance, the two breeds indicate that they will not need the same care.
For example, the care of the Labrador retriever will be less with regard to the image, because its coat is much shorter and will not require brushing or bathing with the same frequency. But, in addition, it is other characteristics of the Labrador Retriever that differentiate it from the Golden Retriever, such as being a born swimmer, or having a unique nose to follow a multitude of animals.
The color of their cape greatly differentiates them. And it is that the Labrador Retriever can come in several colors, much more than the Golden Retriever. It is not uncommon to see a short haired labrador retriever in cream color, but it is also common to find a black labrador dog with the same characteristics, or a chocolate labrador to offer similar care.
On the other hand, the Golden retriever has its own characteristics and care. But to know it in depth, it is more advisable to go to its breed file where you can discover both its history and all the keys to its temperament. In this case, it is important to note that there is no short-haired Golden Retriever, because the length of the coat is always maintained among its characteristics.
Character and behavior of the Labrador retriever
The character of Labrador retriever is unbeatable at all levels. It is a very sociable and easy to handle animal, with a happy nature and always ready to please its human family. It is a perfect family dog because it gets along particularly well with children of all ages. He is very playful and energetic and will always be ready to do any physical activity that involves spending time with his family.
The Labrador Retriever is sociable, friendly, loyal, intelligent and playful. It is easy to train this breed, so it is a good company if you have enough time and space. The labrador dog is generally very friendly to people and dogs, but it must be properly socialized when it is still a puppy. A properly socialized Labrador Retriever is usually a great companion for children.
It can be trained in certain skills, but in no case is it a good watchdog, because it is a very sociable and friendly breed. It is possible to warn of the presence of a stranger, but his performance will never exceed that. In addition, it is not a dog that tolerates spending a lot of time alone, even less inactive, because it can easily get bored and develop unwanted and destructive behaviors.
His energy levels are so high that if he doesn’t exercise enough it can become difficult to manage and very destructive. For this reason, he needs a lot of activity to stimulate his body and his mind, as well as a strict education as a puppy.
On the other hand, this breed usually shows a voracious appetite, and they eat whatever they find, even if it is inedible items that can harm them. Therefore, it is very necessary to monitor their diet and not to leave them with objects that can be swallowed unattended.
In addition, it is one of the most intelligent dog breeds known, being in seventh place in the Stanley Coren ranking, which shows that it is unique in obedience work and that it is very easy to make him learn new tricks. The Labrador Retriever has its own temperament, but it is also a caring and loving pet with everyone.
Labrador retriever as a working dog
His docility and skills, in addition to his agility and strength, make him very appreciated also by different institutions as a working dog, where he currently has great importance. It is easy to find Labrador dogs doing their job in the police, military or customs, because of the ease with which they detect any type of substance and object, such as drugs or explosives. It has also been used regularly as a guide dog or to search for survivors among the rubble after a disaster, often being the protagonists of the miraculous rescue of people.
Labrador Retriever Health
The Labrador Retriever is a relatively healthy dog that has lived long enough. However, the excessive consanguinity that this breed has been subjected to can cause genetic diseases that, unfortunately, usually appear when the dog gets older. A very common example is hip dysplasia.
When the Labrador Retriever is still a puppy, we must provide him with his first vaccines and we will continue to follow his vaccination schedule throughout his life. This will prevent him from suffering some of the most dangerous diseases for dogs.
So that our dog can enjoy an enviable health, the ideal would be to go to the vet every 6 months for a basic exam that will tell us if everything is fine. In the same way, we can prevent the appearance of certain diseases by providing good care to our Labrador retriever.
Finally, it should be noted that the Labrador Retriever is subject to obesity and has an affinity for sweets and that, if it does not get enough exercise daily, it starts to develop this health problem (which also promotes the development of muscle and joint problems).
The rules for caring for this breed of dog are very simple and are no different from others. The main feature of Labradors is the huge need for attention and care of the owner.
The Labrador needs regular ear examinations due to the hanging shape in order to protect the dog from inflammation and ear contamination. Inspection will help to avoid the danger of penetration of parasites and limit infection.
Due to the specific coat, very dense waterproof undercoat, the dog does not need to be washed without extreme need. Wool has a characteristic feature of self-cleaning. It is enough to comb this hair once a week, and when molting it is 2-3 times more often than usual, removing all dead hairs. Stick to all these simple procedures, and your pet will be well-groomed and absolutely healthy.
Feeding rules do not differ from most other breeds, as any other breed Labradors need meat and fresh vegetables, or balanced professional feed.
Labradors tend to gain weight, so do not indulge in their sweets and goodies. Pasta, which leads to obesity and does not bring absolutely no benefit, will also be inappropriate for Labradors.
The main feature of Labradors is the need for physical activity. With dogs of this breed do not neglect active walks in nature.
The Labrador Retriever loves water. If you have the opportunity to travel out of town to a lake or river, the dog will support such a decision with joy.
The Labrador Retriever is a breed with a lot of energy and requires a lot of exercise. Therefore, although this dog can be adapted to live in an apartment, it is necessary that it receives long walks and that it can play with other dogs.
The hobby the Labrador Retriever loves most is water, which is one of its behavioral characteristics. The breed also has a remarkable predisposition to charge, so it’s easy to teach them to bring things.
These dogs will easily adapt to the time you can devote to their physical exercise, but remember that the ideal for a healthy adult is to spend a few hours of exercise a day.
Training and education of a Labrador Retriever
Absolutely all Labrador Retriever dogs need training and education, regardless of whether you just have a family dog in your house or if you are preparing a special dog for work.
The thing is that the Labrador’s passion to love and adore his master is the easiest and most beneficial way to realize it in training and obedience.
The Labradors remember the main commands very easily, so any dog, even with a not very experienced owner, can train a Labrador in the basic set of commands necessary for life without the help of a professional dog handler.
In addition to the main commands, it is easiest to train a Labrador to search and bring any item. This is due to the instincts of the ancestors – do not forget, the Labrador Retriever was bred in order to search and bring the prey killed by the hunter.
In general, Labradors are considered one of the most intelligent dog breeds (proudly occupy 7th place in this rating). It is believed that they can easily remember about 300 phrases regularly used by the owner.
Due to its prudence, an incredible desire to please the owner lends itself perfectly to any, even the most difficult training. Strong, brave and balanced Labradors do an excellent job as carers for seriously ill people. They become reliable friends, work as guide dogs, and are successfully looking for drugs and explosives.
Currently, this breed is not actually used for hunting. But it is worth noting that dogs of this breed are indispensable in hunting ducks. There is no barrier to the Labrador and he swims with pleasure and pulls the prey from the most inaccessible places.
With improper upbringing, the Labrador tends to be offended, disappointed in the owner and even fall into a long depression. The most effective method is to educate the pet in the game, constantly encouraging praise and goodies. They value their masters in every possible way trying to please and be useful in their lives.
As already mentioned, Labrador retrievers have a predisposition to obesity, therefore, their diet should be prepared correctly, and food should be prepared, taking into account the balance of essential substances. Labrador retriever puppies should be accustomed to liquid porridges and thick first courses from a young age. If any disruptions in the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract are noticed, there is only one way out – diet, but the food must remain complete.
Unfortunately, the organization of a balanced diet at home is quite problematic, so most owners prefer ready-made dry food.
Each owner chooses which food is best for a Labrador puppy, and the general provisions of feeding consist of the following points:
- food must be freshly prepared;
- you cannot mix natural food and dry food;
- before feeding, you should make sure that the food is not too hot, but not too cold (the best option is room temperature);
- feeding is best done after walking;
- food must be supplemented with vitamin and mineral complexes;
- the animal must certainly have access to clean drinking water (50 grams per kilogram of weight);
the amount of food and its type should be selected gradually. If an animal refuses to eat a certain food, it cannot be forced. The best option would be to replace the feed. Experienced dog breeders draw up a monthly feeding plan for the Labrador, taking into account his physical activity and based on his height and weight.
At different ages, nutrition should differ in the content of nutrients, various trace elements and vitamin groups. The number of meals and their volume should also differ. Factors affecting how much a Labrador eats per day are not only its age, but also physiological characteristics, season, climatic conditions, gender and physical activity.
For Labrador retrievers, acceptable products such as: meat, fish, cereals from cereals, dairy products, eggs, herbs and vegetables with fruits. You should refrain from: bones, oatmeal, pearl barley and semolina, potatoes, smoked sausages and other similar products, chocolate and other sweets, pastries and bakery products, various spices, pickles. It is advisable to use dry food premium or super premium. Before feeding your puppy dry food, you should first soak it.
Before choosing a puppy, you should decide on a good kennel. There you can find a pet with an excellent pedigree and for beginners to learn everything about the breed. The choice should be made based on the following definitions:
- good outer coat and silky, smooth undercoat;
- the tail should be similar to that of an otter, thick at the base and tapering downward. He should not rise above the back, much less go on it;
- expression of the muzzle. What a dog looks like is often decisive when choosing. He should be friendly with a curious open look;
- structure and physical data – large head, relatively long neck and deep chest.
Labrador Retriever Dog Breed Highlights
Like any breed, Labradors have their own advantages and disadvantages. In general, we must admit that this is more convenient than a problematic breed, however, our verdict is:
- Reliable, trustworthy, the breed has proven itself.
- The Labrador Retriever makes a wonderful pet and has affinities with children.
- In a good mood and reliable.
- Ideal around other dogs and animals because the Labrador Retriever is social by nature.
- Always eager to please, making the Labrador Retriever relatively easy to train.
- Little maintenance on the grooming front.
- The Labrador Retriever creates close ties with his family, but he can learn to be alone.
- Very cunning and can be easily manipulated by not very experienced owners.
- Insanely loyal and friendly dogs;
- There is absolutely no aggression;
- Easy to learn;
- Adore children;
- The best “family” dog;
- Perfect cuties!
- The Labrador Retriever needs a ton of mental stimulation and daily exercise.
- It loses a lot of hair throughout the year (the yellow Labrador losing more than the black Labrador).
- This dog can be overly enthusiastic and dynamic, especially when young.
- Puppies can be naughty and unruly.
- They require a large space, large enough to live in small apartments;
- They like to eat, including various “nastiness” found on a walk;
- They can joyfully jump on strangers;
- Prone to obesity;