Average Height: 21-24 in
Average Weight: 55-80 lbs
Average Life Span: 10-12 yrs
Coloring: Yellow, Black, Brown
Area of Origin: Newfoundland, Canada
Similar Breeds: Newfoundlander, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Curly-Coated Retriever, Flat-Coated Retriever, Golden Retriever, Labradoodle
History and Origin:
Originally a smaller variation of the great Newfoundlander, the Labrador Retriever is the most popular breed of dog in North America. While its development and working days were spend on the windy Newfoundland shores, the Lab would have become extinct had it not been for the exportation of the breed to the United Kingdom in the 1820s. High taxing and limitation of number of dogs per household made it nearly impossible for the Newfoundland people to keep their dogs, which had been so integral to the fishing industry that was their livelihood. Interestingly, while black, yellow, and chocolate coated dogs would all appear in a litter, early breeders disliked the yellow and chocolate coats, and would cull any newborn puppies that were not black. It took until the early twentieth century for yellow and chocolate coats to be accepted by both kennel clubs and breeders alike; the yellow coated Labrador is perhaps the most iconic of the three today.
Personality and Temperament:
The Labrador is a kind dog, with a mellow temperament and a keen desire to learn. It makes a fantastic family dog, and is patient, obedient, and good-natured if properly socialized as a puppy. Possessing an innate eagerness to please, it is typically not appropriate as a guard dog; in fact, it has been said that the Labrador would greet an intruder with enthusiasm and acceptance. It is, however prone to follow its nose, and can get bored and destructive if not given enough stimulation when indoors.
Exercise & Training:
The Labrador loves to eat, and food can prove to be great incentive for training. While their good-nature leads some owners to ignore proper training, it is important to ensure that the dog taken to obedience classes for socialization and basic manners; it is a large dog, and can become a nuisance if not properly trained. Although the Labrador is notorious for its laid-back temperament, it is a working dog breed, and requires a moderately high amount of exercise to keep it happy and healthy. They love to swim and retrieve, and excel at hunt trials. Proper exercise is essential as the Labrador tends to be a voracious eater, and a Labrador should ideally have access to a fenced-in yard to help it burn off energy.
The Labrador has a double coat that provides protection from both the cold and the wet, and daily grooming is suggested; the Labrador sheds a lot. As with other breeds with weather-resistant coats, frequent bathing is more damaging than no baths at all, however the Labrador is prone to rolling in puddles and dirt, so occasional baths may be required to keep it clean.
As an early smaller variant of the Newfoundlander, the modern Labrador still shares some physical and temperamental qualities with its ancestor, such as its strong predisposition to swim, and its powerful jaw. It shares many characteristics with other retrieving breeds, such as the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Curly-Coated Retriever, Flat-Coated Retriever, and the Golden Retriever.
Interesting Facts about the Labrador:
1. Originally known as the St. Johns Dog, the Labrador was a fishermans dog in Newfoundland for over 100 years, starting in the early 1700s.
2. Newfoundland government restrictions caused the Labrador to become nearly extinct in the province in the 1800s; families were limited to one dog, and a high tax was placed on owning females.
3. The Labrador has been the United States most popular breed since 1991.
4. In addition to being a beloved family pet, the Labrador is also used in police work, drug and explosive detection, and as therapy and assistance dogs for the handicapped.
5. Endal, a service Labrador in the Britain, is the most decorated dog in the world, and was the first dog to ride the London Eye and to work an ATM machine.