Breed review: Labrador retriever puppies and dogs
The Labrador Retriever, known simply as the Lab or Labrador, is historically a gun dog used for retrieving kills on a shoot. Its webbed paws makes it a very good swimmer, adding to its reputation and name as a retriever but they also make good family pets.
Originally bred in the USA and Canada, Labradors can now be found all over the world. These days, few Labs are actually used as gun dogs but they are still one of the most popular and well-loved dog breeds, for a number of reasons.
The Labrador is well-known for being very mild mannered, cheerful, alert and friendly. They are exceptionally good with children, which makes them a very good family dog although you should never leave a dog alone with small children, no matter how good natured the animal may be.
Labrador Retrievers are also very responsive and social dogs, which often means there are fewer issues for owners to contend with when introducing them to other animals (although many of these qualities depend on the individual dog itself).
Size, colour and life expectancy
Typically the Labrador is sized between 21 inches (53 cm) and 28 inches (71 cm), which means that they can grow to be quite big. This is certainly bigger than the average size of many other dog breeds.
They will weigh between about 55 and 79 lbs (24 and 35 kgs) so they can be quite heavy if you need to pick them up for any reason.
Labradors come in three main colours, although there are some slight variants around. The main coat colour is a golden/blond colour but there are large numbers of black and chocolate brown Labs too.
On average they live for about 10 to 12 years which is only slightly lower than the overall average for all dog breeds.
The coat of a Lab is short and dense and great at repelling water. This is another reason why they are great swimmers.
They require moderate grooming and do shed their fur seasonally. However, they are less messy than many other dog breeds in this sense.
As this is a sporting breed and one that requires an active lifestyle to be really happy, you need to be aware that a Lab needs more than a gentle walk around the block every day.
They were bred to fetch and retrieve and this is when they are at their happiest. Let them swim if possible and make sure they are well worn out.
If you don’t give them enough exercise, then you’ll know about it in the form of destructive chewing and a little bit of boisterousness.
Also, if not exercised fully, they can be prone to weight gain with canine obesity a real problem for owners to look out for.
These are reliable, good natured dogs, perfect for families and those with an active lifestyle and something which makes them one of the most popular breeds around.
Photo credit: Andrea Arden