Labrador Retriever is a sweet-faced and lovable dog breed. It is also the most popular among the dog breeds in America. Today, Labrador Retrievers are great pets. They can be retrievers for hunters, assistance dogs to the handicapped, search and rescue dogs, and show competitors.
Labrador Retrievers are originally called St. John’s dogs and they came from the island of Newfoundland, off the northeastern Atlantic coast of Canada. From the 1700’s, they served as companions and helpers to the local fishermen. They spent their days working with their owners, retrieving fish who escaped hooks.
Many also believed that the St. John’s dog was bred with the Newfoundland Dog as well as with other small local water dogs. There were outsiders who noticed how useful the dog is and that it has a good disposition. Englishmen also imported Labradors to England to serve as retrievers for hunting. Around 1830, the second Earl of Malmesbury was one of the first who had St. John’s dog shipped to England. And the third Earl of Malmesbury was the first to refer to them as Labradors.
Though Labradors are now the most popular dogs in America, did you know that they were almost extinct by the 1880’s? But the Malmesbury family and other English fans were credited with saving the breed.
Labradors disappeared in Newfoundland because of government restrictions and tax laws, that’s why families were allowed to keep not more than one dog and female dogs are highly taxed. But in England, the breed survived. In 1903, it was recognized as a distinct breed by the Kennel Club.
In 1917, the American Kennel Club followed suit and in the 20’s and 30’s, British Labradors were imported to establish the breed in the United States. After the 2nd World War, the breed’s popularity began to take off. In 1991, the breed became the most popular dog registered with the American Kennel Club up to the present time.
Characteristics of Labrador Retrievers
Labrador Retrievers belong to the sporting dog breed group. Male ones can grow from 22.5 to 24.5 inches, and can weigh from 65 to 80 pounds. Female ones on the other hand can grow from 21.5 to 23.5 inches and can weigh from 55 to 70 pounds. Labradors have a life span of 10 to 12 years. But there was a Labrador who lived to be 27 years old. It is the 7th oldest dog ever recorded
They have two coat layers. One is a short, thick, straight topcoat, and the other one is a soft, weather-resistant undercoat. These layers protect them from the cold weather, making them great retrievers for hunters. Their coat can come in three colors such as black, yellow, and chocolate.
Labradors have a reputation of being a sweet-natured breed. They are outgoing and friendly with both people and other animals. They love kids the most and they enjoy the commotion they bring with them. However, training is needed for them to know how to act around kids. Aside from their great personality, Labradors are also intelligent, making them very easy to train.
Based on some facts about Labradors, they were used as bomb sniffers in war zones. A black lab named Sabi worked as a bomb sniffer for Australia, and she disappeared. A year later, she was found by American soldiers who returned her to her unit.
Caring for Labrador Retrievers
Labrador Retrievers are not backyard dogs because they need to be around their families. If you leave them alone for a long time, they will become lonely and are apt to dig, chew, or find other destructive outlets for their energy. Because of their high energy, it is essential to take them to on 30-minute daily walks. They are also known to be chewers, that’s why keeping sturdy toys around is important for them not to chew on your couch.
When Labradors shed, you can use a quality vacuum cleaner and brush them daily to get the loose hair out. They need a bath about every two months to keep them looking clean and smelling good. Brushing their teeth two or three times a week will also help remove tartar build up and bacteria in their mouths. You should also trim their nails once or twice a month.
When it comes to feeding them, the recommended daily amount is 2.5 to 3 cups of high-quality dry food every day, divided into two meals. But this will depend on your dog’s age, size, metabolism, build, and activity level.
Labrador Retrievers are indeed lovable pets and they are great to keep at home even when there are children around. If you’re looking for a sweet and lovable pet, then a Labrador Retriever would surely love to accompany you.