Labrador Retriever: Facts, Information And FAQs

Introduction

The Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular breeds in the world. Known as Labradors, or Labs, these canines are well-loved because of their balanced temperament, cute appearance, and remarkable intelligence. 

If you’re considering getting a Lab as part of your family, it is important you get well informed to give them all the care there is. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about Labs, from their origin to their personality traits, 

A Brief History about the Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers are America’s favourite dog breed because of their sweet faces and lovable personalities. You might know that Labradors are good swimmers, but you might miss the fact that it is inherited! Yes.

A Labrador Retriever sitting on the grass

They came from the island of Newfoundland, located off the north-eastern Atlantic coast of Canada. Since the 1700s, Labs have served as companions and aids to the local fishermen in Newfoundland.

Originally known as St. John’s dogs, the dogs worked alongside their owners, retrieved escaped fish and pulled lines in. And in the evening, they would return home to spend time with the fishermen’s families.

It is believed that they were interbred with the Newfoundland Dog and other smaller, local dogs. The dog had proved useful and had a good disposition, so English sportspeople imported a few Labrador retrievers to England for hunting.

From newfoundland to england

St. John’s dogs were first brought to England around 1830 by the second Earl of Malmesbury. It was the third Earl of Malmesbury who named the dogs’ Labradors for the first time.

A Labrador was almost extinct by the 1880s, but it survived thanks to the Malmesbury family and other England enthusiasts. Government restrictions and tax laws caused the breed to disappear in Newfoundland. Dogs were limited to one per family, and girl puppies were highly taxed, so litters with female puppies were culled.

Luckily, the breed survived in England, and the Kennel Club officially recognized it in 1903. Following suit, the American Kennel Club introduced the breed in 1917, and the British Labrador Retriever came to America in the ’20s and ’30s.

Since World War II, Labrador Retrievers have grown in popularity. By 1991, as ranked by the American Kennel Club, they are the most popular breed and have continued to maintain that title into the present day. 

Quick Facts About Labrador Retriever

TRAITSDETAILS
Life expectancy 10-12 years
Size Large
Height Male: 22-24 in (56–61 cm)
Female: 21-23 in (53–58 cm)
WeightMale: 60-75 lbs (27-34 Kg)
Female: 55-70 lbs (25-32 Kg)
Energy level High
HypoallergenicNo
Grooming levelLow
SheddingHigh

Appearance

Labradors are a sturdy and solid breed of Dog. Their body is strong, and their legs are sturdy, giving them an almost square appearance.

A labrador retriever lying on the textile sheet

Males can grow to a maximum height of 24 inches, making them a medium-size dog, but their solid build can make them appear much larger, and they weigh between 65 and 80 pounds.

Coat

Labrador retrievers have smooth, water-resistant coats and have a short, dense coat that is not wiry. The coat of the dog prevents it from getting cold when taking a dip in the water in the winter. 

Colour

Labrador retrievers come in three different colours: chocolate, black, and yellow. In the beginning, black was the most popular colour, but yellow and chocolate have become popular colours over time.

Yellow is the most popular one, and probably yellow peek into your mind when you hear about Labrador retriever.     

Personality Traits

A labrador retriever along with collie

Child Friendly

Have children? Then no need to worry about getting Labrador. They have a great relationship with children. Because of their even temperament and tolerant nature, they are generally okay with being petted, hugged, and prodded occasionally. They have an easy-going attitude and love to roll around and play.

Sociable With Other Pets

When it comes to the perfect sociable pet, there is no better match than a Labrador retriever. These brave and social dogs will provide you with love in return for all of their companionship from day one! Labradors get along well with both families and solo owners, and other pets as well.

For First Time Owners

Even if you’ve never raised a dog, you shouldn’t worry because it is widely considered that Labradors make good family dogs for novice owners; since they are well-behaved. These dogs are known for their gentle and fun-loving personalities. Highly intelligent and eager to please, Labrador will make you fall in love with dogs!      

Prey Drive

The Dog’s prey drive does not mean that he is a predator, but rather that he has an inherent inclination to work, train, and play. Labs usually have high prey drives, which means they make a great training partner. 

Playing tug will help channel your Lab’s prey drive towards ‘retrieving and competing’. Make sure your puppy wins most of the time. This drive can further be channelled into obedience and agility training.                                                                                                                           

How To Care For A Labrador retriever?

A llab being caressed by his owner

Grooming

Labs are a great family pet! They need the right care to keep them healthy and happy. You should regularly brush your Lab’s coat; consider getting it trimmed if necessary (or just let its natural hair grow).

Labrador Retrievers are also known for their impressive hair, and it sheds twice a year. If you need to get rid of all that dead fur from your Dog, try combing and bathing during heavy shedding.

Diet and Feeding 

As a new Labrador Retriever puppy owner, one of the first questions you may ask is, “How should I feed him?” Luckily, you don’t have to worry. We’re going to tell you how to feed Labrador Retriever puppies.

Before you bring your puppy home, it is important to find out what food your puppy ate before it came home with you from either the shelter or breeder that you got it from.

Like some other large dog breeds, Labrador retriever puppies are genetically prone to obesity, so watching how much they eat is important. This makes free feeding of dogs undesirable. The practice of free-feeding means providing dogs with food at all times, which can lead to many negative consequences.

A Labrador Retriever puppy should be fed according to the following schedule:

  • Breakfast between 6-7 am
  • Lunch at noon
  • And dinner between 5-6 pm

Activity and Exercise Requirements

The Lab requires plenty of exercises to remain physically and mentally fit, such as swimming and marathon fetch games.

Some Labs, however, may seem hyperactive. You should provide these puppies with at least 30 minutes of daily exercise. They usually enjoy walks, runs, swimming, fetching, and playing.

However, if they can’t release their energy, they may engage in bothersome activities like excessive barking or chewing.                                                                                                                                         

How To Train Your Labrador Retriever?

It is crucial to socialize puppies to raise them to be healthy, happy, and relaxed. A Labrador puppy starts learning and exploring from the moment he is born. Socialization should include exposure to as many people, animals, places, sights, and sounds as possible.

Although Labs have an innate work ethic and intelligent temperament, they are easy to train. Their friendly nature makes them great pets, especially when compared to other dog breeds.

Among dogs, Labradors are the best example of a man’s best friend. The level of activity in Labradors varies greatly, but all of them need physical and mental exercise. Often, they’ll play fetch with you or play fun toys with you. Keeping them entertained is easy. This is just another thing I love about Labradors!                               

labrador retriever Health Problems

Obesity

It is easy for the Labrador Retriever to become obese. To avoid overeating with this breed, free-feeding should be seldomly permitted. To ensure they stay healthy, limit their treats as well.

Hip Or Elbow Dysplasia 

Labs often struggle with joint problems like hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. The hips or elbow joints become inflamed, causing pain and immobility and preventing normal movement.

An adorable lab puppy lying on the floor

However, dogs can lessen their chances of getting dysplasia by maintaining a healthy weight, eating high-quality food with plenty of vitamins and nutrients, and getting adequate exercise (swimming is ideal).

Osteochondritis 

Labrador Retrievers are prone to this condition in which cartilage softens in a joint. A disruption in the blood supply to the bones causes softened joints.

Allergies 

Due to environmental factors, allergies are common in Labrador Retrievers. Your Lab’s skin may be irritated by pollen, dust mites, and mould.

Epilepsy 

There are episodes of seizures associated with this neurological disorder. Labrador Retrievers are very common to suffer from epilepsy, and a veterinarian should examine these dogs.                                                                                                                             

Daily Routine For A Happy Lab Puppy

It would be best if you took him outside as soon as you get up so that he can go potty. Play with him after he has gone to the bathroom, and maybe bring some of his favourite toys with you.

This is the perfect time to feed your dog his breakfast if you feed him two meals a day. The first meal of the day should also be given to your dog at this time.

Approximately 30 minutes after your dog finishes eating, take him out for a brisk walk. After eating, dogs tend to go to the toilet between 10 and 30 minutes later. Although adult dogs may be able to hold it in for longer, puppies are often unable to.

As you go about getting things done, let your dog settle and rest before leaving for work, or let him amuse himself with some interactive toys while you are working.

Most dogs would love it if you returned home during your lunch break so they can take a pee break, play with you, play with their toys and get some quality time with them.

Ensure that your dog has fresh water in a clean bowl. You should give your puppy a midday snack at this time if you have one.

Introduce some fun activities, and then let your Dog come inside so he can calm down and rest. 

You should feed your puppy or older dog his evening meal now. Take him outside shortly after he finishes eating so he can burn off all the energy he has accumulated throughout the day.

Before going to sleep, your dog will need to relieve himself again. You can take him outside to use the bathroom, but don’t play with him. If you do, you might have trouble getting him to settle down for bedtime. Encourage your pup to rest as you invite him inside. 

Is a Lab The Right Dog For You?          

Labrador retrievers are a wonderful breed with wonderful personalities. If you are looking for a dog to add to your family, a Labrador is a great choice. Here, we will guide you to make an informed decision about a dog that’s right for your family.

Labrador retrievers were created for one purpose: to travel large areas of land, run, jump and swim to retrieve fallen game for hunters. Energy and stamina are required for this type of work.

Therefore, they may not be the right choice for you have an introverted personality and like to stay at home. Also, you need to consider your apartment or home size; they usually need a large backyard to play and exercise.

Last but not least, you’ll need to check your resources and ensure that are you able to afford a Labrador.                                                                                                                  

Should You Buy Or Adopt A Labrador Retriever?

You must do your research before you decide whether to adopt or buy a Labrador retriever puppy. Irrespective of whether you find a responsible breeder or plan on adopting, it is your responsibility to make sure your household is prepared for the addition of an energetic pet.

Breeders have young puppies available to pick from, but rescues don’t always have them available. Most adopt out only microchipped, spayed/neutered dogs; which is a huge benefit. As a result, you may have an already-housebroken dog who will not need these common medical procedures. 

The first thing you should do if you are opting for a breeder is to conduct thorough research and join online forums where you can discuss getting your future furry family member.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, make arrangements to meet the parents, and trust your instincts. There could be a problem when there is something strange about a breeder you visit or when the Labrador retriever puppy seems too good to be true.

The price tag for purebred Labrador retrievers can range from $1,000 to $3,000, depending on their AKC pedigree. Your local shelter may be a better option if purebreds aren’t an issue for you. An adoption fee for a shelter dog can range between $170 and around $640. 

Now that you’ve found the right Labrador retriever puppy, you’ll have to prepare the home for them!                                                                                                                   

FAQs About Labrador Retriever

Are Labradors good family dogs?

Labs enjoy being around people, so they make excellent family pets. Although the Labrador tends to be protective of his family and home, they are often delighted to greet visitors. Labs are intelligent and active; they love to run, play, and swim.

Are female or male labs better?

Males may be more attentive to their owners. Males will likely guard their things more than females. As an individual, males tend to be more affectionate and exuberant than females. While both males and females enjoy food, males are more likely to be food-motivated.

How far should you walk a Labrador each day?

It is recommended that a healthy adult Labrador should exercise for at least walk 80 minutes each day. This must be tailored to the individual dog – more energetic dogs may need longer, while more relaxed dogs may be satisfied with a little less.

Where should my Labrador sleep at night?

It’s important to place his bed or crate in the right place. Make sure it’s secluded enough for him to have some privacy. At the very least, he should have two or three walls surrounding him. It would be better if there were blankets to make it a comfortable place where he would want to spend time in.

Should I let Lab sleep with me?

Labrador puppies should not sleep in your bed with you but can sleep next to you. You have to establish a routine for him, encourage him to be independent, and make him see you as a dominant figure.

Once your Lab has reached an age of 6 months, is potty trained, and is a little older, you can let him sleep with you.

Can labs be left alone?

It is not recommended to leave Labradors alone for more than 8 hours, as they are prone to separation anxiety. It is, therefore, recommended that you keep your time apart from them as short as possible, i.e. no more than three to four hours. If you can’t board your dog or hire a dog walker, consider alternative options.

How can I stop my Labrador from shedding?

Brushing your Labrador on a daily or weekly basis can reduce the amount of seasonal shedding. It is especially important during moulting season. Bathing your Labrador occasionally can as well help loosen shed fur.

By removing already shed dog hair, you can also minimize the amount of dog hair hanging around your house.

Facts and Figures Summary

Appearance

  • Sturdy sold dogs
  • Broad skull with chiselled features and soft ear flaps
  • Kind expression
  • Full-length muzzle
  • Strong jaw with 42 teeth

How to care

  • Brush them in a week or as needed
  • Brush their teeth twice a week
  • Take them for exercise and walks daily
  • Take them swimming

Health Problems

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Laryngeal Paralysis
  • Arthritis
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Seizures
  • Cancer 
  • Ear infections 

Personality traits

  • Child friendly
  • Affectionate with family
  • Aloof to strangers
  • They don’t like being alone

How to train

  • Socialize Puppies
  • Exercise Every Day
  • Start a Basic Obedience Program

Daily Routine

  • Walk in the morning after a potty break
  • 30 minutes of exercise daily
  • Lunch, then a potty break
  • Play and obedience practices
  • Dinner and potty time

Temperament

  • Eager
  • Friendly
  • Social
  • Highly energetic
  • Intelligent
  • Steady tempered
  • Obedient