Labrador Retrievers are considered to be the most popular breed in the United States, according to the American Kennel Club. The Labrador is intelligent and incredibly family-friendly. This hunting dog is versatile, often used as guide dogs for the blind and as part of search and rescue teams. These canines are eager to please their humans.
Labrador Retrievers – Breed History
The Labrador Retriever was created by cross-breeding between setters, spaniels, and other retrievers. These dogs initially helped fishermen pull in nets and catch fish that escaped. At first, Labradors were bred to perform as a retriever of game, though their stable, even temperament led to their popularity as great companions and working dogs.
“Labs” are found in several colors – black, yellow, chocolate and silver. Black Labs are the most common color found in this breed. Yellow is a close second, with chocolate being less common. Silver/gray is a very rare color and has been controversial due to cross breeding with Weimaraners. Those colors are not recognized by the AKC.
The head of the Lab is broad. The nose is usually thick, with the muzzle being fairly wide. The body of the lab is longer than it is tall. A Lab’s coat is easy to care for, and is water-resistant. Eyes are usually brown or hazel, though some Labs have green or gray eyes. These dogs have webbed feet, which enable them to swim.
Labrador Retriever Personality
Labs are very loyal, loving, and affectionate to their family. This makes them excellent family animals. They love to play, especially in water, and will never pass up the opportunity to get wet. Because of their stable, reliable temperaments, they make excellent dogs for families with children. They want to be an active part of the family and crave human contact. Labs are easily trained and bond quickly with their family members. Adult Labradors are very strong, and if they do not get enough activity, they can become destructive. It is best to train your Lab while they are still a puppy because they have not achieved their full strength. They love to learn new tricks and commands for mental stimulation.
Labs were originally native to Newfoundland and were once known as “St. John’s Dogs.” Labs will usually live about 10-12 years. Labradors have a short, double coat which is easy to groom. They have a soft mouth which allows them to retrieve game without marks or other damage.
The ideal lifestyle for these canines is one that provides plenty of exercise and attention, although they can thrive in an apartment with enough exercise and companionship.
Photo: Courtesy of Mark Turnauckas via Flickr (CC by 2.0)