$500 – $1,000
Available in these colours:
Labrador Retrievers come in 3 main colours: Yellow, Chocolate, Liver and Black. Yellow coats may range from a light cream colour to a red colour. It is permissble for Labradors to have a small white spot on their chests, rear or front.
Characteristics & Tendencies:
TENDENCY TO DIG10%
About the Labrador Retriever
The original Labradors were all-purpose water dogs originating in Newfoundland, not Labrador. Not only did the breed not originate in Labrador, but it also was not originally known as the ‘Labrador Retriever’. The Newfoundland of the early 1800s came in different sizes, one of which was the “Lesser” or “St. John’s” Newfoundland—the earliest incarnation of the Labrador. The Labrador Retriever we know today is a medium-sized breed of retriever-gun dog. Historically earning a name as a ‘fisherman’s helper’, known for their assistance in hauling nets, fetching ropes and retrieving fish from the North Atlantic, Labs nowadays are best known for being rescue dogs and guide dogs.
The breed has a heavy body and strong legs, explaining their propensity to be active and high exercise needs. This enthusiastic dog loves to play, and thrives on human company. It has a short coat, consisting of a double coat, protecting it from both cold and hot weather. They have a huge appetite and love to eat, so care must be taken in their diet as they are prone to obesity.
Labradors are known for their affectionate, sweet and friendly demeanour. No wonder they are a popular choice for many pet owners! They make wonderful family pets and are patient and trusting with children. This eager-to-please breed is also very versatile, suiting both families or senior owners.
Top health issues
What are the most common health issues for Labrador Retrievers?
- Hip Dysplasia
- Osteochondrosis Dissecans
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Common Labrador Retriever diseases & conditions, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment in detail:
Due to their active lifestyles, hip dysplasia is not a rare occurrence in Labrador Retrievers. Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease that causes the hip joints to form improperly and is the primary cause of painful hip osteoarthritis in dogs. It generally occurs in large or giant breed dogs, however can also occur in smaller breeds as well. It is usually affected by factors such as excessive growth rate, types of exercise, improper weight and nutrition. Symptoms of hip dysplasia may show in dogs when they are as young as four months of age, whilst for others the disease may develop in conjunction with osteoarthritis as they age. These symptoms may include decreased activity, difficulting or reluctance rising, jumping or running, lameness in the hind end, loss of thigh muscle mass, pain and stiffness.
Hip dysplasia is diagnosed radiographically by the presence of degenerative changes and/or subluxation of the hip joint(s). There are multiple treatment options ranging from lifestyle modifications to surgery. These may include physical therapy, joint supplements or anti-inflammatory medications, or common surgeries such as double or triple pelvic osteotomy (DPO/TPO), femoral head ostectomy (FHO) or total hip replacement (THR).
Osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD) is a developmental condition affecting various joints in large and giant breed dogs. It occurs where there is a disturbance in endochondral ossification, the metamorphoses of cartilage to bone. This is often due to a disruption in the blood supply to the bone, resulting in abnormally thick regions of cartilage and causing lameness, pain and subsequent osteoarthritis. OCD is usually found in puppies between four and eight months, and affects males more than females. The condition appears to be genetically acquired, and is fortunately treatable by a veterinarian. OCD may be treated with conservative treatment, used for mild cases and younger dogs, or surgery for more severe cases.
Cataracts in dogs refers to where a disease process has occurred affecting the lens of the eye, causing the lens to lose its transparency and impairing one’s vision as a result. Cataracts may progress slowly or rapidly, depending on a number of underlying factors. It is most commonly caused by inherited cataract formation, but may also develop with age. It may also be a consequence of eye infections, eye inflammation or diabetes. Symptoms your dog may have cataracts include a bluish, grey or white layer in their eye, clumsiness, eye irritation or redness, discharge and blinking. If you suspect your dog has cataracts, consult your veterinarian or a veterinary ophthalmologist to discuss whether surgery is right for your dog.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a late onset, inherited eye disease affecting many breeds of dogs. It affects the retina, which is the picture screen at the back of the eye, and causes the blood vessels of the retina to atrophy and die. The first symptom noticed is usually dilated pupils – a ‘glow’ or increased ‘eye shine’, and the dog may appear to have difficulty seeing in the dark or dusk (“night blind”). Breeds commonly affected include Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Labrador and Golden Retrievers and Rottweilers. There is no cure for PRA, however an eye exam by a registered Ophthalmologist will diagnose the disease. DNA testing for late consent PRA is available, and is done by taking a cheek swab of your Border Collie. The PRA DNA test identifies one type of PRA, which is related to night blindness. There are another two types of PRA, for which there are currently no DNA tests available.
Epilepsy describes repeated episodes of seizures, which are one of the most frequently reported neurological conditions in dogs. It is a chronic disorder affecting dogs, and may run in some families. Dog seizures may be caused by a range of factors, such as trauma, exposure to toxins, issues with the dog’s blood or organs and genetic abnormalities. Generally, the younger the dog is, the more severe the epilepsy will be. Most seizures happen when the dog is resting or sleeping, usually at night or in the early morning. Breeds that are prone include Beagles, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers and Shetland Sheepdogs. Whilst epilepsy cannot be cured, it can usually be controlled using anticonvulsant drugs. Aside from medication, other management methods include maintaining a seizure log recording the date, time, length and severity of seizures with videotapes to share with your veterinarian, blood work recommended by your veterinarian, and putting a medical alert tag on your pet’s collar in case he gets lost and needs medication.
How much does a Labrador Retriever eat?
This breed is known to be greedy eaters, so a recommended diet should include a balance of good quality dry food, vegetables, and cheese or yoghurt. Although Labs are a generally healthy breed, they are prone to obesity so their diet should be tailored so they can maintain a healthy weight. It is up to you whether to feed your dog wet or dry food, or grain or grain-free. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your Labrador’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
Labrador puppies should be fed three to four times per day. If your Lab is older than 6 months, it is recommended to feed them twice a day. If you decide to switch foods, do so gradually, otherwise your dog may experience an upset stomach, potentially resulting in diarrhoea and vomiting.
How often does the fur fall off?
Labrador Retrievers shed a moderate amount. They generally shed more seasonally, meaning they shed more during the Spring and Autumn months. Labradors have a double coat, consisting of a soft downy undercoat that helps to keep them dry and warm in colder weather, and a harder outer coat the helps to repel water. Although they have a short coat, it is quite dense. As their coats are short, they do not mat. However, when Labs undergo their seasonal moult, their hair does shed in alarming amounts.
Are Labrador Retrievers high maintenance?
Labradors are easy-care dogs due to their short coats. Regular brushing with a firm, bristle brush once a week should be sufficient to keep your Lab groomed. They should be bathed when necessary or smelly.
Also take care to regularly clean your Lab’s head and ears by gently wiping with a damp cloth or remove any debris or dirt. Keep your dog’s teeth clean by running your finger along their gums, or by using a finger sleeve or special dog toothbrush. Use only dog toothpaste as human toothpaste is likely to be very distasteful for your dog. As their nails are black, this may make it difficult for them to be trimmed. A groomer will help show you how to properly clip your Labrador’s nails to prevent an injury to the dog and avoid their blood vessels when clipping. Labradors do not require shaving or clipping of their coats, as their undercoats will help to insulate the dog and keep them warm in cold weather, and cool in warmer weather.
How much exercise does a Labrador Retriever need?
Labradors are exuberant, energetic dogs and therefore need to be taken on a long, brisk walk or jog at least once a day. They tend to gain weight quite easily, so exercise and a proper diet are especially important for the Labrador. A Lab who doesn’t get enough exercise is likely to engage in hyperactive and/or destructive behavior to release pent-up energy. The breed’s favourite activities are retrieving and swimming. Labs also love to burn up energy on hunting trips or at field trials, as well as by participating in canine sports such as agility, obedience, tracking, and dock diving. Many Labs also work hard in important roles such as search-and-rescue, drug and bomb detection, and as service and assistance dogs.
Don’t mistake his easygoing personality for low energy: the Lab is an enthusiastic athlete that requires lots of exercise, like swimming and marathon games of fetch, to keep physically and mentally fit.
How often should a Labrador Retriever visit the vet?
Veterinary care is essential to a dog’s health and wellbeing, however the frequency of treatment and checkups will depend on the dog.
Scheduled six-monthly health check visits with your vet are important to ensure your Labrador Retriever is healthy and happy throughout all life stages. In these annual visits, your vet will complete a physical examination, take your dog’s temperature and check his heartbeat, among other things. Routine maintenance for your dog gives you a chance to track your dog’s growth and development and discuss any concerns with your vet, and forms a key part of preventative care.
Labradors are generally a healthy breed, but may be susceptible to obesity and other health issues such as hip and elbow dysplasia, epilepsy and cataracts.
Are Labrador Retrievers kid-friendly and sociable with humans?
Labradors are famous for their loyalty, affection and patience, which make them great family dogs. They are companionable housemates who bond with the whole family, and enjoy being in the presence of kids. They need to be included in family activities, being naturally social dogs. Gently exposing a Labrador puppy to a wide variety of people, places, and situations between the ages of 7 weeks and 4 months and beginning obedience training early on will help him develop into a well-adjusted, well-mannered adult.
Older pups or mature dogs are often available from breeders and can be a good choice for working people or busy families with young children. Labradors are so adaptable that they usually settle easily into a new family at any age. Whilst they are protective of their families and homes, they are quite happy to greet company as well.
Are Labrador Retrievers difficult to train?
Labradors are very intelligent and trainable, and should be trained and socialised from a young age to ensure they do not become destructive. Labradors are generally motivated by people, making them eager to please. On top of this, they are also highly motivated by food, making it quite easy to put a rewards-based training regime in place. The Lab’s natural obedience and intelligence are traits that have made for their ideal use in field sports, obedience competitions and as search dogs, guide dogs and hearing dogs. Labradors must be treated fairly when being trained, and do best with a consistent, firm hand.
Compatibility with other pets
Do Labrador Retrievers get along with other dogs or cats?
They love to play and swim and are excellent with other dogs and other pets as long as training has toned down their natural exuberance. A Labrador can be a big, powerful, and very playful dog, and a miniature or toy breed will be no match for it if play gets too rambunctious. In general, other household animals should not be at risk if a Labrador is brought home.
Need for company
How often do they need to be around humans?
Labradors are a curious breed that are highly people-oriented. Being wonderful family dogs, they need to feel like they are part of the family. They are not suited as guard dogs, however. They may bark protectively but will not act in an aggressive manner. Labradors are mostly adaptable and affectionate dogs, and are highly devoted to their owners. Their social and attention needs are moderate due to their versatile nature.
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