Labrador Retriever.

Other Names:

Lab, Labrador.

Price Range:

$500 – $1,000

Size:

Medium

Dog Group:

Sporting

Coat Length:

Short

Energy:

High

Kid Friendly:

High

Life Expectancy:

10-14 years

Available in these colours:

Characteristics & Tendencies:

TENDENCY TO DIG10%

10%

|
LOW

|
MEDIUM

|
HIGH

SNORING10%

10%

|
LOW

|
MEDIUM

|
HIGH

DROOLING10%

10%

|
LOW

|
MEDIUM

|
HIGH

EXERCISE NEEDS93%

93%

|
LOW

|
MEDIUM

|
HIGH

GROOMING NEEDS93%

93%

|
LOW

|
MEDIUM

|
HIGH

BARKING10%

10%

|
LOW

|
MEDIUM

|
HIGH

APARTMENT FRIENDLY

HYPOALLERGENIC

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.

FEEDING

How much do Labrador Retrievers eat?

2.5 to 3 cups of food a day

TEMPERAMENT

Are they kid-friendly?

They not only love kids, but also the commotion they bring too!

EXERCISE

How much exercise?

40 minutes of daily exercise

LIVING

Do they need a lot of space?

Can handle anything from a small city apartment to a vast ranch

Top health issues

What are the most common health issues for Labrador Retrievers?

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Osteochondrosis Dissecans
  • Cataracts
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Epilepsy

IN DETAIL

Common Labrador Retriever diseases & conditions, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment in detail:

Feeding

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.

Shedding

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.

Grooming

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.

Exercise

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.

Vet Visits

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.

Family Suitability

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.

Trainability

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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