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LABRADOR FACTS: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE MOST POPULAR DOG BREEDPosted By Jérémy ADJOVI-BOCO, 12 August 2023
Hi Jope's squad !
The Labrador Retriever is one of the American's favorite dogs for good reasons! Indeed Labrador Retrievers are highly versatile: from the perfect family dog in the home to a high-energy working dog (guide dog, mediation dog, therapy dog). If they have not already, Labrador Retrievers are bound to win you over!
The origin of the Labrador Retriever breed
You might already know that your darling Labrador Retriever is originally from Canada. And more precisely, from a province located at the extreme East of the country bearing the same name: Labrador.
In the XIXth century, the native Americans used them as water dogs and hunting dogs. However, the British are the ones who imposed the breed's characteristics in 1903, setting the scene for the Labrador Retriever we now know.
Why are labrador retrievers such a versatile dog breed?
If you are a lucky pet parent of a Labrador Retriever, it will come with no surprise that they are a fantastic family dog! Indeed, they are affectionate and cheerful!
They have numerous assets, but the ones that stand out are their good character, love for their family and children. They are very loyal and make perfect companions in the home. They are remarkable for their loyalty and their friendly temperament.
The best way to train a Labrador Retriever
Because they are neither very aggressive nor fearful, Labradors are easy to train when surrounded by kindness. Your Labrador will respond exceptionally well to positive training. Also, they love to have children participate in their education, which will be a great family activity and strengthen the family bond!
You should note that socialization is an essential part of their training and should start early! A Labrador who is not disciplined and has no limits can quickly be challenging to handle.
Also, if you consider a Labrador as a new addition to your family, remember they are energetic dogs that need freedom. Therefore they will be happier if they have access to a garden, and they should not have an inactive lifestyle. And yet, they are also wonderful couch dogs! Of course, they like to exercise, but they will also be very calm at home, provided you make sure to walk them several times a day.
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What are the other qualities of the Labrador Retriever breed?
It comes with no surprise as we see Labradors almost everywhere that they are adaptable to many situations!
Docile and eager to please, you will notice your Labrador is also very expressive and understanding, making it very easy for you to communicate with them. It is most likely because humans and Labradors have an exceptional understanding of each other that we use them as guide dogs for the blind and therapy dogs.
Also, they possess a large nose and a very refined sense of smell, convenient for searches in rubble or as snow dogs.
Finally, they are water dogs, which can be quite pleasant in a family context and useful for rescue work!
The physical characteristics of the beloved Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retrievers are medium-sized dogs measuring between 21 and 23 inches at the withers for females and males.
Their appearance is moderately massive, and their head is broad with a marked drop at the nose. They have delicate ears that fall elegantly on their cheeks. When you follow the backline, you notice it is nicely horizontal. They will give you a powerful impression with their broad thorax and chest. You will love how cheerful their tail can be when your Labrador comes to greet you! Some people will say they have an "otter tail."
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Labrador Retriever colors
If you follow the breed's guidelines, the Labrador Retriever's coat is generally uniform, with a tolerance for a white patch on the chest. Interestingly, only a few colors are recognized officially, but paradoxically, gradations are accepted.
The colors are black, yellow or brown. The yellow can range from cream to sandy or more reddish. Brown Labradors are said to be "liver-chocolate." It is worth highlighting that colors can evolve slightly during growth. Worldwide, Chocolate coats are among the most popular coats and are often more expensive than Sand Labradors. Except in France: if you ask a French person, they will likely tell you they prefer sand Labradors.
The last fact about their coat is that it is dense and enriched with a weather-resistant undercoat that requires monthly maintenance.
Common Labradors Health Issues
- Obesity - Overweight
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Osteochondrosis and Osteochondritis (OCD)
- Atopic dermatitis
- Genetic epilepsy (seizures)
Like all breeds, Labrador Retrievers have "predispositions", meaning that they have a higher probability of developing certain diseases. Because Labradors are trendy, many studies focus on them, and therefore their predispositions are well known.
If you dive deeper into your Labrador's predispositions, you might see a very high number. For example, according to Dr. Alex Gough and Dr. Alison Thomas, more than 90 racial predispositions have been described for Labradors. However, take with caution what you read: the number is high because they are very studied. Less studied breeds will have a lower number of predispositions.
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Labradors are prone to weight and painful joint problems
Above all, Labradors love to eat! So, it comes with no surprise that they are predisposed to being overweight. Unfortunately, this leads to many other diseases such as osteoarthritis, diabetes, kidney and liver problems, etc. That's why we recommend that you observe your adorable Labrador's weight their entire life.
It would be best to ensure your Labrador has a very active lifestyle and that they get used as puppies to a balanced diet, rich in green vegetables!
Also, they can have joint problems, a consequence of being overweight or other factors. For example, some joint issues arise as puppies, such as hip and elbow dysplasia. Others are acquired and come secondary to other diseases such as being overweight, osteoarthritis, etc.
Other diseases to watch for in Labradors
If you research other possible affection of your Labrador, you might come across eye and skin diseases. Eye diseases are called ophthalmological diseases and include cataract, retinal dysplasia, retinal atrophy. Skin diseases are called dermatological diseases and include mastocytomas, lipomas, atopy. Labradors are known to be prone to develop allergies (food allergy, environment allergy, etc)
Finally, although they are a medium-size breed, they can be prone to bloat or gastric dilatation-volvulus ( GDV) as they have high energy and eat a lot!
BLoat and GDV are life-threatening conditions that will lead to certain death in a few hours if left untreated.
Owning a labrador will give you lots of pleasure, whether in a family setting or for work. But, of course, like many pure-breed dogs, they are known to have many genetic predispositions, so good health insurance may be an excellent investment if you adopt one.
The good news is that you can help your adorable Labrador retriever live a healthy and long life. Of course, a good diet, preventive care, and health-boosting supplements are essential for proper dog parenting. And, overall, with care and love, Labradors can live a long and happy life with you, with their general life expectancy around 10-12 years!
Author: Dr. Jeremy
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), MS