Labradors are a wonderful and highly popular breed of dog. In fact, research has shown that they are the most popular breed of pet dog in the UK, Canada and the United States. The full name for Labrador dogs is Labrador retrievers, but they are commonly referred to as “Labradors” or even “labs” for short. They are called Labrador retrievers because they are classified as a gun dog; they were originally bred to help hunters retrieve game. The breed originated in Canada, but Labradors can now be found in many parts of the world, particularly in the western world.
It is important to know as much information as possible if you are considering making a Labrador the newest addition to the family. Here are some interesting facts about Labrador retriever dogs:
Male Labradors are usually slightly heavier than female Labradors. Males weigh around 34kg on average, whereas females weigh around 30kg on average. They are quite a large breed of dog.
Male and female Labradors are usually very similar in height. The average height is about 23 inches (58.42cm), but males are sometimes a couple of inches taller than females, growing up to 25 inches (63cm).
A Labrador’s coat is thick, short and water resistant. They do tend to shed a large amount of hair (particularly when in warmer climates), and their coats can be quite greasy. Bear this in mind if your dog lives in your house.
How Long Do Labradors Live?
A healthy Labrador generally lives for eleven or twelve years, sometimes slightly longer.
Labradors have an excellent temperament. This is one of the major reasons why they are such a popular domestic pet. They are very friendly and loving dogs, and one of the few larger breeds that are usually ok with small children, making them a favourite with families. They are playful and sociable, but if they are not exercised adequately or looked after properly, can be quite highly strung and demanding. Be sure to give your Labrador sufficient exercise so that they can burn off all the excess energy! They are far too friendly to be guard dogs.
Labradors are the most common breed of guide dogs in the UK. They are also used by the police and armed forces for sniffing out drugs and/or bombs.
Health and Health Disorders
Labradors are generally healthy dogs, especially for the first few years of their lives. They are most prone to elbow and hip dysplasia, which usually happens in their later years. Dysplasia is caused by abnormalities in the affected area, and can lead to osteoarthritis. Two other reasonably common health disorders are cataracts and deafness. Again, these usually develop later rather than earlier, but deafness is sometimes congenital.
Labradors generally have three different coloured coats: yellow, chocolate and black, although there are some which are considered to be white. Like humans, some of the hair on a Labrador can turn a grey/white colour with age. This is almost always most noticeable around the mouth and nose of an older dog, and can be seen clearly on many of the chocolate and black breeds.
Labradors are generally extremely sociable and interactive animals, and tend to love kids and adults equally. They may bark when visitors come round, but are usually just as friendly to visitors as they are to members of the family.
Labradors love to be exercised, and a well-exercised and healthy Labrador will have tremendous amounts of energy and stamina. Young, healthy ones will usually require two walks per day. These walks should be at least thirty minutes long. Labradors that are not sufficiently exercised can quickly become lazy and even obese.
Diet with your labrador
Labradors are known for having huge appetites and not being too fussy about what they eat! As the owner, you should control the quality and quantity of their food, as too much food can quickly make the dog obese. On the other hand, they are active dogs so be sure to feed them a sufficient amount.
If you live in a city, ensure that you have a fairly big garden so that your dog has room to let off a bit of energy during the day. They are great in the countryside where they have enough room to roam around.
How to train your labrador
Labradors are generally quite easy to train because of their intelligence and gentle nature. However, be sure to start training early so that your dog picks up good habits from being a puppy. Some Labrador retrievers are bred for sports and hunting. These type of dogs can be high maintenance if they do not receive proper training. If you have never had a Labrador before, it may be worth speaking to other Labrador owners and dog trainers.
On average, a female Labrador will have about 7 puppies, but a litter can be as small as 5 or as large as 10.