Complete guide to the Labrador Retriever, one of the most popular dog breeds. In this article you will find everything you need to know about Labradors. Its characteristics, the history of the breed, its temperament, uses, possible diseases, general care and much more.
Origin and history of the Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever is a large breed of dog that originated in Newfoundland, a territory that currently belongs to Canada. The Labrador is the successor to the San Juan Spaniel, a breed that emerged in the 16th century. While the ancestors of the San Juan spaniel are unknown, they were most likely a mixture of working breeds. There were two lines of San Juan Spaniels: the Greater Newfoundland (now extinct) and the Lesser newfoundland where the farmers come from.
We know that the Labrador arises around the year 1,800. The first task these dogs did for the fishermen was to bring the nets through the icy waters (since Labradors love the water and are also an excellent swimmer). Its name comes from the sea where these fishermen work, the "Labrador Sea".
Physical characteristics of the Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever is a dog that according to the FCI classification corresponds to group 8, Hunting Retriever Dogs, Hunting Lifting Dogs and Water Dogs. Section 1, Hunting Retriever Dogs. Also according to the size classification, it corresponds to the group belonging to large breed dogs. Next we will detail its main physical characteristics
Labrador Retriever Body
The body of the Labrador Retriever is of strong build, a straight upper line and wide, short and powerful loins. The hindquarters are strong and do not taper towards the base of the tail. This is very thick at birth, of medium length. The coat is short and thick, causing the tail to appear to have a rounded shape. The shape of the tail is a distinctive feature of the breed and its appearance has been called otter tail. The chest omg del Labrador is broad and deep with rounded ribs. Sloping shoulders and powerful, straight legs, with a well-angled stifle and lowered hocks. Round, compact feet with arched toes; its neck is long, lean and powerful.
Labrador Retriever head
Wide skull with a good profile that lacks fleshy cheeks. The muzzle, of medium length, is not sharp. Labrador Retrievers have a pronounced stop and ears that are not very large or heavy, but are set back and hang to the sides of the head. Their eyes are medium in size and they have an intelligent expression. The teeth are complete, powerful and scissor-shaped.
How tall is a Labrador Retriever?
The adult Labrador Retriever has a height of approximately between 52 centimeters and 59 centimeters. Considering an ideal height of 56 centimeters. The height of adult females ranges between 50 centimeters and 56 centimeters and 54 centimeters is considered the ideal height.
How much does an adult Labrador Retriever weigh?
The weight of adult male Labrador Retrievers is between 30 kilograms and 35 kilograms. On the female side, their weight is lower and generally ranges between 25 and 30 kilograms. The ideal weight for the breed is 33 kilograms for males and 28 kilograms for females.
Coat and colors of the Labrador Retriever
The coat of the Labrador Retrievers is short and thick, they do not have waves or a feathery coat. It is hard to the touch and features an underlayer that is waterproof.
There are three varieties of colors in Labradors. Black chestnut, chocolate, a color that is also well known under the name of «liver»And blond or yellow. This last color in Labradors can vary between soft cream and fox red. The color of the Labrador's truffle is black in those specimens with a blond or black coat. These specimens also have black edges of the eyelids and eyes. In those Labradors that are chocolate-colored, the nose, the edges of the eyelids and the eyes are colored «liver«. The specimens are admitted to have a small white spot on the chest.
Labrador Retriever temperament
To define the temperament of the Labrador Retriever breed, we will define it in two parts. On the one hand we will mention the main characteristics of the character of this beautiful breed and on the other we will define the main aspects of its behavior.
Character of the Labrador Retriever
Labradors have a balanced, friendly and docile character. They are loving and extremely active dogs. The male Labrador tends to be somewhat louder than the female. Still, both sexes have the same predisposition to learn. These dogs will never be aggressive or shy, it is something that is presented in all the dogs. They are extremely intelligent, they like work and if it is together with their masters or relatives they will like it and they will enjoy it much more. They are generally docile and obedient dogs, although this will depend a lot on their upbringing.
They are late maturing, both physically and mentally. This implies that they will continue to be very playful and noisy until at least two years of age. They have an excellent smell and a delicate mouth. They are extremely sociable dogs, this makes one of the places where they most enjoy being with their family. When they are puppies we will notice that they are dogs that are interested in everything, that they are more playful than the average dog, which makes it an ideal dog for families with children.
Labrador Retriever behavior
The Labradors have a special and quite particular behavior. They are dogs that, on the one hand, get along very well with other dogs, as long as they have been well socialized. Also, based on their good socialization, they will get along well with other pets such as cats or rabbits. With the children we will notice that the Labrador has impressive patience and docility. Also being so playful makes him the perfect company for them. Labradors love to be around people and it is not a dog that is characterized by being a great vigilante, for that work it is quite distracted. When visitors come, it is a dog that will receive them with great enthusiasm and joy, whether they are known or not.
Uses of the Labrador Retriever breed
The Labrador is a breed that has become known as a family dog. They are excellent at virtually all dog sports and various everyday tasks. It is known throughout the world as a guide dog for the blind, but it is also trained to detect drugs by its incredible smell and as an avalanche rescue or general rescue dog. These dogs are suitable for almost all sports. They excel in agility tests, catching objects on the fly and in some cases also obedience.
General Labrador Retriever care
Below we will mention some recommendations that should be taken into account to provide the corresponding care for both a Labrador puppy and an adult Labrador. We will mention basic questions about their grooming and brushing, about their diet, their exercise and training.
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Grooming and brushing the Labrador
The RTetriever Labrador coat is quite easy to care for, we only need to brush it carefully on average once a week with a bristle brush and we will keep it in optimal condition. During the shedding season it will be necessary to intensify the care and pay a little more attention, with two or three brushings a week is usually more than enough. Baths in lukewarm water help a lot to reduce hair loss.
The texture of your hair has certain characteristics that allow dirt and mud to dry relatively quickly and can be easily cleaned with a brush. You have to pay close attention to your nails, since they must be cut.
This breed usually has few problems with bathing, as they love water. Although it is recommended not to abuse the bathrooms, in times of change they are very convenient. In addition, as they are dogs that are quite unruly and playful, it is often quite necessary to give them a wash since brushing is not enough.
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How to train my Labrador Retriever?
Labradors are relatively easy dogs to train. This is mainly due to the fact that they are dogs that have intelligence well above the average of the rest of the dogs and their very good predisposition to learn. Labradors love to learn and work with and for their masters or family members. However, this canine breed, as we have mentioned before, matures late, which implies that they remain unruly and playful for a long time, which means that to achieve their absolute obedience it will take a bit of work.
It is very important to teach them at a young age not to pull on the leash, when they grow up, if they get used to this they will be very difficult dogs to control when they are taken out for a walk. If you have questions or problems for this, we recommend our note: how to prevent my dog from pulling on the leash
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First steps of the Labrador Retriever
The big question from first-time YLabrador Retriever users is: What are the first steps like? Do they adapt quickly to the home? How do I teach them to relieve themselves in the right place?
Well, let's answer them all. The first thing to keep in mind is that whether you obtain a recently weaned puppy or adopt an adult specimen, it will take time to adapt and it is impossible to know how much. But it will be much faster for the dog, if you and your family give love and patience. It is essential to avoid negative challenges, as these can influence the character and sensitivity of the animal.
It is one of the most intelligent breeds that exist and they also enjoy pleasing their family, so their adaptation is usually quick. Even so, you must always try to make sure the orders are clear and, if possible, give them some kind of reward (a congratulation, a toy, a canine treat). As for how to teach him to relieve himself, we recommend using canine training towels, which are very useful and help our pet learn faster. We leave you the following note: canine training towels, in which we explain how they work step by step.
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Recommended exercise for a Labrador Retriever
The Labrador requires a lot of exercise. They are ideal for a dynamic and sporty family. First of all, these dogs are suitable for all kinds of sports. They are passionate about water and also love to retrieve objects. He will always be willing to play with a ball but also to take a loose walk on the field. Although he prefers the countryside, he will adapt easily to the city if his exercise needs are well attended to. Its waterproof mantle does not affect bad weather at all.
The Labrador requires at least 3 daily walks when they are puppies. This is an estimated 60 minutes or 70 minutes of walking a day. When they are adults, they will need a little less time, and by being adults we mean when they are two years old in Labradors.
In Labradors, it is recommended that they exercise moderately and obligatory to avoid one of the problems that dogs of this breed frequent most, being overweight. Among the most recommended activities for a Labrador Retriever to do, we can mention going for a run, taking them on a leash, or riding a bicycle while the dog follows us. They enjoy the water a lot, so in summer it is very normal to see them with their masters walking or running by the sea or by a river.
They have a lot of energy and they love to play with children and with their master, they will never tire of going to find the ball or a branch that we throw at them to play. Still, what they like the most is the company of the family, so it is not unusual to see them willing to sit next to their owners to watch television, read a book, keep them company while one cooks or does another activity.
Food and diet in the Labrador Retriever
Large breed dogs have a great appetite and require food that contains the proper proportions of minerals and vitamins. You also need additional supplements to avoid joint problems. It is vitally important to pay attention to their bones and provide them with a good diet during their development, since they are not fast growing but they do reach a significant size. An adult Labrador retriever consumes approximately between 400 and 450 grams of balanced food daily, as long as it is active. The numbers change if the specimens are sedentary at 300 and 350 grams per day. The female consumes just a little less than the male. It is recommended to feed them four times a day and in small amounts when they are puppies, and 2 times a day when they are adults, that is, after two years of age.
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Labradors are a breed that is, in comparison to the others, very healthy. They are dogs that have few health problems, but like all breeds they are exposed to several possible genetic diseases. Below we will detail their life expectancy and some of the possible problems that animals of this breed can have.
How long does a Labrador live?
This breed of dog has quite a considerable longevity considering that they are large dogs. It is estimated that on average the life expectancy of the Labrador Retriever is 12 years, since the vast majority of Labradors tend to live between 10 years and 14 years.
Does the Chocolate Lab live less time than the rest of the Labradors?
Yes, it is proven under scientific studies that the chocolate or liver colored Labrador has a significantly lower life expectancy than the rest of the specimens of this breed. In itself, it is not the color that makes them live less, it is the erroneous reproduction practices that have been carried out, which introduced harmful genes for the chocolate specimens of this breed.
The study was carried out in the United Kingdom, where around 33,000 veterinary cases of the breed were studied. The company that carried out the study is Canine Genetics and Epidemiology and was able to confirm that the Chocolate Labrador specimens have an average life expectancy of 10% less than that of the rest of the specimens of other colors. The life expectancy of the labrador is on average between 10 and 14 years, this average includes all specimens. If we leave aside the chocolate-colored specimens, the life expectancy of the Labrador would be 12 to 14 years. If we take only the chocolate specimens, the life expectancy of these dogs decreases significantly and becomes between 7 and 10 years.
Possible diseases in a Labrador
The Labrador, like the vast majority of dog breeds, carries some diseases to which it can become more prone by the simple fact of belonging to a certain breed of dog. Below we will briefly write which are these pathologies that must be taken into account.
Although today most breeds tend to have this problem, the Labrador Retriever is especially sensitive. They love sweets and other unhealthy foods, which associated with their good relationship with people, leads to it being very frequent that they eat all kinds of unhealthy foods. This, added to the lack of physical activity, makes our dear friends very prone to having problems with weight.
It is developed in most cases by a hereditary malformation. When this problem appears, what happens is a displacement of the hip that tends to cause intense pain and lameness in the animal. Dogs that are affected by this disease tend to have difficulty performing common activities such as walking, running, jumping, climbing a ladder, and even lying down or sitting down. In more advanced cases or those that have not been treated, dysplasia can completely incapacitate the animal.
It is more frequent when the dog is elderly and overweight.
It is a joint disease that is caused by the poor development of bone tissue that at the beginning will produce arthritis or inflammation in your joints and over time this will transform into osteoarthritis. To avoid this, try to give it vitamins and calcium during its growth.
Other problems that these dogs present are ocular, for example: progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, corneal dystrophy or retinal dysplasia.
Curiosities of the Labradors
In this section we will mention some peculiarities or curiosities of the Labrador breed. Did you know that Labradors are known for being experts in swimming and that they are one of the dogs that perform the best in the water? Another peculiarity not very well known in the world. Did you know that the Labrador is one of the most intelligent dogs?
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Why does the Labrador Retriever swim so well?
They have a body completely prepared to swim, from their legs, to the tail, passing through the fur, our friend is a water expert and we are going to explain why: The Labrador's legs are webbed, like that of ducks, and it is thanks to these natural fins that are such good swimmers. In turn, its tail is thicker at the base and functions as a rudder in the water. And its fur is layered, being slightly greasy which keeps it warm and helps it float. Plus, it dries fast.
How long do Labradors take to grow?
Labradors are dogs that mature at a rate that is not at all accelerated. In their first months of life we can appreciate how they increase considerably in size in a very short time, something characteristic of large dog breeds. However, it is estimated that they reach their adult height between 18 months and 24 months of life. Something similar happens with their weight, they can continue to gain weight up to 2 years of life, considering that a correct diet is respected. Its mental maturity is also late since it is a breed that appears playful and noisy up to two years of age on average. Sometimes it can take a little longer and sometimes it can take less, it will depend a lot on the family that adopts and raised him.
One of the smartest races in the world
That's right, how you are reading it. The Labrador Retriever is considered according to Stanley Coren, one of the most intelligent canine breeds. The study that this psychologist has done included a huge amount of tests where the intelligence of the dogs was measured and the Labrador occupies the fourth position on the list. Stanley Coren's study comprises three different types of canine intelligence, these are instinctual intelligence, adaptive intelligence, and functional intelligence. Dogs of various breeds were subjected to tests that gave them a score for each type of intelligence and once the results were had, the ranking was made where the famous labrador occupies one of the first positions.