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Labrador Retriever


Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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Lab The Labrador Retriever, or Lab as he is commonly called, has a basically stable personality, is a tough creature, and has an inherent desire to please his owner, which makes him a great family dog and a prime candidate for service dog, guide dog or search and rescue dog. His innate retrieval instincts and stoic strength make him a favorite hunting dog.

History
The history of the Labrador Retriever is controversial. He is either from Newfoundland and once known as the "Lesser Newfoundland," or was the preferred dog on the island of Newfoundland, because of his smaller stature and short hair.

Most canine historians agree that the Labrador Retriever was originally called the "St. John's dog" and that a British Earl (Malmesbury) brought them over to England in the late 19th century and named them "Labradors." They were brought over to the United States in the early 20th century.

Living with your Lab
Your Labrador may be highly excitable throughout his first two years, apt to plunge right into things without thinking, and generally be "naughty." You can harness some of this incredible energy by taking him to obedience classes at an early age. There are "puppy kindergarten" classes that will teach you the basics of training your dog at a very young age.

Labs are hearty chewers and will gnaw on anything, so always provide appropriate chew toys for him. Provide your Lab with lots of attention, give him daily walks, and invest in a good breed book about Labs (there are several good ones available). If you choose or have chosen a Labrador Retriever as a canine partner, you indeed are a lucky person.

Interesting Breed Facts:
Popularity: 1st in 2008 (nineteen year title!); with 100,736 registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC).
First recognized as a breed:
Kennel Club (Eng.): 1903; AKC (American Kennel Club): 1917.
AKC Grouping: Sporting.
Size: Average height for males is 22.5" to 24.5" and for females, 21.5" to 23.5".
Males typically weigh 65-80 lbs and females are 55-70 lbs.
Appearance: AKC accepted coat colors for a Lab are yellow, black, or chocolate. A Lab's haircoat is straight, dense, and oily, this makes him able to shed water quickly.

Labs have broad skulls and drop ears that fall slightly above eye level, eyes are usually described as intelligent, a hallmark of the breed. A Labrador Retriever has a tail that is often described as "otter-like" and webbed feet, both of which help with their water skills.

Genetic Health Problems: Bone and joint problems, including hip dysplasia and cruciate (knee) problems, progressive retinal atrophy, and Labrador Retriever Myopathy (disease that causes muscle atrophy).
#1 preventable health problem: Obesity. Feed carefully from puppyhood on.
Preferences: Fetching, being with their owners, and swimming.
Best features: Inherent desire to please, loves children.
Biggest challenge to owners: Incredible energy; sometimes this breed doesn't calm down until about two years of age.

 

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