There are so many reasons that the Lab is the most popular purebred. Their loyalty, devotion, and cheerful puppy-like nature make a house feel like a home. If you are an active family and willing to entertain this energetic and intelligent dog, the Labrador Retriever may be the perfect dog for you!
Best known simply as the Lab, this breed is originally from Newfoundland, Canada, but was bred into universal popularity in England. Originally, they were known as the St John's Water Dog. Back then, they almost always had a white muzzle, a chest spot, and four white "socks." (Some Labs still have the white chest spot.) The Lab made its way to England in the early part of the 19th Century, where a professional breeder developed and stabilized the breed that we've come to know today! For the last 20 years, this breed has held the distinction of being the most popular purebred in the world.
A hunter and water retriever, the Lab is derived from the Saint John's Newfoundland and other related gun breed dogs. Given their pedigree, they'd LOVE to work for you!
Their bodies lend themselves well to swimming. They have a long, thick tail that is often described as an "otter tail," webbed paws, and a short, straight double coat that is water-resistant. This is a dog that absolutely LOVES the water! If you don't live near water, or if you don't have a pool, your first purchase should be a "kiddie" pool for them to play in or just lay around in on those hot summer days!
*A word of caution: Labs have been known to jump into the occasional bathtub while someone is trying to clean up or relax, so don't be surprised if your Lab decides to try and hop in with you!
Besides hunting and swimming, Labs make great search and rescue, service work, therapy, and detection dogs! This breed loves to carry things around in their mouth and are considered one of the all-time great fetching dogs. Be sure to pick up some tennis balls or a good dog toy for them to do just that!
The Lab comes in three colors black, yellow, and chocolate. They may also have a white spot on their chest. Their eye color can be a mesmerizing hazel tone or brown. Unfortunately, they tend to shed heavily when the weather gets warm.
They're usually somewhere in the neighborhood of 21.5 to 24.5'' tall, and their weight ranges from 55 to 90 lbs. This a good large breed with a hardy, sturdy build.
This breed is extremely sociable and friendly. They LOVE people and are very loyal. The lab is probably the ultimate breed for a family with young children! They are extremely social and friendly dogs, who are enthusiastic about any situation or job; they are loyal and LOVE people.
Labrador Retrievers have high activity levels and will require a vigorous exercise program for at least 30 minutes, two to three times a day. This might include running, walking, or playing fetch. Runners - this dog makes a GREAT running partner! Their energy level also makes them perfect for many types of competitions, such as dock jumping, agility, field trails, water work, and rally obedience.
Get Your Grub On!
This breed is known to suffer from Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), a genetic disease that causes blindness. They're also prone arthritis, hip dysplasia, luxating patella, and obesity issues. (They LOVE their food!) The typical lifespan of a Lab is around 12-13 years.
As you begin looking for a Labrador Retriever, please check with rescue organizations first. Every year, there are millions of dogs being euthanized - not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescue agencies. By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!
At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.
On a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!
Have you and your family been looking for the perfect water companion? If so, then look no further than the Labrador Retriever!
Dog Bible, Edited by Kristin Mehus-Roe, 2005