Labrador Retrievers – Breed Profile
The Labrador Retriever originated in Newfoundland, Canada and is believed to have descended from the now extinct “St. John’s Water Dog”. Labs where trained to help retrieve fishing nets from the icy cold waters of the North Atlantic. Their dense, water-repellant coats, swimming skills and hard working nature made them the perfect dog for this task.
In the early 19th century, the Duke of Malmesbury began breeding Labradors in England. He was also responsible for the name “Labradors”. Labrador Retrievers where first recognized by The British Kennel Club in 1903 and the American Kennel Club in 1917. It is now considered the most popular dog breed in the world. Anyone who has ever known a Labrador Retriever will surely understand why!
About Labrador Retrievers
Labrador Retrievers are medium to large sized dogs with a smooth short coat and a powerful, otter like tail (usually wagging!). These intelligent dogs make great family pets but they do need a lot of exercise, mental stimulation and training. They enjoy long walks and love water. A well exercised Lab is a happy Lab!
Labrador Retrievers make excellent sporting dogs and excel as retrieving gun dogs. They are also used as guide dogs for the blind and therapy dogs.
Labrador Retrievers have been the most popular dog breed in the United States for the past 16 years. They are also by far the most popular dogs in The United Kingdom with over 45 000 registrations.
American Kennel Club Breed Standard:
Male: 22.5 inches – 24.5 inches to the shoulder
Female: 21.5 inches – 23.5 inches to the shoulder
British Kennel Club Breed Standard:
Male: 22 inches – 22.5 inches to the shoulder
Female: 21.5 inches – 22 inches to the shoulder
Male: 65 – 80lbs
Female: 55 – 70lbs
Labrador Retrievers have a short, thick, dense and weather resistant coat in black, yellow, chocolate or silver. Silver Labradors are not yet recognised by the American Kennel Club.
The difference between English and American Labrador Retrievers :
English Labrador Retrievers have smaller, shorter bodies and a fuller face, and American Labrador Retrievers have a larger body and some would say a more boisterous personality.
Webbed Feet – These act as ‘flippers’ and make Labs very strong swimmers
Otter-Like Tail – Acts like a rudder in the water.
Layered, Slightly Oily Coat – Keeps them warm and dries easily.
Soft Mouth – A well trained Lab can carry an egg in it’s mouth without cracking it
Ability To Learn – Can learn up to 300 human phrases
7th most intelligent dog breed.
The Labrador Retriever is intelligent, adaptable, obedient, sociable , affectionate and loyal. They are also very energetic, especially when very young.
As with all breeds Labradors Retrievers are prone to certain health problems.
Canine hip dysplasia, epilepsy, elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy and skin allergies.
Labrador Retrievers are also susceptible to Gastric Torsion – or Bloat.
10 – 14 years.
Upkeep And Maintenance:
Labrador Retrievers must be well excercised on a daily basis. Whenever possible, this should take the form of running and swimming. Retrieving is at the top of the list of games that Labs really enjoy, especially through water such as the beach or even a large outdoor swimming pool. A well exercised Lab is a happy Lab!!!
A moment later the stevedore appeared on deck leading by a leash one of the most handsome dogs ever seen in Maryland. He was jet-black, sturdy in his front quarters, sleek and powerful in his hind, with a face so intelligent that it seemed he might speak at any moment.
His movements were quick, his dark eyes following every development nearby, yet his disposition appeared so equable he seemed always about to smile.
“He’s called a Labrador, ‘Lightfoot said. ‘Finest huntin’ dog ever developed”
James Michener – From his novel Chesapeake