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Dog Care Series: Labrador Retriever Breed Characteristics & Traits

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One of America’s most popular dog breeds, the sweet Labrador Retriever is bubbly and outgoing. They are built for companionship; their warm, friendly natures make it easy to shower them with the affection they so eagerly receive. There’s no going back once your heart has been captured by a Lab.

Here are all the dog care and breed characteristics you need to know about the lovable Labrador Retriever.

Breed Background

Labrador Retrievers originated in Newfoundland from a medium-sized black dog which was bred in the 1800s to retrieve game and fish. The Labs we know today became common in England by 1870, and the first chocolate (also called “liver”) Labs were recorded in 1892, and the first yellow Labs in 1899.

Labs were brought to America during the increase in popularity of Scottish-style shooting and gamekeeping, and went on to become the first dog to grace the cover of Life magazine, and a few years later, a U.S. stamp! Because of their intelligence and ease of training, Labs slowly but surely replaced other breeds as the most common guide dogs, and also became popular choices for assistance dogs, search and rescue dogs, and contraband detection dogs.

The Labrador Retriever has been America’s most popular dog breed since 1991, and it isn’t difficult to understand why

Labrador Personality

Labrador Retrievers are sweet-natured, intelligent, enthusiastic, and loyal. But above all their other traits, Labs are fun! They love nothing more than to play in the garden, splash in a lake or pool, go exploring, or meet new people and other animals. This is a breed that loves to feel included and useful, eagerly joining in on your everyday activities before carrying your wallet from the car to the kitchen for you.

Outgoing and energetic, these dogs need a lot of stimulation to keep from getting bored. And while they are affectionate, Labs are often too busy to remember that they want to cuddle! A bored Lab can get hyperactive and/or destructive, so they need as much activity as possible. Puppy training and early socialization is crucial for their development and will give them the chance to grow into polite and devoted adults. The fact that they are eager to please and extremely clever means they are a pleasure to train, and their love of both food and attention makes it easy to reward them!

Kind, affectionate, and loving, Labradors are a great choice for a family pet. They get along well with other pets and children, although their lively nature can sometimes be too much for younger children to handle. However, this is different for every family, and personal preference is the only real deciding factor!

Appearance, Characteristics & Traits

If their distinctive nature doesn’t give them away, here’s how to know a Labrador Retriever when you see one:

  • Sturdy stature, standing at 21.5-24.5 inches when fully grown. Typically weigh between 55 and 80 pounds.
  • Wide head, gentle eyes, and ever-wagging rudder-like tail which looks similar to an otter’s.
  • Yellow, brown, or black coat which retains color in maturity. Red coats are not recognized as official Labrador Retriever colors.
  • Thick, short double coat which sheds moderately. Generally, it requires brushing once or twice a week, or slightly more frequently during their shedding season. Their coats are actually water and ice resistant! The outer coat is short and dense, which acts like a wetsuit and traps body heat to keep them warm, so don’t be surprised if your Lab tries swimming in the middle of winter!

Labrador Retriever Exercise Needs & Dog Care

Just because Labrador’s have easygoing personalities, doesn’t mean they want to lie around all the time! Exuberant and boisterous, Labrador Retrievers require a recommended 60 minutes of exercise a day, including swimming, hiking, walking, and endless games of Frisbee and fetch. They can be great running partners, but before you start running lap-radors together, chat to your Veterinarian about whether an older dog’s joints will manage long runs. As part of your pooch’s dog care, they may prescribe joint supplements or NSAIDs.

Labs can become restless and destructive if they are bored and/or lonely. They are known to sometimes suffer from separation anxiety, so it’s important to leave them something to do if they are going to be at home alone for an extended period of time! Treat-filled puzzle toys are a great idea, since they keep your clever pup busy while providing some mental stimulation!

Dog Care With All Aboard Animal Hospital

It’s no coincidence that Labrador Retrievers are firm favorites across the globe. Few breeds can boast that they are not only easygoing and friendly, but intelligent and loyal too. Honestly, Labs make it easy for us to love them. Whether it’s their hilarious antics when they get excited, their gentle eyes when they’re asking for walks, or the way they love unconditionally – when you look after a Lab, you are richly rewarded with their presence.

What better way to love your pets than to look after them properly? If you are looking for a kind-hearted and experienced Veterinarian for your family animals, contact All Aboard Animal Hospital today to set up an appointment for your sweet furry companion!


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