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Dog Breed Guide: Labradors

Breed Breakdown: The Labrador Retreiver

So you’re thinking about getting a new dog. Great! Before you visit the shelter or start searching for breeders, you need to learn about the different types of pooches. Just like humans, dogs have their own personalities and the breed impacts their behavior. What are you looking for in an animal? This guide will help you determine if a Labrador is right for you. We will break down Labs’ temperament, size, activity level, and health.

Is a Labrador Retreiver right for you?

Pup personality
It is no surprise Labs are one of America’s most popular breeds because these dogs are notoriously friendly and easygoing. They got along well with other dogs and love people of all ages. No high maintenance personality quirks here. Labs are known for their energetic and loving temperament. A Labs’ “otter tail” often displays their exuberance with frantic wagging.

Appearance and size
A Labrador coat is either chocolate, yellow, or black. These dogs shed, but do not need to visit the groomer for haircuts. Regular baths and nail trimmings suffice for these active dogs. Depending on size and gender, Labs stand between 21.5 to 24.5 inches tall at the shoulder. They typically weigh between 55 and 80 pounds. These pups have wide heads and sparkling eyes that shimmer with their goodwill.

Before you get a Lab, you must ask yourself, do you have the time to keep your dog active? This breed needs regular exercise. The name says it all. These Labrador Retrievers like to fetch, swim, and thrive in agility courses. Labs are well-known working dogs. Police use them for search-and-rescue and drug and bomb detection. Individuals with disabilities rely on Labs as their service animals. The breed has the brainpower and energy to work during the day. In fact, Purina says Labs need a few hours of exercise each day. So, if you want a Lab but are unable to take your dog on long walks or runs, send them to doggy daycare.

Health and well-being
The average life span of a Lab is ten to twelve years. Like many other breeds, Labs potentially face hereditary eye disorders, and hip and elbow dysplasia. Talk to your breeder about genetic disorders. DNA tests tell breeders which dogs are disease carriers. Deep-chested dogs like Labs can potentially develop bloat. Learn the warning signs of this life-threatening disease. Give your Lab high-quality food (either homemade or store-bought). Watch their calorie-intake and don’t overfeed them because they can gain weight easily. Like all dogs, these pups adore treats.

Famous Labs

One of America’s most beloved Labrador Retrievers, at least of recent years, was the pup featured in Marley & Me. The memoir-turned movie told the story of “the world’s worst dog.” A newlywed couple got Marley, a puppy that grew into a ninety-seven pound goofy, mischevious, loveable pup. Despite the title, every dog lover knows there is no such thing as a “worst” dog. Good luck with your journey into the friendly world of Labradors. Keep your easygoing, loving dog occupied with activity and you two will be fast friends forever.