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Labrador Retriever: a versatile and reliable companion


Particularly versatile, loyal, and reliable, the Labrador retriever is one of the most suitable dogs for assistance roles and family life. However, training should start early to compensate for a lack of maturity that often results in overwhelming energy and difficulty channeling it.

Discover more about the Labrador Retriever, a breed with undeniable qualities.

Origin of the Labrador retriever

The ancestors of the Labrador, the Newfoundland and Saint John dogs (named after the capital of the island), lived in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada in the 18th century. These dogs were adept swimmers and they could dive and retrieve fishing nets.

In 1815, a law was passed that any stray dog found on the island would be euthanized. Caught dogs were then instead sold to English fishermen and exported to Europe.

Colors of labrador retrienver are black, chocolate and goldenEnglish hunting enthusiasts particularly appreciated their retrieving skills. By the end of the 18th century, they began selections to improve the breed. The Saint John was crossed with Pointers and Setters, which then slimmed the dog down, gave it a more developed sense of smell, and shortened its fur.

The Labrador Retriever breed was officially recognized in 1917 in the United States.

Main physical characteristics

The Labrador’s head is broad with drooping triangular ears and brown eyes. Its body is powerful and well-rounded with a thick tail at the base and thinner at the end.

Size and build of a labradorShoulder height: male 22 to 22½ inches (56 to 57 cm), female 21 to 22 inches (54 to 56 cm).

Weight: male 64 to 80 pounds (29 to 36 kg), female 50 to 70 pounds (23 to 32 kg).

Coat: short and tight without waves or fringe, with a dense and waterproof undercoat.

Color: black, chocolate, or yellow (light cream to red).

Life expectancy: 12 to 15 years.

Labrador dog character and behavior

  • Labrador retriever behaviorJoyous, playful, and boisterous, the Labrador can be hard to manage in the early months of its life.
  • Its training should focus on leash walking, recall, self-control, and frustration to contain its overflowing energy and strength of which it is unaware.
  • Immature, it’s an eternal teenager who eventually settles down with age.
  • Intelligent, it adapts to all profiles and lifestyles.
  • It especially shines as a guide dog for the blind.
  • With good socialization, it gets along with other animals and makes a wonderful companion for children, as it is patient and affectionate.
  • The Labrador needs a lot of attention and interaction with its family. It doesn’t like to be alone. It often develops anxiety syndrome (destruction, barking, and self-harm) during its owner’s absences. Habituate it to solitude from a young age.
  • Labrador trainingTireless, particularly in the first years of its life, it’s the perfect companion for all sports activities, especially water sports, as it loves water.
  • The Labrador struggles with heat.
  • It is potentially a barker and is known to run away in some cases.

Health, care, and feeding a Labrador

Most common health issues of the Labrador:

  • Retinal atrophy
  • Arthritis
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Epilepsy
  • Stomach torsion
  • Ear infection

A permanent hair loss situation!

Labradors shed impressively throughout the year. Adding salmon oil to their diet helps to strengthen hairs. Daily brushing with a metallic comb stimulates blood circulation, resulting in better fur regrowth.

A perpetual glutton:

The Labrador is prone to overeating and tends to be overweight. A genetic mutation (absence of the POMC gene) causes reduced satiety and an organism that functions on a few calories.

  • Food should be high in animal protein, low in fats, and contain fiber. Green beans and zucchini can supplement the diet.

Price of a Labrador:

$590 to $1310 (500 to 1110 euros).

Average minimum monthly budget:

$94 (80 euros) for food, anti-parasite products, grooming products.

Smart tip about Labrador dogs

Kibbles enriched with glucosamine and chondroitin help to anticipate the onset of arthritis, which is inevitable in Labradors.

Images: Pixabay: Chiemsee2016, Felix Wolf, Dave Boardman, Paul Brennan, Scott

Written by Lydie Dronet | With over 20 years in the field of animal care, Lydie shares her paws-on expertise and experience. Other topics she loves delving into are nutrition and the medicinal uses of plants.
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