It requires a thorough research before getting a new puppy. If in case, you get a puppy which does not match your personality and your lifestyle, then you may be in for future problems. But if you choose a puppy which perfectly matches your way of living, then expect lovely activities together.
One of the dog breeds which you may want to buy is a labrador retriever. In this article, I will be sharing with you some vital information about this dog breed so you can decipher if, indeed, labrador retriever is the perfect match for you.
Short History of labrador retriever:
The origin of this dog breed can be traced back in the 1500s at Newfoundland in Canada. During that time, water dogs which were smaller in sizes called St. John’s water dog were bred to help fishers catch fish that have fallen off from their fishing rods. The job of these small dogs was to dive in icy water to retrieve the fish.
The St. John’s water dog was ideal for water job because they have a water-resistant coat and webbed paws. This dog continued to live only in Newfoundland until they were brought to Poole, England during 1800’s courtesy of the Earl of Malmesbury.
The Earl was impressed with the St. John’s water dog’s potential and chose to spend his time developing this dog breed, ultimately naming it Labrador after a region in England.
Physical characteristics of labrador retriever:
- Weight: An adult male can weigh between 65 and 80 pounds, while a female can weigh between 55 and 70 pounds. Regardless of sex, labrador retrievers are heavy-boned and have muscular bodies.
- Height: Males can grow up to 22.5 to 24.5 inches while the females will grow from 21.5 to 23.5 inches.
- Coat: One of the unique features of a labrador retriever is their short, double-coated, and dense coats. The topcoat which is somewhat rough when stroked is the one that repels water. On the other hand, the undercoat is soft to the feel, and this is the one that protects them from heat and cold.
- Coat color: They come in three solid colors namely: black, yellow and chocolate brown. Originally, all labrador retrievers are black, but in the year 1899, a yellow puppy appeared in a litter. In fact, all yellow labs descended from that puppy.
- Shedding: Labrador retrievers shed, and there will be times when shedding gets profusely. Shedding is evident on carpets, on beddings, among others. Though they shed all year-round, spring and autumn seasons are the time of the year when shedding gets heavier.
- Mouth and eyes: Labradors have broad skulls and powerful muzzles. Their ears are hanging down, which is close to the ears. They also have a powerful scent of smell as their nostrils are well-developed. You will fall in love with a labrador retriever as it has a kind and sweet look in its eyes.
Their jaws are known to be powerful because they are bred to carry heavy animals and fish. Labrador retrievers have a ‘ scissor bite ‘ from which when their mouths are closed, the upper incisors are found in front of the lower incisors.
This result is soft mouth wherein they do not get to damage their ‘preys.’
The adaptability of labrador retriever:
- This dog breed is developed as a working dog. It can keep up with its owner’s long hours of physical work. As a result, it can develop a strong bond with its fur parent. And because of this bond, it does not want to be away from its fur parent for a long period for several days. If this occurs, a labrador retriever can tend to get destructive or do a nuisance barking. These bad behaviors are done to get the attention of their owners. If you know you will not be away for so many days, then this dog breed is a perfect match for you.
- A labrador retriever generally has a laid-back personality when it is not working. It can lay around the house without making any distractions. Also, it will not get angry even when provoked, thus, making it a perfect family dog, especially if you have kids around. Adjusting to a new environment (whether to a new owner or perhaps moving-in to a new house) is not an issue for this dog breed.
- Friendliness is a characteristic of a labrador retriever which you would truly appreciate. It can get along well with adults of all ages, to animals like cats and dogs. No wonder, if you are looking for another loving fellow to be a part of your life, you will never go wrong with a labrador retriever. If you are the type who loves inviting visitors to your house, you are not going to have issue with this dog breed as it can be a friend to nearly everyone.
- In case it is your first time to care for a dog, then you will find it fairly easy to own a labrador retriever. It is an easy-going dog and known for its resiliency. In fact, labrador retrievers are known for their sweetness, kindness with the heart to please their owners.
Do you love exercising? If yes, then a labrador retriever will be a perfect match for you. Since it is a working dog, it requires vigorous physical activity daily. It would love going out for a run with you. Since the coat is water-resistant, take it to the beach for some water sports activities like play water retrieval and paddle-boarding. Enjoy hiking? No problem, take your labrador retriever with you and enjoy the scenic view with this energetic buddy.
Whatever form of exercise you do, a labrador retriever is a perfect buddy to stay strong and healthy.
Trainability and intelligence:
One of the smartest dog breeds is a labrador retriever. It can operate as a therapy dog in the medical sector. In fields such as a bomb or drug-sniffing and search and rescue operations, it also has the intelligence to work with the police. This dog is not only intelligent but also has an even-tempered character.
Due to the innate intelligence of the labrador retriever, you won’t find it hard to potty train, obey commands, and behave well in nearly all circumstances. This dog breed loves to please their fur parents, and as a result, new dog owners will find teaching relatively easy.
Nutrition and longevity:
A balanced diet is vital for all types of dog breeds. There are basically six nutrients that they need to remain in optimal health:
- Water: Give them a fresh supply of water daily to promote proper digestion, to regulate normal body temperature and for flexibility.
- Carbohydrates: Since labrador retrievers are energetic, they need carbs for energy and the replenishment of lost sugar.
- Proteins and amino acids: For muscle development and the proper functioning of body organs and tissues.
- Good fats: Needed for energy and the development of nerve tissues and also for recovery from inflammation.
- Minerals: For the optimal functioning of body cells.
- Vitamins: For the development of their metabolism, bone development, good eye function and resistance from infections.
By giving them proper nutrition, your labrador retriever can live up to 10 to 14 years.
Commercial vs homemade food:
As a fur parent, you have the option whether to feed your labrador retriever commercial food or the ones prepared by you. If you choose commercial food, always read the labels. Avoid those whose main ingredient is meat-by-products. Choose the ones with real meat such as lamb, beef, fresh veggies and fruits.
If you’ve got the time and you want to serve your homemade dog food, be sure to give a balanced diet of carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins and minerals. Do not give grapes, avocado, raisins, onions, soy, caffeine, chocolates, milk and nuts.
Ask yourself if you have the time to groom a lab. Since it sheds, daily grooming is advisable. What’s good about it is that its coat does not mat. Brushing is done for the removal of dead hair as well as for the body’s oil to be distributed all over. There is no need to shave the coat as it does not grow long and it is needed for protection from heat and cold.
Bathing depends on its fur parents. Some do it once a month while some bathe their labs less frequently.
A labrador retriever is generally healthy, but they can also have some health problems such as:
- Hip dysplasia: a health problem wherein the thighbone does not fit in the hip joint.
- Elbow dysplasia: degeneration in the elbow joints caused by abnormalities in the growth of cell tissues.
- Dermatitis: can be caused by food or seasonal allergies.
There are other health issues that a labrador retriever can get. The important thing is to always take your dog to a Vet for correct diagnosis and treatment.
Cost of caring:
As a potential owner of a labrador retriever, one of the early things to think about is the cost of raising one. Since it is a large breed dog, you will be spending more on food and supplements. For food alone, you may be shelling out an average of $400.00 per month. For grooming stuff- an average of $35.00 and for Vet expenses, an average of $100.00. These are only rough estimations, but the message is that you will need to spend more on large breed dogs.
Owning a labrador retriever will give you so much joy and happiness. It is sweet and very loving. Training a labrador retriever is not a problem as it belongs to the top 10 intelligent dogs. It is an active dog that enjoys rough and tumbles play and exercise. It will require your time and energy to fill its need for an active lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong though,s a labrador retriever also requires enough rest, so once it gets its required exercise for the day, it can be left alone during the day without misbehaving. Take note though it does not want to be left alone for a few days.
If you are active and you are looking for a dog which is pretty much easy to train, then a labrador retriever is the perfect match for you. It is sweet and gentle yet active and energetic.