What do Bella, one of the world’s oldest dogs, Marley of the book “Marley and Me,” and Endel, the award-winning service dog all have in common? They’re Labrador retrievers! This may come as no surprise, but Labrador retrievers are America’s number one dog. With friendly eyes and a variety of coat colors, Labs are social creatures that instantly love almost everyone.
Labrador retrievers hail from the eastern part of Canada, in the provinces Newfoundland and Labrador, as descendants of the now-vanished St. John’s Water Dog. In the 1800s, Labs were primarily friends of the fishermen and champion duck hunters. A Labrador’s short, thick, and water-resistant coat was ideal in the icy waters of Canada. The short hair was preferred over the long-haired retrievers to prevent icicles from hanging off the fur.
English nobles caught sight of these earnest swimmer dogs and brought a few home with them, where they became sporting dogs for royalty. By the late twentieth century, Labs had officially captured America’s hearts, and have been USA’s favorite breed ever since.
Labrador retriever puppy facts
Labrador retriever puppies love to play fetch and roll around on the grass. Bonding with a Labrador retriever means you’ll have a pal for life (and so will your friends and neighbors).
|Size||Medium. Adult male Labrador retrievers weigh between 65-80 pounds and 22.5-24.5 inches at the shoulder, and females weigh 55-70 pounds and reach 21.5-23.5 inches.|
|Breed Characteristics||With a strong build and expressive eyes, Labrador retrievers are a favorite of many dog owners. They have a lovely weather-resistant coat and an otter-like tail for swimming gracefully. Their coat is dense and varies between yellow, chocolate, or black varieties.|
|Temperament||Labs were born to have fun. Don’t be surprised if they’ve made friends with everyone around you. They are sporting dogs, so playing games like fetch or tug-of-war can come in handy when interacting with your new puppy. They’re awfully determined, so you’ll likely know exactly what they’re thinking any time of the day.|
|Grooming and Health Needs||Besides giving an occasional bath and once in a while brushing their teeth and trimming nails, Labs are fairly low maintenance. Their water-repellent double coat does shed and should be brushed out regularly, especially in the summer.
If you have a young adult Lab, consider getting a DNA test to see if they carry a gene for exercise-induced collapse (EIC). This is fairly common in Labrador retrievers and should be taken seriously. Other common Lab health issues include elbow and hip dysplasia, muscle weakness (hereditary myopathy), and heart disorders.
Lastly, Labs might develop a serious condition called bloat. Be sure to learn the symptoms early.
|Training||Though naturally friendly, Labrador retriever puppies benefit from socialization classes and obedience training early. Interacting with other dogs early will help them understand boundaries.
As they’re born to hunt, training them on retrieval games and swimming practice is a good way of expending excess energy.
|Energy Level||Don’t let the easygoing personality fool you: Labrador retrievers have a lot of energy! Labs are perfect for taking on long weekends camping, as they thrive in the wilderness and may intentionally bring you back a hunting prize.
Make sure Labs get plenty of exercise throughout the day to discourage any destructive or hyperactive behavior.
|Life Span||10-12 years|
Who is the best human for a Labrador retriever?
Labrador retrievers are America’s favorite for a reason: they are born and bred family dogs! Eager to run around in the backyard with the little ones or play roughhouse with another dog, a Lab is built for family life with a lot of outdoor activities. Have a swimming pool or a nearby lake? Labradors sport an “otter tail” that helps them propel through the water with ease.
Active, social households are the best fit for a young Lab. Labs won’t do well left alone for long hours, though a trusted pet sitter or dog walker can help.
Getting a Labrador retriever puppy
Choosing to adopt or go through a breeder for your new Labrador retriever puppy is a personal choice that requires research. Thankfully, there are many resources out there to help you find a rescue or breeder that offers healthy, ethically sourced Labrador retriever puppies.
Knowing what you’re in for when you get a Labrador retriever puppy is an important step in being a responsible pet owner. Whether you find a responsible breeder or are planning on adopting, it’s up to you to be prepared for an energetic and friendly addition to your household.
Adopting Labrador retriever puppies
It may be surprising to know, but adopting a Labrador retriever puppy is possible. According to the AKC, most breed rescues report that a majority of their rescue dogs come from individual owner surrender, with the most common reasons being a change in lifestyle or the breed not being right for them. This means that there may be many dogs and puppies out there that are looking for a new forever home.
The main difference between a breeder and a rescue is that a rescue may not always have young puppies to choose from. The benefit, however, is that most are mandated to only adopt out dogs that have been microchipped and spayed/neutered. This means you may end up with a dog that’s already been housebroken, and doesn’t need these common medical procedures. You may also find a Labrador retriever mix that has all the traits you want from the breed, but with a little extra thrown in.
Finding a Labrador retriever rescue can be as simple as searching the internet. The AKC also has an excellent list of Labrador retriever rescues on their site.
Finding a Labrador retriever breeder
The first step is to do your research. Sadly, there are many puppy mills posing as reputable breeders along with plenty of online scams. Be aware, and reach out to different online forums for conversations about getting your future furry family member.
Be sure to ask questions, make arrangements to meet the parent dogs or mother, and follow your gut. If something seems wrong at a breeder you visit, or the Labrador retriever puppy seems too good to be true, there’s likely something going on. The AKC also offers resources for finding a breeder, with fairly strict guidelines on who they let participate.
Labrador retriever puppy resources
After you find the right Labrador retriever puppy, it’s time to prepare your home! Here are a few resources to get you started: