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Meet the Labrador Retriever, Ultimate Family Dog!
The Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. Friendly and kind, these dogs are loving, gentle and good with children. Eager to please, the Labrador Retriever is highly trainable and very intelligent. Originally bred to retrieve game, Labradors are also used as guide dogs for the blind. Not only do they assist disabled people, they also work for various agencies (such as the DEA and FBI). They are capable of performing duties such as search and rescue as well as, sniffing out illegal drugs and other substances.
Labrador Retrievers are large dogs. They weigh 55 to 80 pounds, stand 21 to 24 inches in height and live approximately 11 to 13 years. They come in several colors including black, yellow and the wonderful chocolate! They are energetic dogs; therefore they need plenty of exercise. The Labrador is not the dog for you if you fall into the couch potato category! Two one hour walks per day will keep your Labrador Retriever happy and healthy (the longer the walk, the better). They also appreciate trips to the dog park as they love to run and socialize with other dogs. Consider yourself warned when it comes to the exercise needs of this breed. If not exercised enough, Labs tend to become over-weight and sluggish which in turn can lead to expensive medical problems.
A cute gift for someone that loves labs!
Obviously, Labrador Retrievers need owners who love to exercise and spend a lot of time outdoors. Labs make the perfect walking and hiking companion. If you are a neat freak, beware! Labs can be mischievous droolers who will leave muddy footprints on your floors and tail marks on your walls. They also love to chew but this behavior can be tamed with proper training.
Overall, Labs are sturdy, healthy dogs, however they can inherit certain medical problems. If you choose to buy rather than adopt be sure to do your homework and RESEARCH the breeder that you choose. It is very important that you buy a dog from a responsible breeder who loves and properly cares for their animals. Some of the medical issues that Labradors may inherit include hip and elbow malformation (dysplasia), progressive retinal atrophy, and muscle weakness (myopathy). All breeding stock should have their eyes and hips screened.
Labradors are best suited for country living but will be just as happy in the city as long as they get enough exercise and mental stimulation. If you live in an apartment you may want to consider a different breed as the Lab’s large size may become a problem. When it comes to training, Labrador Retrievers aim to please and are quick learners. However, you must keep training interesting and consistent (not to mention, kind!). Young Labs are often rambunctious and mischievous. Though they can be trained, you will need to practice patience and not let their often clownish behavior frustrate you. Training should be reward based and as mentioned before, kind and consistent!
Though the Labrador has what is called an “easy-care coat”, they do benefit from weekly grooming sessions. Fair warning, these dogs DO SHED…so it is a good idea to keep the vacuum handy (they tend to molt year round). Though the Lab does not require a lot of coat care, they do have other important grooming needs. Don’t forget about foot, nail, ear, and eye care, as well as routine veterinary health check-ups!
Over all, Labradors are loving and loyal companions. They are the perfect breed if you enjoy long walks and plenty of exercise. They are also wonderful family pets who aim to please and are easy to train (as long as you are willing to put in the time and effort!). They are willing helpers and make excellent therapy and guide dogs. If you are searching for a large dog with loads of personality then the Labrador Retriever may just be the ideal breed for you. Woof!
Great Labrador Books!
Before you get a Labrador....buy a book and educate yourself! The more you know about the dog you are getting...the better!