Labrador

#5

Wamiz's Top Breed

Labrador

The Labrador Retriever is one of the most widespread breeds in the world, mainly due to his remarkable friendliness, enthusiasm towards all challenges, and his very playful and cheerful personality. Docile, gentle and intelligent, he seamlessly embodies a companion dog, hunting dog and service dog all at once. He can adapt to all kinds of situations and excels in various canine disciplines, such is the extent to which he cares about pleasing his master.

Key facts about the Labrador

Life expectancy :

5

19

10

14

Temperament :

Affectionate Playful Intelligent Hunter

Size :

Origins and history

The Labrador’s origins have much in common with those of the Newfoundland- in fact, it is tricky to clearly distinguish between both in their original, ancient forms. Many of the texts dating back to the 19th century do not differentiate between the use of ‘Newfoundland’ and ‘Labrador’ to describe dogs native to the Canadian coasts. His ancestor does seem to be the ‘St. John Dog’, which is a smaller version of the Newfoundland developed more or less simultaneously to the latter in Canada. The Cão de Castro Laboreiro has probably also contributed to the formation of the Labrador. The breed then spread like wildfire in the UK, the country which has eventually become the breed’s ‘adoptive’ parent.

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 8 - Retrievers - Flushing Dogs - Water Dogs

Section

Section 1 : Retrievers

Physical characteristics of the Labrador

    Adult size

    Female : Between 21 and 22 in

    Male : Between 22 and 22 in

    Weight

    Female : Between 66 and 77 lb

    Male : Between 77 and 88 lb

    Coat colour

    Black
    White
    Brown
    Sand

    Type of coat

    Short

    Eye colour

    Brown

    Description

    The Labrador Retriever is a strong, robust, and very heavy dog. The head must be proportional to the rest of the body, well-sculpted, lean, while the cheeks not too full. The skull is wide, with a pronounced stop. The eyes are medium-sized, exuding an intelligent and good-natured expression. The ears should be neither large nor imposing: they are folded over close to the head, and set slightly to the back. The chest is ample and deep, while the ribs are well sprung (barrel-shaped). The ridge line should be straight from the shoulders right down through to the croup. The tail is one of the breed’s signatures: very thick at its base, it tapers down towards the tip. It has no fringe, but is covered in an abundant, thick and short coat, which gives it an “otter-like” appearance. The limbs are big-boned and very straight. 

    Good to know

    All of this dog’s undeniable qualities do not mean that he is compatible with everyone. Before investing in a puppy, you must obtain as much information as possible on the breed to ensure that it corresponds to the kind of lifestyle you are able to provide. 

    In this vein, one thing of note is that, according to several breeders and/or owners and dog trainers, the chocolate Labrador is more prone to hyperactivity than the black or yellow one.

    By the way, many believe in the existence of ‘miniature’ Labradors, but they by no means constitute an officially category- smaller individuals are quite simply accidentally smaller than the average, or the result of a Labrador crossed with another, small breed.

    Temperament

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      Affectionate

      It goes without saying that this dog is remarkably gentle and affectionate towards members of his social group, but not only. In fact, being the extremely sociable creature that he is, he makes friends easily. As long as much care and affection is bestowed upon him, he gives (almost) everyone the benefit of the doubt! 

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      Playful

      This is one of the most friendly, playful and jovial dogs in the world. Notwithstanding his excellent working aptitudes, his mind is usually only set on having fun… and being happy. He is a potent, natural anti-depressant. 

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      Calm

      This dog adapts to and is dependant on his owners’ mood. His personality will in fact be determined by the way he has been reared. 

      For example, if his owner is rather calm, trusting and fair in the training he implements, and if he meets the dog’s needs with respect, the Retriever will have no problem being calm when necessary. 

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      Intelligent

      As is the case of all Retrievers, he is a tireless worker- very gentle and easy to train. Even if he has been incredibly popular as a companion dog for many years now, he is also a perfect assistant to hunters, and the go-to choice for a service dog. 

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      Hunter

      Particularly skilled in retrieving wild game, this dog can just as well keep his owner’s company during hunting expeditions as he can take part in Retriever competitions or challenges that address his natural instinct. At any rate, you may engage him in retrieving and fetching activities. 

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      Fearful / wary of strangers

      Never aggressive, this dog is extremely friendly, even towards strangers. He welcomes them with open arms, which could even be problematic at times (in the case of intruders, for instance). 

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      Independent

      The Lab, as one might prefer to call him, is born to please his master. This is his number one priority, and this sense, he is very dependent on his owner. 

      Behaviour of the Labrador

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        Tolerates solitude

        Very attached to members of his social group, being alone is not this dog’s ideal predicament. He can, however, tolerate solitude if he has been exposed to his owners’ short absences from a young age, and if he is provided with activities that can keep him occupied during said absences. 

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        Easy to train / obedience

        Though it is true that the Labrador pup’s energy is particularly difficult to channel at times, once an adult, he is a very pleasant dog to work with. 

        Some basic dog-training and discipline must of course be implemented early on, but this remains relatively easy. Do not forget that he is ‘made to serve’, after all, and it is not in vain that he is considered the go-to choice for a guide dog to the blind. 

        In order for the training methods to really be productive and to ensure best results, they must rely on playfulness and games.

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        Barking

        This dog barks, but within moderation… Save for when he is left in the garden for too long with no way of getting back inside. 

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