5 Breed Basics Every Labrador Retriever Owner Needs to Know
According to the American Kennel Club, the Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog breed in the United States. And for good reason! They are loyal and lovable and whether you prefer the popular yellow Lab or have your heart set on a chocolate Lab puppy, Labradors make awesome family pets.
Labrador Retriever Temperament
Labradors have a friendly and outgoing personality; they play well with humans and other dogs, which makes them a perfect addition to your family. Puppies can be very high energy and will require lots of playtime so this is not the right dog for you if you're looking for a more mellow companion. If you love the look of Labs but want one that's a bit calmer, try adopting an adult dog. They'll still need lots of exercise but aren't quite as rambunctious as their puppy counterparts.
Training a Labrador
Because Labradors are intelligent and eager to please their master, they are relatively easy to train. Early and consistent training is recommended for Labrador puppies to ensure basic obedience and hunting skills are learned. With more advanced training, Labradors excel as guide dogs for the blind, as a part of search-and-rescue teams, and in narcotics detection with law enforcement.
Care & Grooming
Labradors are easy to get along with and incredibly friendly, but don't confuse this for low energy. The Labrador Retriever is extremely active and loves exercising, playing outside, and swimming. Labradors also require regular grooming. Labradors have water-resistant coats that come in three colors: yellow, black, and chocolate. They also have double coats that shed seasonally, so weekly grooming is a must. That will help alleviate Labrador shedding. Labradors have strong, fast-growing nails that require regular trimming or grinding to prevent overgrowth, splitting, and cracking. Labrador teeth should be regularly brushed with a dog-specific toothpaste.
Labrador life-span is 12 to 14 years. However, there may be some health issues, such as hip and elbow dysplasia, eye disease, and exercise-induced collapse. Labradors can also have allergies and skin issues, such as pyoderma and alopecia. It is important to monitor your Labrador's skin and notify your veterinarian if any issues arise.
Feeding Labrador Retrievers
Good nutrition, including proper food, is important throughout a Labrador's life. Typically, a male Lab's height should be 22½ to 24½ inches and he should weigh between 65 and 80 pounds; a female Labrador's height should be 21½ to 23½ inches and she should weigh between 55 and 70 pounds. Many dog food companies have breed-specific formulas, depending on the size of your dog. The Labrador is a medium-size dog, so consider working with your veterinarian to determine the best diet to make sure your pet remains healthy.