Despite the contradiction in the name, the Labrador Retriever's origins can be found in Canada. Early in the 19th century and Englishman, Lord Malmsbury, purchased several Labradors, or lesser Newfoundlands, from Newfoundland. He was attracted to the dogs because of their highly developed retrieving instinct and their willingness to please, and he developed a breeding program to preserve those characteristics.
From this early beginning the dog developed into the Labrador of today - one that excels in a variety of uses beyond the hunting field. The adaptability and trainability of the breed finds it utilized in many dog guide and assistance programs, as well as excelling in substance detection or search and rescue work. And, of course, Labrador Retrievers are wonderful family companions.
Because the Labrador was a dual-purpose dog, the breed soon attracted the attention of sportsmen in this country and it came back to this continent in the early part of the 20th century. Today, the Labrador Retriever is the breed with the largest number of annual AKC registrations in the United States, and it has held that position since 1992.
A Labrador Retriever is a strongly built, medium-size, short-coupled dog possessing an athletic, well-balanced conformation that enables it to function as a retrieving gun dog for long hours under difficult conditions. The most distinguishing characteristics of the Labrador Retriever are its short, dense weather-resistant coat; and "otter" tail; a clean-cut head with broad back skull and moderate stop; powerful jaws; and its "kind," friendly eyes that express character, intelligence and good temperament.
The Labrador Retriever coat colors, as recognized in the official standard, are black, yellow and chocolate. Any other color or combination of colors is a disqualification. A small white spot on the chest is permissible, but not desirable. White hairs from aging or scarring are not to be misinterpreted as bridling. Black - Blacks are all black. Yellow - Yellows many range in color from fox-red to light cream, with variations in shading on the ears, back, and underparts of the dog. Chocolate - chocolates can vary in shade from light to dark chocolate.
Ideal Labrador temperament can be described as friendly and outgoing, indulgent with its peers, strongly human-oriented and tractable.
Young Dogs Need:
1. Proper diet at regular intervals
2. Regular checkups and inoculations
3. Clean roomy housing
4. Daily exercise as this can be an active breed
5. Regular grooming
6. Companionship and love
7. Early training to become a canine good citizen
- Crate training
- Puppy Socialization
- Obedience Class
Crate training can be a significant milestone in a puppy's early regimen. Your puppy will learn to accept its crate happily and the crate will become a "mobile home" so there will never be a problem about where to keep your dog when you travel. Finally, Should your puppy require time at the veterinarian's office because of an illness, it will not be stressed if it is placed in a crate during the hospital visit. In addition, the puppy will be much easier to house train if you confine it to a crate when you cannot observe it. Puppies do not want to soil their bed so the puppy will wait to relieve itself until you take it outside. There are many types of dog crates. They can be made of plastic, wood or wire. A collapsible wire version is often the crate of choice if it is to be used within the house or in the car when traveling. The puppy cannot chew it, ventilation is good, and it allows viewing from all sides. You can partially cover a wire crate with a blanket if you want to provide your puppy with a "den-like" environment. Airlines may require a closed plastic crate if you ship your dog by air. Do not allow the crate to become a substitute for valuable time spent in play and socializing.
A key part of your responsibility as the owner of a Labrador Retriever is to make sure that your Labrador is not only trained, but also supervised. If left outside, your dog should be in a fenced yard or kennel run, not roaming the neighborhood. Loose dogs run the risk of being hit by a vehicle, causing an accident, annoying the neighbors or even being stolen.
Your dog hold always be on lead when walking with you unless you are hunting or training. In urban and suburban areas, the responsible owner never fails to stop and pick up after his dog.
Basic obedience training is an essential part of responsible ownership. It helps to establish a bond between you and your Labrador and makes him/her a welcome part of the family and neighborhood. In urban areas, there are obedience training clubs that offer classes where you and your dog can learn the fundamentals of basic obedience training. These classes can range in scope from puppy socializing to advance training for obedience competition. If training classes are unavailable in your area, there are numerous books and videotapes that can be purchased on the subject and many are available through your local library. Early training and consistency are the keys to having a well-behaved dog. If you plan to hunt with your Labrador, basic obedience training is essential.
Veterinary care is an important part of your responsibility in providing for your Labrador. You should have already selected a veterinarian to have your puppy examined and receive their immunizations on schedule. After the initial immunizations, your puppy should see the veterinarian on an annual basis for protection against regional health threats and early detection of debilitating disease. It is important to establish a relationship with a regular veterinarian in your area, so he or she can be contacted if an emergency arises
A good diet is essential for keeping your Labrador healthy and strong. We highly recommend feeding a good quality, grain free food.