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BellaOnline's Dogs Editor

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Lovable Labs

Guest Author - Sandy Moyer

Chocolate Lab Portrait
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The Labrador Retriever is always among the AKC's top 3 most popular breeds. Labrador Retrievers are loving companions and wonderful family pets. They are friendly, happy dogs....always eager to please. Most Labs are patient and gentle with children and they get along well with other pets. Labradors are not aggressive dogs, but most will bark protectively to alert their family to approaching strangers.

According to AKC standards, the Labrador Retriever is "a strongly built, medium-sized, short-coupled dog possessing a sound, athletic, well-balanced conformation that enables it to function as a retrieving gun dog. Physical features and mental characteristics should denote a dog bred to perform as an efficient Retriever of game with a stable temperament suitable for a variety of pursuits beyond the hunting environment."

    Physical Traits....

  • Labrador Retrievers are stong, active dogs, weighing 60 to 90 pounds.

  • The Labrador Retriever is stocky and well-muscled, with a wide skull and a deep chest.

  • It's medium length tail is thick at the base, tapering towards the tip, and free from feathering.

  • Ears are medium size and held close to the head. They should not go up and then drop down.

  • It's feet are strong and compact, with well-arched toes and well-developed pads.

  • Labs come in three solid coat colors - Black, Yellow, and Chocolate. The coat should be short, straight, and dense with a weather-resistant undercoat. This soft undercoat keeps the Lab warm and dry when retrieving ducks in cold waters.

  • Labs have "friendly" eyes that that express character, intelligence, alertness and good temperament. Eye color should be brown in Black and Yellow Labradors. Chocolate Labs may have brown or hazel eyes.

A brief history ...

Ducks Unlimited Great Retrievers
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The Labrador Retriever originated in Newfoundland. The first black retrieving dogs with otter-like tails and smooth, short coats that repelled water were imported to England in the early 1800's. After cross breeding with other types of Retrievers, the Labrador traits remained predominant. British dog fanciers eventually established breed standards and in 1903 the Labrador Retriever was recognized by the English Kennel Club. Labradors were first imported to the United States during World War I and the breed was recognized by the AKC in 1917.

For generations, an occasional yellow or chocolate pup, was considered undesirable and they were destroyed at birth. "Ben of Hyde", born in 1899 was the first Yellow Labrador Retriever of record. When bred to black Labs, he sired many Yellow pups. Anti-yellow dog sentiment remained strong and at first a separate standard was established for the Yellow Labrador. Today all colors share the same standard and the number of Yellow Labs and Black Labs are about equal. The shade of yellow can range from nearly white to gold to reddish gold.

In 1964, "Cookridge Tango" became the first Chocolate Labrador Retriever bench champion in England. The popularity of Chocolate Labradors has been steadily increasing and the number of Chocolate Labs may someday equal the other colors. It's possible to get all three colors in the same litter of Lab Pups.


Doggie Line-Up
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Today's Lab....

Besides being great sporting dogs and terrific family pets, their superior nose, even disposition, and trainability make Labrador Retrievers a top choice for Search and Rescue programs and also for bomb and narcotic sniffing work. Labs are also widely used as assistance dogs for the handicapped and guide dogs for the blind. Their outgoing personalities and gentle nature also make them very popular as therapy dogs.

In the U.S. today, there are two distinct lines of Labrador Retrievers - field lines and show lines. Field Labs have been bred with an emphasis on field and hunting ability. Show quality Labs have been bred with an emphasis on conformation and temperament. Dogs from field lines may have higher levels of energy and endurance. Either type can make a wonderful companion.

Whether they're bred for field or show, most Labs will be good hunters, but if you want a Lab specifically for field trial competition or very serious hunting, it would be wise to get your Lab from a field trial kennel. If you plan on showing your dog in AKC Breed Competition look for a pup with excellent bloodlines from a kennel that has successfully bred show champions.

Because of their wide-spread popularity, Labs are frequently bred strictly for profit with little regard to temperament or health issues. Whether you want a field dog, show dog or just a sound, healthy pet with excellent temperament, minimize potential problems by choosing a breeder carefully. Hip dysplasia and other joint problems can be a problem for this breed. Look for a breeder who provides proof that both parents have been certified free of hip dysplasia. Breeding Labradors should also be examined by a veterinary ophthalmologist since the breed is also prone to Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Retinal Dysplasia, diseases which can cause blindness.

A chocolate Labrador retriever chases after a stick-carrying yellow Labrador retriver
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Labs are moderate shedders. Hair loss will increase seasonally... twice a year when they shed their coat. To clean their coat and control shedding they should be brushed at least once or twice a week with a slicker type brush. Their naturally oily coat repels dirt and sheds water easily. Labs do not need frequent shampooing... too many baths will remove the natural oils from their coats.

Young Labs require much attention and exercise.... They're playful, tireless pups. In some Labs, "puppyhood" along with puppy energy can last for 2 to 3 years! A bored, untrained Lab, lacking in exercise can easily become unmanageable and destructive. Labs who are left outside and alone for hours often become barkers, diggers, and fence jumpers.

With sufficient training, abundant love and attention plus plenty of exercise, a Lab will become a well-mannered companion.

Lab Rescue

Not everyone has the time and patience to train a puppy. Mature Labs are usually calm and easy to live with. They're ideal pets for the elderly. Adult Labs can be great companions for children, but busy parents with small children may not have time for housebreaking and training a puppy. Young Labs may also be too rough for toddlers. Until he outgrows the teething and chewing anything that's convenient stage, a growing puppy can destroy many toddler toys, dolls, stuffed animals, shoes, and other fun things around the house.

For anyone who wants a great ready-to-love dog without the trials of puppyhood, there is an endless supply of second-hand Labs in need of homes and people to love. Lab Rescue groups have many wonderful dogs waiting for adoption. Most range in age from 8 months to 6 years. Labradors adopted from Rescue are usually already spayed or neutered. Their vaccines are up-to-date and they've been heartworm checked. Some are tattooed or microchiped. They might even be living in foster care and the foster parent will tell you all about a dogs temperament and habits. Many have had at least some obedience training.

There are many wonderful Labs for adoption on the following sites -

  • The Top 10 Reasons You Should Consider A Rescued Labrador Retriever
  • Heart of Texas Lab Rescue
  • The Labrador Education and Rescue Network
  • Southern California Labrador Retriever Rescue
  • Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida
  • Labrador Retriever Rescue, Inc.(New England states)
  • The Labrador Retriever Rescue of East Tennessee
  • The Labrador Retriever Club of the Potomac
  • Dallas Fort Worth Labrador Retriever Rescue
  • Kentucky Lab Rescue
  • Desert Labrador Retriever Rescue (Arizona)
  • North East All Retriever Rescue
  • Golden Gate Labrador Retriever Rescue
  • Georgia Lab Rescue
  • Labrador Retriever Rescue, Inc
       (D.C, Northern Virginia, & Maryland)
  • Long Island Labrador Retriever Rescue, Inc.
  • Find - A - Pet

  • ~~~~ Click on any of the Lab pictures above to purchase them as prints or posters.~~~~~

    Lab Health Links

  • Inherited Eye Disorders in the Labrador Retriever
  • Cold Water Tail
  • Exercise Induced Collapse Syndrome
  • Labrador Retrievers and the Anti-Inflammatory Drug - Rimadyl
  • Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia in the Labrador Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever Health Reference Library
  • The Wind-Morgan Program for Diagnosis of Heritable Joint Disease in the Labrador Retriever
  • General Canine Health Information

    Organizations created to help owners or rescuers of Labrador Retrievers who are in need of financial assistance

  • LABMED
  • Labrador Life Line

    Lab Links - General

  • The Labrador Retriever Club
  • The AKC Labrador Retriever Page
  • Just Labradors.Com
  • The Labrador Museum
  • Lab Retrievers Network
  • PurebredLabs.com
  • Labrador Retriever Dogs.com
  • Labrador Resources
  • The Labrador Retriever Club of Great Britain
  • The Labrador Retriever Club of Canada
  • Labs and Friends Discussion Group

    Sporting Lab Links

  • The Pointing Labrador
  • Pointing Labs
  • Working Retriever.Com
  • Shotgun Sports - Hunting Retrievers Guide
  • Labrador Hunting Retrievers
  • Hunting Dogs.com
  • Training Tips from TotalRetriever.com
  • North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association
  • Bird Dogs Forever

    Lab E-Cards

  • Labs4U Postcards - Huge selection!
  • Buster's Greeting Card Service
  • Labs and Friends Homepage E-Cards
  • KC's Dog Ecards - Labrador Retrievers

    Lab Webrings

  • The Labrador Retriever Webring
  • Just Labradors Webring
  • Ring of Retrievers
  • The Lab Pals Webring
  • Ring o'Labrabrats
  • The Field and Hunting Retrievers Webring


  • For Lab lovers...

    The Official Book of
    the Labrador Retriever

    cover
    Training Your
    Labrador Retriever

    cover
    The Labrador Retriever



    Labrador Dog Statues


    Labrador Retriever
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    AllPosters.com has a huge selection of Labrador Retreiver Tin signs, posters and prints.

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    Content copyright © 2014 by Sandy Moyer. All rights reserved.
    This content was written by Sandy Moyer. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Bettina Thomas-Smith for details.

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