Obedient, people-friendly and resilient: the medium-sized Labrador Retriever is very popular as a family dog, but as an original working dog also likes to be physically and mentally challenged.
Characteristics of the labrador retriever
In the UK and US, the Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular purebred dogs in the country. But he is also at the top of the puppy statistics in many European countries. No wonder. Finally, the labrador retriever stands out for its pronounced human friendliness and obedience. His innate “will to please”, i.e. the desire to please his owner, makes him a very obedient companion dog. He is characterized by a great willingness to cooperate and great adaptability. A labrador retriever can be taken anywhere without any problems and is a welcome guest everywhere. He is always friendly with strangers with a wagging tail. The friendly open four-legged friend is curious and always prefers company. shyness,back to menu ↑
The Labrador Retriever loves children as much as he loves his job
Labradors love their owners very much, especially children. They want to be everywhere and don’t like to be alone for long. The dogs are especially notable for their patient and balanced nature. With their calm nature and their unflappable friendliness, they contribute to harmony within the family. However, this should not be the only reason to purchase a Labrador. Then you would be selling him short. The dog was originally bred as a hunting dog. As a result, he is very active and likes to work. Because of its good nose and its enormous stamina, the dog is perfect as a retriever. In addition, he also loves water.
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In addition to its popular role as a family dog, the versatile Labrador retriever is often found as a guide dog, rescue dog, and avalanche dog, as well as a police dog and customs dog. To make a Labrador happy, his urge to work and to be busy must be taken into account. As an owner, you will quickly notice that the Labrador is much more balanced if he has enough to do and is sufficiently challenged both physically and mentally.back to menu ↑
The look, labrador retriever
With a height of 56 to 57 cm in males and 54 to 56 cm in females, the Labrador retriever belongs to medium-sized dog breeds. They are very active, like to move, and have muscular and powerful bodies. Overall, the typical Labrador is very compact with a broad skull, strong neck, and broad deep chest. The tail is characteristic of the breed. The tail is very thick at the base and gradually tapering towards the tip. Because of the round shape, the tail is also called the otter tail. This allows the dog to steer well in the water.
The dogs have a broad head and carry the ears close to the head. The Labrador’s short, dense coat with a good, waterproof undercoat is characteristic of the breed. The coat is bred in three different color variants: black, yellow and brown. The coat is always colored, but a small white patch on the chest is acceptable. The yellow color varies from light cream to fox red. But the dominant hereditary black coat color is still the most common color.
The “show-type” and the “work-type”
Although only one type is described in the breed standard, two different Labrador types have emerged in recent decades: on the one hand, the compactly built “Show-Retriever” and the lightly built “Field-Trial-Labrador”, which mainly is bred for work and has a narrower head and long tail. The “dual-purpose” type is intended to harmoniously connect the two lines “work” and “show” and is the closest to the breed ideal.
The History of the Labrador Retriever
The ancestors of the Labrador have their origin just like the Newfoundland and the Landseer on the Canadian east coast. Legend has it that the Labrador descended from the so-called St. John’s dog, a black water dog with a dense coat. They helped during the hunt or took fish and fishing nets out of the water.
Targeted breeding took place for the first place in the second half of the 19 e century in England and Scotland, after British fishermen brought the eager dogs home. The English breed description labrador retriever here refers on the one hand to the Canadian peninsula Labrador of the same name and the pronounced retrieving activities of the dogs (to retrieve).
It is thanks to English breeding – including the Second Earl Malmesbury (1778-1841), who consistently focused on the hunting performance of breeding stock – that the Labrador became known among the nobility. On July 7, 1903, the Labrador was finally recognized as an independent breed of dog by the English Kennel Club. Numerous successes in exhibitions soon made the active and peaceful Labrador known and loved, also beyond the nobility and beyond England. The color yellow and brown were long regarded as wrong breeding and were only later accepted and desired in addition to the usual black coat color.back to menu ↑
Breeding and health
Although the Labrador Retriever is very popular primarily as a family dog, it stands out for its pleasure to work and a strong retrieval drive. Most breeders who breed to the FCI standard and are associated with an association aim for a healthy, confident, powerful dog. If you choose a Labrador as a family dog, you should therefore not forget that the Labrador retriever is actually a working dog and therefore also needs tasks and activities. Many associations offer training opportunities for labrador breeders and owners.back to menu ↑
Exclude hereditary diseases
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An active Labrador that is challenged and moves a lot is generally also a healthy and robust dog, with no fear of many diseases. Nevertheless, there are also a few hereditary diseases in the labrador retriever that can only be prevented by controlled and careful breeding. This mainly concerns skeletal disorders such as hip dysplasia (HD), elbow dysplasia (ED), and osteochondrosis (OCD), and hereditary eye diseases such as Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) or hereditary cataract (HC).
When purchasing a labrador, make sure that the dogs in which these diseases have been diagnosed are systematically excluded from breeding and that the parents and puppies are, therefore “genetically healthy”. Only in this way can a further spread of these diseases be prevented. If you are interested in a purebred dog, you absolutely must buy it from a serious breeder who has done all the necessary research and has taken health measures. You have to pay a significant amount for a checked and healthy vaccinated puppy that has all the necessary papers. The price for a labrador retriever is usually about 1200 euros. A healthy dog that you can enjoy for years and with which you only have to go to the vet now and then, is well worth this price.back to menu ↑
You are responsible for its health from the moment you purchase a dog. A balanced dog food provides your labrador with all the important nutrients and should not provide too much or too little energy. It ensures that your darling stays active and healthy for a long time. Unfortunately, many Labradors have a tendency to overeat. However, being overweight is very unhealthy in dogs and can cause various diseases that can shorten the life of a four-legged friend.back to menu ↑
Lots of meat and vegetables, little fat and grain
Unnecessary fats or even sweeteners such as sugar and glucose, therefore, do not belong in a food bowl. A healthy, balanced diet is generally notable for its high meat content (at least 70%). Meat is the most important source of protein for dogs. Fruit and vegetables (about 20-30%) also provide important vitamins and nutrients in the feeder. On the other hand, your dog only needs grain in small amounts. A grain content that is too high is, therefore, an indicator of poor-quality feed.back to menu ↑
In addition to the correct composition of the food, you must also pay attention to the correct amounts to prevent overweight. Don’t leave the decision of how much your dog eats to the dog. Labradors like to eat and would eat more than is right for them. How much food is good can vary widely depending on the dog’s age, weight and activity level. In general, one to two meals a day is sufficient for a Labrador. If you give your dog treats in between, you should subtract this amount from the daily food amount, so put a little less in the food bowl. But there is alsodietetic food , which is a special food for dogs that tend to be overweight.
There are no prescribed weight tables for the labrador. It is ultimately up to you whether your dog is too fat or too thin, eats too much or too little. In general, one should be able to feel the ribs with the hand, without being able to see them with the naked eye. If in doubt, you can ask your vet or breeder about the correct food amounts for your dog.back to menu ↑
Proper care contributes to the health of your labrador. In addition to the routine examinations at the vet, which must be strictly observed, you can detect infections early with regular short “check-ups” and act immediately. Pay particular attention to your labrador’s ears, eyes and teeth. To prevent injuries and inflammation, the dog’s nails should be trimmed regularly. The coat is easy to care for and gets clean almost by itself. At least once a week, the coat should be brushed extensively to remove loose hair and stubborn contaminants.back to menu ↑
Make grooming a routine
Proper care does not have to take much time. You should get into the habit of researching and grooming rituals so that they become routine for your dog. Dogs like rules and good organization. Too many unexpected surprises and changes confuse the sensitive Labrador. Let your dog get used to the care as a puppy and teach your dog to sit still.back to menu ↑
Attitude and upbringing
Educating and keeping a Labrador is just as easy as the care. The friendly human-oriented four-legged friend is also suitable for beginners without experience. However, there are a few principles to keep in mind when keeping a Labrador Retriever.back to menu ↑
Lots of space, lots of movement
The Labrador is a working and working dog by nature. To be happy he needs a lot of exercise and activities. A house with its own garden in which the dog has enough space is a precondition for keeping this four-legged friend. Labradors need to be able to “exhaust” themselves. So it goes without saying that a few short walks a day are not enough. Dog sports such as Obedience and Dog Dancing, training as a tracking dog, or hunting tests are suitable to challenge your dog physically and mentally. To make daily walks a bit more varied, you can do small searches and games of retrieval. You also make the dog happy by letting him swim in a river or lake.back to menu ↑
A Labrador also needs education
For a peaceful and unproblematic time together in nature and in the company, it is important that your dog listens to commands. This applies to both a labrador and a sheepdog. The right upbringing is the basis in the lives of humans and dogs. In general, Labrador makes it very easy for you because he is very people-oriented and willing to listen. It is important that you raise the sensitive dog consistently and lovingly. Your dog is more likely to respond to positive reinforcement, such as praise or even a treat, than to excessive severity. For dog beginners, a visit to a dog school is recommended. There, not only does the dog learn the most important commands and the right behavior, but the owner also practices how to keep the dog under control.
In general, the better the dog is educated, the more you can do and experience it – for example, go on a bike ride together, visit friends or go to the beach together. Life with a Labrador is guaranteed to be varied.