Labrador Retrievers are solid muscular dogs that are intelligent,
obedient and make excellent work dogs. They are very active and their webbed feet assist them with swimming. Their tails are described as “otter” tails because they are thick at the base, tapered and round. Their dense coats are waterproof without any feathering. Their bodies are slightly longer than they are tall. Labradors come in a variety of solid colors including yellow, fawn, cream, gold, chocolate, or black. Occasionally they will have some white markings on their chests.
Male dogs are typically 22 to 24 inches (56-61 cm) tall and weigh 60 to 75 pounds (27-34 kg). Some males can grow as large as 100 pounds (45 kg) or more. Female dogs are typically 21 to 23 inches (53-58 cm) tall and weigh about 55 to 70 pounds (25-32 kg). The life expectancy for Labradors is approximately 10 to 12 years.
These strong, active dogs are easy to train. It is important to train Labradors early not to pull on a leash since they have very strong necks. Some of their abilities include retrieving, hunting, tracking, search and rescue, sledding, and serving as guide dogs for the visually impaired or disabled. Because they are loving, affectionate, and very patient with children, they make wonderful family pets. Labradors thrive on human attention and need this to feel like they belong in a family. They make great companions but can become destructive if they are left alone for extended periods of time. These loving and friendly dogs are easy to care for as well. Their smooth, shorthaired, doublecoat should receive regular brushings with extra attention given to the undercoat. Dry shampoo or bathe these dogs only when necessary.
Labradors are very energetic and love to work and play hard. They are powerful swimmers and enjoy vigorous activity. They adapt well to urban living when they are given plenty of room to exercise. They are loyal and reliable dogs that make excellent watchdogs as well. There are no specific feeding restrictions for these dogs but owners should be aware that overfeeding these dogs would cause them to become obese and lazy very quickly and easily. Some health concerns that Labradors are prone to include hip and elbow dysplasia and eye diseases like cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).
Labradors were brought to Newfoundland, Canada in the 1800’s by English ships from Labrador. They were once known as St John’s Dogs and belonged to every fishing crew. Fishermen who had the dogs jump into the icy water and drag their nets of fish to shore were among the first people to use them as work dogs. Labradors also became indispensable as sled dogs, messengers, and general working dogs. The tradition of service still prevails and now Labradors are widely used as Seeing Eye Dogs and in various types of police work including narcotics detection.