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Labrador Retriever Dog Breed Characteristics & Information
Labrador Retrievers were mainly bred as companions to humans. Due to their excellent and hardworking nature, they are America's most popular dog breed. This affectionate breed is also known for its intelligence and exceptional fetching skills.
This article talks about the essential characteristics and requirements of Labrador Retrievers. Scroll down to read more!
What is the History of Labrador Retrievers?
Labrador Retrievers originate off the northeastern Atlantic coast of Canada, on the island of Newfoundland. They were originally named after the capital city of Newfoundland, St.John’s dogs. Initially, they served as companions of fishermen. Their heritage is still unknown to humans.
Owing to their usefulness and demeanour, Englishmen imported some of the Labrador Retrievers to England for hunting. They were recognised as a separate breed in 1903 by the American Kennel Club.
What are the Characteristics of Labrador Retrievers?
Some of the characteristics of Labrador Retrievers are:
- Lifespan: Like any big dog, Labrador Retrievers have a lifespan of 10 to 14 years.
- Height: Depending on the gender of your Labrador Retriever, they grow up to a height of 21.5 inches to 24.5 inches.
- Colour: Labrador Retrievers are seen in different colours, such as yellow, black, chocolate brown, and fox red.
- Weight: Male Labrador Retrievers have an average weight of 65 to 80 pounds, whereas females weigh between 55 to 70 pounds.
- Temperament: Labrador Retrievers are one of the most friendly dogs and are very open to strangers. They make lovely guide dogs as well as rescue dogs.
- Energy Level: Labrador Retrievers are highly energetic and love their playtime.
How to Train Labrador Retriever Dogs?
Here are a few critical tips to prepare your Labrador Retrievers properly:
- Socialise Your Pup Early: Labrador Retrievers love being in human company. Hence, try socialising your pup with as many other people and dogs as possible. This will trigger their friendly nature and help them accept new people quickly.
- Start with the Basics: To avoid confusion, train your dog with the basic commands. Once it understands the basic commands, gradually move on to the advanced ones. Don’t start directly with complex controls.
- Allow Positive Reinforcement: Every time your Labrador Retriever shows the desired behaviour, try rewarding them with their favourite treat or toys. Repeat it a couple of times. This way, they will associate the good behaviour with their favourite things and will likely repeat them.
- Try Behaviour Management: Labrador Retrievers remain like puppies, even as adults. Their energy level remains high, and they continue their mischievous activities. Therefore, try managing their behaviour and teaching them desired activities.
What are the Common Health Problems in Labrador Retriever Dogs?
Some of the common health issues in Labrador Retrievers are:
- Osteochondrosis Dessicans: Osteochondrosis Dessicans is a condition with painful stiffening of the joints due to improper cartilage growth. Sometimes, it gets so severe that the Labrador Retriever cannot bend the joints. One of the causes for this is the overfeeding of the growth formula.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy: Progressive Retinal Atrophy is an eye disease seen in Labrador Retrievers that causes gradual retina deterioration. The early symptoms include night blindness, which eventually progresses to vision loss during the day.
- Epilepsy: Labrador Retrievers are very much prone to epileptic seizures, both mild and severe. Seizures may manifest as unusual running, which is frightening to look at. However, idiopathic epilepsy has a good prognosis.
- Myopathy: Myopathy is a disease that affects the muscular and nervous systems of your Labrador Retriever. The initial signs are observed in the first year of birth. A myopathic puppy is often tired and stiff when walking. Also, the pups may collapse even after a minimum amount of exercise.
- Bloating: Bloating, or gastric dilatation volvulus, is the most common life-threatening condition in deep-chested dogs like Labrador Retrievers. In this condition, the stomach fills up with gas and gets twisted, cutting off the blood supply.
- Cold Tail: Cold tail affects the muscles in the Labrador Retriever’s tail, causing it to go limp. Although benign, it is an excruciating condition in dogs that goes away within a few days. However, it is not a very serious health problem.
- Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia (TVD): It is a congenital disease in which the tricuspid valve is malformed and is mainly seen in Labrador Retrievers. Mild TVD shows no or significantly fewer symptoms, while severe TVD eventually causes the dogs to die. It is detected by ultrasound.
How to Take Care of Labrador Retriever Dogs?
Here are some tips to take care of your Labrador Retriever:
- Grooming: Bathing once a week is enough to keep your Labrador Retriever’s coat clean and tidy, as it is resistant to soil and dirt. You can also brush their coat to enhance their look. Using a trimmer or a grinder to trim their nails is a safer grooming option.
- Food and Nutrition: Meal requirements for your Labrador Retriever depend on the size of your dog. In addition to nutrient-laden commercial food, you can provide your dog with home-cooked food. However, ensure the home-cooked food meets your Labrador Retriever's nutritional requirements.
- Exercise: Owing to their high energy level, Labrador Retrievers require a lot of exercise and activity to stay healthy and fit, both mentally and physically. If they do not get enough exercise, they may show hyperactivity and destructive behaviour. You may also play fetching games with your dog.
- Veterinary Requirements: Regular veterinary visits are essential for your Labrador Retrievers to receive vaccinations. Labrador Retrievers are vaccinated against hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvovirus, and leptospirosis.
- Treatment for Worm and Ticks: Ticks and worms can make your Labrador Retriever uncomfortable as they cause irritation and itching. Fleas may also carry worm larvae that can infest your dog. Hence, your dog should be on proper monthly medication for fleas and ticks to prevent an infestation.
Apart from loving kids, the Labrador Retrievers love the kids' energy. However, they must be adequately trained before being brought to crowded places. Likewise, your kids should also be taught how to behave with Labrador Retrievers. Keep an eye on it while your dog interacts with your kid to prevent biting or tail pulling.