The origins of Labrador Retrievers lie in Newfoundland Canada, where they were bred as waterdogs to retrieve ducks, and help catch fish. They became exceptionally popular in the early part of the 19th Century when English nobles took notice of them in Canada.
They went back to England with a few “Labrador Retrievers” in tow, and during the latter half of the 1800s, the breed was refined and standardized.
They were bred to have coats that were short, dense, and water-resistant to suit the Canadian winter. They required a coat that would work well with the North Atlantic’s icy waters.
The Kennel Club of England recognized the breed in 1903, and it was registered by the AKC in 1917. Since 1991, Labrador Retrievers have been America’s favorite breed.
Labrador Retrievers are generally quite healthy dogs and responsible breeding includes checks for conditions like hip dysplasia (which is a very common condition among many breeds), disorders of the heart, muscle weakness (known as myopathy), and eye problems like progressive retinal atrophy.
Certain young adult Labs can get exercise induced collapse (EIC for short). All that’s needed to check for this, is a DNA test, as this will indicate the condition to breeders. They will then plan their breeding to avoid carrying the condition down the line.
Labradors are deep-chested dogs that can also develop bloat. If bloating occurs, they will often need to be seen to by a vet immediately.
If you are planning to get a purebred Labrador Retriever, make sure that the breeder has made sure that it has had a hip evaluation, an EIC DNA test, an ophthalmologist evaluation (for its eyes), and an elbow evaluation.
When you get a Labrador, you are inheriting a dog with a thick, water-repellant double coat. This means it is not hypoallergenic, and it sheds a lot. Depending on how dirty it gets, it needs to be bathed every 4 to 8 weeks with a good dog shampoo and warm water. Its nails should always be trimmed, and its teeth brushed. Also, always make sure to wipe its eyes with a moist cotton pad to keep the dirt away.
It’s important to brush your Lab with a natural or nylon bristle brush at least once a week. It’s even better to brush it every single day, as it stimulates your Lab’s natural oils in its skin, which results in a very healthy-looking coat. Start doing this straight away, when your Lab is still a puppy, and it will get used to it.
You will need to groom your Lab constantly and take it for professional grooming at least every 12 weeks. As a puppy under 3 months, you’ll need to feed your Labrador 4 times a day. When it’s 3-6 months old, it requires food 3 times a day, and once it reaches 6 months, eating twice a day is perfect for it. Make sure it gets food of a high quality that is purchased from a vet or pet shop. Avoid purchasing food from supermarkets, as their food is usually high in gluten and wheat content, and not very healthy for Labradors. The food it eats should have a healthy percentage of protein in it.
The cost of a Labrador Retriever can be quite steep, as it is such a popular dog. However, different factors go into the cost such as gender (females are always more expensive due to their breeding potential), lineage, breeder location and experience, as well as whether or not it has had its shots.
Once you get your Lab, you will need to make sure you have money in your budget to cover vet visits, toys for it to play with, as well as a bed, and enough food for it. The average lifetime cost for it is around $23,410.
- Labradors are the number 1 dog in both America and the UK.
- They come in all different colors (yellow, chocolate and black)– even in the same litter!
- “King Buck” is the name of a famous Labrador who was the first of its kind to appear on a US postage stamp.
- They are used as guide dogs more than any other breed.
- They have webbed toes, which make them amazing swimmers.