written by: The Pet Guy
Everyone knows the Labrador Retriever! The "Lab" is the #1 most popular breed of dog in America according to the American Kennel Club. Despite their name, this breed does not actually originate in the Canadian province of Labrador, but rather it's eastern island of Newfoundland. The decedents of the extinct St. Johns Water Dog, which is thought to have been a mixed breed of multiple European water dogs, the Labrador Retriever is an athletic and obedient dog categorized in the Sporting Group.
Life Expectancy: 10 - 12 years
Coat Colors: Black, Brown (Chocolate), Yellow
The Labrador Retriever is a medium-sized breed with short hair, oily skin, and broad tails which makes them perfect water dogs. Their paws are webbed and they have the second longest toes of all dog breeds which has helped them to become known as great swimmers.
Labradors have a dense double-coat that keeps them warm, which is ideal for those cold Canadian waters! The three distinct coat colors of Labradors are Black, Chocolate, and Yellow, with Black Labs being the most common. However, they can be further categorized between English Labs and American Labs. Although not officially recognized as being different variations of the Labrador, there are noticeable physical differences between the two.
American Labrador: Longer body, leaner physique, thinner legs, narrower skull
English Labrador: Stockier body, shorter legs, shorter snout, thicker coat
Labradors are fun-loving, active dogs that can be good cuddle partners after a good workout! As puppies, Labs can be a bit adventurous and have endless energy but as they mature they are well-behaved and generally can be trained to control their temperament quite easily. However, Labs are athletic dogs that are known to love a long day of activities and lots of swimming!
Labradors are quite easy to keep groomed and looking good!
They are mild shedders and do not require much more than a weekly brushing. Baths and nail trims should be done about once a month while they have no need for any hair trimmings other than the occasional trim under their paws in older age.
As mentioned, Labs do have a dense double-coat which does require more effort when drying and a bit more attention when brushing in the warmer seasons. Thinning out their undercoat will allow their longer hairs to filter cool air across their body while still protecting the skin from harsh heat and UV damage from Sun exposure.
Affectionately referred to as "Flabador Retrievers", this large breed LOVES to eat. In fact, about a quarter of all Labradors have been found to have a genetic error that doesn't allow them to feel the "full" sensation after eating. Sticking to a good meal plan is a safe way to keep your Labrador trim and healthy!
Feeding greatly changes as a Labrador ages. As a young puppy you can expect to feed your Lab up to 4 times a day for the first 3 to 6 months, and 3 times a day up until about 12 to 24 months. A full gown Labrador can get by eating twice a day, and even just once a day, given the proper nutrient balance.
A Labrador should remain on their puppy food up until 12 to 18 months of age while eating about a half cup to one full cup per meal, depending on their food. An adult Labrador should be limited on extra treats while sticking to 1.5 to 2 cups per meal.
My Food Recommendations
Of course each dog will have their own unique personality and experience different biological and environmental reactions, but overall the Labrador is a great large breed dog to keep your lap warm and your days exciting. You will never be lonely with these ones around!