Labrador Retriever  Breed, Temperament & Training
Famous owners of a Labrador Retriever have included Henry Kissinger, Queen Beatrix, Bill Clinton and Vladimir Putin. With their friendly and well-balanced nature, Labradors are very popular dogs all around the world.
They quickly make friends with strangers, especially if they suspect they may receive a treat to eat. History and origin of the Labrador Retriever The dog originates from the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, on the Canadian east coast.
It is thought to be a descendent of the black water dog. As early as 1497, English merchants from Bristol came across the dog when they discovered Newfoundland. Historically, the dog was always called a ‘Newfoundland’ or ‘Labrador’.
Later in the 19th Century, fishermen brought the dog to England, where it soon became widely known as a ‘Labrador’. The resulting breed was further developed, and differed more and more from the much larger Newfoundland.
The Labrador quickly developed into a versatile hunting dog, and popular amongst the English nobility. The dog’s special breeding gave it a fondness for water, a coat with water-repellent qualities, an excellent sense of smell, docility and endurance.
Originally, Labradors were bred as hunting and retrieving dogs, which would reliably retrieve shot birds from lakes and ponds. The breed was officially recognized by the British Kennel Club in 1903, and by the FCI in 1954.
Appearance of the Labrador Retriever The ‘Lab’, as the dog is affectionately called, is one of the six different retriever breeds, which vary significantly in character and appearance. According to the breed standard, the height at the withers should reach 56 to 57 cm in males, while females should be somewhat smaller at around 54 to 56 cm.
The weight is not fixed, and is between 25 to 36 kg depending on the sex. Their life expectancy is around 12 to 13 years. The medium-sized, solidly built dog has a prominent skull and a broad chest. The coat may be black, reddish or chocolate colored, as well as the well-known light-cream coloring, which is often confused with the popular Golden Retriever.
Labradors with black fur have brown eyes and black eyelids, while the chocolate-colored variety has brown, or light brown eyes with brown eyelids. The dogs have floppy, medium-sized ears and a bushy, otter-like tail.
The coat is short and with a dense undercoat. Temperament and Training of the Labrador Retriever Labs have a versatile character and a real zest for life. With their ingenuous look, they always want to please their owner.
They are attentive and active, and can be kept as a single dog, but need a close family connection. Labradors are usually very friendly, even when strangers or children come very close to them. Therefore, they are an ideal dog for families, and first-time dog owners.
In general, the dogs are obedient and can be led very easily. They love to eat, so small food treats can also be used as rewards during training. Labradors make excellent guide dogs, narcotics dogs, rescue dogs, or even therapy dogs.
They have somewhat of a hunting instinct, but are entirely unsuitable as guard dogs. Exercise and care of the Labrador Retriever Labs love long walks, preferably with plenty of swimming involved. They love to fetch, and are suited to agility courses and dummy work.
The dogs are susceptible to hip and joint dysplasia, as well as elbow dysplasia. Before breeding permission can be granted, a Labrador will need to be x-rayed to check if it is free of HD and ED. Eye diseases, such as cataracts or progressive retinal atrophy, in which the vision cells of the retina are destroyed, can also occur.
With their short coat, Labradors are very easy to care for. And since they tend to become overweight due to their constant craving for food, they should not be given too many treats, on top of their two larger portions of dog food per day.