Few breeds so richly deserve their popularity as does the Labrador Retriever. When trained, the breed is obedient and amiable, and tolerates the antics of children, other dogs, and other pets. The Lab is a calm house dog, playful yard dog, and intense field dog, all on the same day. Labs are eager to please, enjoyslearning, and excel in obedience. It is a powerful breed that loves to swim and retrieve. Labradors needs daily physical and mental challenges to keep occupied. A bored Lab can get into trouble! The Labrador’s hunting instinct can drive a dog to roam, so training and a safe yard are needed.

Dozer the Labrador Retriever at 3 years old—"Dozer is my best friend, he goes everywhere with me. Some of his favorite places to go are anywhere he can swim, dog park, hiking, the beach, doggy day care, swimming, DockDogs, swimming, and in case I didn't mention it, swimming. As I just mentioned Dozer and I love competing in DockDogs. His farthest jump is 17ft and we are working on Speed Retrieve. We are also going to start Agility and Flyball classes soon; both of us are super excited about that. Dozer also loves learning new tricks some of his favorites are sit handsomely (that's where he sits up) circle, How was your day (he will bark saying it's been real rough), Play dead, hold it (he will hold just about anything in his mouth), and crawl (just to name a few). I love my doggy soul mate."
The high intelligence, initiative and self-direction of Labradors in working roles is exemplified by dogs such as Endal, who is trained to, if need be, put his wheelchair-bound human in the recovery position, cover him with a blanket, and activate an emergency phone.[59] A number of Labradors have also been taught to assist their owner in removing money and credit cards from ATMs with prior training.[60]
Our final gift idea on this list acknowledges a dog mama's h2est urge – to make her furbaby happy. A BarkBox subscription is sure to do just that. Starting at less than $25 a month, BarkBox brings a themed box of dog toys and all-natural treats to a dog mama's door once a month. This way, a dog mom can make her pup happy and engaged with new toys every month, and it's convenient for her.
The most well known health issues are related to the malformation of hips and elbows ( hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, respectively). Eye diseases such as progressive retinal atrophy and cataracts are potential concerns. So is exercise-induced collapse, a muscle abnormality that affects the dog’s strength, stamina and movement. Other health problems that may affect the breed include heart disease, an orthopedic problem called osteochondrosis, panosteitis (growing pains), epilepsy and allergic skin disease.
Also check out my 2018 Gift Guide for Foodies, Kitchen and Cooks, my 2018 Gift Guide for Skiing, Fitness & Outdoor Activities, plus last year’s 2017 Forbes Gift Guides, with many great picks that are still perfect, on a wide range of gifting topics including: Beer, Wine & Spirits (here); Food (here); Kitchen & Home (here); Whiskey Lovers' Gifts (here); Cycling (here); Skiing (here); and Golf & Fitness (here).

Friendly, gentle, intelligent and eager to please, the Labrador Retriever is an ideal hunting companion and family dog. Developed in 19th-century Newfoundland as a water dog, the Labrador Retriever has a stable temperament and a kindly, outgoing nature. He is highly adaptable and trainable and thrives with active owners. His dense, water-resistant coat sheds seasonally and needs regular grooming.
Whatever the case, it's tough to get everybody else gifts and forget about the dogs in your life. Thanks to the number of pet-obsessed companies making everything from baseball jerseys for your bulldog to cans of food that cost more than your entire lunch, there are plenty of options to pick from when making sure your dog gets something on Christmas day or the first night of Hanukkah, even if they have no clue why they're getting it. 
Labrador Retrievers are one of the most recognizable breeds of dogs. Even people who aren't dog lovers can recognize a Lab! They make great therapy dogs, service dogs and guide dogs, gun dogs retrieving upland game and fowl, search and rescue dogs, and are the best all-around family dog. Their health problems are similar to most large dogs. They are susceptible to hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy. Diabetes can also be a serious problem if your Lab suffers from obesity.
A colouration known as "Dudley" is also possible. Dudleys are variously defined as yellow Labradors which have unpigmented (pink) noses (LRC), yellow with liver/chocolate pigmentation (AKC), or "flesh coloured" in addition to having the same colour around the rims of the eye, rather than having black or dark brown pigmentation.[15][39] A yellow Labrador with brown or chocolate pigmentation, for example, a brown or chocolate nose, is not necessarily a Dudley, though according to the AKC's current standard it would be if it has chocolate rims around the eyes (or more accurately of the genotype eebb). Breed standards for Labradors considers a true Dudley to be a disqualifying feature in a conformation show Lab, such as one with a thoroughly pink nose or one lacking in any pigment along with flesh coloured rims around the eyes. True Dudleys are extremely rare.[39][40] Breeding in order to correct pigmentation often lacks dependability. Because colour is determined by many genes, some of which are recessive, crossbreeding a pigmentation non-standard yellow Labrador to a black Labrador may not correct the matter or prevent future generations carrying the same recessive genes. For similar reasons, crossbreeding chocolate to yellow Labradors is also often avoided.
Labrador Retrievers love, love, love to eat, and become obese very quickly if overfed. Limit treats, give your Lab plenty of exercise, and measure out regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time. And be warned that the Lab's large appetite extends to people food and even inedible items. Labradors will forage in garbage, counter surf, and can make a meal out of chewed-up items like children's toys.
Breeders should sell puppies with a written contract guaranteeing they'll take back the dog at any time during his life if you become unable to keep him, and with written documentation that both the puppy's parents (and if possible, his other close relatives) have had their hips, eyes and elbows examined and certified by the appropriate health organizations. Seek out a breeder whose dogs are active in field trials, hunt tests, agility, obedience and other sports that require athleticism and good health, and not just ribbons from the show ring.
The physical and temperamental breed traits, so familiar today to millions of devotees around the world, recall the Lab’s original purpose. A short, dense, weather-resistant coat was preferred because during a Canadian winter longhaired retrievers would be encrusted with ice when coming out of the water. In its ancestral homeland, a Lab would be assigned to a fishing boat to retrieve the fish that came off the trawl. Accordingly, in addition to having natural instincts as a retriever, the dog required a coat suited to the icy waters of the North Atlantic.

The AKC describes the Labrador's temperament as a kind, pleasant, outgoing and tractable nature.[5] Labradors' sense of smell allows them to home in on almost any scent and follow the path of its origin. They generally stay on the scent until they find it. Navies, military forces and police forces use them as detection dogs to track down smugglers, thieves, terrorists and black marketers. They are known to have a very soft feel to the mouth, as a result of being bred to retrieve game such as waterfowl. They are prone to chewing objects (though they can be trained to abandon this behaviour).

When it comes to displaying photos of a beloved pet, it’s impossible to choose just one. This photo frame holds four 4×6 photos, making it the perfect gift for the dog lover on your holiday shopping list this year. It’s also printed with “Let the dog in” and “Let the dog out” twice, so it’s also a humorous reminder of just how demanding our four-legged friends can be.
Being gentle with children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a blasé attitude toward running, screaming children are all traits that make a kid-friendly dog. You may be surprised by who's on that list: Fierce-looking Boxers are considered good with children, as are American Staffordshire Terriers (aka pit bulls). Small, delicate, and potentially snappy dogs such as Chihuahuas aren't so family-friendly.
The Secret Agent Leash by Paww is made with soft webbing that's surprisingly durable and has reflective fabric woven into the length of the leash to improve nighttime visibility. The best part is the quick-tether clip that allows you to securely attach your four-legged friend to fence posts and parking signs without ever having to unleash him. [$20; paww.com]

Number one in Americans’ preferences, Labrador Retrievers are the perfect companions for both single people and families. They’re playful, affectionate, and easy to train, so there’s no reason not to love such a dog. But having a Lab is a full-time job with no weekends off, and with vacations where you’ll be missing your dog more than you can imagine. 

Ruffwear Car Hammock: If you ever take your dog in the car and don’t know about hammock-style seat covers you will be kicking yourself when you check these out - I’ve used them for years. This is the best way to go for both the dog and the car, period. These hook to the headrests behind and in front of the back seat, giving the dog more room by turning the otherwise wasted leg space into an extension of the seat surface. They catch all the dirt, come in and out of the car in seconds, and can be washed in the machine, while leaving the seat underneath totally clean. While the concept is great, I went through a few bargain versions that eventually broke (usually the headrest strap) before I found Ruffwear’s Dirtbag seat cover, which has several advantages. First off, it’s tough, durable and totally waterproof - even for the muddiest dog. Secondly, it has ingenious extra flaps that slide into the space in the seat where the seatbelts are, something I have seen on no other model, which better anchors the installation and makes it lay flat, creating more usable surface area. It has convenient zippered slots where seatbelts come through, and also works very well on bench style seats without a front headrest, like in a minivan or large SUV. Finally, extra side flaps keep the ends of the seat by the door clean, and the non-slip surface is easier on your dogs. Highly recommended!
The Friend took home the National Book Award for good reason. Nunez’s novel renders questions of loss, love, and art in sparse, elegant prose. But let’s face it: The best part of the book, as with any great work of literature, is the dog. In The Friend, it’s the curious bond between a lonely writer and a Great Dane named Apollo, who lumbers into her life after grief strikes them both. Give this to the loved one who reads with their own best friend curled in their lap or at their feet.
11. Pooch Selfie: The Original Dog Selfie Stick ($10+): If there’s one thing your BFF struggles with daily, it’s how to get that perfect pic of their pooch for the ‘gram. This phone attachment makes taking photos a snap, since it taps into the pup’s number one philosophy: Keep your eye on the ball. Your friend simply puts it on their phone, and their canine kid is guaranteed to follow the camera wherever it goes.
Best Made in USA Dog Toys: Because of all the work I have done reporting on the food industry, I’m frankly scared to give my dog chew toys made in China - which means almost all chew toys on the market. That’s why I love West Paw, a Bozeman, Montana-based company that makes all of its great products to exacting standards right here in the USA. My dog has always loved their plush toys (she still sleeps with one) but now she has grown into a powerful chewer and avid retriever, and because it’s almost impossible to find domestically made tennis balls, we use the durable Jive Dog Ball, made from a latex-free, BPA-and-phthalate-free, solid rubbery material that she hasn’t been able to even dent. It bounces, floats, and comes in three sizes. It’s part of the bigger Zogoflex line, all made of the same safe, clean and ultra-durable material, in a wide array of chew toy shape and sizes. These are great for outdoor play.
Labs are easily trained, being naturally patient and obedient, but they are probably not the best guard dogs. Despite an alert instinct and an excellent sense of smell, they tend to be more friendly than aggressive with people they don’t know. Also, Labs are not particularly noisy, barking only at unknown sounds, yet they’ll often bark protectively when someone approaches your home.

The Vietnam War is the only war in American history in which US war dogs, which were officially classified by the military as "military working dogs," were not allowed to officially return home after the war.[88] Classified as expendable equipment, of the approximate 4,000 US K-9s deployed to the Vietnam War, it is estimated that only about 200 US war dogs survived Vietnam to be put into service at other outposts stationed overseas.[89] Aside from these 200 or so, the remaining canines who were not killed in action were either euthanised or left behind.[90]

Wherever you acquire your Labrador Retriever, make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. Petfinder offers an Adopters Bill of Rights that helps you understand what you can consider normal and appropriate when you get a dog from a shelter.In states with “puppy lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.
Give dog lovers a choice of any superpower, and you might be shocked at how many would choose something like this: a hand that shoots streams of water so they can wash their dog whenever they want. It doesn’t matter if it makes any sense to you. The handy design (pun alert) allows the wearer to control water flow by opening or closing their palm, and the plastic nubs offer a pleasant massage for their pet. Just hook it up to a shower head or garden hose and it’s ready to go.
The Vietnam War is the only war in American history in which US war dogs, which were officially classified by the military as "military working dogs," were not allowed to officially return home after the war.[88] Classified as expendable equipment, of the approximate 4,000 US K-9s deployed to the Vietnam War, it is estimated that only about 200 US war dogs survived Vietnam to be put into service at other outposts stationed overseas.[89] Aside from these 200 or so, the remaining canines who were not killed in action were either euthanised or left behind.[90]
Whatever they were called, the dogs were known for their keen sense of smell, ability to find downed birds, and speed. British visitors to Newfoundland appreciated the dogs’ abilities and brought them back to England. There, they caught the eye of the Earl of Malmesbury, who acquired some of the water-loving dogs to hunt the swamplands surrounding his estate. The Earl’s son began breeding the dogs and it was he who gave them the name Labrador. The Kennel Club in England made the breed official in 1903.
The Labrador Retriever is the traditional waterdog of Newfoundland, long employed as a duck retriever and fisherman’s mate. The breed began its steady climb to supreme popularity in the early 1800s, when Labs were spotted by English nobles visiting Canada. These sporting earls and lords returned to England with fine specimens of “Labrador dogs.” (Exactly how these dogs of Newfoundland became associated with Labrador is unclear, but the name stuck.) During the latter half of the 19th century, British breeders refined and standardized the breed.
The Labrador breed has a lifespan of 10 to 12 years. Some of the general health conditions that afflict Labradors are patellar luxation, canine hip dysplasia (CHD), and osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), which is canine elbow and shoulder dysplasia. This breed also occasionally suffers from distichiasis, exercise-induced collapse, diabetes, muscular dystrophy, tricuspid valve dysplasia, and entropion. Minor health concerns include retinal dysplasia, central progressive retinal atrophy (CPRA), hypothyroidism, hot spots, and cataract. Knee, hip, eye, and elbow tests should be included in the usual medical check-ups.

High energy when young. Young Labrador Retrievers (up to two or three years old) romp and jump with vigor. That means things can go flying. If you have toddlers, or if you or anyone who lives with you is infirm, consider adopting an adult Labrador Retriever from a rescue group. Adults have a more settled temperament and you can specifically look for a calm one.


A vigorous dog may or may not be high-energy, but everything he does, he does with vigor: he strains on the leash (until you train him not to), tries to plow through obstacles, and even eats and drinks with great big gulps. These dynamos need lots of training to learn good manners, and may not be the best fit for a home with young kids or someone who's elderly or frail. A low-vigor dog, on the other hand, has a more subdued approach to life.

It is the opinion of the Labrador Retriever Club, Inc., the American Kennel Club Parent Club for the breed, that a “silver” Labrador is not a purebred Labrador retriever. The pet owning public is being duped into believing that animals with this dilute coat color are desirable, purebred and rare and, therefore, warrant special notoriety or a premium purchase price.
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