As a result of specialised breeding there are significant differences between field and trial-bred and show-bred lines of Labradors. In the United States the former are sometimes mistakenly referred to as "American" and the latter as "English" although both field and show types are bred in both countries. In the United Kingdom they are called "Field" and "Show". Dogs bred for hunting and field-trial work are selected first for working ability, where dogs bred to compete in conformation shows are selected for their conformation to the standards and characteristics sought by judges in the show ring.
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 Lab’s thick, tapering tail—an “otter tail,” it’s called— serves as a powerful rudder, constantly moving back and forth as the dog swims and aids the dog in turning. As for the breed’s characteristic temperament, it is as much a hallmark of the breed as the otter tail. “The ideal disposition is one of a kindly, outgoing, tractable nature; eager to please and nonagressive towards man or animal,” the breed standard says. “The Labrador has much that appeals to people; his gentle ways, intelligence and adaptability make him an ideal dog.” When defining a Lab’s primary attributes, the most important might be temperament since his utility depends on his disposition. “If a dog does not possess true breed temperament,” wrote a noted dog judge, “he is not a Labrador.”
The Labrador Retriever was recognized as a breed by the AKC in 1917, but pedigrees for this breed can be traced to 1878. The breed is split into two main types: field-bred, or American Labrador, and show-bred, or English Labrador. While both types come from the original Labradors bred in England, there are differences between them. Show-bred Labradors tend to be stocky, with a calm demeanor, while field-bred Labs are leaner and more energetic.
Sites like Petfinder.com and Adopt-a-Pet.com can have you searching for a Labrador in your area in no time flat. The site allows you to be very specific in your requests (housetraining status, for example) or very general (all the Labradors available on Petfinder across the country). AnimalShelter.org can help you find animal rescue groups in your area. Also some local newspapers have “pets looking for homes” sections you can review.
Don’t let your tiny dog turn into one of those hoity-toity fashion accessories Paris Hilton used to carry around. Toss it into this heavy-duty canvas tote instead, which is both better-looking than your mesh carrier and not nearly as eye roll-inducing as a purse. There’s even a cutout on the side, so Finn can stick his head out without getting caught in the zipper.
A Labrador Retriever has the kind of versatility that other dogs only dream of. He can be a companion, show dog, hunting dog, canine athlete, guide dog, service dog, sniffer dog, search and rescue dog, and therapy dog. He enjoys jogging (health permitting), boating, swimming, hiking and more. If it’s active, outdoors and with his people, the Lab is ready and willing to participate in any activity.
Labs are healthy dogs overall, and a responsible breeder screens breeding stock for conditions such as elbow and hip dysplasia, heart disorders, hereditary myopathy (muscle weakness), and eye conditions, including progressive retinal atrophy. A condition called exercise induced collapse (EIC) can occur in some young adult Labs; a DNA test allows breeders to identify carriers and plan breedings to avoid producing the disease. Like other large, deep-chested dogs, Labs can develop a life-threatening stomach condition called bloat. Owners should educate themselves about the symptoms that indicate this is occurring, and what to do if so.
We all live on the go these days. That includes dogs. So if a dog lover doesn’t want Sparky drinking out of that filthy, gasoline-swirled puddle, they better have a good alternative on hand. And while dog owners have been known to be quite up-close and personal with their pets, most people draw the line at sticking their own water bottle in Sparky’s mouth. This is one of those simple, obvious gifts that will come to seem so indispensable that they won’t believe they ever got on without it.
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With a strong, heavy built body and square proportions, the Labrador Retriever is classified as a working dog. One of their trademark characteristic features is a strong jaw set in a broad head. These dogs also have strong legs and shoulders, which add to their fast pace. At full adult size, they stand at about 21 to 24 inches in height at the withers (the highest part of the back), with a weight of 50 to 80 pounds. The coat is straight, dense, and short, with the outer coat being a bit coarse, and the undercoat thick and soft. This makes the Labrador all but completely waterproof, with the thick undercoat protecting the skin, and the outer guard coat whisking water away. Labradors have a certain distinct elegance, carrying themselves with an upright, proud demeanor, but with a friendly facial expression that invites new acquaintances and endears them to their human families.
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Twinkle is a super sweet, handsome boy with all the traits of a great family Labrador. A gently giant (around 85 pounds), he is my constant companion and loves to hang out with people all day (just in case you have a treat, or willing to give him a pet). He is housetrained and has learned basic commands (sit, off) and walk well on a leash. Twinkle likes to cuddle, is very affectionate and gets along well with other dogs. Did I mention he really likes affection and getting belly rubs…
The modern Labrador Retriever is the ancestral result of a popular fishing and retrieving dog from Newfoundland and Labrador, an Atlantic coastal province in Canada near the Labrador Sea; as such, the Labrador carries with it some relationship to the modern Newfoundland water dog. Originally, there were two distinct types under the one classification of Newfoundland dogs: the greater and the lesser, in which size was the main dictate for differentiating the two.
For dogs that enjoy dog toys even more than bully sticks, you can gift them the ZippyPaws birthday cake plush dog toy or the KONG Occasions birthday balloon dog toy. New dog toys are always great choice as dog gifts because they are gifts that keep on giving. Not only will your dog love to have something new to play with, but it will be even more special because she gets to use it while spending quality bonding time with you.
The Lab is America's number one dog, which means there are plenty of people breeding Labs who are more interested in filling the demand for Lab puppies than in breeding healthy dogs with good temperaments. To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they're free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments.