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.
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.

Now I take longer and longer walks every day (walks are my favorite thing), I still eat, I sometimes go in a kennel but only if my foster parents are gone for a long time, I sleep in that cozy bed at night, I tried swimming but prefer floating in a tube, and I spend my day looking for tummy rubs. I just like to chill and occasionally bark at the computer printer. I am potty trained, and I play with toys on occasion but I am not destructive.

But let's face it, there are so many gifts to choose from that a lot of them simply aren't that great. Maybe they're too ugly, too poorly made, or just downright cheesy. Some bones are just bad for a dog's teeth and digestive track, while others might not be environmentally sustainable enough. Some toys might break apart after just one night, and don't get us started on things you can make your dog wear. Have you seen some of the sweaters out there that can make dogs look like Muppets? These are difficult choices because the dog simply can't tell you what it wants. You have to decide, and hopefully these options will help. 


Labs are famously friendly. They are companionable housemates who bond with the whole family, and they socialize well with neighbor dogs and humans alike. But don’t mistake his easygoing personality for low energy: The Lab is an enthusiastic athlete that requires lots of exercise, like swimming and marathon games of fetch, to keep physically and mentally fit.
Better Dog Beds Through Science: Casper has taken the human mattress industry by storm with its futuristic and scientific spring free designs, which have won endless awards and acclaim, including high praise from Consumer Reports, Wired and Good Housekeeping, while Time Magazine named Casper’s mattress one of the Top 25 Inventions of 2015 and Architectural Digest called it “the perfect mattress, according to science.” Dogs spend half their lives sleeping, and the folks at Casper claim to have done 11 months of canine sleep studies and developed over one hundred protypes. The resulting Casper Dog Mattress was designed by the same engineering team behind all of Casper’s mattress products, crafted with a combination of pressure-relieving memory foam and durable support foam. It immediately got the same kind of rave reviews the big versions did, from Gizmodo, Fast Company and CNN, which called it “the perfect mattress for every dog.” Dogs like the feeling of protection and for this reason many prefer bolstered beds - this one gives them four-sided peace of mind. It is also owner friendly, very durable and bite and scratch resistant, the durable cover repels fur, it is easily removable and machine washable, and for dog safety, zippers are hidden. Because dogs often like to scratch or dig before laying down, an inherited instinct of digging up dirt to find cooler ground, they designed the bed’s surface with excess material on top to mimic the sensation of pawing at loose earth. And just like Casper’s human products, it comes with a 100-night sleep trial. In three colors and four sizes, $125-$225
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.
The original Labradors were all-purpose water dogs originating in Newfoundland, not Labrador. Not only did the breed not originate in Labrador, but it also was not originally called the Labrador Retriever. The Newfoundland of the early 1800s came in different sizes, one of which was the “Lesser” or “St. John’s” Newfoundland—the earliest incarnation of the Labrador. These dogs—medium-sized black dogs with close hair—not only retrieved game but also retrieved fish, pulled small fishing boats through icy water, and helped the fisherman in any task involving swimming. Eventually the breed died out in Newfoundland in large part because of a heavy dog tax. However, a core of Labradors had been taken to England in the early 1800s, and it is from these dogs, along with crosses to other retrievers, that the breed continued. It was also in England that the breed earned its reputation as an extraordinary retriever of upland game. Initially black labs were favored over yellow or chocolate colors. By the early 1900s, the other colors had become more accepted.  The breed was recognized by the English Kennel Club in 1903 and by the AKC in 1917. The popularity of this breed has grown steadily until the Labrador Retriever became the most popular breed in America in 1991 and remains so today.
But what to buy for the dog lover in your life? We’ve made your search a little simpler by rounding up 53 top-rated gifts every dog lover will appreciate, from dog-themed photo frames and mugs to useful items that will benefit your gift recipient and their favorite pup alike. Our picks are listed below in alphabetical order for easy reference. Ratings information is based on Amazon.com reviews and is current at the time of this writing. Happy shopping!
Give your pup’s mealtimes a personalized touch with these ceramic bowls lovingly emblazoned with their name. They’re fully customizable, giving you the flexibility to choose a font that reflects your dog’s personality—the seller will even send proofs of the final design before it goes into production. Measuring 7” in diameter and 2.75” in height, each bowl holds up to six cups of kibble or water and can be hand-washed (dishwashers may cause the vinyl name decal to deteriorate). The seller, Loges and Lily, also offers smaller bowls designed for tinier breeds.
The foundational breed of what is now the Labrador Retriever[20] was known as the St. John's water dog, St. John's dog, or Lesser Newfoundland. When the dogs were later brought to England, they were named after the geographic area known as "the Labrador" (they were known as Labrador Retrievers because they "retrieved" in the Labrador Sea) or simply Labrador to distinguish them from the larger Newfoundland breed, even though the breed was from the more southern Avalon Peninsula.
Size: Labradors are a medium-large breed. They should be as long from the withers to the base of the tail as they are from the floor to the withers. The AKC standard includes an ideal weight for males of 65–80 lb (29–36 kg) and for females as 55–70 lb (25–32 kg).[28] The guidelines for height vary between the AKC, which gives 22.5 to 24.5 inches (57 to 62 cm) for males and 21.5 to 23.5 inches (55 to 60 cm) for females,[28] The Kennel Club which advises that males should be 56 to 57 centimetres (22 to 22 in) with females between 55 to 56 centimetres (22 to 22 in),[30] and the FCI which quotes a range of 56 to 57 centimetres (22 to 22 in) for males with females ideal at 54 to 56 centimetres (21 to 22 in).[31]

Everyone needs a comfortable pair of flats, so if you’re struggling to find the perfect gift for a teen girl or woman on your list, consider these Skechers Bobs Slip-on Flats featuring a fun dog print. These flats have a tan background with muted colors, so they’re fun while also being neutral enough to wear with just about anything. They make great, comfortable around-the-house slip-ons, but they’re perfectly suitable for wearing out and about as well.
Everyone needs a comfortable pair of flats, so if you’re struggling to find the perfect gift for a teen girl or woman on your list, consider these Skechers Bobs Slip-on Flats featuring a fun dog print. These flats have a tan background with muted colors, so they’re fun while also being neutral enough to wear with just about anything. They make great, comfortable around-the-house slip-ons, but they’re perfectly suitable for wearing out and about as well.
If yours is the type of dog that can’t sit still, a hearty game of fetch is just what the doctor (er, veterinarian) ordered, and the Chuckit ball is a great upgrade from your ratty tennis balls. This unique fetch toy comes in small and large sizes, with color options of either glow-in-the-dark green or bright orange, but the basics remain the same. Made from canvas, rubber and foam, the Chuckit has a grooved design that is both aerodynamic and allows your dog to easily pick it up and bring it right back to you. It floats in water and rolls as well.

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.

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.
Forequarters should be muscular, well coordinated and balanced with the hindquarters. Shoulders-The shoulders are well laid-back, long and sloping, forming an angle with the upper arm of approximately 90 degrees that permits the dog to move his forelegs in an easy manner with strong forward reach. Ideally, the length of the shoulder blade should equal the length of the upper arm. Straight shoulder blades, short upper arms or heavily muscled or loaded shoulders, all restricting free movement, are incorrect. Front Legs-When viewed from the front, the legs should be straight with good strong bone. Too much bone is as undesirable as too little bone, and short legged, heavy boned individuals are not typical of the breed. Viewed from the side, the elbows should be directly under the withers, and the front legs should be perpendicular to the ground and well under the body. The elbows should be close to the ribs without looseness. Tied-in elbows or being “out at the elbows” interfere with free movement and are serious faults. Pasterns should be strong and short and should slope slightly from the perpendicular line of the leg.

**All dogs are individuals. Our ratings are generalizations, and they're not a guarantee of how any breed or individual dog will behave. Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences, training on how to get along with kids, and personality. No matter what the breed or breed type, all dogs have strong jaws, sharp pointy teeth, and may bite in stressful circumstances. Young children and dogs of any breed should always be supervised by an adult and never left alone together, period.
Lab mixes are one of the most popular mixed breeds available from shelters and rescues. Labrador Retriever mixes can share common traits with any number of other breeds, but resemble Labs in physical characteristics and personality traits. However, many shelters do not have genetic evidence of a Lab mix’s background, so breed heritage and personality traits cannot be stated with certainty.
During the 1880s, the 3rd Earl of Malmesbury, the 6th Duke of Buccleuch and the 12th Earl of Home collaborated to develop and establish the modern Labrador breed. The dogs Buccleuch Avon and Buccleuch Ned, given by Malmesbury to Buccleuch, were mated with female dogs carrying blood from those originally imported by the 5th Duke and the 10th Earl of Home. The offspring are considered to be the ancestors of modern Labradors.[14][15]
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