^ Candille, Sophie I.; Kaelin, Christopher B.; Cattanach, Bruce M.; Yu, Bin; Thompson, Darren A.; Nix, Matthew A.; Kerns, Julie A.; Schmutz, Sheila M.; Millhauser, Glenn L.; Barsh, Gregory S. (2007). "A β-Defensin Mutation Causes Black Coat Colour in Domestic Dogs". Science. 318 (5855): 1418–23. doi:10.1126/science.1147880. PMC 2906624. PMID 17947548.
Looking for dog gift inspiration? Based on our readers’ favorite picks over the course of the year, we selected a few top trending dog gifts for 2018. These choices run the gamut from magnets to mugs to some very unique options for the dog lover that has it all. (Dog tarot, anyone?) If those don’t strike your fancy, keep scrolling for links to breed-specific gift guides and much more.

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.
The Labrador Retriever should be well-balanced and sturdy with an athletic build. The skull should be wide and balanced, with ears that hang beside the face. Alert, intelligent eyes must be kind. The tail should be wide at the base and taper into the recognizable 'otter tail.' The straight, dense coat of black, yellow, or chocolate coloring should protect against the water and cold weather. The temperament of a Lab must suit the hunt, as well as the home: always friendly and stable. – AKC Breed Standards

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.
Exercise Because of their high energy level, Labs require plenty of exercise—overeating and obesity can be a concern for this breed, and regular exercise will help maintain a proper weight. Running, swimming, fetch, and hiking are examples of activities the Lab enjoys. And of course, treks into the field are a wonderful form of exercise for this ideal gundog.
The Buddha’s one flaw is that he wasn’t a dog. If he was, then you would know for sure that you could trust him. Same with those monkeys advising you to see, hear, and speak no evil. Monkeys have been jerking us around for centuries, so you never know what to make of what they tell you. If they were dogs, you would just listen. No need to ask questions. The owner of these lawn statues displays a profound and all-encompassing wisdom.
Foster mom says I will need to stay slim and right now I am about 59 pounds. Whoever adopts me will need to be able to pick me up to get me in a high SUV or truck (or a high bed). I am looking for my forever home so I can have that happy ending that I so deserve. Who knows… maybe it is your lucky day and you will get to call me your forever dog. Hey, don’t forget to check out my new video before you leave!

Dog brothers and sisters are great and I get along nicely with my furry siblings, but I want your attention first! I am strong enough to gentle squeeze in-between you and the dog sibling. Little children? As mentioned, I am very good and sweet, but a big boy like me might knock the little ones over in my excitement - of course by accident!  So, if you have small children, they need to be understanding and good with big dogs that get a little excited from time to time.  As far as cats go.... I haven't met one in person so that is a little of an unknown.
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.
As a dog owner, you become more acquainted with another species’ bodily fluids than you ever wanted to. If a dog owner is really brave, get them this UV urine flashlight and let them find out exactly what they’re dealing with. Like the prospectors of old who flocked to the western mountains, the intrepid seeker of (liquid) gold knows the next bounty could always be right around the corner. Give them the tools to get the job done right.
We love that it’s made in the U.S. (in Santiago’s home state of Texas), using FDA food-grade and eco-friendly materials. While it comes with a hefty price tag, it pays for itself in no time in the cost a pup parent pays for daycare or replacing destroyed items in the home from a bored dog. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about them breaking the outside because it’s completely replaceable.
Breeders must agree to have all test results, positive or negative, published in the CHIC database. A dog need not receive good or even passing scores on the evaluations to obtain a CHIC number, so CHIC registration alone is not proof of soundness or absence of disease, but all test results are posted on the CHIC website and can be accessed by anyone who wants to check the health of a puppy’s parents. If the breeder tells you she doesn't need to do those tests because she's never had problems in her lines and her dogs have been "vet checked," then you should go find a breeder who is more rigorous about genetic testing.
Not all of these conditions are detectable in a growing puppy, and it can be hard to predict whether an animal will be free of these maladies, which is why you must find a reputable breeder who is committed to breeding the healthiest animals possible.  They should be able to produce independent certification that the parents of the dog (and grandparents, etc.) have been screened for these defects and deemed healthy for breeding. That’s where health registries come in.
You pad outside, slippers on, for the dog’s morning constitutional. Coffee in one hand, your phone in the other, your leash awkwardly wrapped around two fingers. The dog yanks a little too hard, and you fling your coffee all over yourself. Forget all that. Use a hands-free leash like this one. It wraps around your waist so you can run, bike, or just amble around the front yard with both hands still free.
This lightweight sleeping bag will act as a perfect light dog bed after a day exploring the trails. When the temperatures drop, you can actually zip your pup up inside the bag to retain heat. The polyester fabric shell is stain resistant, quick drying, easy to clean, and, best of all, the whole thing packs small enough to fit on the outside of your pack. [$99; ruffwear.com]

How can we put this delicately? Dogs get stinky. Even if your pup hates baths, they are sometimes necessary. If your fur baby rolled in something that smells more noxious than a skunk, you need Earthbath All Natural Vanilla & Almond Pet Shampoo. It's safe and gentle, plus it will leave your dog's skin and coat soft and moisturized. It's so good, it's our top pick for best dog shampoo.
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).
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.
While most shelters and rescues cannot determine a dog's exact breed, some facilities may utilize DNA tests to determine the genetics of a mixed breed dog, and AKC registered Labs may be surrendered to a shelter. Even with proof that a dog's heritage includes Labrador Retrievers—and though the dog may show the physical characteristics of the breed—the individual dogs' personality traits may differ from the breed standard.
Labrador Retrievers are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they're prone to certain health conditions. Not all Labs will get any or all of these diseases, but it's important to be aware of them if you're considering this breed.Hip Dysplasia: Hip dyplasia is a heritable condition in which the thighbone doesn't fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia. As the dog ages, arthritis can develop. X-ray screening for hip dysplasia is done by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or the University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred. If you're buying a puppy, ask the breeder for proof that the parents have been tested for hip dysplasia and are free of problems.Elbow Dysplasia: This is a heritable condition common to large-breed dogs. It's thought to be caused by different growth rates of the three bones that make up the dog's elbow, causing joint laxity. This can lead to painful lameness. Your vet may recommend surgery to correct the problem or medication to control the pain.Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD): This orthopedic condition, caused by improper growth of cartilage in the joints, usually occurs in the elbows, but it has been seen in the shoulders as well. It causes a painful stiffening of the joint, to the point that the dog is unable to bend his elbow. It can be detected in dogs as early as four to nine months of age. Overfeeding of "growth formula" puppy foods or high-protein foods may contribute to its development.Cataracts: As in humans, canine cataracts are characterized by cloudy spots on the eye lens that can grow over time. They may develop at any age, and often don't impair vision, although some cases cause severe vision loss. Breeding dogs should be examined by a board-certified veterinary ophthamologist to be certified as free of hereditary eye disease before they're bred. Cataracts can usually be surgically removed with good results.Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): PRA is a family of eye diseases that involves the gradual deterioration of the retina. Early in the disease, dogs become night-blind. As the disease progresses, they lose their daytime vision, as well. Many dogs adapt to limited or complete vision loss very well, as long as their surroundings remain the same.Epilepsy: Labs can suffer from epilepsy, which causes mild or severe seizures. Seizures may be exhibited by unusual behavior, such as running frantically as if being chased, staggering, or hiding. Seizures are frightening to watch, but the long-term prognosis for dogs with idiopathic epilepsy is generally very good. It's important to remember that seizures can be caused by many other things than idiopathic epilepsy, such as metabolic disorders, infectious diseases that affect the brain, tumors, exposure to poisons, severe head injuries, and more. Therefore, if your Lab has seizures, it's important to take him to the vet right away for a checkup.Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia (TVD): TVD is a congenital heart defect that has been increasing in prevalence in the Labrador breed. Puppies are born with TVD, which is a malformation of the tricuspid valve on the right side of the heart. It can be mild or severe; some dogs live with no symptoms, others die. TVD is detected by ultrasound. Research is ongoing to learn how widespread it is in the breed, as well as treatment.Myopathy: Myopathy affects the muscles and nervous system. The first signs are seen early, as young as six weeks and often by seven months of age. A puppy with myopathy is tired, stiff when he walks and trots. He may collapse after exercise. In time, the muscles atrophy and the dog can barely stand or walk. There is no treatment, but rest and keeping the dog warm seems to reduce symptoms. Dogs with myopathy should not be bred because it is considered a heritable disease.Gastric Dilataion-Volvulus: Commonly called bloat, this is a life-threatening condition that affects large, deep-chested dogs like Labs, especially if they're fed one large meal a day, eat rapidly, or drink large amounts of water or exercise vigorously after eating. Bloat occurs when the stomach is distended with gas or air and then twists. The dog is unable to belch or vomit to rid himself of the excess air in his stomach, and blood flow to the heart is impeded. Blood pressure drops and the dog goes into shock. Without immediate medical attention, the dog can die. Suspect bloat if your dog has a distended abdomen, is drooling excessively, and retching without throwing up. He also may be restless, depressed, lethargic, and weak with a rapid heart rate. If you notice these symptoms, get your dog to the vet as soon as possible.Acute Moist Dermatitis: Acute moist dermatitis is a skin condition in which the skin red and inflamed. It is caused by a bacterial infection. The more common name of this health concern is hot spots. Treatment includes clipping the hair, bathing in medicated shampoo, and antibiotics.Cold Tail: Cold tail is a benign, though painful condition common to Labs and other retrievers. Also caused limber tail, it caused the dog's tail to go limp. The dog may bite at the tail. It isn't cause for alarm, and usually goes away on its own in a few days. It is thought to be a problem with the muscles between the vertebrae in the tail.Ear Infections: The Lab's love of water, combined with his drop ear make him prone to ear infections. Weekly checking and cleaning if necessary helps prevent infection. If you're buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your puppy's parents. Health clearances prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition. In Labs, you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand's disease; from Auburn University for thrombopathia; and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that eyes are normal. You can confirm health clearances by checking the OFA web site (offa.org).
Ah, the classic dog sweater. It’s undoubtedly one of the go-to Christmas gifts for pups, and with good reason: They’re adorable. We especially love this one from Lanyar, which has a holiday-ready pattern featuring reindeer and snowflakes against a bright red that all but shouts “Christmas!” Available in sizes from extra small to extra large, it’s easy to find the right fit for your dog (just follow the measurements on the listing). Made of 100% acrylic fiber, it has a wool-like feel that’s sure to keep your pooch warm all winter long.
-About me: Stormie is the perfect name as my coat is silver like a rain cloud. I’m newly on the market after my past relationship was a bust. I was surrendered with my sister but am single and ready to mingle with some new pups my size. Kiddos are a plus as long as they don’t mind me giving them hugs. I can obviously be trained out of that habit but who doesn’t love hugs? I am crate trained but prefer sleeping on 1500 thread count sheets so I can dream and cuddle peacefully with my parents. I love long car rides so I can gaze out the window and think about my hopes and dreams. I love walks but could benefit from more time being on my leash. I enjoy playing with my friends but also love lazy days and naps. 
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.

A cozy pair of slippers makes an excellent dog gift for dog moms who have plenty of cold floors throughout their house. Keep their toes toasty with a pair of cute pooch slippers like the Fuzzy Nation Dog Breed Slippers from GreaterGood's Animal Rescue Site. These slippers feature a warm faux fur lining, corduroy exterior and stuffed doggy head embellishments. Your dog mama will also enjoy knowing that her slippers helped feed shelter animals.

If you give him an outlet for his energy, a Lab will be the best dog you could ever have. If you don’t, you’ll be spending all your time and energy repairing holes in the wall, filling in holes in your yard, replacing chewed-up furniture and worse. Not because your Lab is a bad dog but simply because he has found his own special ways to entertain himself. Don’t give him the chance.
For the human who loves their dog but hates the wet-dog smell, Strategist writer Karen Iorio Adelson recommends this funny-looking candle that she discovered at her vet’s office that made his office smell like an Italian apricot orchard. “It works not by filling the air with a new scent to overpower the stink, but by releasing a blend of natural enzymes — the titular ‘exterminator’ — that break down airborne animal odors at a molecular level.”
The Labrador Retriever is found in black, chocolate, and yellow, with black being the most popular, and chocolate running a close second. The color of the nose should be the same as the color of the hair, with minimal fading. All other colors are the result of cross breeding and are not accepted as purebred Labrador Retrievers. The eyes should give the impression of intelligence and kindness; colors accepted for the eyes are brown for black and yellow haired Labs, and brown or hazel, for chocolate haired Labs.
Labs are active, unless they’re sleeping. It was probably a Lab who inspired the saying “A tired dog is a good dog.” Joint and overall health permitting, be prepared to give a Lab a couple of half-hour walks or runs daily to meet his exercise needs. The best part about having a Lab is that there are any number of fun ways you can provide him with physical activity and mental stimulation. Take him swimming, teach him to run alongside your bike once he is physically mature at 18 to 24 months of age, go hiking, make him the first mate on your boat, or get involved in dog sports such as agility, obedience, rally, tracking, flyball, freestyle — you name it, a Lab has probably done it. However, it's always a good idea to check with your vet before starting a new exercise program with your dog.

My dog loves this! She gets super stoked when she sees me take it out for her to play with. I combine a level 1, level 2 & this level 3 Trixie game, & it keeps her busy for a bit. I am a professional dog trainer & recommend interactive games to my clients, and Trixie makes by far the coolest & most durable (unless you have serious chewers or highly destructive dogs). This one is pretty difficult, so unless your dog is beyond food motivated, opt for a level 1 or 2 to pique your dog's interest in puzzle games first, otherwise your dog may give up. A super fun toy, especially if your dog enjoys nose work.


You can reduce your furry friend's impact on your allergies with frequent baths and brushings to reduce loose hairs and allergy-aggravating proteins in your pet's dander. Use a damp cloth to wipe off your dog after playing outside. Smaller dogs have less surface area, so they produce comparatively less dander than larger breeds — definitely something to keep in mind with a dog as large as a Labrador Retriever! Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies.
Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how the dog vocalizes — with barks or howls — and how often. If you're considering a hound, would you find their trademark howls musical or maddening? If you're considering a watchdog, will a city full of suspicious "strangers" put him on permanent alert? Will the local wildlife literally drive your dog wild? Do you live in housing with noise restrictions? Do you have neighbors nearby?
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.

Ralphie is a morning dog, meaning he is full of energy and ready to go when the sun comes up.   At night, he likes to wind down and chill around the house.  But if you are up and about, he will run and play at any time.   He's smart, a good listener and understands the word No.   He's crate and house trained and does not jump on the counter or furniture.  Curiosity is strong in Ralphie, which is why he is an occasional fetcher (until he gets interested in something else).  The combination of his love for the outdoors and his curiosity means he pulls on the leash, but he has improved his leash skills with some work and would be great with even more.   He is social and gets along with every dog we've encountered (even those that don't seem so friendly) and has an easygoing nature that is great with guests (he has not been tested around cats or small children).  In the house, he will follow you around all day long to keep you company.   He currently does not like to ride in a car, but we are working with him on it.  Ralphie is rarely vocal, except if he gets overly excited.  Ralphie has moderate energy levels and would prefer a family or a house with a yard.   He would also be a loyal companion to a single person or couple with an active lifestyle.  


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. 
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.

The steady temperament of Labradors and their ability to learn make them an ideal breed for search and rescue, detection, and therapy work. They are a very intelligent breed. They are ranked No. 7 in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs. The AKC describes the breed as an ideal family and sporting dog. Their primary working role in the field continues to be that of a hunting retriever.


Needless to say, this line is bred for intelligence, gentleness of temperament, tolerance, and a balance of energy with composure. They are as happy with a romp through the park as they are with a quiet evening at the hearth. No matter what differences in lines, all Labrador Retrievers are expected to maintain the characteristics that originally made them working dogs: stamina, energy, strength, and the ability to retrieve dependably, along with balanced structure and vitality.
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