Whether you’re planning to get your new best friend from a breeder, a pet store, or another source, don’t forget that old adage “let the buyer beware”. Disreputable breeders and facilities that deal with puppy mills can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no 100% guaranteed way to make sure you’ll never purchase a sick puppy, but researching the breed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals), and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, breed rescue organization, or other reliable source for healthy puppies. 
The Labrador Retriever is a strongly built, medium-sized, short-coupled, dog possessing a sound, athletic, well-balanced conformation that enables it to function as a retrieving gun dog; the substance and soundness to hunt waterfowl or upland game for long hours under difficult conditions; the character and quality to win in the show ring; and the temperament to be a family companion. Physical features and mental characteristics should denote a dog bred to perform as an efficient Retriever of game with a stable temperament suitable for a variety of pursuits beyond the hunting environment.
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. 
Chewy is like Amazon, but for pets (and also better). Like Amazon, you can get pretty much anything your pet might need delivered in just one or two days. Unlike Amazon, the experiences are tailored for your pet, so you can even get prescription medications and set up recurring refill deliveries. Membership is free, and orders ship at a flat rate—for a shopping experience that's tailored for pet owners, we think it's a pretty doggone good deal.
Avoid breeders who only seem interested in how quickly they can unload a puppy on you and whether your credit card will go through. You should also bear in mind that buying a puppy from websites that offer to ship your dog to you immediately can be a risky venture, as it leaves you no recourse if what you get isn’t exactly what you expected. Put at least as much effort into researching your puppy as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It will save you money in the long run.
Fresh dog food delivery company NomNomNow is offering a limited edition Holiday Gift Pack for dogs—all wrapped up and ready to gift (with free shipping!) The bundle includes: single-ingredient chicken jerky, single-ingredient beef jerky, limited edition pork & pumpkin treats, and a collapsible water bowl. (NomNomNow recently got a top spot in our hands-on testing of fresh dog foods, btw.)

The Labrador Retriever is the descendant of the St. John's Water Dog, a working dog from the island of Newfoundland. The 2nd Earl of Malmesbury is said to have seen St. John’s Dogs retrieving nets for fishing boats, and then had the dogs imported to England. These dogs from Newfoundland were subsequently bred to develop the Labrador Retriever we know today.
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."

Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise -- especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, such as herding or hunting. Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don't like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that need a lot of exercise are good for outdoorsy, active people, or those interested in training their dog to compete in a high-energy dog sport, such as agility.


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).
"This is our newly adopted black Lab named Dozer. He is one and a half years old in this picture and we adopted him from the pound. Like most Labs he loves the water (as you can see in the picture); in fact, he loves it a little too much. We need to work with him on not obsessing over the water so much, but he is so eager to please that it shouldn't be too hard. We take him on two walks a day with him carrying a doggy backpack, one being a three-mile walk with at least a half hour of swimming. I watch the Dog Whisperer all the time so I know that with following his methods and with Dozer being so eager to please that whatever issues he has we will be able to improve them."
Zanjeer ("Chain", or "Shackles"), a detection dog who detected arms and ammunition used in the 1993 Mumbai (Bombay) serial explosions. During his service, he helped recover 57 country-made bombs, 175 petrol bombs, 11 military grade armaments, 242 grenades and 600 detonators. His biggest contribution to the police force and the city was the detection of 3,329 kg of RDX. He also helped detect 18 Type 56 rifles and five 9mm pistols.
If you’re on our site, chances are that you have a fondness for dogs, and you probably know other dog lovers. With our large selection of dog books and gifts for dog lovers, there’s no excuse for not finding a doggie-themed present for the next birthday or special occasion. Of course, you don’t even need a particular reason to send dog lover gifts to friends and family. Put your dog pride on display with decals for your car, laptop or fridge that have interesting and funny sayings about pets. There are also magnets that you can attach to your car and easily remove, and they’re great as gifts for dog lovers. Choose from bone-shaped magnets that exclaim things like, “I Love My Mutt” or “Bad to the Bone.” If you’re going for a funnier vibe, you can get “The World Does Revolve Around My Dog” or “I Kiss My Dog on the Lips.” Anyone waiting at a light behind you is sure to get a chuckle. Bookworms (whether that’s you or a friend) will enjoy our “pet library” that has dog books of all kinds. Even if you’re not so into books, you might find a great pet book that gives you training tips, grooming guides, potty training steps or breed information. We also have pet book memoirs, celebrity dog books, lighthearted tales about life with dogs, and emotional accounts of dogs overcoming the odds. You can pick out dog décor items to fill your home with pet happiness, including dog picture frames to show off your fur baby, wall art and pup-themed doormats. Or send dog lover gifts to friends and family as a nice surprise. We’ve got tons of pet parent favorites—just have a look, and you’re sure to find something that catches your eye.
Of the over 4,000 US war dogs serving in the Vietnam War, 232 were killed in action,[94] and 295 US servicemen deployed as "dog handlers" were killed in action.[95] Dog handler Robert W. Hartsock was awarded the Medal of Honor. Six Labrador Retrievers were killed in action while assigned to the 62nd and 63rd US Army Combat Tracking Teams.[96] During the course of the war the US Army lost 204 dogs, while the US Marine Corps and US Air Force lost 13 and 15 dogs, respectively.
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
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.

If you’re on our site, chances are that you have a fondness for dogs, and you probably know other dog lovers. With our large selection of dog books and gifts for dog lovers, there’s no excuse for not finding a doggie-themed present for the next birthday or special occasion. Of course, you don’t even need a particular reason to send dog lover gifts to friends and family. Put your dog pride on display with decals for your car, laptop or fridge that have interesting and funny sayings about pets. There are also magnets that you can attach to your car and easily remove, and they’re great as gifts for dog lovers. Choose from bone-shaped magnets that exclaim things like, “I Love My Mutt” or “Bad to the Bone.” If you’re going for a funnier vibe, you can get “The World Does Revolve Around My Dog” or “I Kiss My Dog on the Lips.” Anyone waiting at a light behind you is sure to get a chuckle. Bookworms (whether that’s you or a friend) will enjoy our “pet library” that has dog books of all kinds. Even if you’re not so into books, you might find a great pet book that gives you training tips, grooming guides, potty training steps or breed information. We also have pet book memoirs, celebrity dog books, lighthearted tales about life with dogs, and emotional accounts of dogs overcoming the odds. You can pick out dog décor items to fill your home with pet happiness, including dog picture frames to show off your fur baby, wall art and pup-themed doormats. Or send dog lover gifts to friends and family as a nice surprise. We’ve got tons of pet parent favorites—just have a look, and you’re sure to find something that catches your eye.
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.

This is the one toy guaranteed to turn heads at the local dog park. The Cannon shoots tennis balls 30 feet down the field, saving your arm from unwanted wear and tear. Simply pull back the handle to deploy the rubber band inside, load up a tennis ball, and then squeeze the trigger to send your pup sprinting downrange to chase down the ball. [$16.99; amazon.com]


Don't forget about your dog this Christmas! Amazon pulled a list of 2018's most popular gifts for dogs based on the best-selling products of the year—and your pet needs every single item. From clothing and gadgets to toys and treats, these dog gifts are sure to earn some tail wags. And now, dog owners (and other pet owners) can even set up an Amazon Pet Profile to receive recommendations and deals based on your furry friend's size and breed.


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

The StarMark Bob-A-Lot treat-dispensing toy rolls around as your dog tries to get treats out of it. It's great for play and exercise, plus your pup gets a great reward every time. With a 3-cup capacity, you can fill this toy with your dog's kibble or a handful of his favorite treats to keep your pup entertained for hours. It's one of our favorite dog toys.


A weekly combing is all that is needed for a Labrador Retriever, since their water resistant coat is also designed to be soil and rubbish resistant. While brushing is a luxury rather than a necessity since its coat is designed to naturally care for itself, it does go along way to improving your Lab's natural beauty and overall health. Regular exercise, on the other hand, is of the utmost importance. The Labrador is a high-energy dog that loves to play, and it should be given the opportunity to do this on a daily basis. When possible, Labrador Retrievers should be allowed to swim, as it is one of their favorite activities. Pools, beaches, rivers, lakes; all are sporting fun for a Lab. Just as with a child, you will want to safeguard your young Lab while it is in the water, to make sure it feels safe and has a way of getting out of the water. Over time, and with confidence, it will learn, but young swimmers can panic or tire quickly.
You’re playing fetch with only your arms? You’re doing it wrong. This simple contraption turns you into a ball-throwing monster. One flick of your wrist hucks a tennis ball hundreds of feet instead of dozens. You’ll go from playing fetch in the backyard to sending your dog up and down a football field. And trust us: your dog will be stoked about your newfound fastball.
Turn normal meals into an exciting challenge with this interactive toy from ONSON, which encourages positive play and healthy eating. Simply drop your dog’s dry food into the toy’s egg-shaped frame, and watch as your dog pushes and prods to release kibble through the holes in the top or bottom (and get a tasty reward). Let’s be honest—some of our dogs have a tendency to gorge, and this gift is the perfect way to keep them entertained while curbing unhealthy eating habits.
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. 

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.
The first St. John's dog was said to be brought to England in or around 1820, but the breed's reputation had already spread to England; there is a story that the 2nd Earl of Malmesbury saw a St. John's dog on a fishing boat and immediately made arrangements with traders to have some of these dogs imported to England. These ancestors of the first labradors so impressed the Earl with their skill and ability for retrieving anything within the water and on shore that he devoted his entire kennel to developing and stabilising the breed.[18]
If you want a good dog, buy her from a registered breeder. The National Labrador Retriever Club provides a complete list of breeders, who can guarantee you’ll get a purebred puppy, with healthy parents. Useful information about breeders in your area is available at The Kennel Club, The Canadian Kennel Club, and the National Labrador Retriever Breed Council.
The life expectancy for Labrador Retrievers is generally 10-12 years. They have relatively few health problems, but are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, ear infections and eye disorders. Labs that are fed too much and exercised too little may develop obesity problems. It’s very important that they get daily exercise along with moderate rations of food.
The first written reference to the breed was in 1814 ("Instructions to Young Sportsmen" by Colonel Peter Hawker),[11] the first painting in 1823 ("Cora. A Labrador Bitch" by Edwin Landseer),[11] and the first photograph in 1856 (the Earl of Home's dog "Nell", described both as a Labrador and a St. Johns dog).[21] By 1870 the name Labrador Retriever became common in England.[11] The first yellow Labrador on record was born in 1899 (Ben of Hyde, kennels of Major C.J. Radclyffe),[11] and the breed was recognised by The Kennel Club in 1903. The first American Kennel Club (AKC) registration was in 1917.[11] The chocolate Labrador emerged in the 1930s,[11] although liver spotted pups were documented being born at the Buccleuch kennels in 1892.[11] The first dog to appear on the cover of Life Magazine was a black Labrador Retriever called "Blind of Arden" in the December, 12th, 1938 issue. The St. John's dog survived until the early 1980s, the last two individuals being photographed in old age around 1981.[21]
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.
Chewy is like Amazon, but for pets (and also better). Like Amazon, you can get pretty much anything your pet might need delivered in just one or two days. Unlike Amazon, the experiences are tailored for your pet, so you can even get prescription medications and set up recurring refill deliveries. Membership is free, and orders ship at a flat rate—for a shopping experience that's tailored for pet owners, we think it's a pretty doggone good deal.
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.
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.
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