The Labrador Retriever, or the Lab as it’s commonly known, is one of the most popular dog breeds in India. This popularity can be attributed to their high adaptability, playful and sweet nature, and their ability to be loving companions and working dogs simultaneously. Labs are also popular as guide dogs and therapy dogs.
These dogs were historically known as the lesser Newfoundland and accompanied fishermen to work. Noticing their exceptional swimming and retrieving abilities, the British brought them to England and bred them with their hunting dogs, thus creating the Labrador Retrievers we see today.
Intrigued by their rich history and versatility? Read on to learn about their personality and appearance and what caring for a Lab looks like.
Height: 22-24 inches in females; 21-23 inches in males
Weight: 29-36 kilograms for females; 25-32 kilograms for males
Lifespan: about 12-14 years
Coat Type: double coat
Colors: Black, yellow, chocolate
The Appearance of Labrador Retriever Dogs
Labs have heavy and muscular bodies, making them useful as working dogs. Much like other Retriever dogs, they have a double coat. The outer coat is dense, coarse, and short, while the inner coat is soft and thick. The inner coat protects their skin, and the outer coat protects them from cold and is water-resistant.
The Labrador Retriever’s eyes, typically brown or hazel in color, are very expressive. Their head is broad, making the overall appearance elegant. A distinct feature of Labs is their ‘otter tails.’ Otter tails are rounded and thick tails that add to their gentle demeanor.
The Personality of Labrador Retriever Dogs
Labrador Retrievers are energetic, often bordering on being hyperactive. They have a strong sense of smell and are excellent hunters. They are kind, loyal, and friendly, but their personality often depends on the training they receive. Left to their devices, Labs can become naughty and disobedient. But with suitable training, they can be great with children and be excellent therapy dogs.
Caring for your Labrador Retriever
Sometimes, caring for a Labrador can demand extra effort from you due to their energetic nature. However, their affectionate displays can far outweigh any extra work you might have to put in on their care.
You will need to feed your Lab at least twice a day. However, the quantity depends on their size, age, activity, and weight. A vital thing to remember is that Labs are high on energy, so their meal should also contain high levels of nutrition. An older Lab’s diet should be rich in protein, fats, minerals, and vitamins. Grains, chicken, fruits, and vegetables contain the required nutrients. Remember, though, that puppies between 0-45 days can only drink milk.
Labs love to eat. Do not be fooled by their woebegone eyes and give them more food than they need as Labs are prone to obesity and health concerns if overfed.
Grooming and maintenance
Labs are not generally high maintenance. But they do shed a lot, and brushing your dog every day will save you heaps of trouble. To maintain their oral health, brush their teeth once or twice a week. Cut their nails at least once a month, depending on the need.
Labs are susceptible to ear infections. Check their ears for any redness, frequently, to catch the infection at its early stages. Do not over-bathe your dog because that will adversely affect the oils in their coat.
Being a hyperactive breed, Labs require lots of physical activity to stay healthy. Without much activity, their pent-up energy can lead to destructive behavior such as tearing sheets or loud barking. To avoid this, it’s important to take your dog on daily walks, play fetch or indulge in other games.
Labradors love to chew and will chew anything they can get to easily. To save your furniture and linen, do get them dog chew toys that will keep them challenged and occupied. Labradors are also intelligent creatures and tend to get bored easily. Keep them entertained and engaged with a variety of dog toys and activities, including training and outdoor games.
Training and socialization
The gentle disposition of Labs typically misleads people into believing they don’t require training. But they do and, fortunately, they are easy to train and are people-pleasers.
Isolating your Lab will break their heart. Labs are, by nature, social creatures, and leaving them alone at home for long hours will show in their behavior.
The Labrador Retriever is a versatile breed. Their gentle and caring temperament makes them a perfect family dog. If you are looking for a highly adaptable, loyal, and loving companion, Labrador Retrievers will not disappoint you.