The Labrador Retriever
("Labrador" or "Lab" for short), is one of
several kinds of retriever, and is the most popular breed of dog (by registered
ownership) in both the United States and the United Kingdom. The breed is
exceptionally friendly, intelligent, and good natured, and therefore makes an
excellent companion, or service dog. Labrador Retrievers are known to be one of
the fastest learning breeds of dog and respond well to praise.
Comment "My dog is a Labrador cross and actually looks the spit of Bosley!!"
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Labradors are relatively large with males typically weighing 60 to 80 lb (27
to 36 kg) and females 45 to 70 lb (23 to 32 kg). They are energetic, outgoing
dogs. Their coats are short and smooth, and can be black, yellow, or brown
(called "chocolate") in color, in that order of frequency. Puppies of all
can potentially occur in the same litter. The colour is determined primarily by
two genes. The first gene (the B locus) determines the density of the coat's
pigment granules: dense granules result in a black coat, sparse ones give a
chocolate coat. The second (E) locus determines whether the pigment is produced
at all. A dog with the recessive e allele will produce little pigment and will
be yellow regardless of its genotype at the B locus.
Variations in numerous other genes control the subtler details of the coat's
coloration, which in yellow labs varies from white to light gold to a fox red.
Yellow labs can have black or pink noses; chocolate and black labs's noses match
the coat color. Once in a while, a silver Labrador may appear, although this
occurrence is rare.
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Zoey the Black Labrador Retriever
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Also, there are two distinct Lab origins, American and
British. The American lab usually has a slightly longer nose, while the British
has a stout nose, broad head, stocky frame and a quieter temperament. The breed
tends to shed hair regularly throughout the year. Lab hair is usually fairly
short and straight, and the tail quite broad and strong. The otter-like tail and
webbed toes of the Labrador Retriever make them excellent swimmers. Their
interwoven coat is also relatively waterproof, providing more assistance for
swimming. The tail acts as a rudder for changing directions.
As with some other breeds, the English and the American lines differ
slightly. Labs are bred in England as a medium size dog, shorter and stockier
with fuller faces than their American counterparts which are bred as a larger
dog. No distinction is made by the AKC, but the two classification come from
different breeding. Australian stock also exists; though not seen in the west,
they are common in Asia.
Many people unfamiliar with retrievers find that the Lab is quite similar to
the Golden Retriever in size, general shape, and general color, especially when
young and especially to those Goldens with lighter coats. Their personalities
are also quite similar, with both breeds being intelligent, friendly, receptive
to praise and easy to train. The most obvious difference is the short straight
coat of the Labrador Retriever (the Golden has long wavy fur) and the Lab's
thick, otter-like tail compared to the Golden's plumed tail.
The Labrador is believed to have originated on the island of Newfoundland,
now part of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. It is thought to
have descended from the St. John's Water Dog (no longer in existence), a
crossbreed of native water dogs and the Newfoundland to which the Labrador is
closely related. The name Labrador was given to this dog by the Earl of
Malmesbury and other breeders in England in order to differentiate them from the
Newfoundland dog. The Labrador Retriever was originally called the lesser
Newfoundland or the St. John's dog. Other origins suggested for the
name include the Spanish or Portuguese word for workers, "labradores", and the
village of Castro Laboreiro in Portugal whose herding and guard dogs bear a
"striking resemblance" to Labradors .
Many fishermen originally used the Lab to assist in bringing nets to shore;
the dog would grab the floating corks on the ends of the nets and pull them to
The first known written reference to the Labrador is in 1814 in "Instructions
to Young Sportsmen". In 1823 sporting artist Edwin Landseer painted a black dog
with white markings titled "Cora. A Labrador Bitch," by which time it appears
the breed was already firmly established, with several of the nobility either
owning or breeding them by the end of that century. The first Yellow Lab on
record, named Ben of Hyde, was born in 1899.
The modern Labrador Retriever is among the oldest of the modern "recognized"
breeds; according to the American Kennel Club, pedigrees exist back to 1878. The
Kennel Club recognized the Lab in 1903. The first registration of Labradors by
the AKC was in 1917; many English dogs were imported post World War I and these
formed the foundation of the American variety.
Photos of Lennox sent in by Clair & Paul - Thanks
I've had Lennox For 5
Years. He is so intelligent, he'll know when he is being spoken,
everyone is always commenting about how intelligent Lennox is, if he
hears anyone outside he lets me know, I feel really safe, he knows when
I am sad and comes over to me for a cuddle and I love nothing more to
make me feel better, he is so wonderful I cannot put into words how much
comfort he has brought me and he's been through everything with me :)
he's my best companion.
Clair&Paul Llanelli UK
Temperament and activities
Labradors are a well-balanced and remarkably versatile breed, adaptable to a
wide range of functions as well as making very good pets. They are easily
trained and are a very obedient breed. They are loyal companion that share the
love you give to them. They are very friendly dogs and are great with children.
As a rule they are not excessively prone to territorialism, pining, insecurity,
aggression, destructiveness, hypersensitivity, or other difficult traits which
manifest in a variety of breeds, and as the name suggests, they are excellent
retrievers. As an extension of this, they instinctively enjoy holding objects
and even hands or arms in their mouths, which they can do with great gentleness.
They are, however, prone to chew objects (though they can easily be trained out
of this behaviour). The Labrador Retriever's coat repels water to some extent,
thus facilitating the extensive use of the dog in waterfowl hunting.
Labradors have a reputation as a very mellow breed and an excellent family
dog (including a good reputation with children of all ages), but some lines
(particularly those that have continued to be bred specifically for their skills
at working in the field rather than for their appearance) are particularly fast
and athletic. Their fun-loving boisterousness and lack of fear can result in
mischief, and may require training and firm handling at times to ensure it does
not get out of hand. Most Labs enjoy retrieving a ball endlessly and other forms
of activity (such as dog agility or flyball), are considerably "food and fun"
oriented, very trainable and open-minded to new things, and thrive on human
attention and interaction, which they find hard to get enough of. Reflecting
their retrieving bloodlines, almost every Lab loves playing in water or
Labs are very affectionate dogs and require the love they give you to be
returned. They enjoy being around their owner 24/7 and make great companions.
Many Labs enjoy eating quite a bit of food, and it is imperative for owners
to control food consumption, or your Lab may become slightly overweight, a
The steady temperament of Labs and their ability to learn quickly make them
an ideal breed for assistance dogs.
Labrador life expectancy is generally 12 to 13 years,
and it is a healthy breed with relatively few major problems. Common Lab health
- Labs are somewhat prone to hip dysplasia, especially the larger dogs, though
not as much as some other breeds. Hip scores are recommended before breeding.
- Labs are sometimes prone to ear infection, because their floppy ears trap
warm moist air. This is easy to control, but needs regular checking to ensure
that a problem is not building up unseen. A healthy Lab ear should look clean
and light pink (almost white) inside. Darker pink (or inflamed red), or brownish
deposits, are a symptom of ear infection. The usual treatment is regular
cleaning daily or twice daily (being careful not to force dirt into the
sensitive inner ear) and sometimes medication (ear drops) for major cases. As a
preventative measure, some owners clip the hair carefully around the ear and
under the flap, to encourage better air flow.
- Labs are often overfed and are allowed to become overweight, due to their
blatant enjoyment of treats, hearty appetites, and endearing behaviour towards
people. A healthy Lab should keep a very slight hourglass waist and be fit and
lithe, rather than fat or heavy-set. Excessive weight is strongly implicated as
a risk factor in the later development of hip dysplasia and diabetes, and also
can contribute to general reduced health when older. Arthritis in Labs can also
take place in the later years if weight is put on. Typically labs should stay at
least under 100 pounds. Weight on dogs, specifically Labs is easier to put on
than take off.
- A Labrador that undertakes significant swimming without building up can
develop a swelling or apparent kink known as swimtail. This can be easily
treated by a veterinary clinic and tail rest.
- Many times Labs also suffer from the risk of knee problems. A luxating
patella is a common occurrence in the knee where the leg is often bow shaped.
Puppy mills and dog theft
- Because the Labrador is such a popular breed, they are often reared in puppy
mills where the people responsible care primarily for profit, and not for the
dog's well being.
- Labs and Lab owners also commonly fall victim to dog theft, where any
purebred-looking Labradors may be sold to puppy mills or unknowing prospective
owners for a high profit to the thief. Micro chipping for Labradors—as for any
dog—increases the possibility of finding lost or stolen dogs, because the
microchip cannot be easily removed like a collar and dog tags.
- Although kennel clubs and registries recognize the Labrador in variations of
only three colours—black, yellow, and chocolate—some breeders sell light-colored
yellow Labrador puppies as a "white" labrador, the dark yellow Labrador puppies
as "fox red," or chocolates possessing the dilution factor as "silver
Labradors". The "silver" color is nonstandard and would disqualify them as show
dogs. However, the "fox red" and so-called "white" labs (more properly referred
to as "cream" by the AKC) are perfectly acceptable shades for a Yellow lab in
the show ring. See the AKC website for a more complete discussion of Yellow
Labradors. The dog's colour does not affect its behaviour or health and many
people own "silver" labs as companion dogs.
- Black labs have dominated the field trial and hunt test scene. (Fergus,
2002). Because the lighter variants are a recessive trait, breeding for a litter
of yellow or chocolate pups requires mating a two dogs with those traits. This
means that dogs from these litters were selected for traits other than nose,
bid ability, intelligence, and hunting desire. (Fergus, 2002). Because even a
pairing of black labs may produce chocolate or yellow offspring, this rule does
not hold 100% of the time. Even so, many serious field trialers and hunters
prefer black Labradors over the other variants to increase the odds of solid
hunting genes. (Fergus, 2002)
- In addition to colour variations, differences in the physical build of the
dog have arisen as a result of specialized breeding. Although the majority of
dogs bred are of the type generally displayed in the show ring, distinct lines
are bred for specific working purposes. Dogs bred for field trials tend to be
lighter in limb and often lack the very large, square head seen in the show
ring. Differences tend to occur as dogs bred for hunting and field-trial work
are selected first for working ability, whereas dogs bred to compete for show
championships are selected for conformation to a breed standard. In fact,
breeders and owners sometimes distinguish the "working" Labrador from the "show"
Labrador, given the marked differences in their physical characteristics.
- The Labradoodle is a common mixed-breed dog that combines a Labrador with a
- Another common mix is a Lab-Border Collie mix as well as the Lab-Golden
Retriever mix (Golden Lab).
- Harvey - Sam Carr's Labrador Retriever. According to David Berkowitz, Carr
was a "high demon" who sent his "evil" Labrador retriever to command Berkowitz
to kill. He would later shoot the dog following one of his murders, but it
- U.S. President Bill Clinton's pet Labrador was called Buddy.
- For Father's Day, Clinton received another pet Labrador named Seamus.
- Vincent from Lost
- Marley, "The World's Worst Dog" featured in journalist John Grogan's book
Marley & Me
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Send a picture of your dog attached to this
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My dog is a Labrador cross and actually looks the spit of
i really love to watch the pictures of these Labrador...i hope
i could have one of them...i really love Labrador
my dog is sooo cute! she is (black) with a white star
on her chest and I've had her for a little over a year now.