The Labrador retriever, commonly known as the lab, is the most popular breed among dogs. Apart from being good watchdogs they are an ideal dog for a large family. If you have watched or read Marley and me, you will no doubt agree with me!
This breed has its roots in Newfoundland, Canada. It was created by mixture of retrievers and water dogs. The first original Labrador retriever was developed in 1800 and was used as a gun dog and hunting dog.
A robust Labrador, depending on the sex can stand from 21.5 to 24.5 inches at the shoulder and can weigh between 55 to 80 pounds. The thick and hard coat comes in three colours; yellow, black and chocolate. They belong to the sporting group and their life expectancy is 10 to 12 years.
Their head is wide, eyes twinkle with gentleness and mischief and their thick, tapering tail seem to always signal an eagerness that is inherent in the breed.
Labs are loyal, lovable and overtly friendly. They are very social and easily bond with friends and neighbours. Labs are very energetic and enthusiastic. They take their role as ‘man’s best friend’ seriously and are ecstatic when they are involved in family activities. They love outdoor activities like running, hiking, swimming and play catch and fetch tirelessly for hours. They are also very patient with kids. Labs are very easy to train and you must be okay with the fact that at times they will still act as puppies even when they turn into adults. They are an ideal choice for first time pet parents.
Labradors being large and at times even clumsy, have lots of energy and are not meant to be mere couch potatoes. This breed is definitely not meant for apartment dwellers who have little space and confine them inside the four walls. Large homes with open spaces is an ideal setting for our enthusiastic lab.
Just a small stroll around the block is not enough to burn the excess energy in labs. Apart from frequent walks, running everyday helps them to burn their excess energy and if they are not well exercised they will become destructive. A bored to the wits lab will chew on anything they get their teeth on.
They need outdoor activities to keep them in good temperament. So, take them for jogs around the block. They will keep themselves busy by playing with children. Since they are very good at hunting and retrieving they can be of good use to hunters.
Labs can also be trained to be an assistance dog to the handicapped, show competitors, work as rescue dogs. They also make excellent police dogs.
Chewing is a common problem in labs. So, keep lots of chew toys and bones in order to save your furniture and footwear. Keep important and dangerous things out of their reach. If you do not want them to get into their destructive mode then you must exercise them well before leaving home. Also, provide them with toys and plenty of bones if you do not want your house to be tuned upside down.
Labradors are friendly dogs with plenty of energy. They are an ideal pet for a family and must be well exercised to eliminate their destructive behaviour. Just remember that these dogs love being outdoors and not cooped up in limited space.