Labrador Retrievers: Character, Attitude And Care

The Labrador Retriever is perfect for families. However, caution is advised: the lovable wolverine simply eats everything!

The Labrador Retriever is one of the six retriever breeds:

  • Chesapeake Bay Retrievers,
  • curly-coated retrievers,
  • flat-coated retriever,
  • Golden retriever,
  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever and that
  • Labrador Retrievers.

The Labrador is the best-known and most popular of the six dog breeds.

In the ranking of the most popular dogs in Germany, the Labrador Retriever takes fourth place, behind the German Shepherd, the Dachshund, and the German Wirehaired Pointer.

The Labrador has its origins in breeding as a classic hunting dog for small game, such as pheasants or partridges. His work begins after the shot as a retrieval specialist.

The Labrador’s soft mouth is legendary. This means that he catches his prey so carefully that it ends up in the hands of the hunter as unscathed as possible.

The characteristic of the wolverine with the floppy ears is his love of water and the desire to please “his” people. With such dog breeds, one also speaks of the “will to please”.

All of this together made the Labrador very popular with the hunting-mad English nobility. But not only there. Friendly as he is, the original hunting dog became increasingly popular among non-hunters and today the Labrador is considered the ideal family pet.

However, all of today’s Labradors are descended from British hounds, which means they want to be kept busy. If owners don’t do that, the clever little animal will look for something to do itself and bring the visitor underwear, bottles, or shoes that are lying around – everything that can be reached at mouth height.

How big is a labrador retriever?

A Labrador is about medium-sized. Males reach a shoulder size of 56 cm to 57 cm. Bitches of this breed are a little more delicate and stay a little smaller at 54 to 56 cm.

However, the American Kennel Club (AKC) standard for the Labrador differs slightly from the British original on this point. He envisages a height of between 57 and 62 cm for the Labrador men. A span of 54 to almost 60 cm is permitted for Labrador ladies in the USA.

How heavy is a labrador retriever?

Labradors are powerful dogs. However, the breed standard does not specify an ideal weight. As a guide, males should weigh between 29kg and 36kg and females 25kg to 32kg.

The weight depends on the breed. For several years, this has been divided into show breeding and hunting breeding. Show-bred dogs tend to be heavier, while hunting-bred Labradors tend to weigh less.

Since the Labrador is a self-confessed glutton and not fussy, you should pay special attention to the weight. The rule of thumb among breeders and veterinarians is: If you can still feel the ribs when petting, you are on the safe side.

What Does a Labrador Retriever Look Like?

Labradors have a broad head and a clear stop. This is the transition from the nose to the forehead. The so-called otter tail is also typical for Labrador Retrievers. It is very thick at the base and gets thinner towards the tip. She is covered with short, thick fur.

The fur

The coat on dogs of this breed is stock-haired. That is, it is short and hard with a dense undercoat. This means that the dog can plunge into bathing adventures even in the depths of winter without sacrificing its health.

The fur colors

The Labrador comes in colors

  • Black,
  • yellow and
  • Brown (also called chocolate or liver).

Yellow is the most varied, it can range from a light cream to a dark fox red. Depending on the genetic predisposition of the parents, all three colors can occur in a litter. Incidentally, the first Labradors were all black. Yellow and brown puppies were occasionally found in litters, but were given the stamp “false color”. Yellow has only been recognized as a color in puppies since 1899. The Labrador’s brown coat color has been legal for puppies since 1964.

Special colors such as “silver” (diluted brown), “charcoal” (diluted black), or “champagne” (diluted yellow) are the result of crossing a dilution gene. Blue Weimaraners or the Great Dane, for example, carry such a gene. Both the Kennel Club in Great Britain and the FCI with their national canine organizations and breed clubs do not recognize these colors.

The main reason is that said dilution gene can be accompanied by the disease color dilution alopecia (CDA). This causes severe and incurable skin and coat problems. Other breeds with the dilution gene such as Great Danes or Whippets, as so-called “blue dogs”, are repeatedly affected by CDA and thus impaired health.

How Old Does a Labrador Retriever Get?

According to a 2005 Swedish study, Labrador Retrievers have a fairly long life expectancy. 54 percent of the 350,000 dogs examined were older than ten years. On average, only 35 percent of all pedigree dogs and mixed breeds reach this sound barrier and live to be ten years old.

What is the personality of the Labrador Retriever?

When you think of a Labrador, you immediately have a friendly, manic wagging, somewhat pushy dog ​​in mind with dark beady eyes.

The intelligent and hard-working four-legged friend does not disdain any body of water and adapts to his people with a strong will to please. Most Labradors are also extremely corrupt, which makes training easy. The B-side: They inhale everything edible that comes their way.

Labradors are not protective and are not aggressive.

Where Does the Labrador Retriever Come From?

The Labrador Retriever – or Labrador for short, affectionately known as “Rabbi” among enthusiasts – has its origins in Canada. More specifically, his ancestors hail from the east coast of Canada.

The breed designation goes back to the Canadian peninsula of Labrador and describes the distinctive retrieval system (to retrieve = retrieve, fetch). So the Labrador is a pro returner by birth.

The ancestor of the Labrador is the so-called St. John’s dog. He was a reliable colleague for hunters and fishermen. For example, he took drifted fishing nets out of the water. And so it was not surprising that British fishermen brought the St. John’s dog to England. From the second half of the 19th century, it was bred there for its hunting qualities.

On July 7, 1903, the English Kennel Club recognized the Labrador Retriever as a separate dog breed. The European umbrella organization FCI (Fédération Cynologique International) followed later, officially recognizing the breed 51 years later, on December 24, 1954.

Labrador retrievers: the right attitude and training

Although the Labrador is not quite as in demand as a hunting dog in Germany due to a lack of sufficient small game territories as in many other countries, it is only too happy to take on other jobs.

It can be trained as a service dog for sick people and those with disabilities, as a guide dog, rescue dog, or as a police and customs assistant. The nose specialist is also good at mantrailing. Labradors are always willing to work with people because they were bred to be team players.

The Labrador likes to learn and also solves complex tasks. That makes education easier. The ideal occupation for the dog in non-hunters is, for example, dummy training. This is a canine sport that imitates hunting using small linen bags. But you don’t have to be a pro: A few dummy tasks can also be incorporated into “normal” walks.

As a pure family companion dog without any tasks, the Labrador is usually under-challenged – and this is especially true for the working lines.

What care does the Labrador Retriever need?

The self-cleaning fur of the Labrador is very practical. This makes maintenance easier. The dirt after a mud bath in the first puddle that comes to hand almost magically falls off by itself after drying. The dog, therefore, does not need much care.

Changing the coat twice a year is less magical. Then the hair falls out in masses so that you might think that the dog must be naked at some point. Then you should have the vacuum cleaner at hand. And don’t worry: the coat will come back – until the next coat change.

What are the typical diseases of the Labrador Retriever?

Unfortunately, the Labrador retriever is one of the dog breeds with an increased risk of hip dysplasia (HD) and elbow dysplasia (ED).

Dogs from the VDH-affiliated breed clubs are evaluated by an expert before they are approved for breeding. A dog with a grade of A (A1 and A2) is considered HD-free. Even a grade C is not an exclusion from breeding, but it is subject to conditions that only an HD-free dog may be used for further breeding. With ED, grades 2 and 3 lead to exclusion from breeding.

Other typical diseases can be PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), EIC (Exercise Induced Collapse), and CNM (Centronuclear Myopathy). Good breeders exclude the diseases by appropriate genetic tests of both parent animals.

Epilepsy is now quite widespread. There is no test here yet. However, breeders should not work with animals that have been diagnosed with the disease.

How much does a Labrador Retriever cost?

Labrador puppies cost between 1,000 and 1,600 euros in the VDH breed clubs DRC (Deutscher Retriever Club) and LCD (Labrador Club Deutschland), depending on the breeder. Be sure to buy the puppy from a reputable breeder. Here you can be sure that the right care, health, and socialization of the dogs is important right from the start.

We wish you a wonderful time with your Labrador!

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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