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The Black Labrador

Black lab

The black Labrador is a breed of dog that has earned the admiration of all because it is a rescue dog, guide, police and that is also extremely loyal, apart from the fact that the kindness and desires of service of this pet are incomparable.

It creates a very special bond with Its owner and is always ready to please It. The intelligence of the Labrador is exceptional and shows great discipline and poise when required. This active and agile pet only needs the care and attention of its master, along with the channeling of all the energy it possesses.

Origins of The Black Labrador

The black lab is also known as a labrador retriever. Its place of origin is Newfoundland, Canada, but the origin of the breed is a different matter. Although it owes its name to the Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador, this breed has English origins. Their ancestors are water dogs that were brought by fishermen to San Juan or St. John of Newfoundland to help with the hard work of fishing.

The black Labrador dog exists in both the American and English lines, but both come from the Newfoundland or water dog, a small name that was given to differentiate it from the greater Newfoundland with characteristics of the Saint Bernard and belonging to a giant breed.

It should be noted that the dogs that came to Newfoundland during the 16th century were originally from other parts such as England and Ireland and were located on the island of Newfoundland called San Juan. Hence the breed of Labrador Retriever or Black Labrador. As its popularity grew in the old world, Canada was bidding farewell to the breed, both because of the high taxes levied on dog owners and a plague that decimated pets.

black lab

Black Labrador: The Dominant Color

Although for many this particular color of the Labrador is the least widespread and popular, the black Labrador, in the history of this important breed, was the first type and original founder.

Personally we believe that the black Labrador is the TOP, a color for true admirers of the breed and much less delicate than the recessive colors.

The black Labrador can therefore be defined as the “progenitor” of the breed that was bred in the early 1800s by some English nobles, including the Earl of Malnesbury, thanks to whom we owe the birth of Buccleuch Avon, the first example of the Labrador and of this breed that has come down to us today.

black lab

Initially, only Labradors of this color were kept alive, a popular belief wanted only these to be able to carry out daily chores, only then was a chance also given to puppies born with a different coat pigmentation ( honey labrador ) and never choice was more apt.

As we know, the color of the coat is given by the presence of melanin (a substance that gives color and is produced by specific cells called melanosomes).

The color of melanosomes is linked to the amount of melanin that they themselves contain, in the hair, so there can be two types of this particular element: eumelanin which determines the presence of the black or brown color, and pheomelanin which instead determines the yellow color of the mantle.

The black color is due to specific genetic conditions and the necessary one is the presence of the B gene ; here are the genotypes necessary to obtain this particular pigmentation:

  • BBEE genotype with the dominant B gene (black)
  • BbEE genotype we will also have here a black Labrador but with the brown (b) recessive gene, therefore a black subject that transmits the color of the chocolate Labrador
  • BbEe genotype (here you will have both the recessive brown and yellow gene but our Labrador will have a black pigmentation) – black that transmits yellow and brown
  • genotype BBEe (also black with recessive yellow) – black that transmits yellow.

Characteristics and Temperament of The Black Labrador

To determine the physical traits that define the Labrador it is necessary to differentiate the English variety from the American one. The English Lab is wider and heavier than the American and the defined standards are the same as for gold or chocolate.

The average height for the breed is 21 to 23 Inches at the withers, the weight varies between 60 and 88 pounds depending on whether it is male, female, English, or American, with proportions that place it as a medium to large breed dog. Its musculature is strong, with a rounded morphological structure.

Labrador retriever

It has a broad head with a defined nasal depression, the muzzle is long and wide with a black nose in dogs with this color of fur, the nose can be yellow or brown in chocolate specimens and the eyes are medium, expressive, sweet and of hazelnut or brown color.

The ears are medium in size and hang to the sides of the head, the wide neck is inserted between the shoulders giving way to a straight back. The members are strong, with webbed feet, a characteristic that helps them to be excellent swimmers. They have the so-called heavy, strong, hairy, and round otter tail.

The hair is quite dense, double-layered, and short, since the inner coat is usually softer and the outer coat is rough, both are waterproof. This breed is not color-matched, so they must be all black, gold, or chocolate. The character of this pet is incredibly helpful, being preferred for rescue, police or guide dog roles. They are very cheerful and intelligent, a condition that allows you to train them and teach them new knowledge even when they are not puppies.

They also have a restless temperament, so they must channel energy. They are sociable especially if they are raised since they are puppies and are protective of children and friendly with strangers as long as they do not see them as a threat. They are not violent thanks to their balanced character.

Health, Care, and Diseases

The first thing to know when adopting a black Labrador is that it is not a cheap dog, apart from the fact that it requires space, walks, and games to drain its incredible energy and feeding is an important issue and should be appropriate to their age and activity.

The appearance and health will depend on the quality of the food and discipline in the daily rations required. It eats a lot for Its size and build, so It will not hesitate to get more food than It should, so the owner must be strict to avoid counterproductive obesity.

Regarding hygiene, it is necessary to accustom the pet from puppy to brushing its teeth, this will directly influence its life expectancy, which ranges from 11 to 14 years. Dental health will prevent periodontal, liver, kidney, and heart disease.

Brush their fur two to three times a week to remove dead hair, being necessary to bathe them once a month, an activity that can be a lot of fun. During summer you can use a hose if you have a garden and in winter a bathtub with warm water.

black lab

Once the bath is finished, dry it with a towel to finish with a dryer at a safe distance and at a low temperature. Lastly, brush the fur. As part of the care, you should go to the vet once a year or when deemed necessary. Vaccines must be up to date and appropriate breed-appropriate dewormers must be applied. The recommended products for this will always be used.

Although they are a very strong and healthy breed, they do not escape the common diseases of size, such as hip and elbow dysplasia. Both are prevented with an adequate diet that includes the required nutrients and that the pet maintains its weight.

Gastric torsion is also common in the breed and the best way to avoid it is by feeding the pet several small servings during the day and not two large ones. Some dogs can present lipomas that if they become bothersome are solved with surgery.

Final Thoughts

Despite being a large breed dog, it has the character of a lap dog, making it ideal as a companion pet. It’s deeply adaptable and loyal, but not because It’s complacent should you neglect the needs It requires for Its physical and emotional balance.

It is necessary to use quality products both for hygiene and for food and physical activity is essential.

Written by Amanda

Passionate about animals, Amanda draws her expertise from her training as an educator, canine behaviorist as well as her extensive experience with animal owners. A specialist in dog and cat behavior, Amanda continues to learn about our four-legged companions by studying veterinary reference books but also university research sites (UCD, Utrecht, Cambridge, Cornell, etc..)

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