Do you want to discover the characteristics of the Labrador Retriever? Often people ask us if there are differences in character between Labradors with different coats such as the black Labrador, the yellow Labrador, or the beautiful brown Labrador.
We will therefore try to explain the standard of the Labrador Retriever: our intention is not to go into the details of the genetics that regulate the color but to explain the differences to those who do not know the breed and want to buy a Labrador puppy with the right papers.
Let’s see the general aspects of this breed: character, temperament, head and skull, eyes, ears, forelegs, hind limbs, legs, tail, coat, color and size, and last but not least some morphological defects.
The Labrador is one of the best all-around dogs in the world. Not only is it used for the recovery of objects, but it has also established itself as an assistance dog for the disabled and as a sniffer dog for the detection of drugs, weapons, and explosives.
Labrador Retriever: History and Origins of the Breed
Its origins are not very definite: this dog is thought to have originated on the coast of Newfoundland, where fishermen used similar dogs to retrieve the nets and fish lost in the cold north sea.
The Labrador is an excellent water dog, the coat composed of a dense undercoat combined with a short and stocky tail like that of the otter allows it to be a skilled swimmer and to resist atmospheric agents.
The Labrador is a true gentleman: It loves children and has a very sociable character with people and their fellowmen.
The Labrador is not a very old breed: its breed club was established in 1916 while for the yellow color we have to thank the “Yellow Labrador Club” founded only in 1925 and found its fame in Great Britain in the late 1800s thanks to Col Peter Hawker and the Earl of Malmesbury.
More evident defects in the morphological standard
In the Labrador, even in the presence of a pedigree, aesthetic and character defects can occur which are described by the FCI Standard n. 122 of 12.01.2011.
We can have a Labrador with
- severe defects: fringed curve carried curved over the back, lack of undercoat, color other than yellow, black or brown, excessively wavy coat, pointed muzzle, ears too large and heavy
- minor defects such as eyes that are too light and blue
As for the character, the Labrador is a dog whose true passion is water and play, it is very docile and very faithful to its owner.
The Labrador is certainly gifted with an extraordinary intelligence that makes him at the same time attentive and docile with children and more impetuous and playful with adults.
Its real desire is to do something for Its master and thus deserve a prize or a caress. It is not an aggressive dog, it is a bad guard dog, in fact, it will limit itself only to barking in case of strangers.
For this breed the training is extremely simple, it is simply necessary to be decisive, to give one-way messages, and above all not to be too hard on him or to resort to violent actions that could damage his character for life.
Labrador Retriever: physical characteristics
The Labrador’s skull should be rounded, giving the image of a strong and powerful dog. The eyes must be brown or hazel, eyes that are too light are in fact a defect.
The labrador’s eyes express sweetness, intelligence, and sadness at the same time, it’s with The charitable look that It manages to tear the leftovers from the master’s plate.
The teeth of the Labrador must have a regular closure, the upper and lower jaw must have the same length.
The neck is very solid and strong, the forelegs are perpendicular to the ground and must have good bone.
The tail must be without fringes (otter tail). The coat is short, without waves, with an undercoat for bad weather.
The color can be yellow (cream), brown (chocolate) or black
The fox red color ( LABRADOR RED FOX ) is also admitted, very beautiful and little known around the world, which in reality is always yellow but with the oldest coloring as it was at the beginning before the selection to get to lighter subjects or even the white.
In black and brown color, a small light spot on the front of the chest is allowed.
The Character of a Labrador
The Labrador is a greedy, dynamic, and strong dog. It has the particularity of being mentally mature quite late and it must be said, Its “clumsy” side can make It abrupt in Its contacts. It will therefore be important, if you adopt a Labrador, to educate It and teach It to do it gently in order to coexist at best with this breed of dog.
Appreciating the water and the activities, the Labrador will be a very good dog for your sporting activities in general. Just beware of the clichés conveyed about the Labrador suggesting that it is a family dog by nature. The Labrador can be a very good family dog, but it will need to be trained accordingly.
The Labrador, if well balanced, has a reputation for being relatively quiet. Its bark, when heard, is loud and deep. It can also be quite intimidating for someone who has never heard one before
Cohabitation With Children
Here again, like all dogs, the Labrador can live with children but be careful, it will be necessary to respect certain safety rules in order to avoid accidents. Many people adopt a Labrador as a family dog because It’s popular and is believed to be “nice” by nature. This is wrong. The Labrador is still a dog like any other, so if it is not properly socialized or if the children are not respectful with their dog, accidents could happen. To succeed in dog/child cohabitation, here are 4 main prevention rules:
- Never leave the dog and children without adult supervision.
- Do not allow the sofa to the dog when children are present.
- Do not allow your children to disturb the dog when it is in its basket or to wake it up suddenly or to hurt it.
- The children’s room should be a no-go area for the dog.
In short, Labrador can live with children but it will only go well if certain rules of prevention are applied.
Cohabitation With Other Animals
The Labrador, if it is socialized at the age of 2 months positively to other animals, It will be able to cohabit with them without any problems.
The Labrador is not a difficult dog to train if you have the right manners. Labrador Education can begin as early as 2 months and the exercises to be worked on are mainly walking on a leash, recall, teaching It to do things slowly, and to wait. Your dog, to be in a good learning context, will have to meet Its peers regularly and will have to be spent mentally and physically regularly.
In short, the Labrador is a very good working dog that can become an excellent companion dog provided it respects its needs, socializes it sufficiently, and educates it intelligently.
Labrador Living Conditions
The Labrador, although it has represented the family dog for years, remains a dog in need of significant expense. You should know that there are several lines and the working Labrador, unlike the beautiful Labrador, will be even more demanding of activity.
You must therefore be vigilant regarding the choice of breeding according to your expectations. Conversely, all Labradors, regardless of their lineage, will need to be walked around every day, even if you have a garden. Finally, it is strongly recommended to offer them leisure and/or sports activity, as well as regular meetings with their peers in order to be sure to meet their needs correctly.
The Labrador Retriever can adapt to an urban environment, although it is more suited to the countryside. It’s very welcoming by nature and enjoys company. The loneliness can quickly weigh It . So much so that it will turn into a bulldozer if you don’t give it the attention and time it deserves.
Labradors adapt to a wide temperature range but are more comfortable in cool to cold temperatures. Its coat is water repellent, so it wicks water away and dries quickly when wet.
The Labrador is a dog predisposed to overweight. This predisposition is due to its particularly “low calorie” energy metabolism and the fact that many Labradors are always hungry. In some representatives of the breed, this excessive appetite is also linked to a genetic mutation that reduces the feeling of satiety.
To feed a Labrador, it is, therefore, necessary to find solutions to provide all the nutrients necessary for its balance but while limiting the number of calories ingested and trying to satiate as much as possible this “big appetite” which is very often the Labrador. This can go through the choice:
- croquettes rich in good quality animal proteins, low in lipids, and rather rich in satietogenic fibers,
- or a homemade diet, balanced by a veterinarian.
In Labrador, the systematic addition of cooked vegetables (green beans, zucchini, etc.) to the ration as well as the splitting of food intakes into several meals per day can be beneficial in trying to increase their feeling of fullness. The splitting of the meals also makes it possible to limit the risk of occurrence of dilation-torsion of the stomach to which this large dog may be predisposed.
The daily amount of kibble
from 340 to 385g per day
Typical household ration
The daily ration of an adult, healthy, active, whole Labrador (unsterilized) and optimal weight of 64pounds should consist of approximately:
- 515 g of meat at 5% fat,
- 420g of very cooked green beans,
- 14g rapeseed oil,
- 316g of very cooked rice,
- 8 supplement tablets in minerals and vitamins with 0.3g of calcium.
Labrador Care and Maintenance
The maintenance of a Labrador is quite simple. It is enough to offer It a brushing session once or twice a week, outside the moulting period and every day during the seasonal moulting period.
It’s possible to give your dog a monthly bath (although it is preferable to space them out more) and always with products adapted to the specificities of the dog’s skin. Ban shampoos formulated for humans, including baby shampoos!
Brush your Labrador’s teeth as often as possible and offer toys and bones to chew on regularly to help maintain good oral health.
Finally, regularly check the cleanliness of Its ear canals and the length of Its claws in order to proceed with a cleaning or a good cut!
It’s genetic diseases and racial predispositions
The list of genetic diseases in Labrador is long. We obviously know its sad predisposition for hip dysplasia, but many other unknown hereditary diseases exist in this breed of dog.
Among these little-known diseases, we will cite for example:
- the collapse exercise-induced. The symptoms of this disease are expressed when the dog is in a period of activity. After an effort, the dog presents paralysis which can extend to all four legs which resolves after a quarter of an hour to half an hour of rest. Apart from these “crises”, the dog is quite normal. However, the time and intensity of the exercises should be limited.
- The myopathy centronuclear . It is a congenital muscle disorder that causes generalized muscle weakness.
- The generalized progressive retinal atrophy. This condition corresponds to progressive degeneration of the cells of the retina. It leads to the loss of night vision and then day vision.
It will be necessary to choose the right breeding and ensure that the parents are free from these physical defects in order to adopt a healthy puppy. It may therefore be wise when you adopt a Labrador to take out an animal health insurance for your dog in order to protect yourself against unpleasant surprises. However, check what are the warranty exclusions before choosing your contract.
Labrador’s life expectancy is around 12 years.
Labrador: adopting a dog of this breed?
We do not want to dissuade anyone from the possibility of having a faithful and unparalleled life partner like a Labrador can be but it is good to know before throwing yourself into this choice that your life will be turned upside down (for the better)
Let it be clear to everyone … the dog is not a thing but a sentient being!
The dog has the ability to feel, be endowed with senses, sensitivity … they have a form of intelligence, they feel pain, suffering, they can be happy or terribly sad and this depends on the environment in which they live and how we relate to them.
Having a dog is a big commitment and those who want a Labrador just because it is “in fashion” well then forget it!
The owner of a Labrador must be someone who has a lot of time to devote to him (this breed has a vital need for a company).
Those who want to have It as a life partner ” must deserve it ” and have time to educate It and give It what It wants from us: not solitude or just large spaces … but our time!
When not to get a Labrador Retriever
Many people ask us if their lifestyle is compatible with the close coexistence with a Labrador puppy and Its growth in the family.
They rightly ask themselves if there may be situations in which he can suffer, here’s when it’s best to let it go:
- if you have little patience and little desire to sacrifice yourself every day for It
- if you do not have the time and desire to visit several farms (even hundreds of miles away)
- if you think that the puppy can be bought in a shop, in a parking lot, at the toll booth, on online ads
- if sleeping until 8 in the morning is essential
- if you like lounging in the armchair on Saturdays and Sundays without ever going out
- if you think having a dog is like having a scooter parked in a garage and you use it when it suits you
- if you think the puppy is like a TV that turns off in the morning and turns on again in the evening
- if you are bothered by contact with dogs, fur and you are a cleaning freak in the house
- if you think that the management of the puppy is solved by putting it inside a fence or by attending a course from “expert trainers”
- if you think that a breeder will give you a “bionic” puppy who will never have health problems just because the parents have all possible controls and are healthy
- if you think that your “dog management” absolutely does not affect the state of health and Its behavior
- if you think that the character that your puppy will develop is not due to your management and Its life experiences with you
- if you think a Labrador puppy will become a polite and balanced adult just because the parents are
- if you think the puppy is like a child who can understand your speech
- if you think your dog’s health is not strictly related to Its diet
- if you have a maniacal need to have the house tidy and clean
- if the dog will not be able to stay at home because it is “new” or you have just cleaned
- if you do not have the desire or time to devote to your puppy hours every day, 365 days a year
- if you think that the dog will live exclusively outside in the garden or in the garage
- if you think you already know everything about dogs, education, and nutrition because you already had a dog
- if you work all day and there is never anyone at home
- if you think the dog only wants space and not your time
- if the smell of pee and poop in the house bothers you
- if the first thing you ask the breeder: does the dog stink?
- if you think that during your holidays, It will not be with you!
- if you think you won’t take it out even when it’s raining, snowing, or windy
- if your first doubt is the price
A dog, of any breed, is not an obligation. If you want it, you must be sure you can follow it for life!