Breed Organization The Labrador Retriever Club Website: http://www.thelabradorclub.com Native Country Great Britain Other Names Labrador Retriever, Silver Labrador Retriever, Saint Jones Dog, Yellow Labrador Retriever, Chocolate Labrador Retriever Life Expectancy Approximately 10-12 Years Litter Size Average 7-8 Puppies Breed Group AKC Sporting
Breed Appearance Labradors are relatively large with males
typically weighing 30 to 36 kg (65 to 80 lb) and females 25 to 32 kg
(55 to 70 lb) under AKC standards, but some labs do become
overweight and may weigh significantly more. Their coats are short
and smooth, and they possess a straight, powerful tail often likened
to that of an otter. The majority of the characteristics of this
breed, with the exception of color, are the result of breeding to
produce a working retriever.
As with some other breeds, the English (typically "show") and the
American (typically "working" or "field") lines differ. Labs are
bred in England as a medium-sized dog, shorter and stockier with
fuller faces and a slightly calmer nature than their American
counterparts which are bred as a larger lighter-built dog. No
distinction is made by the AKC, but the two classifications come
from different breeding. Australian stock also exists; though not
seen in the west, they are common in Asia.
The breed tends to shed hair twice annually, or regularly throughout
the year in temperate climates. Some labs shed a lot, although
individuals vary. 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
Breed Description Head:The Labrador has a broad head,
thick nose, scissors bite and a pronounced stop. Its muzzle is
fairly wide and its neck is powerful. Ears: Set fairly far back, neither large nor heavy, falling
against the head. Eyes: Medium-sized, brown or hazel. Body: Powerful, rounded build. Powerful, cleanly cut neck.
Chest broad, well let-down with well-sprung ribs. Short, broad,
powerful loin. Tail: Very thick at the base, tapering toward the tip. Medium
in length with no feathering but completely covered with short,
thick, dense hair, giving it a rounded, "otter tail" appearance. May
be carried gaily but must not curve over the back. Hair: Short and dense, without waves or feathering.
Weather-resistant undercoat. Coat: Solid black, yellow, or brown (liver-chocolate). Yellow
ranging from pale cream to reddish-brown (fox red). A small white
spot on the chest is allowed. Size: Dog: 56 to 57 cm. (22-22.5 in).Bitch: 54 to 56 cm. (21-22
in). Weight: 25 to 30 kg (55-66 lb).
History A native of Canada, the Labrador Retriever is
thought to be descended from the Saint Jones Dog that inhabited the
island of Newfoundland in the eighteenth century. The breed was
definitively set in the early twentieth century in England, where it
was imported after being crossed with the English Pointer, in
particular. By 1896, the Labrador was introduced to France, where
the Retriever Club of France was founded in 1911. The most popular
retriever owes his success to his exceptionally even-tempered
personality, which explains why he is first and foremost a companion
Behavior This king of retrievers is highly active,
agile, confident, and tenacious. Sometimes called the "pointer of
retrievers", he has a remarkably keen nose and is an excellent
swimmer. He can retrieve all sorts of game on land and in the water.
With his vast visual memory, he can recall the locations of several
fallen birds. A tenacious tracker, he is a good bloodhound on the
trail of wounded large game. Very even-tempered and never
aggressive, he has a delightful personality that makes him a
wonderful pet. He needs firm and gentle training.
Health Labradors are somewhat prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, especially the larger dogs, though not as much as some other
breeds. Hip scores are recommended before breeding and often joint supplements are recommended. They also suffer from the risk of knee problems. A
luxating patella is a common occurrence in the knee where the knee dislocates and goes back into place. Eye problems are also possible in some
Labradors, particularly progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, corneal dystrophy and retinal dysplasia. Dogs which are intended to be bred
should be examined by a veterinary ophthalmologist for an eye score. Hereditary myopathy, a rare inherited disorder that causes a deficiency in type
II muscle fibre. Symptoms include a short stilted gait or "bunny hopping," and in rare cases ventroflexion of the neck accompanied by a kyphotic posture.
There is a small incidence of other conditions, such as autoimmune diseases and deafness in Labradors, either congenitally or later in life. Labradors
often suffer from exercise induced collapse, a syndrome that causes hyperthermia, weakness, collapse, and disorientation after short bouts of exercise.
Labradors like to eat, and without proper exercise can become obese. Laziness also contributes to this. Obesity is a serious condition and can be considered
the number one nutritional problem with dogs. Therefore Labradors must be properly exercised and stimulated. A healthy Labrador can do swimming wind
sprints for two hours, and should keep a very slight hourglass waist and be fit and light, rather than fat or heavy-set. Obesity can exacerbate conditions
such as hip dysplasia and joint problems, and can lead to secondary diseases, including diabetes. Osteoarthritis is common in older, especially overweight,
Labradors. Labradors should be walked twice a day for at least half an hour.
Advice He does not like being left alone. He needs
lots of exercise to curb his restlessness. He must be brushed two to
three times per week and combed during shedding season.
Function Hunting Dog, Utility Dog: Canine Assistant
(guide dog), Drug Detection Dog, Companion Dog.