About Labrador Retrievers
The Labrador Retriever's origins date back to the 1800s in Newfoundland where a breed of dogs were developed to assist fishermen retrieve their fishing nets off the side of boats.
The breed was further developed in the United Kingdom and were used primarily as gundogs who retrieved ducks out over the water and marshlands. Their size, temperament, coat type and conformation were key factors for a successful gundog who could work all day at a steady pace, swim effortlessly in the water and who had a coat designed to repel water and keep the dog warm in cold conditions. Their temperament was that of a bidable and friendly dog with a high desire to please and retrieve.
Over time the breed has become a very popular family pet and service dog due to their soft and happy appearance, their general sound and adaptable Temperament and their willingness to work for not much return. Labrador Retrievers are also known to the general public as 'Guide Dogs' due to the large number of Labrador Retrievers that work as primary mobility aids for people with vision impairments. They are also popular as 'sniffer' dogs and are branching into other Service fields such as hearing, assistance and alert dogs. This breed is among the oldest of the modern recognized breeds. Their versatility and endless positive attributes have made the Labrador Retriever a popular family pet.
Who is best suited to a Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retrievers are a versatile breed who adapt well to all sorts of family situations. They are a social dog and therefore like the company of a group, but also develop close bonds with single person families. A growing Labrador retriever requires attention and moderate exercise to keep him stimulated and from forming nuisance behaviors.
Labrador Retrievers are an intelligent and willing breed of dogs who respond very well to positive training. They thrive at Obedience and trick training and are fast learners.
They can be described as 'word dogs' meaning they learn many human words and phrases. Intelligent dogs make great pets but also require frequent training sessions to keep them interested and learning. A bored Labrador retriever will make his own fun - and it is usually what annoys the human family most!
Labrador Retrievers are renowned for their fun loving and happy-go-lucky personalities. Some can be over-excitable, Especially if not given the right amount of attention when they are puppies. While Labrador Retrievers make great family pets, it is a common misconception that they are naturally well-behaved or placid like the "old Labby who lives next door". Fundamentally they are a working breed in that their purpose is to swim,
run and retrieve. That means they need exercise, need tasks and most definitely need rules! A young Labrador Retriever requires supervision around small children as they can be boisterous and overkeen to play. They are not dainty on their feet and as their tails wag the whole dog one happy wiggle can knock little children over or frighten them.
Labrador Retrievers are also adequate guard dogs. They are territorial of their homes and cars and give an authentic alert bark. It is not common for a Labrador Retriever to do more to a stranger other than bark, but they are still 'a dog' and there is never a 100% guarantee on any breed.
The Labrador Retriever is medium in size, strong, athletic, and well balanced. They are friendly, outgoing, and possess an extremely sweet personality. There are two types of Labrador: The American, which is tall and lanky, and the English, which is more thick and heavy. This sporting breed is adept at hunting and retrieving.
Labrador Retrievers are revered as companions and highly respected for their loving nature.
Labrador Retrievers are generally a healthy breed of dog. They do have several hereditary diseases that could impact significantly on their life span and quality of life.
This includes Hip and Elbow Dysplasia and Progressive Retinal Atrophy. More recently Labrador Retrievers have also been debatedly tested for Exercise Induced Collapse.
The greatest benefit of purchasing a Pedigree Registered Labrador Retriever is that all breeding stock are tested and should have scores and information on each breeding animal available when requested.
This breed is easily trained. Early socialization and basic obedience are recommended.
The Labrador Retriever is very strong and must be taught not to pull on their leash. They do not respond to harsh or heavy-handed methods.
The Labrador Retriever needs fairness, firmness, consistency, reward, and respect. They excel in tracking, police work, search and rescue, agility,
competitive obedience, guide for the blind, and as service dogs for the disabled.
Delightful, high-spirited, and energetic, the Labrador Retriever requires a great deal of exercise. They enjoy family play sessions, securely leashed walks, swimming, and a safely fenced yard to run and romp freely. This breed will do okay in an apartment dwelling provided they are given sufficient exercise,
attention, and stimulation.
Hip and Elbow Scores
Each breeding animal is X-rayed by a Veterinarian in a position that puts direct pressure on the hip and elbow joints. This is done to see if the ball and socket of each joint has movement or reconstruction from movement that could lead to excessive arthritis or dislocation causing pain and lamess. Extreme cases can require surgery or even end the life of the dog. The X-rays are then sent to approved assessors who score each joint based on may factors, measurements and calculations. The Left and Right Hip are scored out of 53 per hip - a total of 106 points. A score of 0 per hip is perfect, a score of 53 per hip is complete dysplasia.
Each breed has an average combined score of both hips. Labrador Retrievers have an average of 12. A more even score between each hip is preferrable over an uneven score for example two dogs could have a combined score of 12, but one dog could have Left Hip 9 Right Hip 3 and another could have Left Hip 6 Right Hip 6. At the end of the day, both dogs with a score of 12 are perfectly sound animals and should not concern pet buyers too much. In other breeds it is acceptable to have scores of 20:20 which also does not mean there are any signs of lameness. The aim of breeders is to use scoring to enhance their breeding programs and work towards lowering breed average scores in an attempt to elimate the disease. However much research has indicated that the current scoring system does not prevent Hip and Elbow dysplasia occuring. Two low scoring parents can produce a litter with both low and high scoring progeny. But it decreases the likelihood of any clinical signs of the disease. Elbows are scored on a much lower scale. 0 being perfect and 4 being elbow dysplasia. It it highly recommended to not breed from parents with scores higher than 1:1.
General health of Labrador Retriever is usually brilliant. Their coat requires minimal care but they do shed hair readily. This is because Labrador Retrievers have a dense water proof undercoat that they shed and replace throughout the year. Their diets are usually broad but in some populations there are allegories to commercial / processed food and some contact allergies. A natural diet is always preferable to a commercial diet. A common misconception in the general public is that Labrador Retrievers are 'fat dogs'. Labrador Retrievers are highly motivated for food but there is no need for them to be overweight. An adult bitch should weigh 28-31kgs depending on their size and an adult male should weigh 33-36kgs also depending on height and size. Labrador Retrievers are compact for their height, have good muscle tone and some loose skin. A healthy Labrador retriever will have a light covering of fat under the skin, But should have a noticeable waist and defined shape. Life Span of a healthy Labrador retriever is 11-15 years of age.